I have been experimenting with chia seed chocolate pudding. I want to bring some to a friend on Valentine’s Day. There are a million recipes online so I will not bore you with another one. Okay maybe I will bore you just a little. The basic recipe is 1/3 cup whole chia seeds, 1 cup liquid, 2 tbls cocoa powder, 1 tbls sweetener, blend, cover and chill. I tend to add more chocolate and sweetener into mine. Go online and search out recipes. There are some great varieties out there. Okay now how to get a “smooth” pudding.
Tip 1: Most blogs that I looked at had a common theme: use your Vitamix (because we all have one, right?) and it takes a long time to smooth out your mixture. I tried it their way, sans Vitamix, and my pudding did not come out very smooth. There where always some chia seeds that escaped the process. So what is a person to do without the all powerful Vitamix (note frustrated sarcasm)? Solution: If you have a coffee grinder then put about 1/2 of your chia seeds in at a time and grind those suckers to a fine powder before you add them to the rest of the ingredients. You can also do this in your blender but it will take longer.
Tip 2: Use any type of milk that you want but the more fat content in the milk, the richer the taste. I have been using coconut milk. My puddings do taste like chocolate & coconut. Even though coconut milk will loose flavor in baking it does not loose it’s flavor in this recipe (of course because we are not baking).
Tip 3: It will not be a perfectly smooth pudding. I can still tell that there is a slight texture. On the other hand I am highly sensitive to textures in my foods, yes I am that person. You may be more normal then this Mad Scientist and find the texture really smooth.
I hope this helps to make your chia puddings more delightful. Cheers!
I find that making mini pies are a lot easier then making a whole pie. Unfortunately my mini pie crusts tend to break when trying to place them in the muffin tin.
This year I tried a new technique and it worked! Step 1: make and roll out your pie crust dough. Step 2: find a large round cookie cutter or jar lid.
Step 3: cut out your circles and then lay them gently into your baking cups before putting them into the muffin tin. This will help eliminate cracks in your crust.
Step 4: once you have them all rolled out and in baking cups then you can (gently) place them in the muffin pan and fill.
See how wonderful they look now!
Good luck on your mini pies. Start practicing now for the end of the year festivities. Trust me, nothing comes out at the last minute.
I know I promised this one about 2 months ago. I blame my growing kids, a husband who is great at being the family fun boss, awesome friends, and being more busy this year then usual. So here is a cozy drink to have a relaxing moment with after the holiday rush.
Get a fun cup then fill it
1/2 with hot chai ( see recipe on blog)
1/4 with heated milk of your choice
Top off with coffee or espresso
Enjoy with a cookie!
This is totally optional and not needed. For great espresso get a Moka. It is what the Italians use for home brewing; at least I know that they use it in Sicily. For frothing milk I use a 16 oz French press; just a regular one not the fancy, French press style frother that some companies put out. I fill it 1/4 – 1/2 full with heated milk and then plunge up and down until I get beautiful froth.
WARNING: if you do decided to go with my frothing method you can not send back your press if it cracks and breaks. I am living on the edge with this method and am using it in a way that is was never intended.
PS I know my ratios aren’t exactly a breve and that breves are made with half & half. So for all you fellow coffee geeks relax. Here are ratios for a more authentic breve: fill cup with half & half, pour 2 shots of chai, and 1 shot of espresso.
This a freak discovery while I was grinding my flours and making a boat load of mixes to make my holiday baking easier.
DRY PLAY SAND! But first why would anyone need a gluten free play sand recipe? Well for some of us even the touch of wheat or corn can cause an allergic reaction. That really sinks especially for the kiddos.
Here is the recipe: 1 part potato starch, 1 part brown rice flour, warm it up in the microwave (my flours where already warm because of my flour mill).
Get out spoons, measuring cups, plastic bowls and have fun. Pack it just like sand but with out the water.
The picture above is me (in the middle) with friends and my kids after the Dirty Dash. A good energy gel would have been nice! My local Dirty Dash is set up at a ski recreation area. Yes we climbed up the mountain to the first ski lift drop off and then back down the mountain. But I really hate energy gel, oh my gross, chemically formulated energy gel. If you are on a limited diet I am not sure of a product on the market that can meet all your needs. There are a few all natural products out but I haven’t tried them or asked about hidden corn. Gluten free does not mean corn free. GMO free doesn’t mean corn free either. So here is a much easier way to get that added boost, keep on track with diet, and save money ($2.50 per shot, no thank you).
