Just One More Excuse To Eat Chocolate

Just One More Excuse To Eat Chocolate

Yesterday on my Starting From Soil Instagram I promised everyone my chocolate chia seed pudding recipe, so here it is! By the way if you are not following me on Insta yet you should be 😉 I love Chia seeds in general because of their cost efficiency. A small amount goes a long way and the shelf life is 4-5 years, plus, they are so versatile! You can throw them right into smoothies and jams, toss them in when making energy bars or cookies for added protein, and can be used as an egg replacement— along with flax— when baking. But one thing I would like to advise is, if you consume chia seeds unsoaked make sure to drink plenty of water. Chia seeds can absorb 10-12x their weight and can absorb that water from you during the digestion period. But I think it is safe to say we all probably need to drink a little more water anyway! But don’t let that turn you off, these seeds are a modern day super food! Chia seeds are derived from the Salvia Hispanica plant native to South America. They might be little, but are packed with antioxidants and loaded with fiber, protein, healthy fats (Omega 3), that is just to name a few of their benefits.

I have fallen in love with chia pudding lately because of all the fun preparations. You can dress it up with fruit and granola and eat it for breakfast or drizzle it with chocolate and enjoy it for dessert!

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons of chia seeds
  • 2 teaspoons raw cocao powder
  • 4 heaping teaspoons of unsweetened shredded coconut
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • Dash of sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon of maple syrup (if you like it sweet double this)
  • 2 heaping teaspoons of almond butter
  • 1 1/4 non dairy milk

Instructions

  1. Mix all ingredients up very well
  2. Refrigerate over night
  3. Enjoy! Don’t be scared to jazz this pudding up to your liking! I love adding bananas, strawberries and blueberries to it with more coconut flakes. I also love drizzling extra almond butter or maple syrup over the top!

This recipe fills up a 12 oz jar. It is enough for 2 breakfasts for me if I top it will fruit!

Just One More Excuse To Eat Chocolate

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The Best Grain Free Granola

Grain Free Granola
Grain Free Granola

You guys have to try this granola!  I’ve made it a couple times now and it is my new go to. This recipe is completely grain-free and made mostly with nuts, seeds and some coconut! It is sweet, salty with the right amount of crunch that is perfect to add fresh berries to for breakfast or to yogurt for an afternoon snack. Now, this particular recipe is made with honey but can be made vegan with one ingredient swap, maple syrup.  Also, this recipe is Paleo as is.  It’s also a great way to use some of that almond meal we made last week! Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. First, add all your dry ingredients to a bowl, followed by your wet ingredients, then, mix well. Spread onto a cookie sheet.  I lined mine with parchment paper which makes it easier for transferring into a jar later on. cook for  28-32 mins depending on how dark or toasty you like it! let sit and cook for a couple of minutes before transferring into an airtight jar. Makes about 6 cups.

Ingredients (Organic perferred)

  • 1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut chips
  • 1 cup unsalted sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1/4 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup of honey or maple syrup

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees
  2. Add all dry ingredients to bowl
  3. Stir in wet ingredients and mix well
  4. Spread mixture on parchment paper lined cookie sheet
  5. Bake for 28-32 minutes depending on how toasted you like your granola
  6. Let cool for at least 5 minutes
  7. Add in raisins, dried cranberries, or goji berries (optional)
  8. Mix if you added dried fruit
  9. add to airtight container and enjoy

How To Use Your Left Over Almond Pulp

On Monday we made the most delicious almond milk but had all that leftover pulp.  So, let’s use it! Optimizing your food fights waste and gives you the most bang for your buck. Hopefully your pulp drained any leftover liquid because we are going to dry it out to make almond meal! This literally takes zero effort but it does take some time so I would plan to do this when you know you will be home for a bit. Once your almond meal is dried, it will last up to 9 months. The left over pulp should make about 1 cup of almond meal. Store this in a larger airtight container this way you have room to add to it as you continue to make your milk. Almond meal is very versatile and can be used as breading, for pancakes, or baking and is gluten free and paleo.

