Sunday, April 26, 2015

Banana & Walnut Chia Seed Pudding Drizzled with Peanut Butter


When I thought up this recipe, I definitely had banana pudding on my mind. My co-worker makes the best banana pudding ever—it’s not healthy by any stretch of the imagination, and that’s okay…except when I crave it all.the.time. Now I know this chia seed pudding isn’t your typical banana pudding, in fact it’s not banana pudding at all, but it can serve as a healthy alternative.

Banana & Walnut Chia Seed Pudding Drizzled with Peanut Butter | Love.Bake.Read

I find chia seed pudding to be so visually appealing with all those blue-ish little specks throughout, which is always a plus since we eat with our eyes first. The best part though, is how it’s made. All you do is mix a cup of unsweetened almond milk with a few tablespoons of chia seeds and leave it to sit in the fridge overnight, or for at least a few hours. Then just like that, it turns into pudding, but really I suppose it’s more like yogurt. The texture is unique simply because the chia seeds become kind of gelatin-like, which is what thickens the almond milk. Neat, huh?!

Banana & Walnut Chia Seed Pudding Drizzled with Peanut Butter | Love.Bake.Read

Like I said, I was craving banana pudding which is why I decided to layer my chia seed pudding with bananas. I used very ripe bananas because they are way sweeter than just-ripe bananas, and they’re more creamy (if that makes sense?!). I topped the yummy bananas with toasted walnuts + a drizzle of melted peanut butter. I also drizzled on a touch of maple syrup, but feel free to use honey if that’s what you have on-hand. Oh, and let’s not forget the flax seeds that I sprinkled on for good measure.

Banana & Walnut Chia Seed Pudding Drizzled with Peanut Butter | Love.Bake.Read

This chia seed pudding is actually an incredible source of protein and fiber, which is important when it comes to healthy snacking. One serving has over 13 grams of fiber and 12 grams of protein, so no doubt this healthy snack will keep you full between meals. Yesss, please! 

If you have a sweet tooth and you’re prone to snacking on not-so-good-for-you goodies, then you should definitely try this pudding and have some on-hand—especially for those moments when you’re craving something sweet. Hallelujah for sweet snacks that are also healthy!

Banana & Walnut Chia Seed Pudding Drizzled with Peanut Butter
Yields 2 servings

Ingredients

For the pudding
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 3 tbsp. chia seeds

To assemble
  • 2 ripe bananas—sliced into rounds
  • 4 tbsp. toasted chopped walnuts (see note)
  • 1 tsp. flax seeds
  • 2 tbsp. creamy peanut butter—melted
  • 2 tsp. maple syrup (use more or less depending on how sweet you want it)

Directions

For the pudding
Add the almond milk and chia seeds to a small bowl with a lid, or to a mason jar, and stir to combine. Set aside for 10 minutes, but stir often to ensure the chia seeds are evenly distributed. Refrigerate overnight, or for several hours.

To assemble
To the bottom of 2 small bowls, add a quarter of the chia seed pudding, followed by a quarter of the banana rounds (to each bowl). Sprinkle on 1 tbsp. walnuts and ¼ tsp. flax seeds. Then drizzle on about a ½ tbsp. melted peanut butter and a ½ tsp. maple syrup. Repeat the layers 1 more time. 

Serve cold and enjoy!

Note: Toast the walnuts in a skillet set over medium-low heat for about 5-10 minutes, or until they smell fragrant.

Source 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Sweet Potato Lentils


What a week! Glad the weekend is right around the corner. Whew. Any fun plans for the weekend? None here—I’ll just be straight relaxing and enjoying this cool weather. Hopefully I can squeeze some reading time in. My mind is craving a good book…I can slowly feel myself shutting down, so I know it’s time to sink into a book and recharge. You know what goes perfectly with a good book on a cool day? Comfort food, of course—like these yummy Sweet Potato Lentils.

Sweet Potato Lentils | Love.Bake.Read

They are completely unassuming, but will take you by surprise. Creamy, flavorful, and just downright delicious. The bay leaf is what helps kick things up a notchwho knew a single leaf could lend so much flavor!? We really almost skipped the bay leaf because a container cost about $2.50…but good thing we thought twice about that.

