It’s not every day that I cook dinner for myself (or “cook” anything, for that matter), but one thing I will never go without is breakfast. Since the simplest things can be satisfying, I almost always prepare breakfast for myself, even if it just means I chop up some fruit.
As of late, though, the summer days have demanded more energy of me, and I’ve been eating sometimes 2 or 3 “breakfasts” before noon. Realizing this has drawn me towards more sustaining sources of energy, and this pudding is a perfect example. I start with a base of cashew cream for some protein, and use omega-rich chia seeds (also known as an excellent source of energy!) to thicken the texture.
Then it dawned on me, since I was making it so often, that perhaps I could use my favorite tea to infuse it with a new flavor. It turned out even more delicious than I suspected! I chose Lavender tea because it is known for its calming properties, perfect for the morning, but really you could use Earl Grey, Oolong, or even Chamomile.
Top the pudding with your favorite fruits and superfoods, or serve it with extra sweetener (like agave) for a dessert option. (Believe me when I say that this is a pudding of all trades. I even made a pumpkin version last Fall!)
Tell me, what is your favorite source of morning energy? List it in the comments below!
With Love and Lavender,
3 cups Raw Cashews, soaked*
2 cups Filtered Water
1/2 cup Chia Seeds
7 dates, pits removed
2 tbsp dried Lavender (food grade)
1 tbsp Lemon Juice
Fruit for Topping*
1. Soak lavender in water in a sealed container overnight. Strain.
2. Blend Lavender tea, cashews, dates and lemon juice until extra smooth. (I use a Vitamix, but if you do not have one you can use a food processor. Just eliminate half the liquid for processing, and whisk it in afterwards in a separate bowl.) Taste to see if it meets your sweetness standards. If not, add additional dates and reblend.
3. Pour mixture into a small mixing bowl, and fold in chia seeds until they are evenly distributed.
4. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes, or until thick and ready to serve.
* It is important that you use 3 cups of cashews that have already been soaked, verses soaking 3 cups of dried cashews. For your shopping list, you'll only need about 2-2.5 cups of dried cashews. For information on why and how to soak your cashews, click here.
*I serve my pudding topped with shredded coconut, more chia seeds, lemon zest and blueberries!
Below is a repost of my recent guest spot on Veggietorials.com. Veggietorials was created by the amazing Cobi Kim in Hawaii. She has a really fun Youtube Channel where she creates and shares unique and easy vegan recipes. Since I'm not a film expert, she was kind enough to let me do a video intro, paired with my traditional posting style. Check out Veggietorials.com for more from Cobi!!
What I love most about the holidays is that it’s a time ripe with the essence of both past and present. In these weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas, this remains more true than ever. I used to always wonder why and how and who thought it was a good idea to “put” two such grand holidays so close together (isn’t one enough?!), but I now know that it was a brilliant idea.
During these early December weeks, we’re all a little tired, a good bit cozy, some giddy with expectation, others antsy to call it all a day. Regardless of where you find yourself, though, the reality is that this time of year reeks of tradition while also begging for something fresh. Thankfully the New Year is just around the bend.
With this in mind, I wanted to come up with something that would embrace the past while refreshing the present. I’ve written before about how I’ve become know as the Salad Maven of many a party. I find it to be something many are scared to play with, yet to me it’s fun, inexpensive, and the hardest culinary experiment to mess up. Not to mention that amidst the heaviness of casseroles and roasts, salads are the saving grace!
So in celebration of this holiday interim, I thought it appropriate to embrace hearty and comforting ingredients, while calling on some lively current food trends. I’ve combined coconut shreds with warm quinoa to bring out the oils, creating a soft and delicate texture. The bite of Granny Smith apple perfectly compliments the sweetness, and my Zesty Sesame Vinaigrette ties it all together. Toss it with shredded Lacinato Kale, and you may just find you’ve been knocked into 2014!
Best of celebrations!
