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Fancy Chocolate Pudding + A Move

I've spent the last five days packing up items in my tiny little apartment and getting ready to move into a house (yippee!!!). I'm in that horrible in-between phase where half your stuff is in one place and the rest elsewhere, but you can't finalize the move and are stuck in no-man's-land until you do. 

For example, I started making almond milk earlier today and usually the process is: soak the almonds, drain & rinse them, blend them with water in vitamix, pour into milk bag and squeeze out the "milk", pour into Weck Jar, seal & chill. It was all going according to plan until I realized that I had already packed up my milk bag (basically a sieve), and had no other possible strainer anywhere in the apartment. So I just poured it all into the Weck Jar, sealed it up and put it in the fridge to chill. I tasted some later and let me just tell you… it's always a good idea to strain it. HA! I usually don't care about the texture but… boy this was throwing me off. Plus, it's like i'm chewing milk that is ALL ALMOND. It's a lot more to consume. If you've done this, you know what I mean. Strain the milk, people. Just do it. 

Anyway, in other news, I think I am somewhere along the line of wheat intolerant…or at least my body just is at a loss with how to handle it. So I think I'll be done with that (again) for a long time. (Thanks elimination diet! You've proved fruitful thus far). 

Cause you were so curious about that, right?  ; )

Now. This fancy pudding I'm tempting you with. Let me just tell you, if you are mid-move, or have too many children (haha just kidding. But maybe you have a lot?), or maybe you're just so tired that the last thing that sounds appealing is putting all the necessary effort into making a beautifully chocolate dessert that your heart & soul (aka: taste buds or hormones) really needs -- well, Let me just tell you -- if any of those sound like you, then I have THE solution. 

THE solution. Not "a" solution. (got it?)

This pudding takes 5 minutes, can easily be adapted to fit you and tastes great fresh from the blender OR chilled! Also, did I tell you it's packed full of nutrients? Well, it is. (yahoo!) 

Dessert that nourishes me?! Get THAT in my belly. 

Since I'm swamped and your'e probably itching to get this pudding in your mouth I'll leave it at that this time around. Just be sure to read the notes below and make this pudding asap! You won't regret it! 

 

Fancy Chocolate Pudding

Serves 4 

 

Ingredients:

  1. 1/4 large avocado
  2. 6-8 medium dates, pitted (see note!) 
  3. 3 TBSP cacao powder 
  4. 1 cup almond (or other) milk 
  5. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  6. 1/4 tsp salt 
  7. 1/4 tsp cinnamon (opt, see note) 
  8. fruit, mint, cacao nibs, shredded coconut etc (optional) 

Preparation:

  • Pit dates and add all ingredients to a high speed blender (I used a vitamix). Puree until smooth. Taste and adjust if necessary. Serve immediately or chill. Top with any extra goodies you want and serve. 

Notes:

  1. You should note that all the flavors (especially the cacao and cinnamon) intensify if the pudding sits in the fridge. When I made the pudding I seriously almost ate the WHOLE blender full right there on the spot. It was so good I didn't care about chilling it! But when I saved it in the fridge for a day or two it began to get more bitter from the cacao and the cinnamon got too strong. I would leave out the cinnamon if you plan to make it in advance and just be aware that while it's great a day or two later I personally found it best when eaten within 24 hours. (Bitterness may vary depending on cacao/ cocoa powder used). 
  2. I say to use cacao not cocoa because this pudding is raw. It's packed full of nutrients and will retain the raw nutrients from the cacao since you aren't heating it up. You can of course use regular cocoa but you won't get as much of a nutritional punch with it. I legitimately feel better when I am craving chocolate and eat the Cacao powder. I have never felt that way when I eat cocoa powder (well, I do emotionally but not physically -- at least not to the extent that I do with cacao). So just note that as well.
  3. I know that dates can be difficult for a regular blender to puree well. If that's the case, don't worry about switching out a very ripe banana for the dates. Start with 1 banana and increase if you want it sweeter. It'll be easier for the blender to puree and it will still taste fantastic! 

Enjoy!

-Anne

The Pickled Beet

I debated on whether or not to do this post. I mean, can I call this a recipe? It's just so easy that I don't know if it qualifies. But then I remembered that these are the kinds of dishes that we all love and need. Dishes we can make on a regular basis that are cheap, easy, quick and delicious. Why would I withhold such valuable information?! Thus my dilemma was resolved. I knew I had to share the love.

So, without further adieu I'd like to spotlight the well known, albeit commonly overlooked, beet. It's dirty appearance may encourage you to overlook this root vegetable, but I implore you to not ignore this humble beauty. (yes, implore! ha!) Though earthy in appearance (and a bit in flavor as well) they are stunning on the inside! Their gorgeous red and yellow hues can brighten up almost any dish in my opinion. And as an added health benefit, beets are enriched in anti-oxidants, excellent for fighting inflammation and wonderful for detoxing! There are phytonutrients in beets called Betalains that grab hold of toxins in the body and make them water soluble, so your body can rid itself of them. How cool is that?!

Wow, did I really just say all that about a beet?? Eh, am I surprised? No. If you know me well, neither are you. For those of you who don't... well, I'll just apologize now. Except not, cause I really do think beets are stunning! ;)

This dish is the perfect side dish or snack. It doesn't leave you feeling like you just forced yourself to eat raw broccoli for a snack instead of the crunchy, salty chips you wanted. Infact, the tang from the vinegar makes you feel like you're eating Salt & Vinegar Chips! My personal favorite.

So what is this dish you ask? Well, I'll tell ya. My friends... say hello to The Pickled Beet.

Ok, not the best photo…. but still!

Ok, not the best photo…. but still!

My roommate (Sarah) and I first ate (good) pickled beets on our recent trip to PEI. Sarah didn't even like beets before then, but when we got back she made some every week! She tweaked the recipe a bit and eventually came to this. I adjusted it as well, but only by using a mixture of vinegars (heavy on the vinegar) and yellow hued beets. "The Rooms" (as I like to call roommates) was awesome to let me share this... after all, who could keep such a delicious, easy and healthy recipe to themselves?!

 

Quick Pickled Beets

Recipe from my wonderful roommate - the queen of pickled beets!

Serves 4(ish)

 

Ingredients:

  • 4 Beets - I prefer smaller ones and love either color! This time I stuck with yellow.
  • Vinegar - I prefer ALOT more vinegar than oil. You can portion as you prefer.
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

 

Preparation:

1. Place beets in a big pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and then simmer until fork tender.

2. Once cooked, rinse under cold water until cool enough to handle.

3. Here you can go straight to slicing OR you can peel the skin off. I like them both ways.

4. Chop off the ends and cut beet in half. Then slice it into half moons as thick or thin as you       like. OR if the beets are small enough, just cut into rounds. it's beautiful that way! 

5. Pour vinegar(s), oil, salt and freshly ground black pepper into bowl and whisk until combined.

6. Place beets in vinegar/oil mixture and chill for at least 30 minutes. The longer they sit the better! 

7. Enjoy as a snack or side dish!

 

Notes:

1. I used an apple cider, white balsamic, red wine vinegar mixture. But you can use ANY vinegar you want. Just use what you have on hand!

2. The vinegars, oils, salt and pepper are all to taste. Just put as much or as little as you want! You only need to have enough liquid to soak the beets in so they don't get dry! They don't need to be entirely covered. Think a cup or so (1/4 oil, rest vinegar for my taste).

3. The great thing about this recipe is that it's all based on your preference. You can chop or slice how you want. You can use whatever amount of liquids you want. You can use any color beet you want! Everything is based on preference!


 

Much love & pickling!

-Anne