Tag Archives: fig

Yogurt Chia Parfaits

1 Aug

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I bought a 24-pound watermelon. Luckily, I purchased this fruit-the-size-of-a-small-child at my corner store, so I only had to carry the monster up one block. Yes, I know that smaller watermelons exist, but I wanted and I needed and I had to have a watermelon at that very moment when I walked by the store.

Besides munching on cold melon cubes right from the fridge, I am brainstorming creative ways to use my giant watermelon stash. Watermelon shrub is currently fermenting on my counter. My new smoothie crush involves frozen watermelon cubes, frozen banana chunks, milk, vanilla, and matcha green tea powder. I made No-Cook Watermelon Tabbouleh Salad and enjoyed it for dinner and lunch for a few days. The recipe is from the quarterly nutrition newsletter that I edit, The Grapevine. Find the recipe on page 19. 

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Watermelon is the epitome of a cool, juicy summertime treat. And that is just what I have been craving lately, something cool and refreshing. Since we “eat with our eyes,” it is important that my meals have lots of color in them. Watermelon’s bright pink color pairs so nicely with green foods. Notice the green cucumbers in the above photograph, and the green chia pudding in the photograph below.

These pink and green Yogurt Chia Parfaits are both fun to look at and fun to eat! Plus, chia seeds, yogurt, and watermelon are all very hydrating foods. These parfaits require a little bit of prep work, but once you have a jar of chia pudding, a container of plain yogurt, colorful fruit, and some homemade or store-bought breakfast cereal on-hand, you should be ready to roll.

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I discovered two lovely blogs this summer that both happen to be raw and vegan. Laura Miller of Sidesaddle Kitchen and Gena of Choosing Raw. Good inspiration for staying cool and creative in the kitchen.

Laura’s recipe videos are both hilarious and delicious, and her produce portraits are stunning. I made her chocolate pudding with avocado this summer, and it was a big hit around here. I also made her buckwheat breakfast cereal, which I love and highly recommend as a cereal alternative. Remember to buy raw or hulled buckwheat groats because the roasted buckwheat groats (aka kasha) have a completely different flavor and cooking requirement.

While I adore chia seeds in moderation, chia pudding has always irked me a little, with all of those tiny gummy seeds. But, since I had a few samples of matcha powder sitting in my cupboard untouched for the last six months, Gena’s matcha green tea chia pudding looked like a good way to conquer my chia pudding fears and simultaneously use up some matcha powder (the matcha powder is also good in watermelon smoothies).

I took Laura’s buckwheat breakfast cereal and Gena’s matcha green tea chia pudding and turned them into a semi-vegan, healthy, and colorful mini meal. The yogurt in these Yogurt Chia Parfaits can easily be omitted or substituted for some sort of frozen banana smoothie to make this vegan friendly.

To layer the parfaits, begin with a layer of fruit (I use a mix of cubed watermelon and quartered figs), a layer of plain yogurt, a layer of chia pudding, and a layer of buckwheat cereal mixed with granola. Repeat the layers for a full parfait. No need for exact measurements, just spoon out the layers to your liking.

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Matcha Green Tea Chia Pudding

from Choosing Rawmakes enough for about 4 parfaits or 1-2 servings of straight up chia pudding

I found the consistency to be a little too liquid to eat on it’s own, so I would add a touch less milk or even a scoop of yogurt to thicken it if you are going to eat it as is. Keep the portions below if you are adding this to a Yogurt Chia Parfait. 

  • 1 cup low-fat milk (I used regular, feel free to use non-dairy milk)
  • 1/2 teaspoon matcha green tea powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon agave or maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons chia seeds

In a blender, combine the milk, matcha powder, vanilla, and agave and blend for a few seconds until thoroughly combined. Pour the mixture over the chia seeds and stir to combine. Stir again every few minutes for the next 15 minutes. Then allow the mixture to sit for at least 1 hour (or overnight, in the fridge). Stir the mixture once more, and serve.

This chia pudding will be best within 4-5 days. Keep it in the fridge.

Yogurt Chia Parfaits

I am not giving exact portions here because you can layer these as you like. If you want more fruit, use more. If you like more chia pudding, use more. etc. etc. I like to use plain yogurt because there is already some natural sweetness in the fruit, and both the granola and the chia pudding have a little sweetener in them. 

  • Seasonal fruit-I used a mix of fresh, quartered figs and cubed watermelon
  • Plain low fat Greek yogurt- I like this brand lately
  • Matcha green tea chia pudding
  • Granola and/or homemade crunchy buckwheat groats cereal

Layer all ingredients into jars (I just use old jam jars). Begin with a layer of fruit, a few spoons of yogurt, a few spoons of chia pudding, and a layer of granola or buckwheat groats cereal. Repeat. I usually can only fit two layers into my jars.

I like to make these a day or even two days ahead. If they sit for longer, the granola may get soggy. A great on-the-go breakfast or snack!

Drink Up! Green Smoothie

2 Jul

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Well I finally gave green smoothies a whirl at home, and…they’re great!

I first started adding just a small handful of baby spinach into a smoothie, but now I’ve expanded to kale and purslane.

