Chocolate-Orange Chia Pudding

LVV MoFo 2014 mainIt’s probably impossible to write anything about chia seeds that hasn’t been said before—all the jokes have been made, y’know? And I think we’ve moved beyond regarding chia seeds as a novelty. They’re firmly ensconced in the arsenal of cooks who enjoy experimenting with their gelatinous properties and appreciate their nutritional profile. Three tablespoons offer 20% of your recommended daily value of calcium, 15% of your daily value of iron, and 5 g of protein, along with a substantial amount of fiber.

I personally go through phases with chia seeds. I’ll be all into them for a month, then have a pudding or overnight oat bowl that’s just too gelatinous, and then I’ll be over them. But with this vibrantly flavored Chocolate-Orange Chia Pudding, I’m back in the chia game.

Chocolate-Orange Chia Seed Pudding

Chocolate-Orange Chia Pudding
Serves one

  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/2 cup water (you could probably use nondairy milk, but I was a little leery of mixing it with the orange juice!)
  • 3 T chia seeds
  • 2 T cocoa powder
  • 2 T maple syrup (you can add more if you’d like a sweeter pudding)
  • Dash salt
  • Cacao nibs, coconut shreds, or mini chocolate chips for topping (optional but recommended!)

Add all ingredients to a jar or container with an airtight lid and shake vigorously for at least 15 seconds. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or until the pudding reaches desired consistency. Add any toppings and enjoy!

Chocolate-Orange Chia Seed Pudding

Although the three tablespoons of chia seeds carry the main nutritional heft in this pudding, the two tablespoons of maple syrup add a surprising 8% of your daily value of calcium. That’s a total of 28% of your daily value of calcium in a single serving of pudding. Not bad for dessert!

What’s your favorite chia seed recipe?

Easy as Pie: Pumpkin Pudding

The hot weather continues here in Maryland. I’m not sure if there’s a more PC term for “Indian summer,” but whatever it is, it’s what’s going on here.* Despite the sweat-inducing temperatures outdoors, my thoughts are rapidly straying to autumn and to all the culinary changes it brings. If you’re familiar with VeganMoFo, then you probably know that the foodie blogworld goes absolutely bonkers for one particular ingredient this time of year:

Top-down view of lots of orange pumpkins.

Perhaps my shopping list from yesterday’s post was a giveaway, but I’ve been jonesin’ for something made with pumpkin lately. But baked goods weren’t exactly at the top of my want-list last night; our apartment was hot, I was sleepy, and we already have lots of leftovers hanging around from my other MoFo experiments. Instead, I settled for probably the easiest dessert ever: pumpkin pudding.

 

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I’d fully intended to come up with my own recipe, but this one from Healthy. Happy. Life. is a dead ringer for the idea I had in my head, so I won’t bother sharing a recipe. The only changes I made were to totally avoid measuring anything (ahem, I said I was sleepy) and to use a bit of brown sugar along with the maple syrup. Oh, and I just dumped some autumnal spices in because I ain’t got no pumpkin pie spice.

Although soy-free puddings certainly appeal to a wider crowd, this silken tofu-based one is just unbeatable in terms of simplicity. Whizz it all up in the blender, let it set, and presto—instant dessert. Even an overheated zombie (who, me?) can’t mess that up.

I’m sure I’ll be baking with pumpkin soon enough, so—what’s your favorite pumpkin recipe? 

*According to Wikipedia, there are actually a boatload of other terms. I think I might like the Chinese one best.

Lemon Pudding with Blackberries

Pudding is one of those desserts that always fascinated me as a kid. The transformation from a straight-up liquid to a thick goop more akin to a solid seemed magical—at what point did it happen? I knew it had to be a gradual state change, but my young self knew there had to be a turning point that triggered it, probably related to its temperature. And the care that went into preventing the pudding from sticking—the constant whisking and diligent scraping of the saucepan’s bottom—lent an additional air of glamour to the endeavor. Pudding was not something to, ahem, trifle with.

Perhaps I haven’t quite mastered the art of perfect pudding. I wanted to make a luscious lemon pudding to serve as the vehicle for a topping of big, ripe blackberries, but my pudding came out a little… funky. It tasted just fine, but its aesthetic appeal was diminished by ubiquitous tiny white dots suspended throughout its gelatinous form. Although improperly mixed cornstarch seems the likely culprit, I think I’m pointing the finger at my almond milk. I’ve been disappointed with Almond Breeze recently; their milk seems to separate at the drop of a hat, and the little white dots look suspiciously like separated almond milk.

But no matter. The pudding works just fine as a base for a topping of gorgeous blackberries, dots or no dots. Next time, though, perhaps I’ll opt for a pudding base of silken tofu… ;)

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Lemon Pudding
(serves three; adapted from this recipe)

  • 5 T cornstarch
  • 5 T cold water
  • Juice of two lemons (about ½ cup)
  • 2 C almond milk
  • Scant ½ t vanilla extract
  • ⅔ C sugar
  • ¼ t salt
  • Dash turmeric, for color
  • 1 C fresh raspberries, divided

In a small tightly-lidded jar, combine cornstarch and water and shake vigorously to combine. Set aside, preferably in the refrigerator.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the lemon juice, almond milk, vanilla extract, and sugar. Whisk to combine and heat for a couple of minutes. If the mixture separates, that’s okay–just give it a whisk.

