Chia Pudding with Mango, Strawberries and Coconut

Today was perfectly beautiful. The breeze was cool, the sun was warm…everything is so green from all the rain we’ve been having. It was one of those days that make you wish you could stick it in a bottle and save it for a stifling August afternoon.

No, I’m not even going to think about August. August doesn’t exist – not here, not now, not for me.

Instead, I’m going to think about Chia Pudding.

I mentioned this in my last post and I wonder about your reactions…did it sound terrible? Or are you just waiting for the recipe?

I hope you want the recipe because that’s what I’m giving you this fine evening. It is so SO good. And after you taste it you will never believe that it has no dairy, no gluten and no processed sugars.

It is so easy… and fast…and it looks good too.

Gee, it sounds like I’m trying to talk you into something, but I know you already want the recipe so here it is.

Chia Pudding with Mango, Strawberries and Coconut

1 8oz. package pitted dates

1 – 13.5 oz. can coconut milk

13.5 oz.  water

2 t. vanilla

1/4 c. chia seeds

1 carton strawberries, de-stemmed, washed and diced

1 mango, peeled and diced

1/4 shredded unsweetened coconut

Combine dates, vanilla, coconut milk, water and chia seeds in a food processor or blender. Pulse until combined – it won’t be quite smooth, but you’ll want the dates well blended – pour into a bowl and chill.

EDIT: Some people have had trouble with the pudding coming out too watery. I recommend, 1 – chilling your coconut milk before using and draining the watery liquid (simply poke a hole in the solid cream and drain over the sink), or 2 – going easy on the water until you can gauge what the consistency will be. Keep in mind that the chia seeds absorb the liquid, so it thickens as it chills.

Variations –

Christy commented below and left some great ideas – “I used dried figs, goji berries, apricots and prunes for the fruit ( it gave the pudding a beautiful apricot color),I also added a few dashes of cardamom.”

To satisfy a chocolate craving, add 1/8- 1/4 c. cocoa powder.

For a “less mess/less dishes” variation, use maple syrup or honey in place of the dates and water and stir together with a spoon. 

Anyone else have tasty variations? I’ll post them here. :D

Toss together fruit and coconut. Serve atop the pudding and garnish with mint leaves if you like.

Oh! And isn’t this bowl so cool? My sister, Sage, made it. I have such talented sisters. I hope someday to have an entire kitchen furnished with Sage’s pottery and Tera’s glass.

Anyhow, do let me know what you think if you try this recipe out. I think you’ll like it.

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Red Curry & Coconut Stir Fry

I’m so excited to share this recipe with you! It is so much fun and, on top of that, versatile and yummy. What more can you ask for?

Asian food is rather controversial in our home. Some of us LOVE it and others…don’t. I love it and try to make everyone else love it too. They will thank me for it some day. :D

I think this recipe does the trick. The coconut red curry sauce may be served on the side so individuals can season their stir-fry as they please. I put soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, sirachi, and Bragg’s liquid aminos on the table for additional options.

2 lb. boneless chicken, cubed

3 carrots

1 green pepper

1 clove garlic

1/4 head of cabbage

24 oz. fresh chow mien noodles

1 can coconut milk

4 T. red curry paste

Heat a large skillet or wok with a tablespoon or two of oil in it. Add chicken, sprinkle with sea salt and saute until golden. Remove to a bowl or plate and cover to keep warm.

Julienne the carrots and green pepper, shred the cabbage and mince the garlic.

Drizzle some more oil into the skillet and add the vegetables. Then the noodles.

These are the noodles I used. I found them in the refrigerated department of Whole Foods.

They are so quick and easy and come in 2 individual packages for your convenience…unless you need over 4 packages. I can see the package opening process getting rather old.

Combine the can of coconut milk and 4 T. of red curry paste in a sauce pan and heat until warm.

Now I interrupt this recipe to introduce you to two of my favorite kitchen brands – Epicurean and Chef’n.

This rubber spatula is fabulous. It doesn’t have those annoying seams that get filled with gunk and are impossible to clean out and it’s nice and flexible. What’s more is that one end is a smaller spatula for those smaller jars. LOVE it!

