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Blended Chocolate Chia Pudding

When I first tell people that I am a dietitian, they tend to ask some typical questions:

“What do you think of X diet?”

“How much should I be eating to lose weight?”

“Am I getting enough protein?”

One of my favorite questions to help answer is “How can I eat a healthy breakfast when I’m super busy during the week?” If you guys follow me on Instagram, you know that I LOVE breakfast! I always have a filling meal to start the day, whether that be peanut butter and banana toast, a loaded sweet potato yogurt bowl, or oatmeal with a hasselback baked pear. When we sleep, our bodies use up some of the glycogen we store in the liver as energy. It’s important to replenish those lost stores upon waking with breakfast! Including some carbohydrates like whole grains, fruit or dairy helps replenish these stores and allows our bodies to use the glucose in these foods for energy. As with every meal, pairing these carbs with protein, fiber, and healthy fats makes for a balanced meal that will keep us feeling full.

Preparing breakfast the night before to take with you to work is an easy solution to skipping breakfast because you are too busy. Some great options include overnight oatmeal, egg muffins, and chia pudding! Each of these choices are balanced mixes of the macronutrients + fiber.

If you’re not keen on the gelatinous texture of chia pudding, try blending it! Blending turns it into a creamy, smooth pudding that is so dreamy. This recipe will turn any chia pudding skeptic into a lover! It really tastes like a rich dessert. In fact, I would definitely make this for dessert and be completely satisfied! It’s naturally sweetened with just dates, gluten free and paleo friendly. I hope you guys give it a try!

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup chia seeds
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 5 Medjool dates, pitted and soaked in hot water for 10 minutes
  • 2 tbsp cacao powder
  • 1 ½ tbsp creamy almond butter
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • Dash of sea salt
  • Toppings of choice: I used banana, pomegranate seeds, hemp hearts, chia seeds and pepitas.

Instructions:

  1. Combine chia seeds and water in a jar, close lid and shake very well. I shake the jar a few times, wait a minute, and shake again. Place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or overnight.
  2. Add chia gel to a blender along with the other ingredients. Blend on high speed until creamy.
  3. Divide between two bowls and add any toppings you desire! This can is easily prepared ahead of time – just store in a jar in the fridge, so it’s ready to grab and go in the morning.

This recipe makes 2 servings.

*I actually made this entire recipe in my NutriBullet Balance blender. It was super convenient just adding all the ingredients to one container – easy cleanup!

What are your favorite breakfast on-the-go recipes? I would love to hear! If you guys try this chia pudding, tag @daisybeet on Instagram so I can see your creations 🙂

Cinnamon Sourdough French Toast with Sautéed Cinnamon Apples

What’s on your Fall To-Do List? Things I want to accomplish this season include apple picking, drinking tea, lots of baking, reducing clutter in my home and making warming breakfasts on chilly mornings. You guys know I usually love to have a hot bowl of oatmeal, and I couldn’t tell you the last time I had French toast. It seems to be a bit overshadowed by pancakes and waffles these days! I wanted to give this old-school recipe a grown up, healthy makeover. My only stipulation was that the toast slices had to be THICK.

I used my favorite whole wheat sourdough for the bread in this recipe. I love this bread because 1) it contains whole wheat flour, which is rich in nutrients like magnesium, zinc, B-vitamins and fiber, and 2) the sourdough fermentation process reduces phytic acid levels, which therefore allows these important nutrients to be more easily absorbed. I also replaced regular dairy milk with Elmhurst's new Unsweetened Milked Walnuts™. Elmhurst® has become my favorite milk alternative to use for all my recipes. Their unsweetened varieties have just 2 ingredients – nuts and water! This is hard to find, as a majority of milk alternatives on the shelves these days contain added gums and stabilizers. Elmhurst’s unsweetened varieties are the closest thing to homemade, and I feel good about putting them in my body. If you’d like to try Elmhurst, you can find many of their products at Whole Foods, and here is their store locator. You can also have any of their varieties delivered right to your door when you order off their website!

This French toast was a rich, decadent treat on a chilly fall morning, but I felt good about eating it because of the ingredients I chose! The sautéed cinnamon apples really took this stack to the next level - don’t leave them out!