 

All you need to do is set your oven at the lowest temperature, spread your pulp out on a cookie sheet and pop it in the oven. The lowest my oven goes is 170, at this temperature it takes about 3 hours to dry out the almond pulp. I usually mix it up half way through then forget about it again but that is not a mandatory step in the drying process. Once your pulp is all dry, transfer to a food processor or blender and run on low for about 15 seconds just to break up and larger clumps. Lastly, store it away until you are all ready to use for something delicious!

How to make Almond meal from your left over pulp
How to make Almond meal from your left over pulp

Ingredients

•1 cup almond pulp

Instructions

  1. Set oven to lowest temperature
  2. Spread almond pulp onto cookie sheet
  3. Bake for 3 hours
  4. Once pulp has dried, blend for 15 seconds to break up bigger chunks
  5. Transfer to airtight container

Spice Up Your Life!

I am always looking for new ways to be environmentally friendly, produce less waste, and save money, In doing so, I am always making new discovieries but my most recent, bulk spices!  Why has it taken me so long to discover this? This is such a simple money saver! The average cost of organic spices is around $3.99 a jar. Just the past two weeks when my spices ran out I have been washing, and saving my jars for grocery day. The first thing I did when I got to Whole Foods was go to customer service where they are always so kind. I had all my spice and mason jars weighed right there and it only took a minute. They just add a little piece of tape to your jar and write how much it weighs on it so when you check out, the cashier knows how much weight to deduct and you’re only paying for the weight of the contents your jar. Here is a list of spices I have purchased bulk lately with their weight and prices.

Can your old spice jars save you money?
Can your old spice jars save you money?
  • Pink Himalayan salt – 9.6oz – $1.19
  • Organic fine ground pepper – 3.8oz – $5.04
  • Organic Cumin – 1.45oz – $1.53
  • Organic Garlic Powder – 2.72oz – $2.55
  • Organic Paprika – 1.92oz – $1.80
  • Crushed Red Chili Flakes – 1.28oz – $0.76

Can your old spice jars save you money?

Although these weights vary, so do the pre-filled spice jars in the grocery store. I found  most of my pre-filled jars state that they contain about 1.2-1.9 oz of product. It’s hard to visualize weight but they all filled up a typical 3 oz capacity spice jar with the exception of salt and pepper which filled up smaller mason jars that hold about 12oz. I have since used some of these spices so some are fuller than others.

I am so excited I no longer have to toss out my spice jars! No more plastic tops and sea salt containers rotting in the landfill, No more wasted labeling, and I get to save a few bucks and you do too!

No Bake Coconut Cashew Date Bites

Happy Summer!! We are celebrating with some warm temperatures here in the Bay Area, I certainly did not want to turn my oven on, but had a bit of a sweet tooth this afternoon. These date bites were the perfect solution to satisfy my craving without having to heat up the entire house by baking. My eight year old son is home for the summer and loves to prepare food as much as I do so this was a fun activity for him, as well as a great treat. Dates help regulate digestion, and boost energy, cashews are high in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants and coconut is high in protein, fiber, iron and zinc. These bites are vegan, paleo, have no added sugar yet they are naturally sweet and delicious. Sounds too good to be true right?  This recipe should yield 10-12 bites

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • 1/2 cup of shredded coconut plus set aside about 1/3 cup for coating bites
  • 2 tsp of chia seeds
  • 2 tsp cocoa powder
  • 4 tsp of coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons of water

Instructions

  1. Pulse your cashews to smaller pieces in a food processor or blender.
  2. After the cashews are broken down to your desired size (I left mine coarsely chopped) add your pitted dates, unsweetened shredded coconut, chia seeds, cocoa powder, coconut oil and water and blend together until the mixture is finely chopped and looks a little sticky and rollable.
  3. Set aside a little bowl with some extra shredded coconut. Roll the mixture into balls 1 to 1.5 inches in size, then roll the bites around in your coconut bowl to coat.

