Friday, November 10, 2017

My Favorite Chia Seed Pudding

I was originally thinking of calling this "The Best Chia Seed Pudding," but I really hate it when food blogs do that.  Really?  Yours just happened to be the best?  Okay.

Anyway, in the past, all my chia seed pudding were kind of bland, regardless of the toppings.  Some toppings were better than others, but the underlying pudding itself was still blah.  And then I put in full fat coconut milk.  And the results were glorious.  It's also super-filling.  I eat breakfast at ~8:30, and this will keep me full for about four hours.

This chia seed pudding is vegan, gluten-free, keto, paleo, no sugar added, and delicious.  Which is the most important part.  And endlessly customizable.  Here I'll provide the basic recipe, plus some of the variations I've been making.

First:  the golden ratio for chia seed pudding is 4 parts liquid to 1 part chia.  So for this, since full fat coconut milk is so intense, it's 1/2 cup coconut milk to 2 tablespoons chia seeds.  You can probably use light coconut milk and get the same flavor, but I don't recommend the coconut milk beverage that comes in cartons.  It's too bland.  Also, full fat coconut milk is pretty thick.  You might want to thin it out by doing almost 1/2 cup coconut milk and then finish it off with the liquid of your choice (I use almond milk, because that's what I have).  So, put your chia seeds in a cup, bowl, mason jar, whatever.  Add the liquid.  Stir stir stir.  Stir more.  Add a splash of vanilla, stir more.  Put it in the refrigerator overnight.  In the morning, put ~1 teaspoon of cacao nibs on top.  The cacao nibs are crucial.

Above are two different variations I've made.  Top:  passion fruit.  Bottom: pumpkin pie.

For the passion fruit, just take a passion fruit and pour it over.

For the pumpkin pie, add a tablespoon of canned pumpkin to the pudding when you're adding the liquid.  Also add a dash of pumpkin pie spice.

My current favorite is peanut butter & jelly.  When it comes out of the refrigerator, I add a handful of raspberries and stir them in, sort of crushing them as I stir.  Then I drizzle some TJs mixed nut butter over (but you could use whatever you want).  So good.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Turkey, Spinach, Hummus Wedges

I was introduced to this by a dear friend in college, when she brought it as a snack to a party. It's really easy to make, has five simple ingredients, and it also makes a great lunch!

All you need is sliced deli turkey, baby spinach, cream cheese, hummus, and tortillas. I like whipped cream cheese, because it spreads more easily. I'd also recommend a big tortilla. For this particular batch I used an Ezekiel tortilla for extra texture. Spread the cream cheese on one tortilla and spread the hummus on the other. Stick the baby spinach on top of the hummus and the turkey on the cream cheese. Sandwich the tortillas together. Slice into eighths, and enjoy! If you're making this for lunch, I use one tortilla and just split it in half.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Poached Egg with Toast and Sautéed Broccolini

This is a riff on something that I found in the BuzzFeed Clean Eating Challenge, but it has bread, so it's infinitely better.

First, get your broccolini ready. For one serving I used about half a bunch. Wash it, chop off the ends, and peel the woody part of the stem off. I just use a small paring knife. Then, get your egg ready. Crack it into a small bowl or ramekin. Start boiling water in a small saucepan. Add a dash of white vinegar. This will keep the egg from feathering.

While the water is boiling, start sauteing your broccolini. Use a little olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic, if you like garlic. Alternatively, you can put in a small amount (quarter-cup) of water in the pan, cover it, and sort of steam the broccolini, and then saute. This will make the broccolini taste less raw, which I prefer. While this is happening, toast your bread. I used a challah roll. You can either do open-faced or a sandwich. I prefer the sandwich, since it keeps everything contained.

When the water just starts to form bubbles, you are ready to poach the egg. I like Alton Brown's method. Stir the water to form a whirlpool, and then gently slide the egg from the ramekin into it. Turn off the stove, cover the pot, set a timer for five minutes, and go do something else.

When all the constituent parts are ready, assemble into a sandwich. Eat.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

BuzzFeed Clean Eating Challenge: Day 12

So, today was my last full day of this, so this will be my last post on the subject. Tomorrow I'm off to New York, so I'll do breakfast, lunch, and the afternoon snack. I guess this little experiment worked, in that I lost the weight I wanted to lose, but it's definitely not sustainable, as I've been super-hungry. I'm glad to end early and eat some pizza and bagels! I'll get to today's recipes, and then wrap up at the end.

Breakfast: Blackberry Yogurt Parfait. A repeat from earlier in the week, and still good.

Lunch: Black Bean Chili with Carrots. Leftover chili from last week, along with the smokey paprika yogurt, which I used half of in the chili and half as a dip for the carrots. I felt really full after eating this, but then got hungry very soon after.

Afternoon Snack: Unsalted Peanuts with A Pear. I feel like some of the snacks were just random things put together to meet a caloric goal. My pear was overripe.

Dinner: Asian-Style Cod in Parchment with Bok Choy. This had so much potential, and failed so utterly. I don't know how big they think a bok choy head is, but 6 was way too much. I used three and they barely fit. I had to use more parchment. The sauce was too lime-y, and I ended up giving the veggies to Carl and eating a handful of pecans.

Evening Snack: Almond milk with dark chocolate. Again, a repeat.

Overall, there were some good recipes, but I think I need more fat and carbohydrates in my diet otherwise I get hungry and cranky. It was also a bit meat-heavy, and I prefer to minimize the meat I eat, both because of the environmental impacts and the fact that I don't like handling raw meat. I want to try and continue eating fewer cookies, and this was a good way to sort of quickly reset. I would also like to minimize the carbohydrates, but we'll see. It was also a lot of work, in terms of prepping and cooking and cleaning for so little food. I hate washing pots and pans, so I like to make things that will last me a few days for dinner. It's also a bit limiting in terms of eating out with friends. I'm hoping I can maintain the weight loss and come up with fun, filling meals in the future.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

BuzzFeed Clean Eating Challenge: Day 11

Overall today was far better than yesterday, but I'm getting really antsy to get back to eating things that aren't just veggies and small amounts of protein. Recipes here.

