breakfast

Tropical Chia Pudding

I’m at it again with my chia pudding recipes. As I mentioned previously, I’m so in love with this breakfast option that I hope to come up with many versions to satisfy any craving, season or flavor profile. First up, Tropical!

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As summer slowly turns into fall I thought it’d be nice to have a breakfast recipe that still reminds me of warmer times. I found this great bag of organic shredded coconut at Whole Foods and, alas! My brain started turning.

This recipe tastes like a cross between a piña colada and a mango smoothie. Um, hello, does breakfast get any better?! Here’s the recipe for a single serving (since I know how tricky cooking for one can be): 

2 tbsp. chia seeds

⅔ cup light coconut milk

2 tbsp. toasted coconut*

½ cap pure vanilla extract

2 tbsp. chopped tropical fruit- I used papaya and mango, but I think banana, kiwi, or melon would work beautifully as well

liquid stevia, honey or sweetener of your choice to taste

In a mason jar, combine chia seeds, coconut milk, vanilla and sweetener. Seal the jar and shake well. Refrigerate for at least two hours or overnight. When you’re ready to eat, top with coconut and fruit.

*To toast coconut: preheat oven to 350. Spread coconut on a foil-lined cookie sheet. Bake in increments of 5 minutes, checking and stirring each time. Coconut burns very quickly, so keep your eyes- and your nose- on it!

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Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia!

You may have heard by now, but Chia seeds aren’t just for growing pets anymore. In fact, they’re a great source of fiber, and a terrific thickening agent in place of flour or corn starch. I, however, have maximized the benefits of these little seeds by making chia pudding: a mixture of chia seeds and milk (and other flavors) that becomes thick, creamy and the perfect satisfying breakfast. I’ve only stuck to a basic Chia Pudding recipe so far, but I’m planning on experimenting with different flavor additions and toppings, as the seasons change.

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INGREDIENTS (makes 1 serving)

2 tbsp. chia seeds

⅔ cup almond milk (or whatever milk you prefer)

¼ tsp. vanilla extract

3-5 drops liquid Stevia or honey

dash of cinnamon

DIRECTIONS

Combine all ingredients in a mason jar and shake. Refrigerate at least two hours or over night. Shake once more before opening. Top with fruit or honey.

I can’t wait to add seasonal mix-ins like pumpkin puree and seeds, apples, cocoa powder and- eventually- peppermint extract! What flavors would you like to see in Chia Pudding?

Best Ever Granola

When it comes to granola, I must admit, I’m a bit of a snob. Most store bought granolas are either too sweet, too caloric, or too full of things other than oats (i.e. chocolate chunks, too much dried fruit, too many nuts). It blows my mind to read nutrition labels on store bought granola, only to discover they can contain up to 140 calories per 1/4 cup serving! I thought granola was supposed to be a healthy snack or breakfast. That’s why I created my own granola recipe, so I know exactly what’s going into it. It has the perfect balance of salty and sweet, with just the right ratio of dried fruit to nuts to oats. I’m planning on adding variations to this base recipe as the seasons change, but here is the original.

INGREDIENTS

2 cups quick cooking oatmeal

1/4 cup chopped pistachios

1/3 cup sunflower seeds

1/2 cup craisins

2 tbs agave nectar

2 tbs honey

2 tbs canola oil

2 tsp brown sugar

a dash or two of cinnamon

DIRECTIONS

Preheat over to 325 degrees fahrenheit. Combine all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add the agave, honey, oil, brown sugar and cinnamon and stir until well incorporated. Pour mixture onto a greased cookie sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

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See! Easy as that. Compared to store bought granolas, my recipe only has 122 calories in 1/3 of a cup! This is the perfect amount for a nice yogurt parfait (see below). I like to add fresh fruit to greek yogurt and granola for a well-rounded and hearty breakfast or snack. I promise, after making this recipe, you’ll never buy granola at the grocery store again.

Mangoes and strawberries make the perfect summer yogurt parfait

Mangoes and strawberries make the perfect summer yogurt parfait