Chia Seed what??? Pudding!

Chia pudding topped with raspberries, gluten free pancakes and a baked peach

Chia pudding topped with raspberries, gluten free pancakes and a baked peach

I know this recipe can be found all over the Interworld but it’s new to me. I came across this recipe when I saw someone on Instagram post that they were making this. I quickly went to Pinterest to find it, cause that’s where you go to find any recipe after all. Pinterest is my Google for recipes, all recipes.  Once I found this I created my shopping list and picked up my ingredients on my next shopping trip.

I measured out my chia seeds, poured them in the bowl and then added an entire can of light coconut milk and some vanilla. After mixing it all up with a whisk I placed it in the fridge for 2 hours to set. Once it had set I added some honey to it just to give it a little sweetness, spooned some pudding into a nice little bowl, added some raspberries on top and voilà! I have come to love, love, love this recipe for many reasons: 1. it is just the easiest thing in the world to make, 2. it tastes great, 3. it’s absolutely healthy for you! and 4. You can jazz it up any way you like.

Here’s a little bit of info about chia seeds and their health benefits:

They increase your energy.They’re high in protein, fiber (1 oz has 11 grams, a third of your RD amount), calcium, antioxidants, and omega-3s.
They can aid in slowing digestion and help prevent blood sugar spikes.
Helps to lower cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar.
Contains calcium, magnesium, manganese, iron, phosphorous, folic acid
High in Omega-3, important for brain health.
Helps you maintain healthy bones and teeth, which translates to fewer Dr. visits!
Contains tryptophan, which helps to regulate appetite, sleep and improve mood.

Here’s the recipe if you’d like to give these awesome little seeds a try! They’re great for all ages, young and old alike! The above photo includes gluten free 2-ingredient pancakes, more on that in another post.

Easy Chia Seed Pudding

Ingredients
1 cup or can of light of full coconut milk
1/4 of chia seeds
1 teaspoon of vanilla
honey to taste (after it’s set, optional)
toppings (fruit, nuts, coconut milk whipped cream)

A New Year, A New Chocolate Cake

Julia's Reine de Saba Chocolate Almond Cake

Julia’s Reine de Saba Chocolate Almond Cake

There’s nothing like a Jewish New Year to get you in the mood for resolutions and trying new things. Last week was the Jewish New Year and among other resolutions I committed to trying new recipes and especially the one’s that scared me just a little. I made an apple pie for Rosh Hashana dinner, that post will come later. My friend Molly was having a few people over to celebrate her new house that she and her husband just bought.

Immediately after being invited I knew I wanted to make something to bring for everyone. I originally wanted to make these quinoa chocolate drops being that they were on the healthier side but since I really wanted a challenge, and given that I had just rewatched “Julie and Julia” again I decided to tackle Julia Child’s Reine de Saba! This was perfect, it was sweet which in Jewish tradition you bring something sweet for an occasion like this, and it was a Julia recipe I had on my list of recipes to make. I wanted to bring something I made and put effort and love into.

I began with the cake, and found the recipe on Pinterest which went to the full recipe here. I followed the full recipe which was a little bit of a process but fun. While making the batter and adding the butter and the cake flour I just sort of got lost in all of it really enjoyed the whole experience. I buttered my cake pan and poured the batter in and put it in the oven to bake. When it came out I was a little surprised at how thin it was, but I let it cool and went off to do something else. Later that night I decided to make a second cake and have a two layer cake. The second cake took much less time since I already knew what I was doing and somewhere during the making of that second cake I realized, ‘Hey, this isn’t so hard, it’s actually pretty enjoyable and relaxing.”

The next day I made the frosting which turned out to be amazing, who doesn’t love chocolate and butter and Rum? Well, as you can see the final result above the cake turned out amazing and everyone loved it! This recipe is definitely a keeper and one to be made again. It was absolutely sababa!

A new year has begun. A new challenge conquered! As Julia said, “No one is born a great cook, one learns by doing.” I will continue to learn and do and challenge myself with the recipes I make. I want each and every recipe I cook to be filled with as much love and heart as I put in to that incredible cake.

Bon Appetit!