A few weeks ago, I got a deal at the farmer’s market: two huge bundles of greens for $5. I bought collards and kale. I cooked the collards, and used some of the kale for salads.  I washed, de-stemmed and tore the remaining kale leaves into pieces and stuck them in a ziplock bag in my freezer (my friend Brianna gave me that genius tip!). Now I have a cold green leafy veggie in my freezer for when the smoothie pangs hit (I would imagine that frozen kale is easy to toss into a soup or pasta recipe, too).

Having frozen smoothie ingredients on hand  (i.e. chopped kale, chopped banana, frozen fruit) is key to keeping things cold. Sometimes I add ice at the very end to get the smoothie extra cold, but it is not always necessary.

If you are wary of the greens, don’t worry because you can’t taste them, especially if you use strong fruits like banana or mango and a nut butter like peanut or almond. The greens just make the smoothie turn, well, green.

Tip: blend the greens with the liquid first. Get it really nice and blended before adding in the remaining fruits and accouterment. This helps decrease the leafiness of the greens. I just use a regular blender.

A half portion of this smoothie fills me up in the morning when I drink it with coffee. I also make the full serving for a light lunch before a workout. Experiment with different greens and fruits and add-ins like chia seeds. Have fun, stay cool, and drink up!

Drink Up! Green Smoothie

Makes 1 large portion, or 2 small snack-size portions

1 cup of greens (I used 3/4 cup frozen kale and 1/4 cup fresh purslane)

1 cup liquid (I used 3/4 cup low-fat milk and 1/4 cup Greek yogurt)

1 heaping cup of fruit (I used about 1 cup frozen banana pieces and 1 poached fig)

1 heaping tablespoon nut/seed butter (I used peanut butter, but almond butter is great in smoothies, too)

optional: Ice

optional: a sprinkle of chia seeds (I didn’t use any in this smoothie because purslane is high in omega-3 fatty acids)

Blend the greens and the liquid in the blender. Get it nice and blended, may take 1-2 minutes. Next, add in the fruit and the nut/seed butter and the chia seeds (if using). Blend again to incorporate. If you want the smoothie extra cold, add in a few ice cubes and blend again. You can top the smoothie with extra chia seeds if you like.

 NOTE: The full recipe, if you use nut butter, could add up to 350-400 calories, making this smoothie more of a mini meal than a snack. 

Fall is Coming: Pumpkin Farina

7 Sep

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I forget sometimes that pumpkin is a vegetable. It has such a creamy taste to it, and so often gets sweetened and used like a dessert. But low and behold, half a cup of plain pumpkin puree is low in calories (about 45 calories) and fat, and contains a hefty amount of vitamin A and potassium.

So let’s get on the vegetable-for-breakfast bandwagon and cook up some Pumpkin Farina!

Are you familiar with Farina? Some people call it Malt-O-Meal because that is one of the name brands, but it is basically the same thing as Cream of Wheat. You could definitely swap regular oats or steel cut oats (or millet, or quinoa, or couscous, or amaranth, or bulgar…) if you prefer those, I just chose to use Farina this morning.

The exciting thing about Farina is that, like regular old-fashioned oats, it only takes about 5 minutes to cook!

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Plain pumpkin puree gets swirled into the nearly cooked cereal grain. Without any seasoning, plain pumpkin puree tastes a little too…plain. To bring out the fall flavors, throw in some spices–I used cinnamon, but feel free to add nutmeg, ginger, cloves…–and a nice dash of maple syrup and vanilla extract. I also stirred in a little spoon of ground flaxseed to boost the healthy fats.

If you use a non-dairy milk, boom, vegan breakfast.

Toppings can be endless. This morning I used a dried fig sliced in half and a little sprinkle of coconut chips.

Warm milk, soft cereal grains, and smooth pumpkin make for a breakfast that tastes like dessert, but packs in a lot more nutrition.

Sayonara summer. Fall is coming.

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Pumpkin Farina

adapted from Healthy.Happy.Life

makes 2 big bowls

**NOTE: If you use a different cereal grain, check to make sure you use the correct ratio of grain to liquid. 

1 1/2 cups of water

1/2 cup milk (use a non-dairy milk to make this vegan)

1/3 cup Farina or Cream of Wheat

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp vanilla

1 Tbsp ground flaxseed

3 Tbsp maple syrup

1/3 cup canned pumpkin

additional milk for topping

garnish: dash of cinnamon, dried or fresh fruit, coconut chips

Directions:

1. Bring water and milk (2 cups total) to a boil. Add salt and farina. Constantly stir gently. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low.

2. Continue stirring until the cereal thickens. At this point you can stir in the cinnamon, flaxseed, vanilla, and maple syrup. If you desire a thinner cereal, add in additional milk.

3. When cereal has cooked into a thick consistency (like thick applesauce) turn the heat to low.

4. Stir in the pumpkin over low heat.

5. Turn off heat and spoon cereal into bowls. Add a dash of cinnamon and a splash of milk on top. Top with dried or fresh fruit and a sprinkle of coconut chips.

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