Chia Seed “Pudding”

Remember the …. Cha cha cha Chia!–The funky clay heads you plant seeds on its head and it grows “hair”? ¬†Same seed, but really a food!

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Magic seeds! Not really, but still amazing! ūüėČ

Chia seeds; This endurance enhancing super-food is one of my top faves. Energy and stamina booster, I so crave and need. These amazing seeds are pumped up with fiber. One ounce gives you 11 grams, as well as 4 grams of protein! Also rich in omega 3 fatty acid, not to mention manganese, phosphorus, and calcium.

You can use Chia seeds as an “egg” replacer in a lot of your baked goods…Hear that vegans?! ūüėÄ Use a 1 to 6 ratio of seed to water. Making a “gel” with it. This replaces one large egg! Very cool right?!

All you do is grind chia seeds in a coffee grinder/spice grinder.  Then measure out 1 tablespoon of chia seeds to 3 tablespoons water. Let stand until it forms a gel like consistency! The magic takes about  5 minutes.  Wah lah! 

When liquid is added to chia seeds, they swell up to 12 times it’s weight! It’s great for helping to feel full longer, to keep you hydrated, which is why they are so popular with athletes. I wish I knew about these in my long distance running days. ¬†A gel like substance actually forms around the seed! ¬†It’s like the seeds own protective bubble. This gel substance is full of nutrients.

Chia is an herb. Salvia hispanica-or-Chia; native to central and southern Mexico and Guatemala. This super food was cultivated by the Aztec in pre-Columbian times. And some historians say that the Chia plant was just as important as the maize crops were in that time period.

You can add these awesome seeds to puddings, on top of hot oatmeal, cold oatmeal, in dressings, in your smoothies, tossed in yogurt, add them to sauces for a thickener, in lemonade; the possibilities are endless. Use them in place of poppy seeds too! You can also use them in place of flaxseed meal in baked goods. I like them best in my drinks, smoothies, oatmeal, and my favorite: a refrigerated no cook “pudding” that I eat for breakfast, lunch, or snack, and sometimes dinner!

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Refrigerated overnight “pudding”. Healthy, energy packed goodness!

Chia pudding can be made a million ways! Really! Made as a dessert or healthy snack. ¬†Even when I say dessert; I still make it healthy-good-for-you-amazing! ¬†The basic recipe is below. ¬†The possibilites in what you put in it really are endless. ¬†Bananas, chopped apples, berries, any fruit really can be added. ¬†Any nuts such as chopped walnuts, toasted almonds, sunflower seeds, roasted pecans…are you getting it? ūüėÄ ¬†Even the liquid you use can vary; almond milk, coconut milk, moo milk, water even! ¬†Can you sweeten it? Yep, try honey, agave, maple syrup, cane sugar, brown sugar….whew! ¬†Oh and you can spice it up too; cinnamon, Himalayan sea salt, nutmeg…see how this can go on and on and on? ūüėČ

Okay here’s what I put in my pudding that I had for breakfast today:

Chia Pudding

1 cup of coconut milk

2 tablespoons of Chia seeds (I buy NOW foods and Nutiva brands as well as a few others. Nutiva Organic Chia Seeds, 12-Ounce Bag is what I use right now.  I am partial to anything ORGANIC! You can buy these at most health food stores.)

2 tablespoon of Organic Goji Berries

1 tablespoon of Organic Coconut Flakes

Stir and put in refrigerator overnight. ¬†I mix mine in a glass dish that has it’s own lid. ¬†Pop the lid on, put it in the refrigerator…next day take lid off, give it a stir, and enjoy! ¬†If you want to eat this for lunch, snack, dinner, you can make this about 3 hours before you want to eat it. ¬†Overnight is just easy for me. ¬†I will make a few variations at night and the next day or two I will have them ready. ¬†I wouldn’t make more than I can eat up in 2 day period. ¬†This doesn’t take long to set up; really you are waiting until it gets cold and the chia seeds soak up all the liquid goodness.

Just keep in mind 1 cup of liquid to 2 tablespoons of Chia seeds. ¬†If you want it thicker or thinner; just adjust the liquid. ¬†Try this amount and go from there. ūüėÄ

FYI: I try and buy everything organic when I can. ¬†If you see a recipe/ingredient/anything consumable-edible that I write about; if I’ve left out the “organic”, just know I try my utmost best to buy organic. ¬†Because I didn’t write it doesn’t mean it’s not. ¬†So what I am saying is, try and eat organic as much as you can. ¬†ūüėÄ

Hope you’ve this post and if you make this amazing pudding and or your variation on it; PLEASE let me know. I’d love to hear what you’ve come up with!

In Awesome Health, Koko

Cacao Nib Smoothie

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Happiness Smoothie!

