blueberries and cream chia pudding

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It’s funny how life works sometimes.

When I started my vacation from school in July, I was filled with optimism about the time I would have to devote to my blog. All the time I would have to dream up recipes and bring them to life in the kitchen! I would read and comment on all my favourite blogs more regularly than I had been (and I am so sorry I slacked!). Basically- I would be a better blogger.

But when I had all this time on my hands, cooking and blogging were suddenly the last things I wanted to do. The thought of sitting down to type a post or standing over my food processor was extremely unappealing. I got lazy at reading other blogs (even though I love all of my fellow bloggers so!) and just in general let the whole blogging thing slide.

I was uninspired and was experiencing blogger (and basically life) burnout. Instead I wanted to have other people cook for me so I indulged in my desire to try many of Toronto’s finest vegetarian establishments. I spent time interacting in the real world instead of the virtual blog world. It felt GOOD to not blog so much, to have that pressure relieved.

This was insanely concerning as a food blogger. I mean when the recipe developer, taste tester and writer of a blog loses their passion, there’s not much left of a blog is there?

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This last week though, it has been as though a flip switched in my brain. While my desire to experience the Toronto food scene and spend time with my friends has not dwindled, my passion for creating in the kitchen and sharing it with you all has returned.  So even though I envisioned a summer of blogging, the exact opposite turned out to be exactly what I needed. My soul feels fuller and lighter and ready to immerse myself in my little nook of the internet once more :) I missed you all so!

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And with that, I bring you a simple breakfast idea. Chia seeds are wonderful sources of omega-3 essential fats and fibre. Combined with antioxidant-rich blueberries, this makes for a satisfying, light and seasonal breakfast!

Blueberries and Cream Chia Pudding (Vegan, Gluten-free, Sugar-free, Raw, Paleo)

 

Ingredients (1 bowl)

  • 1 cup almond milk (I used homemade, unsweetened, unflavoured)
  • 1/3 cup + 1/4 cup blueberries, separated
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla bean powder (or ~1 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp + 1 tbsp chia seeds, divided
  • optional: 1/2 tsp mesquite powder and 1/4 tsp lucuma powder
  • Preferred sweetener to taste (I used a combination of honey and vanilla stevia)

Instructions

Blend almond milk, 1/3 cup blueberries, vanilla, coconut oil, 2 tbsp chia seeds, mesquite and lucuma if using and chosen sweetener in a blender until smooth. Stir in the other 1 tbsp of chia seeds, cover and put in the fridge for at least 20 min or overnight to thicken. Stir it occasionally so the chia seeds are evenly distributed.

When ready to eat top with remaining 1/4 cup blueberries and garnish with coconut if desired.

chocolate-covered strawberry chia seed pudding

There must be something in the air- this is my second “chocolate-covered” recipe since the year began!

But just because it’s chocolate-covered, does not mean it’s not healthy and doesn’t mean it can’t help you with your healthy eating goals!

That’s because this recipe is packed full of fiber and anti-oxidants, includes 2 superfoods, some fruit and is very low in overall sugar!

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Yes my friends, it’s a chocolate-covered strawberry chia seed pudding. BAM.

I don’t know about all of you, but I fondly remember chocolate-covered strawberries as a special treat when I was younger. They were great because they tasted absolutely decadent, but hey, you were eating fruit so it had to be healthy! While I m totally in agreement that as far as desserts go, chocolate-covered strawberries are not the worst thing you could eat. BUT the chocolate that is often used will contain refined sugar and depending on the chocolate, might contain loads of preservatives and other chemicals, especially if it’s a chocolate sauce.

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So I decided to try and healthify this dessert. And of course I turned to one of my most favourite ingredients- chia seeds. By turning this into a chia seed pudding, I packed it full of fiber and healthy omega-3 fats meaning it will keep you feeling full and will help decrease inflammation in the body!

That’s not the only superfood found in there though! Cacao powder is a superstar- full of powerful anti-oxidants to help combat all the toxins we face on a daily basis. Plus it’s packed full of important minerals like magnesium, which is super important for energy, sulfur which helps promote healthy, glowing skin and others like calcium, manganese, potassium and iron! And let’s not forget it’s mood enhancing properties- it helps to boost serotonin in your body making us feel great!

Strawberries also offer some wicked nutrition- loaded with vitamin C, manganese, fiber and folate to name a few.

It also tastes amazing! It actually tastes exactly like biting into a chocolate-covered strawberry! I love when healthy, delicious and decadent are all found in the same dish :)

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I can’t believe there was a time when I disliked chia puddings…

Delicious, healthful and decadent, this makes a great breakfast, dessert or snack! This really is  a multi-tasking treat!

Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Chia Seed Pudding (Vegan, Gluten-free, Sugar-free, Raw)

Ingredients (1 bowl)

  • 1/2 cup nondairy milk (homemade for raw)
  • 1 tbsp cacao powder
  • 1/2 tbsp coconut nectar (or maple syrup, but won't be truly raw)
  • 4 hulled ripe strawberries
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds

Instructions

Blend the first 4 ingredients until smooth. Move to a bowl and stir in the chia seeds. Let sit for at least 20 minutes or overnight in the fridge to allow the chia seeds to gel and create a pudding like consistency.

I hope you enjoy this delicious treat! See you all on Friday!

I'm submitting this recipe to Allergy-Free WednesdayRaw Food Thursdays and Wellness Weekend!

 

strawberry chia jam and an epic breakfast

Happy Monday my lovely readers! I am coming off of a ridiculously awesome weekend- board game cafe with specialty coffees, farmer’s markets, beer halls and wonderful company. I feel recharged, happy and ready to head into this week.

I am so happy that it’s finally fall! There’s a chill in the air and I just know that soon the leaves will start to change. I love how my face gets cold when I’m walking home and that I can wear sweaters and scarves without over heating. Bring on the pumpkin!

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That being said, I have one final summery recipe to share with you all! I highly recommend taking advantage of the last of the berried and making this Strawberry Chia Jam. It’s so good spread on toast, dolloped on top of oatmeal, drizzled to over pancakes, or just eaten with a spoon!

This recipe all started a couple weeks ago with a visit to the market where there was a deal I just couldn’t pass up. $5 for three baskets of strawberries. Um, how could I not?? Who cares that my kitchen is tiny and I am only grocery shopping for myself. I needed to have them! So I trucked them home and faced the challenge of using them right away to prevent them from going bad. Because I just hate wasting food- especially delicious, ripe, juicy berries that will soon be out of season, and all that will remain are their white, tasteless imposters.

Since I had just moved in, I hadn’t yet stocked my fridge with all the things I like to have around, jam being one of them. So what a perfect opportunity to solve 2 problems in one go.

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I opted to make an almost-raw jam for simplicity’s sake and to preserve those valuable enzymes and when making a raw jam, chia seeds are your best friend. They absorb liquid creating a gel, thickening the jam and giving it texture. The chia seeds also make this jam a fantastic source of omega-3 fats and fibre- what traditional, store-bought jam can make that claim??

It’s naturally sweetened with just a little maple syrup (making it not completely raw) and stevia, but you could use only stevia if you so wished, or maybe some coconut nectar or honey. It’s not an overly sweet jam, but it really lets the wonderful flavour of in season, ripe, local strawberries shine!

This recipe makes about 3 cups, but it freezes and defrosts well. So make up a batch and store it in 3 containers and you’ll have jam to get you through the cold season! Or at least for a few weeks- it’s difficult to make it last ;)

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Strawberry Chia Jam (Vegan, Gluten-free, Sugar-free, Raw Option)

Ingredients (3 cups)

  • 4 cups hulled strawberries
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup, or agave/coconut nectar for completely raw)
  • 15-20 drops stevia
  • 2 + 2 tbsp chia seeds, divided

Instructions

Blend the strawberries, water, maple syrup, stevia and 2 tbsp chia seeds together. Pour into a bowl and stir in the remaining chia seeds. Cover and let chill in the fridge for at least 60 minutes before serving. Can be stored in the freezer and defrosted! Keeps for a couple weeks once defrosted.

I'm sharing this recipe on Allergy-Free Wednesdays, Raw Foods Thursdays and Wellness Weekends!

 

Now, I’m sure you’ve all noticed by now that all my pictures of this jam are of a wildly decadent looking breakfast. This my friends, was the breakfast I enjoyed on my birthday, and it was an amazingly delicious way to start the day. Store-bought gluten-free waffles and coconut milk ice cream make this a snap to whip up, but bonus points if you make your own. The ice cream gets all melty on top of the warm waffles and the strawberry jam provides some lovely sweetness and tartness. Plus you’ve got some chia, fruit and whole grains in there so it’s not a completely lost cause, nutritionally ;)

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Birthday Waffle Breakfast

Mix together the strawberry chia jam with the maple syrup. Top the waffles with the ice cream and jam mixture and dig in, thanking yourself profusely for this delicious treat!

How were your weekends?

Are you excited for fall, or are you clinging to the last vestiges of summer with all your might?

Enjoy your weeks everyone!

omega-3 and fiber-rich chocolate milkshake or ice cream!