Ingredients

Apples

  • 1 ½ medium Honeycrisp apples, chopped
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp butter, ghee or cooking oil of choice

French Toast

  • 1 cup Elmhurst Unsweetened Milked Walnuts
  • 1 egg
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • Dash of kosher salt
  • 5 slices of whole wheat sourdough bread, sliced about 1 inch thick
  • 2-3 tbsp butter, ghee or cooking oil of choice

Instructions

  1. Heat butter or oil for apples over medium heat in a cast iron skillet. Add apples and cinnamon, stirring occasionally until soft. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, heat a separate large skillet on medium heat with 1 tbsp butter or oil.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together Milked Walnuts, egg, cinnamon, maple syrup and salt. Transfer to a shallow dish.
  4. Working in batches as not to crowd the skillet, soak both sides of bread slices. Cook each side for 3-5 minutes until nicely browned and tender. Flip and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Add more butter/oil as needed between batches.
  5. Serve stack of French toast topped with cinnamon apples, a drizzle of maple syrup and nut butter (optional, but extra delicious).

This recipe serves 2-3 depending on how big the slices of toast are. It kept me full for hours! If you guys try this recipe, tag @Elmhurst1925 and @daisybeet on Instagram 🙂

 

Hasselback Baked Pears

This warming bowl of oats is the perfect way to start a chilly morning! Naturally sweetened with banana, this breakfast is topped with a caramelized, soft, hasselback baked pear. Prep the pears the night before, and you can throw this bowl together in 5 minutes! Baking fruit may not sound appealing, but it makes them SO sweet and juicy. I have tried baking pears in the fall and peaches in the summer. Both taste like dessert when added to a hearty breakfast bowl. I hope you all give it a try!

Pears are definitely an underutilized fruit in my eyes. They have a smooth, not overly sweet taste that is enhanced when cooked. Pears, just like apples, come in many different varieties! Bosc pears are one of my favorites for this recipe because of their soft and creamy texture. If you're looking for a more firm, tart variety, try Bartlett or D'anjou. Pears are an excellent source of fiber, and just like any fruit, they are part of a well-balanced diet. I would love to try replacing some of the apples with pears in a Thanksgiving apple pie!

I love seeing all of your Hasselback pear creations on Instagram - they are stunning! I decided to post the recipe here so you have a permanent place to refer back to it. I can't wait to continue to see all  your delicious baked pears 🙂

 

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dry oatmeal (old fashioned or quick)
  • 1 large ripe banana
  • 1 USA Bosc pear
  • Coconut oil
  • Pumpkin Pie Spice or Apple Pie Spice
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • Creamy almond butter (other nut butter is fine)
  • Blackstrap molasses (optional)

 

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Slice pear in half and remove seeds. Cut side down, make narrow slits into each half, being careful not to slice all the way through.
  3. Grease a small cast iron skillet or baking dish with coconut oil. Place pears cut side down in skillet.
  4. Sprinkle with a little more coconut oil and Pumpkin Pie Spice. Bake for 45 minutes – 1 hour until soft and tender.
  5. Meanwhile, prepare the oats with water or milk, according to package instructions.
  6. Mash banana in a bowl, and add to cooking oats with chia seeds and 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice.
  7. Stir well until oatmeal is cooked to desired consistency.
  8. Divide oatmeal evenly into two bowls. Top each bowl with half of the baked pear, a scoop of almond butter, molasses and other toppings of choice. Enjoy immediately!

If preparing the pear the night before, microwave for 30 seconds – 1 minute to reheat.

Tag your baked pear bowls with #Daisybeet so I can see your creations 🙂

My Go-To Breakfast: Cacao-Banana Oatmeal

Rise and shine! You guys know by now how much I love my oatmeal for breakfast. I’ve been eating it every morning 99% of the time for years - it’s almost comical! I occasionally get messages for my oatmeal recipes or for tips to make oatmeal more exciting. I decided to write a post here for you all to refer to! Not to toot my own horn, but I think I’ve mastered the bowl of oats.

Before my oatmeal love affair came to be, I went through many years of protein smoothies for breakfast, starting in college. I would start my day with a smoothie consisting of ice, a frozen banana, some skim milk, and a scoop of chocolate meal replacement protein powder. Sometimes I would add in a spoonful of powdered peanut butter, too. This breakfast couldn’t have been more than 300 calories, and while it was delicious, I never felt completely full afterwards. I always NEEDED a midmorning snack a few hours later as I could hear my stomach rumbling. This coincided with a time in my life where I was very “calorie conscious”. I would select foods based off of their calorie count rather than their nutrition qualities. I was eating a lot of low fat products, that, looking back, were definitely loaded with artificial ingredients. I absolutely loved my college experience, but I realize now that it was an environment which perpetuated this type of eating and thinking about foods. I subconsciously compared my body to others and made food choices based off what my peers were doing, which meant low calorie, low fat, and sometimes lacking real food ingredients.

