Basic Chia Pudding Recipe

Chia Pudding

Recently, I bought a ton of chia seeds for a fantastic price at a local grocery store. I remembered seeing chia puddings all over the place online: on Pinterest, blogs, FoodGawker, etc. I’d been wanting to try it again since I’d tried it once before and it wasn’t great.

There are tons of chia pudding recipes out there, but the most basic recipe I love came from the My New Roots cookbook. I’ve changed it up a bit, so here’s the recipe I use. It serves two.

Version 1: Basic Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding

2-3 tablespoons chia seeds

6 tablespoons milk of choice

1 cup yogurt (plain regular or Greek)

Sweetener of choice (such as 5 dates)

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

1 frozen banana or other frozen fruit (such as cherries)

Version 2: Basic Vanilla Chia Seed Pudding

2-3 tablespoons of chia seeds

6 tablespoons milk of choice

1 tablespoon vanilla

Additional spices such as: cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice

Sweetener of choice (dates, agave nectar, maple syrup)

Directions: 

For both: Except for the frozen fruit, add the remaining ingredients into a bowl with a good fitting lid. (I also like to use a mason jar.) Place in fridge overnight. In the morning, blend with frozen fruit until smooth and creamy. (It might be thicker or thinner depending on the amount of liquid you used. If you used the full 6 tablespoons, it might be on the thinner side.)

Energy Ball Recipes

EnergyBall Recipes (1)

I’ve wanted a food processor for years, but every time I decided to go get one, something told me no.  I would put the food processor back on the shelf and walk away. I have done this at least four or five times a year.

And yet, I’d see recipes for energy balls, nut butters, hummus, etc., and try them in my low-powered blender. The outcome was OK, but not great.

But about a week ago, I was blessed with a food processor from my boyfriend’s sister. I couldn’t believe it! I finally had one!

Yesterday, a chocolate craving hit me around 2 p.m. and I decided that after going to the store, I’d use my food processor to make the energy balls I’d been dying to make for years now and have them turn out correctly. (Most energy ball bases, I’ve noticed, are made with dates. Dates in a low-powered blender? Not good. Here’s a trick I heard but haven’t actually tried if you want to make them in a low-powered blender: soak the dates to soften them. I’ve read anywhere from 15-30 minutes will do.)

After seeing so many energy ball recipes, you can build your own easily. It goes a little like this:

Base. Something sticky. Ideas:

  • Dates
  • Agave Nectar
  • Maple Syrup
  • Nut Butter
  • Honey

Fillings. Any combination of the following (but the possibilities are endless!)

  • Nuts (Almonds, pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts, peanuts, pistachios)
  • Seeds (Pumpkin, sunflower)
  • Nut butters (Almond, Peanut Butter)
  • Oats
  • Dried fruit (cranberries, raisins, currants, cherries)
  • Chocolate (Cocoa powder, chocolate chips)
  • Canned Pumpkin
  • Coconut

Flavorings and Spices. This is where it gets really fun. Try

  • Crushed Peppermint Candies or Peppermint Extract (holidays)
  • Pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg, and cinnamon
  • Vanilla extract
  • Coconut extract

Phew! Those are a ton of combinations, but again, the possibilities are endless. Play around with the ingredients. Don’t be afraid to get creative.

I made two versions yesterday:  A chocolate date ball adapted from one of my favorite recipes from Chocolate Covered Katie’s cookbook, and a No Bake Cookie inspired one.

And boy, did the energy balls turn out EXACTLY how I wanted them too! They were creaming, not too sweet, and stuck together perfectly.

Version 1: Chocolate Coconut Energy Balls

This recipe was adapted from Chocolate Covered Katie’s recipe for “Anytime Fudge Balls” from the Chocolate Covered Katie Cookbook. (Please go buy it! It’s amazing and a wonderful healthy dessert cookbook. I look through it at least once a day.)

9 pitted dates

½ cup slivered almonds

1 tbsp cocoa powder

2 tbsp dark chocolate chips

Unsweetened flaked coconut

¼ tsp vanilla extract

¼ tsp agave nectar*

Pinch of salt

  1. Add all ingredients to a food processor and pulse until crumbly but stick together when you ball it in your hands by making a fist.
  2. Roll into balls, try not to eat them all, refrigerate.

Version 2: Peanut Butter, Chocolate Chip, Coconut, Oat Energy Balls

9 pitted dates

Heaping ¼ cup crunchy peanut butter

½ cup old fashioned oats

2 tbsp semisweet chocolate chips

¼ cup unsweetened flaked coconut

¼ tsp agave nectar

  1. Pulse in food processor until crumbly but sticks together when you ball the mixture in your hands by making a fist.
  2. Roll into balls, try not to eat them all, and refrigerate.

Daily Discovery Series: Raspberry Brownie Bars

I haven’t added to the Daily Discovery series in a long time, and what I’m about to show you is worth the reboot of the series.

What I’m about to show you might change your life.

Because I think they have changed mine. They’re beautiful, just sweet enough, and don’t involve too many ingredients.

