Mango Chia Pudding

mangochiapudding

I have a huge sweet tooth and am always looking for treats that don’t make me feel terrible after I eat them. Don’t get me wrong, I love to have a huge piece of cake or a whole pint of ice cream from time to time, but I can’t (well I can, but I shouldn’t) indulge in treats like that daily.  My new favorite treat is chia pudding. It is super easy, but also not too bad for ya. Really it is not bad for you at all, especially if you make smart milk and sweetener choices. I have made quite a few rounds of chia pudding, and I have found this to be the best (at least to my taste buds).

The bonus to this pudding is the benefits of the superfood, chia. Chia is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids and fiber, and they are high in antioxidants. Not to mention, chia makes you feel full, since it can absorb a ton of liquid. Trust me, chia seeds are the bomb, just google “health benefits of chia seeds,” and a ton of info will pop up, as there are many more reasons to eat chia. Chia seeds are also great in oatmeal, smoothies, and on top of a ton of foods!

Here’s how you make this delicious chia pudding.  You will need milk, chia, cinnamon, vanilla, sweetener, and a mango.

chia pudding ingredients

Combine the chia seeds and milk in a bowl.

milk chia pudding

Once combined, add cinnamon, vanilla and stevia. Stir until combined. (I sometimes stir with a fork, as it combines the chia and cinnamon a bit better into the milk.)

stevia chia pudding

Cover the milk/chia mixture and place it in the refrigerator. While your pudding is chilling, dice up mango.  Set aside in the refrigerator, until pudding is ready.  

mango

After one hour in the refrigerator, stir your pudding.  It should have already started to gel. Then, refrigerate 2-3 more hours, until the mixture has fully gelled and is pudding-like.  Stir right before eating, and top with mango. Then,  enjoy! 

mangochiapudding

You really can top this pudding with any diced fruit.  I can’t wait until summer when berries and stone fruit are in season! Oh, the delicious possibilities!

Mango Chia Pudding

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28 Days of Salads

I’ve been wanting to do some type of long-term food challenge for awhile. But, I always felt like the challenges were too extreme and that I couldn’t possibly follow through on them.

A few years ago, I even tried to go vegetarian for a month. But, due to some health issues that came to light during that period, I found that my body is incapable of being a vegetarian. I can’t handle all the fiber. My doctor actually told me to eat less fiber (he said he NEVER tells people that, especially people with IBS, but I’m special like that). But that doesn’t mean I can’t handle a salad every day. I just can’t have salads for every meal.

So, on February 1, I visited my co-op and loaded up on all sorts of veggies.

veggiesveggies2

I’ve found that the trick to actually using the great produce you buy at the store or farmer’s market is prepping it all before you put it in the refrigerator. I’ll post some of my favorite tips for preserving fresh produce soon!

Below you can see photos of all 28 salads I ate last month. I’ll be honest – my favorite ones were those that I made myself with fresh ingredients. I wasn’t always able to do that, though, so some salads are from the cafeteria at my work or from some cafes/restaurants nearby.

I only missed four days of salads, but made them up with a couple of two-a-days later in the month. The missed salads were usually due to having an unexpected meal at someone else’s home, so I didn’t have control over what was served. Well, then, by the 28th, I couldn’t eat three salads in one day, and said, “SCREW IT. Pizza salad and beer salad it is.”

28 days of salads

Which salad looks the most appetizing to you? What are your favorite salad toppings? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Emily’s First Attempt at Gluten Free Bread

frenchbread_nailed it

I recently discovered I have a gluten sensitivity. Due to this, I have started to eat gluten free. While some weeks I am very good at sticking to the GF (Gluten Free) lifestyle; other weeks I indulge in glutenous goodies. Overall though, being gluten free has not been crazy difficult for me. I worked in the natural food industry for five years, so I was able to develop quite a bit of knowledge about the GF lifestyle, which made the transition less scary.

There are a couple things I really crave. The first is delicious craft beer. I mean I am a Sconnie girl, so beer is in my blood. I have found some tasty GF craft beers, but I miss some of my local brewery favs. The other thing I crave other than glutenous craft beer is bread. Delicious, warm fresh bread. I love bread. Well, I love fresh, homemade bread–not the processed variety. While I LOVE bread and baking, I don’t normally bake my own bread. Yeast is scary to me. So, I am not sure why the first gluten free goodie I chose to make was French Bread. It was probably because I had been craving bread, and because I am overall good at baking, I figured it would all work out. It did not.

I tried a recipe from a great Gluten Free Cookbook. I won’t mention its name because of my failure, since I truly believe the reason the recipe did not work out was not due to the recipe, but operator error. HUGE OPERATOR ERROR. My first mistake was overworking the dough. Once you do that, there is no going back. After that, I tried really hard to make this bread work out…but it was too late. I wish I had pictures to show my french bread making process, or rather large mess. But, my hands were so covered in dough I would have forever wrecked my iPhone. I did eventually get the dough to be bake-able. However, bake-able does not mean it turned out. I would say rather than french bread, I made a new creation. I give you “French Bread Biscuits.” Fancy, huh?

frenchbread

I let Mr. Jack try some. Even he was not so sure about them at first, but he did end up eating some.  Whew, I passed the dog test.

jack and the french bread

Then, my boyfriend very kindly tried them. Trying to make the best of a bad baking outcome, he suggested we have Biscuits and Gravy.  This was a great idea. I mean, if you put enough delicious homemade sausage gravy on something, it’s got to taste good…and it did. So good! I made Pioneer Woman’s Sausage Gravy. I adapted the gravy by using GF All-Purpose Flour. I also don’t have seasoning salt, so I just subbed regular sea salt with a dash of cayenne pepper. It all turned out great…the gravy that is. Maybe just use Pioneer Woman’s biscuit recipe too.

sausage and gravy

Moral of the story: When you fail at baking bread, put sausage gravy on it.