Add the salt and turmeric. Stream in the cornstarch mixture slowly while constantly whisking. Continue to whisk until the pudding starts slowly boiling, then turn the heat down to low and continue whisking as the pudding thickens, for about 5 minutes.

Turn off the heat and remove the pan from the stove. Pour into serving dishes and let cool to room temperature before placing in the fridge. Cool for three hours or overnight. Top with fresh raspberries and serve.

Note: If using organic lemons, feel free to add a tablespoon of lemon zest. Mine weren’t organic, so I didn’t want to use the rinds.

Cookbook Challenge: 500 Vegan Recipes

Today’s theme: Cookbook Challenge

Hey y’all, guess what? I made 3 recipes from 500 Vegan Recipes! I feel a Bon Jovi comin’ on: whoa, whoa, I’m halfway… a quarter… okay fine, .6% of the way there. Yeah, that was pointless.

Anyway, I purchased this cookbook a few months ago when I received a $50 gift certificate to Barnes & Noble for renewing the lease on my apartment. Score, right? I used the book a couple of times during the summer, but it’s been lazing about on my cookbook shelf ever since then. So I decided it was high time to give it another go. I actually made these recipes over the course of two nights, but I’m going to post them all in one shot.

First up – Spicy Frites. Okay, I know, this is sort of a cop-out recipe to make – I make oven fries in my sleep (Literally; I’m a pro at sleep-cooking. Okay I lied.), and they reallllly don’t require a recipe. But sometimes it’s nice to mix things up and use somebody else’s idea for a spice blend or a technique, y’know? These are flavored with garam masala and cayenne and definitely require a Kleenex or two when you eat ’em. Celine & Joni suggest serving them with a sprinkle of lime juice, but I 1.) didn’t have a lime, and 2.) get a little icked out by putting liquid atop something that has the potential to get mushy. Back in RI, people do the whole malt-vinegar-on-fries thing, which makes me want to vomit – I hate vinegar and I hate mushy fries. Nas-tay. These fries, however, were not nas-tay.

Taters, precious!

Pretty! Just ignore the little pile of peeing ketchup in the corner. Muir Glen ketchup is tasty but incontinent, apparently. On the subject of liquids, I should note that this recipe calls for peanut oil. I, however, do not keep peanut oil in the house, so I used the oil from the top of my peanut butter jar. I’m either a genius or a cheapskate. Your call.

Moving on! Up next: Chickpea Blondies. Now… I wanted to love these. I’ve been intrigued by bean-based baked goods for a while now, and the ingredient list was simple enough that I had [nearly] everything on hand. I made a half batch and baked ’em up in a loaf tin, and other than the issue where my roommate’s Magic Bullet didn’t want to blend everything very well (I don’t have a food processor, wahhh!), the recipe came together quite quickly.

Blonde chicks!?

They look sort of fudgy and chewy and intriguing, right? Well, they taste… meh. That’s really the best (and perhaps the worst) I can say. They’re not bad, and I don’t mind eating them, but I wouldn’t necessarily serve them to a skeptical omni and I can’t imagine waking up at night with a mad craving for them. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt, though, because I didn’t have strawberry jam and ended up using a lackluster apricot variety, and then I didn’t even have enough apricot, so I added a tiny bit of canned pumpkin. Maybe if I made them with a bolder-flavored fruit, they’d have had a little more flavor.

I will tell you, though, that my final recipe was not at all lacking in flavor. No, this was the winner of the bunch, without a doubt. Take a look:

Gooey goodness.

Folks, that is the unlikely but ingenious Butterscotch Pumpkin Pudding, and it is heavenly. Like, I-can’t-stop-eating-this heavenly. Like, how-can-I-work-this-into-my-family’s-holiday-meal-plans heavenly.

I was a tiny bit skeptical before trying this, because I’ve traditionally been fairly ambivalent towards puddings in general, and I’ve always found butterscotch puddings to be wayyy too sweet for me. But this is a true, homemade butterscotch, and it’s sweet in a way that doesn’t give you a tummyache or make you want to go straight to the dentist without passing Go immediately after having a spoonful. What I’m saying is, it has a distinct flavor beyond just SWEET!!!1!!!111! It has just enough pumpkin-y flavor to add a fun twist without being overpowering and it’s wonderfully spiced, with notes of cloves, cinnamon, and a bit of molasses. Plus there’s a spoonful of rum for all you boozers out there. A winner is you, Butterscotch Pumpkin Pudding!

So there you have it, my 3/500. It strikes me that all three photos have a fairly similar color palette, despite their subjects having wildly different ingredients. And that’s only enhanced by the the horrible no-time-to-take-photos-in-natural-light side effect of MoFo being in November. Ah well. Anyway, I can’t wait to tackle some of the more substantial recipes from this cookbook, because Celine and Joni have really put together an outstanding collection. I’m lookin’ at you, Pumpkin Fauxsage!

Do you have a cookbook you know is full of fantastic recipes but that you just don’t use often enough?Alternatively, how do you feel about pudding?