Sweet Potato Lentils | Love.Bake.Read

You’ll love how the sweet potatoes melt right in, and once you add the almond milk, everything comes together into this creamy heap of goodness. I haven’t tried it myself yet, but I think canned coconut milk would be fabulous in this dish. If you try it, let me know!

Sweet Potato Lentils | Love.Bake.Read

Not only is this meal healthy in general...it’s packed to the gill with fiber and protein, making it a powerhouse vegetarian dish. The lentils alone add 15 grams of fiber and 13 grams of protein per serving (for about 6 servings). Add in the sweet potatoes, spinach, and almond milk and those numbers increase even more.

Creamy, delicious, healthy, flavorful, AND comforting?! Yes, indeed.  

Sweet Potato Lentils
Yields 4-6 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion—chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves—minced
  • 1 (16 oz.) bag baby carrots—cut into rounds
  • 6 cups vegetable stock + more, if needed—divided use
  • 2 sweet potatoes—peeled and diced
  • 2 cups green lentils—rinsed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Scant ½ tsp. dried thyme
  • Scant ½ tsp. dried parsley
  • ½ tsp – ¾ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. pepper
  • 1 – 1½ cups unsweetened original almond milk
  • 1 (8 oz.) bag fresh spinach

Directions

Heat the butter and oil in a large pot set over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 additional minute. Add the carrot rounds and cook for about 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour a ½ cup of vegetable stock into the pot and cook for 2-3 minutes. 

Add the sweet potatoes, lentils, bay leaf, thyme, parsley, salt, and pepper, along with 4 cups of vegetable stock. Bring the pot to simmer and let cook for 20 minutes, or until the lentils are cooked. As the lentils cook, add a bit more vegetable stock at a time, making sure the lentils are just barely covered with stock. Mash the sweet potatoes against the side of the pot to break them down. Add the almond milk and stir to combine. Add in the spinach and stir until it wilts. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if necessary.     

Source
Adapted from Pinch of Yum

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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Creamy Spinach & White Bean Shrimp Enchiladas


Check out these beauties! If you love a jam-packed good meal then this one is for you. They’re full of good-for-you foods like quinoa, spinach, beans, mushrooms, and of course shrimp. Now, I originally used salad shrimp, but I modified the recipe below to use chopped medium-sized shrimp—just because they’re more flavorful. I don’t think I’ll be buying salad shrimp again anytime soon. Meh. 

Creamy Spinach & White Bean Shrimp Enchiladas | Love.Bake.Read

Dare I call this meal healthy? Wellll...it can be more healthful if you substitute Greek yogurt for the sour cream and if you lighten-up the amount of cheese you use. I’m pretty heavy-handed with cheese just because we looooove it, but feel free to reign it in a touch. Then again, I only ate one enchilada for a meal, so it’s still healthy in my eyes…even with all that golden cheesy goodness.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Tofu & Mushroom Veggie Salad with Walnuts & Dried Cranberries


Friday was date night for us again (yay!), so we stopped by Chipotle on our way home from grocery shopping. Wait, what?! Date night and grocery shopping in the same sentence…? Um, yeah…I told you we’re old. That’s just how we roll. All jokes aside, though—this whole eating out thing it new to us again after not really having done so in what feels like an eternity, but in reality, was about 4 years. Nope, not a typo, friends. As some of you may know, we crawled our way out of a heap of debt over the last few years, and in doing so we had to put eating out and so many other things on hold. Good thing it was only temporary! 

Tofu & Mushroom Veggie Salad with Walnuts & Dried Cranberries | Love.Bake.Read

We literally hadn’t eaten Chipotle in over 4 years, which is just nuts, isn’t it? We couldn’t wait to try their new tofu option, which I think they rolled out about a year ago. It  was fabulous! Quite spicy and full of flavor. I was a little surprised that it was more of a tofu scramble (I think they call it sofritas?), instead of cubes, but nonetheless, it was the perfect addition to my burrito bowl! Definitely need to re-create this goodness at home.