chia seed pudding.

Well, my month of March – which I hoped would cut back my white flours and white sugars – became the month of no time to be in the kitchen, let alone be creative with my grains and sweeteners. Whoops. Instead it was filled with a whole lot of visiting family, visiting friends, and baby holding. I’m not complaining. I seriously can’t get enough of being the auntie next door to this little one:

As a last ditch effort, I made a little creation that I see all over blogs. It almost became one of those “pinterest fails,” but luckily I salvaged it. I have enjoyed this wonderful alternative to pudding, but I recognize it is not for everyone (cough, my husband, cough). It has a tapioca-like texture, which some people don’t like (I happen to love it). Also, you need to remember that it is an alternative, not pudding itself. Don’t expect a Snack-Pak pudding cup here, but do expect a versatile and healthy sweet treat.

Chia seeds are the “thing” right now (apparently they were the “it” food in 2013). They are an excellent source of fiber, omega-3s, proteins, and a variety of minerals. There is a whole lot packed into that tiny seed, as well as a ton of uses for them! It is definitely worth looking up some creative options and trying to use them in a variety of dishes.

One reason they are easy to use is because they become gelatinous when combined with liquid. They can also absorb up to 10 times their weight in liquid. So, combine enough liquid with enough seeds, add a little flavor, and you’ve got pudding!

I followed some simple steps in putting this together, but the mixture reached a point where I thought, “Crap! I’ve been duped. This isn’t pudding at all!” The seeds clumped up, they didn’t absorb the liquid well, and I was left with a sloppy mess. The quick fix: blender, duh! Once I blended the mixture and gave it a little more to sit, it turned out just how I thought it would. Hopefully my blender-blunder will lead to others’ success!

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Chia Seed Pudding

Ingredients:
3 T chia seeds
2 cups milk (any milk variety would be great! I might try almond milk next time!)
1-2 T honey (or sweetener of choice)
2 t cinnamon
2 t vanilla

Topping options:
Cinnamon
Fresh fruit – blueberries, strawberries, mango, banana
Granola
Dried fruit
Any other options you can imagine!

1. Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl.
2. Pulse a few times in a blender.
3. Let sit for 4-5 hours or overnight.

Enjoy!
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almond flour cookies.

One of my goals for the month of March is to rule out white flours and white sugars from my diet. I don’t know if I will make it the whole month, considering we have lots of guests in and out of town this month, baby showers to go home to, and other special occasions. However, it is a goal to aim towards. This recipe is one way I can reach that goal and not sacrifice my sweet tooth!

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Now that I’ve made almond milk and almond flour, I’m ready for some cookies to enjoy with a glass of my almond milk, of course!

I totally love this blog – Minimalist Baker. It is full of simple, clean, and creative recipes – right up my alley! One of the first recipes I used from them was this almond cookie recipe. It is the perfect size for the flour I get after making milk, it is clean, and it is a guilt-free sweet treat.

Almond Chocolate-Chip Cookies
Ingredients:
1 1/4 cups almond flour
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup agave nectar
1 egg
3 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. In a large mixing bowl, stir together almond flour, dark chocolate chips, coconut, baking powder, and salt.
2. In a separate bowl, beat egg until uniform in color and doubled in volume.
3. Whisk in the coconut oil, agave nectar, and vanilla, then add to dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
4. Chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or even overnight.
5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
6. Shape dough into 1-inch balls, place on baking sheet with 1-1/2 inch space in between each. Press down slightly to flatten a bit.
7. Bake until edges begin to brown, 7-10 minutes.
8. Remove from oven and let cool before serving.

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Enjoy!

Adapted from: http://minimalistbaker.com/almond-meal-cookies-with-chocolate-chips-and-coconut/

almond flour.

After making my delicious almond milk, I’m always left with this pulp. It would be too easy to just toss out, so you need to get a little creative in how you use it. There are plenty of recipes that you can find that call for almond pulp (not doing anything with it after you’ve made your milk), however, for more versatility, I prefer to turn it into almond flour. This works as a good substitute for wheat flours (with some adjustments), and can be worked into more recipes.

To turn your pulp into flour, you just need an oven, some time, and a grinding machine! (I use my coffee grinder.)

Set your oven to its lowest setting (mine is 170 degrees). Spread out your pulp on a pan and let it dehydrate in the oven for 3-4 hours. Every 45 minutes or so move it around with a spatula and check for dryness. You will definitely be able to feel once it is dry.

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When it is fully dehydrated, pull out your coffee grinder. In 2-3 batches, grind up your dehydrated pulp until it is a soft flour. It will have a silky texture and a fine consistency.

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Make sure to store in an airtight container!

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Note: This doesn’t make a great amount of flour – maybe about 1 1/4 cups – but it is a resourceful and healthy alternative to your wheat flours. And it just so happens that it is the perfect amount needed for this recipe.