Breakfast: Kale and Banana Smoothie. A repeat from earlier in the challenge, but I added cinnamon to it this time and it made the smoothie far more flavorful.

Lunch: No Mayo Tuna Salad in Romaine Cups. I used Napa cabbage, since I wasn't buying a head of romaine for four leaves, and there was so much cabbage left over. I also used a 7 oz can of tuna, since that's what we had, and it seemed silly to save two ounces. Plus, the caloric intake for the day was on the low side.

Snack: Banana Avocado Pudding. I was very wary about this, given my last foray into avocado based puddings. This turned out to be not so bad, though. I also added cinnamon, which I think might be key to everything. I would have preferred a more chocolatey pudding, but overall I was pleasantly surprised. Probably wouldn't make this by choice, but it was fine. It was, however, more of a smoothie by 3:30 PM, since I made it in the blender at 9:30 AM. Speaking of the blender, I remembered to clean it the fancy Vitamix way (even though it's not a Vitamix). Put a few drops of soap in, fill it up halfway with water, and then turn the blender on a low setting. It cleans out a lot of the gunk, and then all it needs is a quick wipedown on the sides and lid.

Dinner: Snap Pea Salad with Radish, Feta, and Hard-boiled Egg. No radish for me. All of the dinner salads just seem so small for dinner. I'd rather eat a smaller breakfast portion (closer to 200 calories) and then have larger lunches and dinners. None of this breakfast like a king, dine like a pauper crap. I think because I generally eat a fairly late breakfast.

Evening Snack: 1 oz dark chocolate. I used my 70% dark chocolate chips. I ate them slowly to savor them, rather than just popping the whole serving in my mouth at once. I guess it sort of helped.

I also ate a few rogue strawberries and some potato chip crumbs, as I continue to experience low-level hunger all day. As I near the end, I've been trying to figure out how to make this more sustainable in the long-term. Most of my breakfasts actually fit in, but I need lunches and dinners that will work, and that I can eat with Carl, because I'm tired of cleaning so many dishes.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

BuzzFeed Clean Eating Challenge: Day 10

Today I hit the wall. I wasn't excited about any of it, and the lunch debacle really set the tone. I've been hungry all day, despite it being one of the higher calorie days. Recipes here.

Breakfast: Cauliflower Hash with Fried Eggs. Fine. Again, it was a pretty good way to use up leftover roasted cauliflower. In a unique turn of events, I actually undercooked the eggs.

Lunch: Arugula Salad with Eggplant, Avocado, Feta and Chickpeas. I took two bites and gave up. What a waste of fancy feta cheese. I can only eat eggplant under very specific circumstances, and cold, mushy leftover roasted eggplant is not once of them. I went across the street to the coffee shop and ordered the kale-chickpea salad. It also had quinoa and carrots, with a yogurt dressing in a very small container, so presumably of similar calorie content. It was not very satisfying. At least it was baby kale.

Afternoon Snack: Bell Pepper with Hummus. I don't like bell peppers, so I had leftover carrots from Friday.

Dinner: Kale and Shrimp Bowl with Mushroom and Avocado. Fine. Similar to the spinach and shrimp I make, but I usually pair it with some sort of carbs, so it's more satisfying. This was a really low-calorie dinner.

Evening Snack: Blackberries. Blackberries, still delicious.

This really was not enough food to sustain me for the day, especially because I exercised. I know all these veggies are supposed to be filling, but they're really not. I ate a few potato chips to tide me over, but it wasn't enough. I need more carbs.

Monday, March 9, 2015

BuzzFeed Clean Eating Challenge: Day 9

The combo of prepping breakfast, lunch, and my snack this morning took way too long, although I guess I did kind of dawdle this morning, too. Recipes here.

Breakfast: Sweet and Savory Apple Omelet. I'm not sure what part made this savory. Maybe the olive oil? I liked this, but the olive oil was kind of weird. It was too strong a flavor. I'd use butter or coconut oil if I made this again. Also, I felt like it really needed brie. Again, omelets are pretty time consuming to make. My flip got messed up, too.

Lunch: Raw Collard Wraps with Turkey Meatballs, Dijon, and Avocado. I didn't use a whole tomato here, just a a few slices. I couldn't really get mine to roll. The collard green didn't really add a lot, so by the last one I just took it off and threw it out. I still really like the meatballs. I should do more wraps for lunch once this is over.

Afternoon Snack: Blackberries and Yogurt. I eat fruit and yogurt a lot normally, but not blackberries. They are delicious and I should eat them more, but they tend to be on the expensive side. Lunch was surprisingly filling, and I didn't end up eating my snack until 5 PM.

Dinner: Fried Quinoa with Snap Peas, Mushrooms, and Scrambled Eggs. I rushed home because I thought this would take FOREVER to make, but it only took 30 minutes. I was pleasantly surprised. They did want me to use way more pans than necessary, though. I liked this way more than I thought, since I'm not a big fan of mushrooms, but they don't really have a strong flavor when cooked that long.

Evening Snack: Pear with Almond Butter. I ate this in a restaurant while everyone else ate real food and it was kind of awkward. I'm still kind of hungry, though.

Overall, I feel like I have way more energy and I'm a lot less tired. This may be in part because I might have mild anemia, and I've been eating way more meat than usual. It might also be the joy that the semi-warm weather and the late sunset brings to me.