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!
While Spring may technically be just around the corner, it’s been alive in my heart for weeks. How else is one to get through slushy cold sleet and days of cloud cover without going stir crazy? I have pounced on every opportunity to lay in the sunshine, wear bright colors, and eat ripe fruit. Oh, it’s coming, folks. We’ve all summoned it.
Seasonal change invites new “clothing,” whether it kickstarts your running habit or forces you to put away the cozy scarf. This week, I was simply in the mood to change the color palette on my plate, when this salad came to mind.
As much as I love warm, roasted tahini veggies (that, yes, I have eaten 10 times), I bought some blackberries that just begged to reclaim my tahini addiction in the form of a new dressing. A splash of good balsamic vinegar enriches the flavor, and perfectly compliments the berries.
I also make a point each week at the grocery store to purchase a fruit or vegetable that I haven’t used in a while, if ever. If I have no idea how to use it, even better. This week: radishes. I didn’t do anything fancy with these bright red pearls. I shaved them thin and put them atop baby kale, along with sliced strawberries, hemp seeds, and sunflower seeds. Next time I’ll also add avocado and peas.
Yet, as-is, this combo got my taste buds ready for Spring without too readily ditching the warmth we’ve all needed for the cold. This would also make a great mock-chicken or pasta salad dressing. I hope you enjoy!
Blackberry Balsamic Dressing
1 Cup Blackberries, the more ripe the better!
2 Dates, pitted
¼ Cup Water, plus a splash
¼ Cup Olive Oil
2 tbsp Tahini
1 tsp Balsamic Vinegar
S & P, to taste
Combine all ingredients except oil in a food processor, or using an immersion blender, until well combined. Whisk in oil. Enjoy!
I don’t know about you, but when I hear the words “CHAOS” and “HOLIDAY PANDEMONIUM” on the radio, I pretty much sink into what one could call the antithesis of warm-festive-fuzzy feelings about the holidays.
Let’s be real. I and many of you work more than 40 hours per week. We love our jobs, we love our families, we love the food (!) but from time-to-time, “the holidays” sounds like one more thing we may or may not be able to love, get into, and get to well. Which totally, totally stinks.
Add to this that on so many levels food is your life! But the thought of preparing something magical to share with others in the spare hour you’ll have between work and that potluck is just overwhelming. I know. I’m telling my story, here.
At first, this totally bummed me out. I refuse to bring chips and salsa anywhere! Not when I know I could make the salsa, make the chips, goddammit. Yet in daydream land, yes, why yes I COULD make whatever I want! In this instance, though, reality calls for simplicity. And bringing my nightly meal of brown rice and kale may not exactly go over well.
For this reason, I have become the salad maven of many parties I go to. I love that making a good salad can be so easy, and yet can be so different every time. Yet for some reason people shy away from having fun with salads. They fail to realize that, with a few small rules, a salad is virtually impossible to eff up.
For salad success, I suggest you stick to these rules. Then your celebration will be ON without the headache!
1. Keep it Simple
The best salads only have 3-4 ingredients, and are topped with a stellar dressing.
2. Quality over Quantity
Splurge on good greens instead of just buying as many vegetables as possible. Then buy 2-3 additional veggies that you know you love on their own. That way, you can vary the salad, and in the worst case scenario you can use the veggies for something else. (I’m the queen of turning my leftover salad goodies into stir-fry!)
3. Supersize the Superfoods
With your delicious greens as a base, use nuts, seeds, and superfoods to amp up the nutritional value without affecting the flavor too much. In particular, I add frozen organic peas and hemp seeds to almost every salad. (Peas are SO GOOD FOR YOU.) Hemp seeds, chia, sesame, pumpkin...these are all so great, too.
4. Oldies are Goodies
That quarter cup of roasted potatoes that you just couldn’t bring yourself to eat or trash last night? The 5 lb of grapes that you found at the market but can’t fathom eating all of? These are your gems! Simple leftovers and refrigerator overages are a salad’s best friend. Don’t be afraid to use them!
5. Feature One Favorite
It can be really tempting to put all of your favorites in one salad, but I’ve found that the best salads have only one “star.” That rule can apply to an ingredient, a “protein,” a texture, or the dressing, but generally speaking you only want one ingredient that’s prominent in flavor and pizazz. Aim for balance, and you’ll always win!
6. Dress for Success
If your dressing doesn’t wow you, your salad experience won’t either. I always make my own dressing based on this very simple guideline: equal parts each of my favorite oil, vinegar, and variable, a sprinkle of salt, lots of pepper! The “variable” is my favorite condiment, sweetener, or jam at the time. Think orange juice, tahini, balsamic reduction, preserves, maple syrup, mustard, sesame oil. If you start simple, over time you’ll learn how to bedazzle it to your own liking without any loss! If making the dressing scares the pants off of you, then yes, you can buy your favorite bottled variety! No one will judge you. Just watch out for added sugars that contain no benefit… “grape juice concentrate,” for example.
To Salad Success and Happy Celebrating!
Comment below, and tell me what your favorite salad combinations are!