Follow the link and enjoy a basic recipe and a protein recipe! http://beta.active.com/make-your-own-homemade-energy-gel
Adding figs is something you can do to add to the boost power. They have great qualities and seem to be the “thing” in some natural based energy gels. So add a few to your goop. Just be sure to get rid of the seeds if you want a smooth texture. You could also make chia gel and add that to your base mix. There is also pea protein which is a good alternative to soy. Making your own energy gel has so many possibilities and is so cheap that why would you still pay for it? Save your money and buy a really nice GU flask or 5.
Enjoy and Cheers!
So I have been on the experiment trial stage with coconut flour. Many in my personal life have raved about this flour. Many in my internet life also rave about this flour. Yet only one person told me the cons of this little flour before I started to bake with it. So before you head into the world of coconut flour let me give you some advice.
1. Coconut flour is thick! You will need extra liquid to achieve the same consistency. In my preliminary experiments for every ¼ cup of coconut flour I needed almost a ½ cup of extra liquid
2. Coconut flour is sticky. I mean even stickier then other gluten free flours. Do not add more coconut flour to counter act the stickiness. Add a starch such as tapioca and potato starch. Only lightly sprinkle about a tablespoon of your starch at a time over your dough to achieve a smooth texture.
3. Coconut flour is a powerhouse of coconut flavor. Yes, no one mentioned this to me. If you want to add more than ¼ of a cup into a recipe it will power out any other flavors. You will definitely come out with coconut doughnuts instead of plain vanilla flavored ones.
4. Maybe this should have been number 3. You only need a little bit of the flour for it to work wonders in your baking. Start with adding only ¼ of a cup and see how it goes. Think of it like arrowroot flour. You only need a little to make a big impact in your baking.
Final thoughts: I did like the texture that coconut flour brought to my baked goods. I would like to do some more experimenting with it so I can give a definite or. I would like to come up with a grain free mix using coconut flour as a texture enhancer. Also when you see any paleo diet recipes that only use coconut flour be aware that you are going to get a coconut, chocolate cake or coconut, blueberry muffins. So you better like coconut!
Oh yes, folks, this is yet another food rant and yes I know it is Misuse and not Miss Use the pun was intended. I work hard to give my kids good tasting food that actually looks and tastes like the wheat counter part. My muffins are muffins, my cakes are cakes, and my bread is bread. No exceptions what so ever. Then there are those of you who are determined to make food items so unrecognizable that you have to insert a food term that doesn’t even fit! I put down some of my top annoyances and I am sure as the year goes on this post will get longer.
Let me go back to the beginning, about 3 weeks ago, ok if am honest this post has been a long time in coming but it seems that Facebook and Pinterest are just mocking me at this point. What am I ranting about? Oh I will tell you my friends. For instance “Vegan Cheesecake” what the heck is that!?! It is vegan so there is no cheese, hence it can not be a CheeseCake. You know I am right on this. Call it something else like: Psuedo Cheesecake, Mock Cheesecake, or Fake-out Cheesecake. I prefer you take out the cheese all together. I have had a ”vegan cheesecake” and let me tell you I could totally tell that it was a fake trying to pass as the real thing. So please, just come up with a different name. How about Vegan Vanilla Lemon Cake. That sounds so much better.
Next is the whole cake issue. Pinterest is killing me here! There is a pin going around with a flourless pancake. The ingredients: 1 egg and two types of fruit. Hello! This is not a cake, it is a fruit omelet. Again with trying to pass off an odd food for a normal one. Really!
My favorite has to be cauliflower pizza crust. Look, I have had pizza in several different foodie cities including NEW YORK! They would just laugh at you. A pizza crust is dough, any type of dough, that is delicious. Mashed up cauliflower is not a dough of any kind and should never be used as a pizza crust, unless that is the only thing you can eat as a pizza crust because you are allergic to everything (I get that).
Back to the cheese. Cheese denotes milk from an animal; sheep, goat, cow. The milk needs to be heated up and then processed. Making cheese, specifically cream cheese, from nuts is not cheese. What you make is more of a nut butter spread. That is what it really is. So all you Raw Foodies stop tantalizing me with your Cream Cheese recipes. There is no cream cheese in these recipes! Just tell me that is a delicious Cashew Spread. I dig that.
What does this all boil down too? In one word: Honesty. I don’t think these people are actually trying to lie to us (
yes they are, just a little). It is that to get people to actually try this stuff a name is needed to entice them. I am Someone is more likely to try these odd foods if the name is some thing familiar. Yet the problem lies in the fact that all those people probably have someone in their lives like me who will call them out every time. So for all you fake food bloggers get with the program and call your food what it really is! Hey I will try things, I am adventurous, just don’t try to trick me in the name. Thank you that is all.