Chia seeds are definitely one of those things that I considered to just be a health-craze buzzword for a long time, because I didn’t really know anything about them. I just knew that people were saying to sprinkle them on top of things and they are good for you. They should have gotten a higher spot on the list, but I just wasn’t giving them the recognition that they deserve!
I’ll be honest the only reason I even added them onto the list was because I finally tried them. My boss and I often trade weird food experiments with each other, and she had made something similar to chia pudding on accident, liked it, and wanted me to try it. So she brings me this purple goo to my desk and she’s all “Try it! Try it! Try it!” and my face was likely something like this…
But, I kind of felt like I couldn’t say no. So I gulped it down. And I actually really liked it! Basically she had pureed some grapes and soaked the seeds in it overnight. So it was really, really thick. But I liked it, and I went out and bought some chia seeds.
The first thing I did with it was simply sprinkle it on some cottage cheese on a waffle during my cottage cheese resolution. I realized they didn’t really taste like anything, so I moved onward into trying what Pinterest tells me is called chia pudding. Full disclosure, most of the pictures of these creations look like weird slop in a mason jar, and I apologize for my inability to make them look appetizing, but I promise you that they are! Give them a try!
Attempt #1: Mixed berry chia pudding
I TOLD YOU ABOUT THE PHOTOS, OK.
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/4 cup chia seeds
a squeeze of honey (I probably added 1 teaspoon worth)
a splash of vanilla (~1/2 teaspoon)
1 cup of mixed frozen berries
Add all the ingredients to the mason jar (or any tupperware container would be fine) and leave in the fridge overnight (8 hours).
This is for one serving, which was enough for me for breakfast!
This was really great! I’m not much of a frozen fruit user, but I thought in this case it worked perfectly. I bet if you use fresh, it would also be tasty, but it may help to mash up the berries just a little. I thought the fact that the juice of the berries incorporated into the milk mixture added a lot of flavor that may not translate with fresh fruit.
In case you were wondering, yes I did share it with my boss. And yes, she loved it, too!
Attempt #2: Overnight Oats
As you can probably tell, I’m a huge fan of Pinterest. So I’m not new to the idea of overnight oats. Or mason jars. Or meals in mason jars. As I think I have mentioned before, my New Year’s resolution in 2016 was to meal prep once a week for the whole week – so I got super into mason jar meals. But I never tried overnight oats. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE oatmeal. Love it. But I never thought I would like it cold. I thought, why would I sacrifice the warmth and deliciousness of a stove top oatmeal when it only takes ten minutes, tops. But, I was looking for ways to spruce up the chia seed pudding recipe, so this seemed like a logical next step. Also, I guess if you really wanted to, what’s stopping you from microwaving it? These I ate cold, and they were great. If you’re a big oatmeal eater like me, don’t expect this to be the same consistency as stove top oatmeal. It’s not. But it’s still really good, and filling – which is what I have always loved about oatmeal for breakfast.
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup oats
1 Tablespoon chia seeds
1 Tablespoon peanut butter
Combine ingredients and leave in the fridge overnight (8 hours).
I will tell you, trying to incorporate the peanut butter got pretty messy (see first photo). I followed the above recipe for both, just switched up the fruit. In the one on the left, I used the frozen mixed berries again. For the one on the right, I used 1 sliced banana. I ate it the next day, and the banana wasn’t brown or gross, but I can’t vouch for it’s appearance if you make it a few days ahead of time. Both were tasty, but seeing as how I used peanut butter, the banana one was probably my favorite. Most importantly, they were filling, keeping me satisfied until lunch time for sure.
Attempt #3: Thug Kitchen French Toast
If you aren’t familiar with Thug Kitchen, then you need to familiarize yourself with them. Unless you’re my mom, in which case, don’t read it mom because there’s a *little* language in there. But basically their cookbooks are a humorous, foul-mouthed take on simple but incredibly tasty vegan recipes. I got the cookbook Thug Kitchen: The Official Cookbook as a house-warming gift from a friend and I love it. I have been meaning to buy every single one of their books, but I just haven’t gotten around to it yet. I have made a lot of the recipes from this one though, and it is amazing. Even my omnivore husband is a big fan of the recipes. There was only one (out of probably 10 or 15) that we have tried so far that was a flop…but that is a story for another day.
Anyways, I made this french toast and it was SO GOOD. I’ll admit, I tried to be sneaky with the husband. I did say “We should have french toast this week” while obviously perusing what we call “THE vegan cookbook”…so I feel like that was his opportunity to be aware of the fact that said french toast was vegan… but I didn’t explicitly say vegan french toast. Sometimes you just have to let a picky eater figure something out on their own so they don’t get all in their head about not liking something. So I made this delightful french toast, prepared Zack’s plate and covered it in syrup and strawberries and powdered sugar, and he ate every last bite. He even went back for seconds. That was where I got busted. He saw it sitting on the griddle, all naked, and said to me “What are those little black specs…….?” Seeing as I am a terrible liar, I just laughed, and he knew I was up to no good.
So I’m at a crossroads here with posting the recipe, since it’s in a published cookbook I don’t feel great about just posting it for all to see. Feel free to let me know what the rules are there, fellow food bloggers?
For now, just know that I made a batter from unsweetened almond milk, flour, vanilla extract, chia seeds, and nutritional yeast, soaked the bread, and then cooked on a griddle with some cooking spray.
It. was. fantastic. And, picky-eater-omnivore approved!
Lessons learned here:
- In things like the waffles and the french toast, I honestly couldn’t even tell that they were there. They are pretty tasteless. So, add them into things! It won’t hurt to get some extra nutrients from something you’ll barely notice.
- Almond milk is really awesome. I’ve been drinking it/baking with it for a while, but you should try it if you haven’t. I prefer the plain, unsweetened variety. You can always add a splash of vanilla extract to it for baking or like in the french toast, without having to commit to buying a whole carton of the vanilla flavored kind, which I found to be too sweet.