I enjoy smoothies. ¬†It’s fun to experiment and also a great way to get down more nutrients in a single glass. ¬†My smoothies change with what I know I need nutrient wise and what I am doing in any given day.

Today my smoothie consisted of about 6-8 ounces of milk, one whole banana, 25 almonds, 1-2 tablespoons of raw cacao nibs, and a scoop of whey protein powder. All blended up in a high-powered blender until…well….smooth. ¬†Hehehehe ūüėČ

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FYI…..

Cacao nibs: Rich source of antioxidant flavonoids. ¬†Great for promoting cardiovascular health. ¬†It fights against toxins that we constantly face. The flavonoids in raw cacao nibs can help improve circulation and blood pressure. ¬†My favorite is it helps assist the body to repair and resist against free radicals; a toxin no one needs in their body. ¬†There are other benefits too, being a good source of manganese; which helps to oxygenate the blood and a fab source of magnesium which helps with brain power, (I so need that!). ¬†Cacao nibs are rich in sulfur and that means stronger hair and nails and awesome skin. Consuming cacao nibs helps with PMS and depression. ¬†It stimulates our endorphins boosting our mood naturally! There’s 5 grams of protein in an ounce serving, not to mention 7 grams of fiber.

Try them in smoothies, granola, cookies, just popping them into your mouth!

Are you a smoothie drinker?  Any favorites?

I’m off to bike the hills in my neighborhood. ¬†I shoot for 5 miles; that makes me happy, 8 miles I am excited, 10 exhausted, but super satisfied. ¬†We will see what I can do today. ¬†The weather is beautiful. The sun is out and sky is blue; touched with white puffy clouds. It will be a good thinking day as I ride.

Have a happy day, Koko ūüėȬ†‚ĚÄ ‚úŅ ‚ĚĀ ‚úĺ

Drink To Your Health…drink green

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Green drink…just made. Consume right away to reap all the benefits. ūüėČ

If you don’t like to eat your veggies, maybe this would be an easier way for you to get them down. ¬†I’ve never had a vegetable aversion. ¬†I was teased for being a “rabbit” as a kid, always eating something in the vegetable family. ¬†I don’t juice as in squish my veggies and get only the juice. ¬†I drink the juice and pulp together. I believe the fiber is highly essential to good health.

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(Collard, oak leaf lettuce, tomatoes, cilantro, green basil, purple basil, from garden.  Organic baby carrots and ginger from store.)

This green drink today was: two good handfuls of oak leaf lettuce, 6 cherry tomatoes, 10 baby carrots, 8 basil leaves-purple and green, 10 mint leaves, a good handful of cilantro, 4 medium size collard leaves, ginger about an inch and a half piece and add enough water to your liking.  For this amount I added about 1-2 cups of water as well as 4-5 ice cubes.  If you like it with more liquid; add more water.  I usually drink mine down about half way and add more water. I will do this one or two more times (adding water). I try and drink around 96 ounces of water a day.

The mint really makes this refreshing.  Have fun blending your veggies. My blended drinks are different a lot of the times.  I use what I gather out of my garden and what is in season.

What kinds of drinks do you drink just for the health of it?

Drink green every day.  Drink to health.  Peace, Koko

Thumbprint cookie…Koko’s variation ;)

I was inspired last night to bake this cookie from seeing an awesome bloggers post on, “Coffee and cake, an afternoon break”.

Thanks for the idea http://lillysuesbitesandbrews.com/ Check out her site when you get a chance.  Her pictures make you hungry!

My variation on this classic thumbprint cookie:

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla bourbon

1/2 cup coconut flour

2 cup flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts

any jam of your choosing

Mix butter, coconut oil, sugar; until creamy.  Add eggs, vanilla.  Add coconut flour, flour, salt. Lastly the walnuts.

I formed the cookie balls using a tablespoon.  To make the thumbprint I used the back of the tablespoon.  I put about a 1/4 teaspoon of jam in the center.

Bake at 375 for 12 minutes. I let the cookies rest for 2 minutes before taking them off the baking sheet and let them cool the rest of the way on wire rack.  Enjoy!

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Chopped walnuts. Try out different nuts.

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All mixed up. ūüėČ

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Used a measuring tablespoon and heaped it up. Makes it round automatically.

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That’s the tablespoon I used to form the balls and to “thumbprint” it.

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Jam time! I used a jam blend of pomegranate, blueberry and raspberry.

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Right out of the oven. Timed it for 2 minutes before removing off the baking pan and onto wire rack.

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Can’t wait to taste!

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Plating…photo-op! Smile ūüėÄ

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Can you say delicious?! This was a hit. Must make again.

Everyone loved this cookie. ¬†The next day they were even better, if that’s possible!