 

Broccoli Slaw with Creamy Peanut Dressing

 

 On a past blog post I talked about a couple different ways to use your broccoli stalks, broccoli slaw tossed in a peanut dressing is probably my favorite! This recipe is simple, yet fresh and flavorful. You can plate the slaw over some quinoa and make a full meal out of it, or bring it to a summer barbecue as a side. The dressing can easily be made paleo with one simple swap by substituting the peanut butter for almond butter. Keep in mind most recipes can be changed to your liking.

 Ingredients

Slaw

  • 1/2 head of cabbage shredded,  4 to 5 cups depending on size
  • 4 broccoli stalks, 3 cups of match sticks
  • 2 carrots 1 1/2 cups of match sticks
  • 1/2 cup of diced green onion

Dressing

  • 1/2 cup of peanut or almond butter
  • 1/3- 1/2 water
  • 1/2 tsp diced or grated garlic
  • 1/2 tsp grated ginger
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 lime wedge for juice

Instructions

  1.  Using my food processor attachment I was able to create match sticks with my 4 leftover broccoli stalks and 2 carrots, I flipped my attachment over to shred 1/2 a head of green cabbage. I also had some green onions that were recently regrown so I sliced up about 1/2 cup and placed all ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Using a separate mixing bowl for the dressing, stir in a 1/2 cup of peanut butter, 1/3 cup of water, 1/2 tsp garlic, 1/2 tsp ginger, 2 tbsp of rice vinegar, 2 tbsp of soy sauce, coconut or liquid aminos, 2 tbsp of maple syrup, squeeze a lime wedge and sprinkle in some salt and pepper. Now, it is time to whisk your wet ingredients together. When making seed or nut dressings the sauce can thicken up while whisking if there is not enough liquid, if this happens, slowly add a tad bit more water to help give it that thinner yet creamy consistency you are looking for.
  3. When the dressing is ready, pour over your slaw and toss together. Garnish with sesame seeds or cilantro if you have some and enjoy.

 

How Do You Prepare Your Broccoli Stalks?

My entire life I had been limiting myself to the florets of the broccoli, until one day about three years ago I was walking through Trader Joe’s and saw a bag of broccoli slaw. I stood there for a moment and just stared with a big, bright lightbulb floating over my head…I was thinking, “wow, I can make that myself!” I felt enlighten and foolish all at the same time. I realized how much food I had been wasting all these years.

How to use your broccoli stalks

Both the Florets and the stalks have equal amounts of vitamin C, potassium, B vitamins, calcium and iron. The stalks actually being a little bit higher in fiber, stated on the University of Berkeley’s wellness site. But both having a tad bit different consistencies.  Towards the end of the stalk, it seems to get a little bit tougher and stringier, so I always just cut a little bit off the bottom before hand.

I have two favorite ways to prepare the stalks. One way is to throw it in my food processor and pulse into smaller pieces to make broccoli rice. You can even toss some cauliflower in there and make a rice blend. The other is to shred the stalks to throw in a salad or slaw.

Broccoli Rice & Slaw

     (left) Broccoli rice (right) Broccoli slaw

Golden Milk

Golden milk

Golden milk is such a soothing way to start or finish your day. This creamy beverage is enjoyed warm and made with beneficial spices. Turmeric, being the golden in the milk is a cancer fighter, anti-inflammatory and anti depressant. Cinnamon, has a high source of antioxidants, fights infections, viruses, and helps ward off common allergies. Nutmeg, boosts digestive health and helps with indigestion relief.  It has been used in ancient Chinese medicine for a number of years as a pain reliever and sleep aid. Lastly, raw honey (leave out/sub for maple syrup if you are vegan) is antibacterial, anti fungal, antiseptic, helps with sore throat, and irritation. There are many more benefits where that came from but I thought I would spare you a little and just get to this health bomb of a drink already…

This recipe serves one.

Ingredients *organic preferred

  • 1 cup of non dairy milk
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp raw honey

Instructions

  1.   In a small saucepan, slowly warm up your non-dairy milk, preferably coconut or almond.
  2. Stir in the turmeric, cinnamon, nutmeg and honey. If vegan opt for either unsweetened or add  maple syrup.
  3. Whisk all ingredients together on low heat until warm enough to your liking, pour and enjoy.