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Here we are, another Monday! The last of my Mondays in Kingston for a while! Soon it’s off to the big, bad city ;) It was so nice to spend the last weekend at home, not working! I got to relax, see some friends and get stuff done. I even bought myself my first ever young thai coconut and hacked it open. Oh man the water in those things is ridiculously delicious. I can’t wait to experiment with the meat!

Two more workdays, three at home then that’s it! With an early birthday celebration to boot. When you put it that way it sounds ridiculously close.

Thank you all for your great response to my guest post over at Go Bake Yourself on Saturday! It was so fun to write for a little of a different audience and show people how delicious healthy is. If you haven’t checked it out, please do so here. I shared a recipe for Raw Pineapple Shortbread bars that are a great way to say goodbye to summer. While I’m sad summer is over, I am so excited for the possibilities of fall. Plus you know what fall means? PUMPKIN. So pumped. In fact I may have already created a little something pumpkin-y. I just couldn’t resist!

Anyway, pumpkin is not what this post is about. What this post is about is chocolate. More specifically frozen chocolate delciousness.

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When I decided to change up my diet for a while to kick this candida business to the curb, the thing I missed the most was smoothies. There’s something about blending up a frozen banana with other fruits, veggies and other add-ins that is like nothing else. I was missing it so much that I began to search for alternatives. I tried out a cranberry smoothie with an avocado for creaminess and while it was good, it wasn’t what I was looking for.

Then I happened upon something magical. Psyllium seed powder.

This stuff thickens and gels a mixture like crazy! Seriously- put in some almond milk and a few other powders with a little psyllium and you get this thick gel. As soon as I discovered these powers, I delved in a little deeper.

Psyllium seed is an amazing source of fiber. Just to give you an idea, psyllium husks contain 71g of fiber per 100g, whereas oat bran, a commonly recommended source of fiber contains only 5g per100g. Now you would never eat 100g of psyllium seed, but a little goes a long way! It helps us feel full for longer and helps clear out our digestive track. In this sense it is great for loads of different digestive issues including irritable bowl syndrome and ulcerative colitis. It has also been shown to improve many other aspects of health such as:

  • reducing cholesterol
  • prevents gallstones
  • facilitates weight loss
  • stabilizes blood sugar
  • and even prevents against cancers like colon and breast!

I had so much fun playing with this ingredient! It doesn’t really have a taste so you can throw it in anything without worrying about a funny taste and when you toss in some ice, I swear, the texture is so similar to a smoothie made with a frozen banana. Almost milkshake-like. Throw in a little more ice. Well you’ve got yourself some ice cream. How cool is that?

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Psyllium seed husks are available whole or in powdered form. In this recipe I used the powder so I’m not sure how the whole husks would work but definitely give it a shot!

I also included an incredible source of omega 3s in the form of either chia or flax seeds. Both work great and provide an easy way to get your daily dose in. Plus they help to thicken this that much more!

This milkshake or ice cream is incredibly rich tasting and smooth. It is packed with fiber from the psyllium, omega 3s from the chia or flax and antioxidants from the cacao powder. Feel free to include 1/2 or all carob if you prefer to avoid the caffeine and get some extra calcium. Sweetened only with stevia it’s truly the healthiest milkshake or ice cream you will ever have! Well I mean, you could always blend some greens in there if you wanted, for bonus points.

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Omega-3 and Fiber Rich Chocolate Milkshake (or Ice Cream) (Vegan, Gluten-free, Sugar-free)

Ingredients (1 drink/bowl)

  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • 2 tbsp cacao powder (or 1/2 carob powder or all carob)
  • 1 tbsp ground flax seeds or chia seeds (gets a little thicker with chia, and I used whole chia seeds, no need to grind before)
  • 1/2 tbsp psyllium seed powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 7 drops chocolate stevia (or to taste)
  • pinch sea salt
  • 1 cup ice for a milkshake, or about 1 1/2 cups for ice cream
  • optional: 1 tsp instant coffee or herbal coffe substitute like Dandy Blend (helps give it a super rich flavour)

Instructions

Add everything, except the ice to a blender and blend. It should get really thick. Then add the ice and blend again until the ice is fully crushed and incorporated! Serve with a straw or spoon and enjoy your delicious treat!

 

I'm sharing this recipe on Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Fat Tuesday, Real Food Wednesdays, Allergy-Free Wednesday, Gluten Free Fridays, Foodie Friends Friday and Wellness Weekends!

 

Hope you all have wonderful Mondays! Remember, it’s the start of a new week, with no mistakes in it :)

 

 

 

carrot cake chia pudding

Hello my baby carrots!