Sunday and Chai latte

It’s a beautiful day. ¬†I’ve got the day, well this moment to myself. ¬†I’m going to sip this tea and breathe. ¬†If you haven’t tried chai, please do. ¬†Spice of star anise, cloves, cardamom, black pepper, cinnamon, and to round out all the spices; ginger. ¬†It really is a delicious blend. ¬†I like to add a bit more fresh ginger finely shaved and sometimes a splash of organic half and half.

Take a moment for yourself; sip tea and breathe…and have a beautiful day. ¬†Peace, Koko

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Chai Latte

Star anise: aids in digestion

Clove: good for entire digestive tract and joint anti-inflammation. ¬†This little spice is jam-packed with nutrient dense goodness! ¬†It’s an¬†excellent source of manganese. ¬†It has omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin K, dietary fiber, and vitamin C. ¬†Also a good source of calcium and magnesium.

Cardamom: great¬†digestion issues like IBS, heartburn, and intestinal spasms. ¬†When I’m feeling under the weather I consume this spice. ¬†Great for sore throat too.

Black pepper: improves digestion in a very impressive way helping you get the most out of the foods you consume.  It has antioxidant and antibacterial benefits too.  Last but not least, a factoid; The outer layer of the peppercorn helps you slim down by stimulating the breakdown of fat cells!  Woo hoo!

Cinnamon: Reduce inflammation and has antioxidant benefits.  Manganese, calcium, and fiber can be found in this fantastic spice.  Smelling this spice can boost brain power! I do love the scent of this tea!

Ginger: Aids in tummy distress!  Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits.  If you are feeling nauseous ginger is the go-to.  Potent anti-inflammatory compounds; it really is beneficial with arthritis and joint pain.  I consume ginger daily in a drink I make and I can attest to the pain easing benefits.  From the time I was a little girl, my mom would tell me to drink fresh ginger tea for any ailment I had.  Look up more info on this amazing rhizome; the list goes on and on. Add fresh ginger shavings to everything!

Black tea: High in antioxidant benefits; good for heart health. Great for memory retention.

Change of Plans

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I was going to build another gate, however it rained. ¬†So, I made this instead…

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I can’t be a person that “schedules” anything. ¬†My days are usually predicated upon the weather or kids or animals or… Though whatever I do in my day I really try to make it count. ¬†If I plan on doing something and for some reason I can’t do it, there is always another plan that is ready to step right in its place. ¬†Perhaps tomorrow I will build another gate. ¬†Hope you all make moments count. ¬†Peace, Koko

Pumpkin Pie – Sans The Crust, With Coconut Whipped Cream….oooh la la!

Pumpkin Pie – Sans The Crust, With Coconut Whipped Cream….oooh la la!

I couldn't help sprinkle homemade granola on top! Delicious!

I couldn’t help sprinkle homemade granola on top! Delicious!

pumpkin pie-before it went in oven.

pumpkin pie-before it went in oven.

This is my ultimate favorite way to have pie. I really enjoy pumpkin pie without the crust. (Though I do admit I love the bottom crust of a pie) Just make your favorite pumpkin pie recipe, instead of pouring it into a crust, you pour equal amounts into ramekins. I’ve looked for ramekins for a long time and finally found these. They are the perfect size for any “pie”, custard, cheesecake. Yes, I’ve made all those in these ramekins. I will post on them in the future; keep an eye out! The lemon ricotta cheesecake is super delicious and easy to make. As for the coconut whipped cream…story behind that is my daughter never feels good after eating whipped cream, so to have her not go without…we make whipped cream from coconut cream. Where I come from, coconut is used a lot. So it wasn’t unusual for us to make whipped cream from it. I have come across many who have no idea what coconut whipped cream is. I assure you it is delicious and easy to make and great for those who suffer from dairy allergies or just are vegans.

Putting the can in the refrigerator will solidify the cream and it will be nicely separated cream on top milky water on the bottom.

Putting the can in the refrigerator will solidify the cream and it will be nicely separated cream on top milky water on the bottom.

Coconut cream!  (before fluffing)

Coconut cream! (before fluffing)

Coconut whipped cream
1 can of coconut cream
1/4 of powdered sugar
1 tsp of vanilla extract

refrigerate can of coconut cream for 2 hours. Scoop out the cream. (there will be thin milky liquid in can. I drink this plain or make a smoothie with it.)
Start whipping cream (I use a kitchenaid). Add vanilla extract. Add powdered sugar. whip until peaks form.

Tips: make sure you buy full fat coconut cream. I really like the Trader joes brand. Also Thai coconut is great too. Just make sure it isn’t “light”, got to have the fat-fat kind!
Must refriderate. Depending on how cold your refriderator is 1-2 hours.
Putting mixing bowl in freezer can help.
It’s the fat that helps the coconut whip up, so make sure you are not using “light” or low fat or anything other than; heavy, full fat, extra thick, etc. (Did I stress that enough?)
Can switch out sugars for different kinds; honey, truvia, etc, you will just need to adjust for sweetness.
Add cocoa for a chocolaty flavor. This one is sooooo good.
Can try different extracts. Almond is great!
Can add more powdered sugar. Depends on the consistantcy you like.
Don’t over whip or it may turn to liquid from basically heating it through the whipping action.