A Day We Will Never Forget

NYC

NYC #neverforget

I can still remember hearing on the radio as I was getting ready for school, the disbelief of what was happening…I was 17 years old, a Senior in high school and that morning is a morning I will never forget. I quickly turned on the news and there it was, a plane had flown in to a building, the World Trade Center Tower, and then as I kept watching a second plane…I was in shock, I couldn’t believe what had happened either. That day was somewhat of a blur, many teachers let us watch the news in class that day, no one could turn away. I remember in the days that followed that teams of firefighters and policeman and anyone that could help, they were organizing caravans to go out and help in whatever way they could.

As time passed and stories unfolded I can remember hearing stories of kindness, of people helping each other, waiting for help to come, and the overwhelming support for the servicemen and women and volunteers helping to clear the debris and find survivors. The tapes of final phone calls from United 93 coming out with messages to the passengers loved ones. I remember all of that, the stories of love and kindness and support. As long as we remember and continue to pass on the story of what happened and then the love that followed, we will never forget and always remember. That would be sababa.

In the mood for Mexican Sweet Potatoes

While I was at work thinking of things I could make for dinner that have that extra kick because I’m in the mood for Mexican food, I came across this interesting recipe from Back on Pointe for these Healthy Mexican Sweet Potato Skins and I thought, ‘Perfect!’ I just so happen to have a sweet potato at home just waiting to be made in to something delicious. Sababa! This recipe was it! After taking a look at the ingredients on the way home I decided to omit the sour cream (yuck) and the cream cheese (don’t need the extra calories and headed to the grocery to pick up the shredded cheese and some yellow corn on sale.

Now, how great is this recipe? You can satisfy your Mexican craving and eat healthy all in the same meal! Now back to the sweet potato, so I came home with my low fat shredded cheese and my corn and put my apron on so to speak. Being that I got home close to 7 I wasn’t going to bake the sweet potato so I nuked it for a few minutes, probably 8-10 after poking it with a fork a few times to cook. I shucked the corn, that word looks weird…shucked. Anyway, did that and then roasted the corn over medium-heavy heat without any butter or oil until it browned nicely. Next, I sauteed the onions, added them to a bowl with my black beans. Then I removed the potatoes from the microwave and after letting them cool I scraped out the middle so it left only the skin in a nice little boat. Instead of mixing it with the sour cream and cream cheese I just added it to the bowl with the bean and onions and added in the corn mixing them altogether. I added in some salt, cumin and a little pepper just to taste and then put the mixture back in to my potato skin, topped it with cheese, cilantro and some quickly whipped up guacamole and Bon Appetit!

Here’s the ingredients and instructions: (recipe adapted from Back on Pointe)

Ingredients
  • 3 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1 can corn, rinsed and patted dry
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2-4 canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced or pureed
  • 1 ounce light cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup light sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon salt (+ more to taste)
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 6 tablespoons shredded cheese (Pepperjack, Cheddar, Colby Jack… anything will work)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake the sweet potatoes for 45-60 minutes.
  2. While sweet potatoes are baking, place corn in a heavy cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat with no butter or oil. Sprinkle with salt and other Mexican seasoning (as much as you want). Do not stir! Let corn roast for several minutes before stirring. Let it roast for a few more minutes before stirring again. Continue this for about 10 minutes, until corn is browned and roasted on the outside. Set aside in a small bowl with the black beans.
  3. Saute the onion in the butter over medium heat until soft and translucent. Set aside.
  4. Remove sweet potatoes from the oven when fork-tender. Let cool for 5-10 minutes. Cut the sweet potatoes in half. Scrape the flesh of the sweet potatoes out, leaving the skins intact. Sometimes leaving a thin layer of potato inside of the skins helps them hold together better.
  5. Mix the flesh of the sweet potatoes with the cream cheese, sour cream, chipotle peppers, and salt. You can use a mixer or just a spoon, depending on how soft the potatoes are. When well-mixed, gently stir in the black beans, roasted corn, sauteed onions, and cilantro.
  6. Scoop the filling into the skins and top each with 1 tablespoon shredded cheese. Broil for about 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.
Notes

The filling is delicious all by itself!

One serving size is 1 potato skin.