They’re raw raspberry brownie bars that I came across while scrolling through one of my favorite websites, Mind Body Green. You can go here for the full recipe, but here are a few changes I made:

I swapped out all the sugary items (dates, maple syrup) for agave nectar, since that’s what I had on hand. I sweetened each of the layers a small amount at a time, tasting along the way.
Here are a few other changes I made to the base layer of the brownie bars:

– For the nuts, I used almonds, walnuts, and hazelnuts.
– I added a pinch of salt.
– I added a tsp of vanilla extract.

For the base layer, it says to blend the nuts in a blender. If you don’t think your blender could handle it, or if you just don’t have a blender, use a ziploc bag and something to smash the nuts with. I used a rolling pin. You get just as delicious a base layer.

The resulting bars are beautiful, cold, and sweet. They’re chocolaty in a dark chocolate sort of way. If you’re not a fan of dark chocolate, you will probably want to add more sweetness to the chocolate layers, or add in more vanilla to take off the edge of the dark bitter taste.

You could make these anytime. As they say on Parks and Recreation, “Treat yo self!”

I encourage you to try these bars, whether with the changes I made or with the original recipe. And be sure to go over to the site and thank the recipe’s author for such delicious and gorgeous bars.

Small Kitchen Cooking (SKC) How-To: Iced Hazelnut Mocha

Hi, everyone! I’m starting a new series for my recipes called “Small Kitchen Cooking,” (for short, “SKC”) and I thought the perfect way to start it off would be with one of my favorite things in the entire world, coffee.

Now, I do believe that a great cup of coffee from a coffee shop is worth it. But we don’t want to do that everyday, and when you find out how easy it is to replicate those drinks at home, why not try it?

And believe me, this hazelnut mocha is easy-peasy.

Iced Hazelnut Mocha

Ingredients:
1/2 cup strong coffee or 1/2 cup regular coffee (see note below)*
2 ice cubes (see note below)
1 tablespoon hazelnut syrup (you can find these in the coffee aisle at your local grocery store)
1 tablespoon chocolate syrup
1/2 milk of choice (I use 1%)
Container with an air-tight lid

Directions:

1. Pour coffee into a coffee mug. Add ice. Set aside.
2. In the container, add in the hazelnut and chocolate syrups, along with milk.
3. Pour the coffee into the container.
4. Put on the lid, and shake. Shake, shake, shake! (For about 20 seconds.)
5. Pour into tall chilled glass.**
6. If you’re feeling particularly springy or summery, use a straw with an umbrella. Enjoy! 🙂

Notes:
*To make the strong coffee, here’s how I do it with my basic 12-cup coffee maker: Fill water up to the four-cup line. I add one scoop of coffee (I use a 1/4 cup) per two cups. For strong coffee however, you’ll need to add two scoops per two cups. This means for four cups of coffee, you’ll need four scoops. This is optional. The strong coffee will give the drink a stronger flavor.

** Tip for chilling the glass: place two ice cubes into the glass you plan on using for the drink. Remove ice before pouring in coffee.

I hope you enjoy this and try playing around with it too! Tell me what kind of iced drinks that you like to order in coffee shops, but would like to make at home (or have made at home). I’d love to know! Also, if you’re a tea drinker, try out this iced green tea with apple juice recipe.

Happy Monday!

~Ashley

Happy Valentine’s Day

Things I’m loving today:

This Twitter party today at 2:30 p.m. EST from Operation Beautiful.

This recipe for calzone hearts.

This card.

This song by Colbie Caillat.

Here’s something to remember for everyone:

Find something in every day that makes you smile, even just once. Capture that memory somehow. And remember it. No matter what day it is.

Today I’m thankful for all of the people in my life who love me, and I extend that love back to all of them.

And a little shout out to my boyfriend. 🙂

I hope you all have a wonderful day. I plan on eating plenty of chocolate.

So, here’s the question for the day:

Candy hearts: Love ’em or hate ’em? 😉

Happy Valentine’s Day!

~Ashley

A Cookie Recipe I Thought I’d Lost

Hello everyone and happy Friday to you all!

Today I had a craving for a cookie I’d made about two years ago. I’d been reading one of my favorite blogs, Vitamin G, and came across this post about a vegan banana chocolate-chip cookie recipe. You can find the original recipe here.

I thought I’d saved the recipe in my email. (I didn’t.) I thought had bookmarked it, but I lost my bookmarks awhile back.

I found the blog post I’d found the link to the recipe on. But then, when I clicked on the link to the original recipe I found myself staring at the screen: the link didn’t work. IT WAS GONE.

After frantically searching for another link to the recipe, and eventually finding a link that did work, I realized: I had the recipe, all along, in my “Family Recipe” binder. I compared the recipe card to the recipe online. It was the same, and I was set to go!

I love these cookies.

Straight out of the oven, they’re perfect. They might need a minute or two to set once out of the oven, but you don’t have to wait if you don’t want too.

Straight out of the fridge they’re perfect.

The batter even tastes delicious (and better yet, there’s no raw egg. It’s the cookie dough no one will yell at you for eating raw.)

