Chai Chia Pudding

It’s no secret that I love OMilk. I use their Almond Milk every day in my smoothies, sauces and sometimes to make a cup of hot chocolate! While the classic Almond Milk is amazingly useful, I also love their special seasonal flavors. Available only by home delivery, a bottle of specialty flavored OMilk in my fridge is a real treat. Yesterday, I was thrilled to find out they are bringing back their Chai Cashew Milk! I personally love chai spices, and paired with cashew milk it is a delicious, creamy treat (even better when served hot!).

Last year, when I first discovered the OMilk Chai Cashew Milk, I created this Chai Chia Pudding to serve at a party we hosted together. This could not be an easier to make, truly delicious, good for you dessert! Don’t have a party coming up? Feel free to make a bowl and enjoy it yourself as this pudding keeps well in the fridge for about three days!

OMilk Chai Chia Pudding

  • 1 cup OMilk Chai Cashew Milk
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • cinnamon
  • dried coconut
  1. In a medium bowl pour the cashew milk over the chia seeds and stir.
  2. Allow chia pudding to sit in refrigerator for 30 minutes to an hour stirring occasionally until it thickens and the chia seeds absorb all of the liquid.
  3. Serve the pudding in individual bowls or ramekins topped with a sprinkling of coconut and cinnamon!
Holiday Party Food and Drinks

I hope you enjoyed my video on How To Throw a Healthy Holiday Party! Over the next few days I am going to be sharing more details on the tips featured in the video starting with party food and cocktails.

A great party is nothing without delicious food for your guests to enjoy. Sadly, most holiday party fare tends to be rich and heavy. Nothing makes me feel lees like celebrating than being put into a food coma! Instead of the typical bloating holiday bites try some of my healthier ideas. You want your guests merry, not miserable!

All of these recipes are easy to make and can be made either entirely or partially ahead of time. In the hours before you party you should be focusing on getting yourself gorgeous and party ready, not catering! The one exception is the guacamole which tastes and looks best when made fresh. However, as long as you have all of your ingredients ready to go it can be thrown together right before your guests walk in the door.

Black Truffle Salted Almond Bark 

Instead of traditional holiday cakes, candies and cookies try making this Almond Bark. Dark chocolate is low in sugar and there is an added bonus of healthy fats and protein from the almonds.

Pomegranate Guacamole

I like to update guacamole for the holidays with the addition of pomegranate seeds, one of the few fruits in season during the winter.  They are packed with antioxidants, have a wonderful sweet-tart taste, and the color is oh so holiday appropriate. I serve my guacamole inside of a romaine leaf, and as a dip for crudités!

Pesto Stuffed Mushrooms 

Stuffed mushroom caps are a party favorite. Most recipes call for breadcrumbs and tons of cheese. Gross! I stuff mine with a delicious dairy free pesto, which can be made days or weeks ahead of time and frozen. The day of your party just defrost the pesto, stuff the mushrooms and pop them in the oven a few minutes before your guests arrive. You may want to go easy on the garlic in your pesto when making these for a party. Nothing is worse than being caught in an intimate situation with garlic breath!

Food is great but let’s be honest, most people go to holiday parties for the drinks! Instead of a full bar I always serve a signature drink or two at my parties. Picking one or two speciality drinks saves you the time and money of offering a fully stocked bar. Everyone loves a great cocktail!

Almond Nog 

While delicious, traditional egg nog is loaded with sugar and fat. For my holiday gatherings I make Almond Nog with OMilk Almond Milk and a few extra spices. It’s a delicious alternative that is great on it’s own or for a more “adult” beverage add a few ounces of rum!

Prosecco with Pomegranate

While festive, champagne is quite pricy. Instead, I like to toast with glasses of Prosecco. A few pomegranate seeds at the bottom of the glass make for a very merry glass of bubbly!

Rosemary Ginger Lemonade

I always make sure to have a special non-alcoholic drink on hand for any guests who are not drinkers. Drinking plain water at a party just doesn’t feel special. Adding fresh ginger to homemade stevia sweetened rosemary lemonade gives a spicy, savory twist!

  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed  lemon juice
  • 3 cups of water
  • 6 springs of rosemary
  • 1″ knob peeled ginger chopped
  • 2 squirts liquid stevia
  1. Combine all ingredients in a pitcher or large bottle
  2. Allow to “steep” for 30 minutes or so
  3. Adjust sweetness to taste and serve!

 


 

Chia Pudding Bar

New York City is an amazing place to live for someone devoted to healthy, clean, plant based eating.  I am so lucky to be surrounded by many options for pressed juice, smoothies, raw food, plant based meals, and farm to table fine dining. I am constantly discovering new places to add to my list of favorites!