Comforting Kale Salad with Zesty Sesame Vinaigrette
1 Bunch Lacinato Kale, chopped thin
1 Cup Red Quinoa, cooked and warm
1/2 Cup Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
1 Granny Smith Apple, diced
1 Recipe Zesty Sesame Vinaigrette (Below)
Fun Options: Dried Cranberry, Walnuts, Pumpkin Seeds
Zesty Sesame Vinaigrette
1/2 Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice, strained
1/4 Cup Brown Rice Vinegar
1/8 Cup Olive Oil
1/2 Tsp Maple Syrup
1/2+1/4 Tsp Sesame Oil
1/2 Tsp Ground Ginger
Dash Salt & Pepper
Sesame Seeds, to garnish
Combine all ingredients except oils. Slowly whisk in oils.
Before quinoa has cooled completely, stir in coconut shreds. Toss with kale and apple, adding the dressing last. Once everything is sufficiently dressed, finish with sesame seeds. Add additional options if you wish.
Sometimes when life gives me lemons, I opt to make pumpkin pudding instead. Especially on days like today, when I’ve been in solitary confinement in my apartment, determined to not get any sicker than I already am. I’ve been cranky. Whiney. I don’t wanna! I do wanna! Not feeling well brings out all of my rebellion. I fight back real hard, ya’ll. Like I said- by making pudding! I know you’re shaking in your boots as I type.
I was gifted some lemons and ginger yesterday when it dawned on me that getting into real-people clothes and driving myself to the store simply was not an option. I’ve boiled the water for tea 3 times now, which means I’ve washed my tiny perfect pot 3 times as well. Alternating between boiling the water and using it to reheat my lentil-sweet-potato concoction is getting old. 3 times, folks. I’m not talking about a dishwashing spree, but I am talking about mindless and rote kitchen action.
All of that is to say that by noon today, I had to make something with a little more love behind it. I wanted something sweet but energizing. Compound that with the fact that I’ve had this recipe in my arsenal since before it was in its holiday seasonal prime, and voilah! What better time than cooped-up now?!
This recipe also embodies my mood in some other subtly rebellious ways. See, I’m one of those people who doesn’t want pumpkin in my pie or in my latte. I don’t hate pumpkin, and I never crave it. So this year I bought a can of it just to see if I could change my own mind. Additionally, I don’t want my protein in smoothie form. I love the taste of smoothies, but I can never quite figure out when is the right time to drink them such that they won’t hurt my stomach. Combine these seemingly dissonant factoids, and I think I’ve created the perfect alternative for weirdos like me: Pumpkin Protein Pudding!!
Since I’m not feeling so stellar, I was grateful to know this would be super easy. I’ve made many versions of this before and strongly encourage you to play around! For this version, I didn’t have any fresh “milk” on hand, so I made a quick hemp milk as the starter. Combine the rest of the ingredients, and you’re on your way to energy and protein-packed pumpkin goodness. Top it with your favorite nuts and seeds or dried fruit, and it makes the best fall breakfast. For a dessert version, amp up the maple syrup drizzle or add more to the batch, and top with shredded coconut or cacao.
In post-pudding glee,
Pumpkin Protein Pudding
1 Cup Water
½ Cup Organic Pumpkin (cooked or canned)
⅓ Cup Chia Seeds
¼ Cup Hemp Seeds*
1 Tbsp Coconut Butter
1 Tsp Maple Syrup, plus more to drizzle
½ Tsp Vanilla Extract
½ Tsp Pumpkin Spice
1. Using a high-speed or immersion blender, combine water and hemp seeds. Add pumpkin, coconut butter, maple syrup, vanilla and pumpkin spice. Blend until smooth.
2. Pour mixture into bowl and slowly stir in chia seeds.
3. Refrigerate until thick, about 15 minutes.
* 1 cup of any non-dairy milk can be used in place of water and hemp seeds. If mixture is too thick, add more non-dairy milk. If it doesn’t thicken to your likening, add more chia seeds 1 tbsp at a time.