Here are a few changes I made:

-I used 2/3 cup of brown sugar, like the Vitamin G blogger had mentioned.
-I only had one large banana, so I added about a 1/4 cup of unsweetened applesauce.
-I used oats instead of oat flour, but used the same amount (2 1/4 cups).
-The batter was a bit too sticky, so I added about a 1/4 cup flour to thicken things up.
-I put the batter in the fridge in between batches. It helped keep the cookies from browning on the edges too quickly.

Other changes I’d make for next time:

– I had larger dark chocolate chips, so I’d scale back on the amount of chocolate.
– Though the cookies tasted fabulous even with the addition of applesauce, I’d rather have the second banana the recipe calls for.
– I’d like to add crunchy peanut butter.

I hope you’re having a great night!

~Ashley

Event Tomorrow: Beer and Fondue Class with Emily Ellyn

Hey everyone! Today I’m sharing with you a cool event taking place tomorrow in Florida, with my friend Emily Ellyn. This event is going to awesome I’m sure, and I’d would be there if I didn’t live a thousand miles away. I mean, fondue and beer? Sounds like a great class to me. (Speaking of beer, I recently tried a stout chocolate doughnut, and was absolutely amazing.)

Shipyard1

Here’s some general info for those of you in Florida who should go check it out:

CLASS 1 of a Series: Shipyard Beer and Fondue Tasting and Cooking Class

WHEN: January 9, 2013 6:30PM

Class Overview:

Cooking Demo of Beer Fondues
Cheese Fondue
Beer Broth Fondue
Dessert Fondue

Overview of cooking with beers
Overview of Pairing Beers
Beer Pairing (to be discussed)
Light beer – Class toast
Export – Paired with Cheese Fondue
Barrel Aged – Paired with Broth Fondue

Featured Beer – Dessert (Chocolate or Orange Fondue)

This will be the first time this beer is tasted and will then will be released and available to buy following class.

Sounds like a good time! If one of your New Year’s resolutions was to be more social and learn how to cook or make something you haven’t before, then check it out. If you can’t check it out and have friends who not only live in Florida but would enjoy this class, tell them about it. 🙂 For more info, head on over to Emily’s website, or click on the photo above.

Hope everyone is having a great Tuesday!

~Ashley

Happy Halloween: A Collection of Cute Things.

Hi everyone! Are you dressing up today?
Here’s a collection of some of my favorite and adorable Halloween-related things from around the Internet:

Recipes:

Homemade Crispy Twix Bars from Oh She Glows.

Pumpkin Cheese Balls from Betty Crocker via Pinterest.

Homemade Mounds Bars from Chocolate Covered Katie

Spiced Applesauce recipe from Emily Ellyn.

Pumpkin Designs:

Lace Pumpkin.

Pugs in Costumes:

Happy Halloween! I plan on watching a few Halloween-related movies: “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” “Casper,” and of course, “Hocus Pocus.” Stay safe and have a great day!

~Ashley

Daily Discovery: “Doctor Who” Inspired Recipes

Hi everyone! I hope you’re enjoying the beginning of the long weekend.

Today is the premiere of the new season of “Doctor Who,” and if you’ve been following my statuses on Facebook, it should come as no surprise that I’m excited. I’m sad that the companions of the past two seasons are leaving, but I feel it is time. It’s nice to get a new companion and see what happens next.

While scrolling through my Facebook news feed, I came across a collection of “Doctor Who” inspired recipes, including one for fish fingers and custard. ( I still need to try that.) You can find the entire collection of recipes here.

This recipe was my favorite:

They’re adorable, aren’t they?

And if you know Daleks, they are anything but adorable.

I would feel victorious eating a Dalek cupcake. Doctor, this is how you defeat them.

Oh, and my other favorite:

As a ginger, I am very proud that not one, but two ginger companions, are on the show. #teamginger 🙂

Enjoy the weekend! If you watch Doctor Who, let’s chat about it tomorrow.

~Ashley

Small Kitchen Cooking: Scones

I made a batch of cranberry scones, using this recipe from the cookbook, Sundays at Moosewood, for brunch this morning.

The pictures didn’t do the scones any justice, so I didn’t want to share them. So, you will have to rely on my saying that these scones are by far my favorite.

The scones recipe is incredibly versatile as well. I have made pumpkin spice scones, raisin scones, and golden raisin scones. (If you make golden raisin scones, stay by the oven. The time I made them, they burned. Burned golden raisins are not good. At all.)

On my list of scones to try are chocolate chip scones and lemon scones.

Here are my additions:
– Substitute the fruit measurement for dried cranberries. The dried cranberries make the scones burst with a sweet tartness and also make the scones less dry. I prefer them this way.

– Make sure to sprinkle sugar on top for an added bit of sweetness. I used raw sugar.

– Make sure to put a glob of butter and orange marmalade on top. Perfect for a Sunday morning. (Or, any morning.)

Yum. 🙂

What is your favorite breakfast pastry?

Have a great Sunday night!