I discovered the Epicurean cutting boards when I was in Idaho last summer at the Kitchen Engine in Spokane. All Epicurean products are made in the USA out of eco friendly materials. The cutting boards are dishwasher safe, easy on knives and look great. They also have a non slip series that I especially like.

End of commercial – back to the recipe. :D

Saute vegetables and noodles for about 5 minutes or until the cabbage is rather wilted and the color of the peppers and carrots are bright. Add chicken to the noodle mixture and toss. Serve with toppings of choice and garnish with sprigs of cilantro. Makes 6 servings.

Thanks to Sage for help with this collage. I will figure out Photoshop eventually!

So, that beautiful orange bowl you see? My sister Tera is taking glass classes in Guthrie at the G Gallery & Glass Studio. She made this bowl and brought it home just in time for me to use in my photo shoot. I love it, don’t you? The colors are just gorgeous. Thanks, Tera, for letting me use your art. :D

Penarious Challenge – Best Ever Chocolate Ice Cream

We are in serious trouble, folks.

It was 82 degrees yesterday. It always happens in the spring…The temperatures hit the 80s and 90s and we all drag ourselves around for a few days trying to get accustomed to the coming inevitably HOT summer.

It only takes a day (and one night of tossing under a warm sheet) for some of us to begin to wonder if we’ll ever make it through, or how we’ll handle it again without going insane.

“Saudi Arabia is the only other place I know of that has temperatures in the 100s for over 2 months”, Mom says.

I start dreaming of a an ice pool. You know, kind of like a hot tub only there are glaciers floating in it.

Mirages of chilled watermelon slices, fruity gelato and delectable ice cream cones appear in heat waves.

Then it happens. The Best Ever Chocolate Ice Cream churns together into a great spoonful of creamy goodness.

Like I said, we are in serious trouble. Thankfully the air conditioning kicks on. Maybe we can keep from making it all the time if we keep the air on.

By the way, whoever invented air conditioners? I love you with all my heart.  Just say the word and I will make you Chocolate Ice Cream whenever you like.

So, I was challenged by Shadowlilies to make a chocolate ice cream recipe that would rival the Best Chocolate Ice Cream You’ll Ever Have posted by Joanna Goddard over at A Cup Of Jo  and created by Cenk from Cafe Fernando.

Photo by Cenk - Cafe Fernando

I did my first test run two weeks ago. It was good, but my chocolate choice didn’t fit. It had to be smoother, richer, melty-er.  I knew immediately that I had to use Lindt. I actually thought about using the dark chocolate truffles, but decided against it a second later. Too much to unwrap.

The chocolate is what makes this recipe though. Go for the good stuff.

Shadowlilies laid out one condition in her challenge – no sweetened condensed milk! I went with coconut milk and a bit of sugar instead. I also added 2 egg yolks to substitute for the cornstarch and to give it more richness. The other big difference in the recipes is that I omitted cocoa powder for more 70% dark chocolate. Serious trouble, I’m telling ya!

Here’s the recipe –

3/4 c. whole milk

1/4 c. sugar

2 farm fresh egg yolks

3 bars of Lindt Excellence 70% cocoa dark chocolate

1/8 t. sea salt

2 T. espresso or coffee

2 t. vanilla

3/4 c. heavy whipping cream

1 can unsweetened coconut milk

 

Chop chocolate bars.

Whisk together milk, egg yolks and sugar.

Look! You can see me peeking over the edge. :)

Heat in a double boiler (or a bowl in a sauce pan as I do. :) just until steamy, stirring frequently. Add chopped chocolate and whisk until smooth.

Sprinkle in the salt and add espresso and vanilla. Whisk in cream and coconut milk.

Now the recipe over at Cup of Jo doesn’t require an ice cream maker. That’s a pro. However it does require more cooking time and lots of cooling time before freezing. That’s a con.

My recipe calls for an ice cream maker. That’s a con if you don’t have one, but if you do, no problem. Just churn according to the maker’s directions. No cooling is required since it never got that hot in the first place and what was heated was only a small amount of the mix.

The recipe makes exactly 4 cups which works perfectly for most electric ice cream makers.

Have you ever tried photographing ice cream on a warm day?

Hmmm…I need a walk in freezer. That might take the place of an ice pool, too.

So, which recipe do you think is the Best Ever? Try them both out and let me know!