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So today I decided to do something a little different for What I Ate Wednesday. While it’s a blog party that I love, I’ve been finding lately I just haven’t been feeling it, at least not in the same sense. The idea of photographing all of my eats in a single day was beginning to cause some anxiety for me- do I really want to admit I ate that? Or that much? Plus I felt a pressure to ensure my food was as clean as possible and interesting. And sometimes that just doesn’t feel healthy for me to do. I have had issues with restriction in the past, something I haven’t discussed too much on the blog, or with very many people at all, but I could feel it starting to creep back. While I understand the benefit of recording your meals in a kind of food diary (you can see things that are missing, food ruts, etc.) and looking at other people's posts (for ideas, etc.), if something is creating anxiety for me when it comes to food, I just don’t feel it’s a good idea for me to be doing. I have come to develop a healthy relationship with food (although, of course I have slip-ups) and I want to keep it that way! I don't want to fall into the comparison trap or feel bad about fueling my body the way it needs to be fuelled. I know I shouldn't no matter what, but if it's something I'm struggling with right now, it's best to remove the triggers. I was actually talking to a blogger-friend about this very topic recently and I felt it was something that was important enough to me to share with you all, and make a change to how I approach WIAW.

So instead of cataloguing a day of eats every week with you guys, I think what I’ll start doing is a post about a recipe, or a food I have been loving the past week! If it’s a recipe, I’ll of course share it with you all and if it’s just a food or ingredient, I’ll fill you all in as to why YOU should love it too! And of course, I may occasionally revert to the more traditional WIAW. How does all that sound to you guys?

So today I’m going to kick off my new WIAW format by sharing a recipe I have made countless times since adopting an anti-candida diet. I teased you all with it on this WIAW post and have gotten a few, fairly adamant requests for it!

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It’s sweet without any fruit, or any kind of sweetener except stevia. It’s protein-packed, omega-3 rich and super filling! Plus, while it’s no green smoothie (oh how I miss those) it still lets you start your day with some veggies while feeling like you are eating dessert.

Yes everyone, it’s my Carrot Cake Chia Pudding!

The star of this pudding are the chia seeds. They help create a thick and satisfying pudding texture without sacrificing taste. What I love about chia seeds is how they absorb water and bulk up helping you to feel full for longer. I also use some Sunwarrior Protein Powder, which is delicious tasting on it’s own and it really helps add some creaminess to the pudding. Now I can’t emphasize this enough- make sure you use a protein powder you like the taste of when making this! I tried it with a protein powder I don’t love but I’m trying to use up and I really did not enjoy this. Don’t come back to me and say you hated it if you try it with a less-than-stellar powder. I warned you ;)

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Carrot Cake Chia Pudding (Vegan, Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free, Raw)

Tastes like carrot cake but without any grains or sugar! Healthy enough for breakfast, but delicious enough for dessert! If you're feeling really decadent, try topping with some of this icing (minus the turmeric).

Ingredients (1 bowl)

  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • heaping 1/2 cup baby carrots (almost 3/4 cup)
  • 1/2 scoop protein powder (I use Natural Sunwarrior Warrior Blend). Make sure it's a protein powder you like the taste of on it's own!
  • 1/2 tsp maca (optional, may need more stevia without it)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 drops stevia (I use english toffee stevia) or to taste, depending on tastes and protein powder used
  • 1 + 1 tbsp chia seeds, divided
  • optional toppings: coconut flakes, chopped walnuts, raisins

Instructions

Place everything except 1 tbsp chia seeds in a blended and blend until smooth. Add in the last tbsp chia seeds and stir to incorporate. Refrigerate overnight or for at least 15 minutes to allow the mixture to thicken. Serve with coconut flakes, chopped walnuts and raisins (if eating fruit) if desired!

It’s super quick to whip up the night before, or even in the morning. If making in the morning just mix it up, go get ready, then come back to a lovely treat! Even easier if made the night before, just whip it up, refrigerate and in the morning add your toppings.

I am submitting this recipe to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Fat Tuesday, Real Food WednesdayAllergy, Free Wednesday, Gluten-free Friday, Foodie Friends Friday and Wellness Weekends!.

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Hope you all like my new format for WIAWs. It’s not the usual thing, but I think it works for me!

Have any other bloggers or readers struggled with writing or reading WIAW posts? I know that we are all unique and therefore need to eat different foods in different amounts, but I just can't help but fall into the comparison trap lately. Maybe it's the stress of moving and change! Either way I think this is a format I can happily participate with. 

What’s your favourite go-to breakfast?

Happy hump day everyone!