Once I began researching nutrition more, I realized this protein smoothie habit was probably not the most nutritious way to start my day. Not only did it leave me hungry for real food a few hours afterwards, but the ingredient list was a mile long. There was a myriad of ingredients I could not pronounce. I decided to transition to real food based smoothies, and began making oatmeal in the winter when it was colder. I noticed that oatmeal filled me up much more than smoothies, and sustained me all the way until lunch on my less active days. I also enjoyed the act of eating food, physically chewing, and taking my time enjoying breakfast, rather than slurping down a smoothie in 3 minutes.

Don’t get me wrong now, I think smoothies are delicious and refreshing! They are an excellent way to add calories and nutrients in the clinical setting, and can be very healthy when you are mindful of the ingredients you add. For me, though, physically eating a big breakfast works best. Oatmeal is my breakfast of choice for so many reasons. It is quick and easy to make, cheap, delicious, customizable, and filling.  One of my favorite ways to flavor my oatmeal is by adding sweet caramelized banana, cacao powder, cinnamon and nut butter. This satisfies my undying sweet tooth in a nutritious way! I hope all of you who have a sweet tooth try this recipe.

Here are some of the RD Approved ingredients you’ll need:

  • Old fashioned rolled oats
  • Raw cacao powder (unsweetened cocoa powder is fine, too)
  • Cinnamon
  • Banana
  • Peanut butter (or another nut butter)
  • Salba Chia chia seeds

 

And the nutrition breakdown:

  • Oats: Oats are one of the best sources of soluble fiber. This type of fiber has many health benefits. A diet containing soluble fiber can lower cholesterol levels, because the fiber binds to cholesterol in your body so it can be excreted. It also is not fully absorbed, so it does not cause a rapid spike in blood sugar levels. Soluble fiber keeps you fuller for longer because it is digested slowly, and helps keep you regular by adding bulk when you go to the bathroom.
  • Cacao Powder: Raw cacao powder is rich in antioxidants in the form of flavanols. The flavanols found in cacao powder may have more powerful antioxidant effects than those in green tea and blueberries! Flavanols may have numerous heart-healthy functions. They can reduce inflammation by inhibiting inflammatory cytokine production. Flavanols also may prevent blood clots by reducing platelet aggregation and reduce oxidative damage within blood vessels.
  • Salba Chia chia seeds: Chia seeds are also a good source of soluble fiber, and thus exert similar health benefits as oats. Notice how they swell when you add liquid? They expand to 10x their dry weight! This adds a lot of bulk to your diet and fills you up. Chia seeds are also a rich plant-based source of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3’s are essential fatty acids we must consume in our diets, because our bodies cannot produce them. They are essential for growth and development, can lower blood triglyceride levels and may be anti-inflammatory. I love Salba Chia in particular for so many reasons! There are over 100 different strains of chia seeds, but they grow only the 2 strongest varieties.  They are a single source company, co-own and operate all of their farms, and partner directly with the farmers to ensure the best possible seeds. Salba Chia also grows ALL of their chia seeds organically with no pesticides! Therefore, the nutritional profile of their products is always top quality.

Without further adieu, here is my favorite oatmeal recipe. Adding the banana to the bowl before you microwave your oats breaks it down so it becomes super creamy and extra sweet. No other sweeteners needed!

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup oats (I use old fashioned)
  • ~1 cup water (enough to top off the oats in your bowl)
  • 1 small ripe banana
  • 1 tbsp cacao powder
  • ½ tbsp Salba Chia chia seeds
  • Dash of Cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp nut butter
  • Toppings of choice: I like fresh fruit, hemp hearts, cacao nibs, etc.

Instructions:

  1. In a microwave safe bowl, add oats and water.
  2. Slice the banana into the bowl and stir.
  3. Microwave for 2-2.5 minutes, until cooked.
  4. Remove bowl and stir in chia seeds, cinnamon and cacao powder.
  5. Add nut butter and toppings of choice, and enjoy!

I hope you guys enjoy this simple recipe. Oatmeal is very customizable – I love to experiment with different spices! Tag your oatmeal bowls with #Daisybeet so I can see your lovely creations.