In my pumpkin recipe, I only put 1/3 cup of sugar in the entire recipe. ¬†Eating it for breakfast, snack, lunch; doesn’t seem so bad! ¬†ūüėČ

Let’s Make Some Tea!

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Let’s make some tea!
Making tea is really simple. There are three basic steps; Choose it; heat it; steep it! That’s all there’s to it.

Tips: 1. If you want a stronger tasting tea, don’t steep longer, just add more tea. A lot of the times steeping longer only makes for a bitter tea. (I don’t mind it, as I often forget I’m steeping.) ūüėõ

2. Temperature plays a part in the “perfect” cup of tea.

3. Some folks with really discerning tastes may notice a difference in taste depending on what their tea steeped in or what container the water boiled in. The one way I can tell is when my tea is made in anything plastic. And I for one am not crazy about that. My water is boiled in a ceramic pot. My cup is either ceramic or glass.

4. Water can have an effect on taste too. Use the best water you can get your hands on!

Factoid:
1. Tea was discovered in China! Woo hoo! Yippee! Yay for the discovery!
2. Four cups a day is recommended to reap the health benefits.
3. Americans consume over 50 billion servings of tea a year.
4. Black teas are the most popular.
5. Green, oolong, and black tea all come from the same plant. Well whatdoyaknow?!
6. Green tea is not oxidized. It closely resembles the chemical composition of the fresh tea leaf.
7. Black and Oolong tea are oxidized. Black is oxidized for about three hours; oolong gets a shorter oxidation. A natural chemical reaction happens, making for its own distinguishing flavors.
8. Tea is naturally low in caffeine; about 40 milligrams.
9. Tea bags were use to hold samples of tea way back in the day.
10. Tea is a natural antioxidant.
11. Tea contains about half the amount of caffeine than coffee.
12. Black tea helps get rid of bad breath. I find this to be true of a lot of types of teas.
13. Drinking black tea can help reduce risk of heart attacks and strokes.
14. Green tea can help raise your metabolism. Love that factoid! (I can always get help in the metabolism department.)
15. Another weight loss tea is oolong. Oh, oh, good! In China, oolong is known for its fat blasting powers, speeding up that metabolism almost at the speed of light; well not that fast, but hey give it a try, i’m sipping kamiya Papaya oolong tea right now.
16. Tea’s are great for high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart health.
17. Tea’s an immune booster; infection fighter…Bring it on!
18. Oolong means black dragon in Chinese. Roar!
19. Drinking oolong is said to increase your brains functionality, reduce tiredness, and power up focus.
20. Tea: It’s tasty!

Teavana….ahhhhhh, they had me at first sample! I can’t walk past a shop and not sample their latest tea they’re brewing that day. I can’t say what my favorite is, as I’ve really enjoyed so many types and blends. I also can’t say whether I like hot or cold. The same tea tastes different hot or cold, and sometimes, one or the other is what I like better depending on my mood. Oh and of course sweetened or unsweetened will change the flavor, and again depending on my mood, I will have it lightly sweetened with their delicious German rock sugar. If you haven’t had their tea, you really should give it a go. If you can’t find a Teavana near you, they do ship.¬† (You can also find a plathora of teas right at your nearest grocery store!)

At¬† http://www.teavana.com¬† there’s a wealth of knowledge.¬† If you are just getting started with teas, it’s a perfect way to learn and if you’re a seasoned tea connoisseur, well, there is something there for you too! Pick that tea out, heat some water up, and steep. Sip away! Enjoy!

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Iced black tea with fresh crushed mint and a sprig of mint topper ūüôā

Teavanna drinker; 10 plus years!

Fresh Garlic Marries Beautifully with Olive Oil In the Oven…

Roasted Garlic in olive oil has many uses; not just for food, but that’s for another post.

Making it, is simple.¬† Eating it, even simpler.¬† Garlic breath is a possibility, but the health benefits are well worth it.¬† I use the infused oil and the roasted garlic, in many of the dishes I make, and you will see the recipes in my future posts, but for now, I’m going to tell you how I make it…

I use a ramekin, and fill it with one to two layers of fresh garlic bulbs.¬† I then fill the dish with olive oil; enough to cover it; sometimes more if I want more infused oil.¬† I cover it with foil and set it in the oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.¬† Let cool.¬† I will sometimes leave it in the ramekin and store it in the refrigerator until I need it, or I pour the garlic and oil in a jar, again storing it in the refrigerator. That’s all there is to that.¬† It’s simple and inexpensive to make, yet adds so much to a dish.¬† I love dipping freshly baked French bread in it!¬† ImageImage