Recently, a girlfriend introduced me to Hu Kitchen, which has quickly become my newest obsession. Hu Kitchen is an eat in/take out mecca of my favorite kinds of food. They have a great juice and smoothie bar (I love to add kale to the Smooth Avocado for a nutrient dense liquid lunch), delicious prepared foods, and best of all a “mashbar.” The “mashbar,” is a clean eater’s version of the frozen yogurt or sundae bar. You start with a base such as their divine chocolate chia pudding and add toppings from there. So far my favorite combination is chocolate and vanilla chia pudding with strawberries and coconut cream. I fully admit to getting two per visit so I can have multiple nights worth of dessert in my fridge! This stuff is beyond amazing. I desperately want them to open in TriBeCa ( hint hint).

Sadly I cannot visit Hu Kitchen every day. So, with their “mashbar” as my inspiration I decided to make my own at home Chia Pudding Bar. I have been enjoying chocolate and vanilla chia pudding at home for years, but never thought to add multiple toppings into the mix. Chia pudding lasts a few days in the fridge so I like to make batch of each flavor and then top with whatever I have on hand when the mood hits! It has been tiding me over until I can get back to Hu Kitchen.

Today is also my niece and nephew’s 1st Birthday! Happy Birthday Ben and Grace! They are not quite eating desserts yet, but how much fun would a Chia Pudding Bar be at a kid’s birthday party? Much better than a sundae bar in my opinion. Maybe next year their aunt will set one up at their party! Or take them to Hu Kitchen? Or both?

Chocolate Chia Pudding

  • 2 cups light coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup chia seeds
  • 2 T cocoa powder
  • 1 T vanilla
  • 1 tsp liquid stevia
  1. Combine coconut milk, cocoa powder, vanilla and stevia in blender. You could also do this by hand but cocoa powder can be hard to incorporate evenly in liquid so a blender works best.
  2. Pour blended coconut milk over chia seeds and stir.
  3. Allow chia pudding to sit in refrigerator for 30 minutes to an hour stirring occasionally  until it thickens and the chia seeds absorb all of the liquid.

Vanilla Chia Pudding

  • 2 cups almond milk ( I use OMilk)
  • 1/2 cup chia seeds
  • 1 T vanilla
  • 1 tsp stevia
  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Taste and adjust sweetness and vanilla flavor to your liking.
  2. Allow chia pudding to sit in refrigerator for 30 minutes to an hour stirring occasionally until it thickens and the chia seeds absorb all of the liquid.

Some Toppings Ideas

  • pomegranate seeds
  • shredded coconut
  • chocolate chunks
  • chopped walnuts
Cauliflower Purée

Are their certain movies you could watch over and over? Some guilty pleasure you have to pause on every time it’s on cable? While I tend to like movies and shows I have not seen before, Doug has several movies that he has watched thousands of times. If Knocked Up, I Love You Man or The Preacher’s Wife is on he just can’t look away. Maybe it’s a male female thing? Maybe I just bore easily?

While I can’t handle watching the same movie over and over I do love certain dishes so much that I can eat them night after night. This Cauliflower Purée is one of those dishes. I must have made it every other night for dinner last winter before I burned out on it’s deliciousness. Recently while flipping through my recipe notes I discovered it again and re-ignited my obsession. Smooth, creamy and utterly delicious I think I may be be eating these night after night again this winter!

Cauliflower Purée

  • 1 head of cauliflower cut into florets
  • 1-2 tsp black truffle salt
  • 1/ 4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 T garlic powder
  • 2-4 T almond milk ( I use OMilk)
  1. Gently steam cauliflower in a steamer basket over a pan of boiling water.
  2. Purée cauliflower in a Vitamix or high speed blender with remaining ingredients until smooth. You may need to add more almond milk to facilitate blending.
  3. Adjust seasoning to taste and serve hot.
Frozen Hot Chocolate

Something about the holiday season makes me feel a little bit like a kid again. All of a sudden I want to go ice-skating, wrap presents, decorate a tree, light a menorah and drink hot chocolate. Frozen Hot Chocolate that is. Growing up my most favorite treat on the planet was the Frozen Hot Chocolate from Serendipity. This incredibly decadent treat is/was served in a giant glass and topped with whipped cream and chocolate shavings. One of them is enough to give four kids a major sugar high. I have not touched the stuff in at least twenty years but I can still recall the experience vividly.

