Healthy Lifestyle Blog

June 27, 2010

ChiChi’s Chocolate Chia Pudding

Last week I wrote about the history and benefits of chia seeds in the post, Chia Seeds: Natures Powerhouse. Today I have a recipe for a delicious chocolate chia seed dessert. ChiChi is a nickname that I friends called me when I was in high school, and to this day a dear friend still calls me ChiChi. Hence, the name of the recipe. (I guess you can tell I like alliteration – just couldn’t think of a good alternative for the word “pudding.”)

ChiChi’s Chocolate Chia Pudding

Ingredients:

3 cups nut milk* (see recipe below)
2-3 Tbs. raw cacao
3-5 Tbs. raw honey, maple syrup or agave
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
Pinch salt
1/4 cup chia seeds
1 cup goji berries (optional)

Equipment:
blender, large mixing bowl, whisk

  1. Place all the ingredients EXCEPT the chia seeds and (optional) goji berries in the blender and blend until thoroughly mixed.
  2. Pour the mixture into a large bowl.
  3. SLOWLY add the chia seeds, stirring constantly with a whisk until all the seeds are coated in the milk mixture. Wait a few minutes and add (optional) goji berries. All to sit for 20-30 minutes at room temperature. The pudding will thicken.
  4. Chill in the refrigerator for several hours before serving. I prefer to leave the pudding overnight, as it continues to thicken and the berries soften and get nicely plump.

Nut Milk

Ingredients:

1 cup almonds or Brazil nuts
3-6 cups water (depending on desired creaminess – I use about 3-4 cups for the pudding)
1-2 dates or other sweetener (optional)

Equipment:
blender, large mixing bowl, nut milk bag or fine strainer

  1. Place nuts and water in the blender.
  2. Blend until the nuts are completely ground.
  3. Pour the mixture through a nut milk bag or very fine strainer over a large bowl.
  4. Gently squeeze the nut milk bag to express all the liquid. If using a strainer, keep stirring the mixture so the liquid drains out, removing excess pulp as you go.
  5. If adding sweetener, pour the milk back into the blender and add the dates or other sweetener. Blend again until dates are fully incorporated into the milk.
  6. Stored in a sealed glass container in the refrigerator, nut milk will keep for 2-3 days.

* * *

Marilyn Chiarello, founder of A Taste of Light, is a certified raw vegan chef,educator and health coach.She offers a variety of services including health coaching, classes, dinner parties, consultations and presentations. For more information, visit aTasteofLight.com or contact her directly – Marilyn@aTasteofLight.com or 516-671-7037.

 

If you would like to receive future articles about health and the environment, along with recipes, event updates and more, please visit http://atasteoflight.com/. The sign-up box is in the right sidebar.

 


Filed under: Health,Nutrition,Raw Food,Recipes,Vegan — Marilyn @ 3:11 pm

June 22, 2010

Basil Pesto, Vegan Style

I love basil. I remember as a child there was always basilico (Italian for basil) growing in our backyard, and I loved picking leaves for my mother to use in tomato sauce. The smell of fresh basil reminds me of those days.

If you are growing basil and want to harvest from the same plant throughout the summer, keep pinching off the flowers so the plant doesn’t go to seed. Also, be sure to pick the leaves before they get too large – they are much more tender when they are smaller. At the local farm, basil is pulled root and all and bundled that way. When I take it home, I place it in a vase with water and place the vase of basil in the refrigerator. It keeps fresh for several days that way. Cut basil (without roots) may be stored in the refrigerator wrapped in a slightly damp paper towel.

Basil has many health benefits, and its most abundant nutrients are similar to many other leafy greens – very high in Vitamin K, and moderately high in iron, calcium, vitamin A, manganese, magnesium, vitamin C and potassium. There is also a wide array of additional nutrients that are not often cited, and are seldom (if ever) present in processed foods even when “enriched.” It seems that no matter how much we strip nature’s bounty of its nutrients, we can’t seem to put them all back in. So why not eat the food straight from the source?

Research has shown unique health-protection properties of basil due to its flavonoids and volatile oils. The flavonoids in basil offer protection at the cellular level, protecting our cell structures and chromosomes from radiation and oxygen-based damage. Basil also has anti-bacterial properties due to its volatile oils. One component of basil’s volatile oils, eugenol, is being studied extensively because of its anti-inflammatory effects. Got arthritis? Eat basil!

To retain all the nutritional value in basil, it is best eaten raw. If you do add it to a cooked dish, then it is best to add at the very end so it will retain its maximum essence and flavor.

Here is a recipe for a vegan basil pesto that I adapted from a recipe I found in The Raw Revolution Diet, by Cherie Soria.

1/2 cup chopped zucchini
1 cup fresh basil leaves, firmly packed
1 Tbs. flax seed oil (or extra virgin olive oil)
1 1/2 teaspoons nutritional yeast flakes
1 1/2 teaspoons light miso
1-2 cloves garlic
pinch of salt
1/4 cup walnuts

  1. Place the garlic in a food processor fitted with the S blade and process until finely ground, scraping down the sides.
  2. Add chopped zucchini and process until smooth.
  3. Add basil, oil, miso, nutritional yeast flakes, salt and pulse a few times to coarsely chop the basil.
  4. Add the walnuts and process until the desired consistency is achieved.

This pesto is delicious over spiralized zucchini pasta, as a filling for a rollup, in raw lasagna, or layered with fresh heirloom tomatoes over a bed of lettuce.

Enjoy!

* * *

Marilyn Chiarello, founder of A Taste of Light, is a certified raw vegan chef, educator and health coach. She offers a variety of services including health coaching, classes, dinner parties, consultations and presentations. For more information, visit aTasteofLight.com or contact her directly – Marilyn@aTasteofLight.com or 516-671-7037.

If you would like to receive future articles about health and the environment, along with recipes, event updates and more, please visit http://atasteoflight.com/. The sign-up box is in the right sidebar.


Filed under: Nutrition,Raw Food,Recipes,Vegan — admin @ 12:35 pm

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