Healthy Mexican Sweet Potato

Healthy Mexican Sweet Potato

Early Morning Runners

I picked up running again this year. I started running back in 2011 but  a few weeks in came down with runner’s knee, which is a painful inflammation in your knees that makes you stop running. I let me knees heal and would start running a little at a time and then stop running because I just wasn’t in to it or it was hot as it tends to get in the summer. But I really committed to trying running again this summer and am absolutely determined. It’s a good form of exercise, I can do it without a gym or equipment and I can take Rex with me again.

So here we are towards the end of July and I have made it to the 1.5 mile mark. It might not be considered great to triathletes or extreme runners but it’s an accomplishment for me. I’m not measuring myself by other people’s standards, I’m running for myself and only myself. I run because I feel great afterwards! I run because it lets me clear my mind of all the garbage that went on the day before or the week before. I run to feel the wind, to smell the air and to feel the ground beneath my feet. I run and I feel exhilarated and free and I’m not bound by any ridiculous rules or procedures or machines.

Running has become a part of my life, even if I can only run a mile and half at a time right now. And let’s not forget Rex, he’s a trouper and loves our early morning runs! He sees me putting on my Bikilas by Vibram and knows, he knows that I’m getting ready for a run or a walk and that he’s going with me. He’s so smart sometimes it’s crazy!

I take it one half mile at a time with my iSmoothRun app. I love that it tells me when I hit another half mile or that I should hydrate! I put in my headphones, tune out the world and with Rex by side we hit the open road in the early morning hours and it’s just the two of us.

Running feet

Running feet

Rex on the road

Rex on the road

Training with Rex

So, it’s July and I’ve been in a dog obedience training class with my dog Rex for a little while, well, only since April. Tonight we went to class, even though it’s now getting to be disgustingly hot. We braved class and Rex did really well tonight. He’s not perfect but he’s getting better and it’s nice for the instructor to praise us for our hard work, and yes I too have to work. Dog training is as much of a people training class as it is a dog training class. He knows his place cot and his heeling is getting better, but that’s definitely something to keep working on. I try and work on it whenever we go for a run and practice a little before we go out each day.

Sometimes I feel like when I take him to class and it’s just me and him that life is pretty good. I can forget about the crappy day, or week, or month at work I’ve had and just enjoy being with him and having fun. We’ve started a tradition where we go for frozen yogurt after class, he loves fro yo! It’s so adorably cute to watch him just totally dive right in and lick all the yogurt out of the cup. We’ll see if he continues to improve, but either way fro yo ends the night.

Rex

Rex

A Cuppa Yummy Protein Bars

So I’ve been focusing on having a healthier mindset this summer, something about running and knowing what I’m putting in my body makes me feel better. When doing any kind of exercise it’s important to always stay hydrated and to put the right amount of energy, or calories, into your body to stay energized. I was searching Pinterest for a protein bar recipe and found this super easy recipe that I now like to call the ‘Cuppa Yummy Protein Bars.’ Why do I call it that you ask? Because all you need is a cup of this, and a cup of that. See? Easy peasy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup almonds (walnuts etc. based on preference)
  • 1 cup whole pitted dates
  • 1 cup dried cherry flavored cranberries
  • 1 cup dried unsweetened shredded coconut

Instructions:

1.  In a food processor add, all ingredients and process until they form a dough-ish consistency. You’ll know it when you see it. Keep processing until you see clumps form. Process another minute or two until it forms one big dough ball.

2. Take out all of the dough and place on a baking sheet that is covered with parchment paper or saran wrap. Flatten out the ball of dough until it’s about 1/4 inch thick in the form of a square, for easy cutting purposes.

3. Cover with saran wrap and chill in the refridgerator for at least an hour or overnight if you prefer. I left mine in for a little over an hour and they were perfect.

4. Remove from fridge and cut it to bars. Wrap with wax paper or saran wrap and place in zip lock bags to maintain freshness. You can store the bars in the fridge for a few weeks or in the freezer for longer.

protein bar ingredients

protein bar ingredients

protein bars

protein bars

 

On a side note, feel free to add whichever nuts or dried fruits you want, just make sure they’re all even amounts. Bon Appetit!