The other day I picked up some NibMor Organic Vegan Drinking Chocolate  with every intention of making a cup of steaming hot chocolate with almond milk. I love NibMor because it is vegan, organic, gluten free and sweetened with coconut sugar. My favorite is the Mint flavor- a perfect minty chocolaty combination. However, come dessert time that night a hot beverage was no longer what I was craving. Looking around my kitchen for an alternative treat I noticed a tray of OMilk ice cubes in my freezer. I like to keep frozen cubes of almond milk and coconut water on hand to use in my smoothies; they make them frosty cold without watering them down like regular ice cubes do. Also, making almond milk ice cubes is useful when I have more OMilk than I can drink before it expires! Into my Vitamix went some OMilk, a packet of Mint NibMor and two large almond milk ice cubes. The result was a creamy, frosty treat that reminded me of the Frozen Hot Chocolate of my past. Yum!

Frozen Hot Chocolate

  1. Blend in Vitamix or blender.
  2. Top with dark chocolate chunk and enjoy!
Spiced Chocolate Pudding

Happy Friday! I am incredibly excited for the weekend. Last weekend was so packed with moving back home after the hurricane that I could really use a few days to relax and unwind. Tonight Doug and I have a movie date planed; we are both very excited to see Flight! Tomorrow we were supposed to be running in a 5K for the American Brain Tumor Association  with Doug’s family and some friends but sadly it was cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy. Instead, we will be having a family brunch so that we can all see each other 5K or not! Tomorrow evening we are celebrating a dear friends birthday over dinner. Finally, Sunday will be spent making 150 batches of my Clean, Pure and Simple Pumpkin Spice Granola to sell at the Brick Church Holiday Fair next week. Ok, so maybe this weekend won’t be so mellow after all! Amidst all the plans I know I will find some time to lay around and relax.

On weekends I like to make one or two sweet treats to keep in the house for the coming week. These treats are never anything overly complex. Just a little something sweet to top the night off with. This Spiced Chocolate Pudding made with agar is a great one to have on hand. Agar is a sea vegetable that when cooled and hardened acts like a (cruelty free) gelatin. Whenever I make something using chocolate I like to add another dimension of flavor to it to cut through the sweetness. Additions such as sea salt, truffle salt, chipotle powder and cinnamon give chocolate desserts a much more complex taste. I love the spicy/sweet combination of this pudding. Whenever I eat something with chocolate and chipotle I am instantly transported to Mexico… a very, very good thing!

Spiced Chocolate Pudding

  • 2 cups almond milk ( I use OMilk)
  • 1/4 cup coco powder
  • 2 T agar ( can be found in Asian section of most markets)
  • 1 tsp liquid stevia
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp chipotle powder
  • 1/ 4 cinnamon
  • 2 T dark chocolate chunks
  1. In a medium pot bring almond milk and agar to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat slightly and add remaining ingredients.
  3. Cook for 10 minutes until agar is completely dissolved.
  4. Pour into small bowls or ramekins and allow to cool and set ( this can be done in the fridge).
  5. Top with a few dark chocolate chunks before serving.
Watermelon Slushie

This last week of summer “vacation” has left me overwhelmed with feelings of nostalgia. Although it has been many years since the first week of September meant back to school I still feel the same sadness for summers end (and the same desire to buy school supplies). Also, this week is the Hampton Classic which has made me miss my equestrian days quite deeply. I was a committed horseback rider for most of my childhood and teenage years. While I competed in many horse shows up and down the East Coast the Hampton Classic was always one of my favorites. I may stop by tomorrow or Friday and watch some of the classes I used to show in. It has been far too long since I’ve been to a horse show!

As I start to think about packing up our rental house and heading back to NYC and reality I am reminding myself how much I love the upcoming season. I love fall and am excited for crisp days, my birthday, local apples, light jackets and sweater, boots and all things pumpkin spice.

While it is still summer I wanted to share a recipe that satisfies all of my feelings of nostalgia. This Watermelon Slushie tastes like something I would have enjoyed as a child-perhaps after a long, hot day at a horse show? The key is to freeze the watermelon chunks ahead of time, simply pop them in a container or Ziploc bag and place in the freezer. The combination of watermelon and almond milk is unexpected but delicious!

Watermelon Slushie

  • 1 cup frozen watermelon chunks
  • 1 cup almond milk ( I use OMilk)
  • liquid stevia to taste
  1. In a high speed blender or Vitamix combine all ingredients until smooth
  2. Adjust sweetness to taste
Sacred Routines and a New Smoothie

I love the comfort of a routine. I truly am a creature of habit and thrive when I have a set schedule to follow. Perhaps this is why I always loved school? Being able to look at my schedule and know that (at least for the semester) every Monday would resemble every other Monday was comforting to me. Now, as an adult my weeks are far less symmetrical. One day I could have back to back to back meetings and appointments all over the city, and the next I could be at my desk all day.

I do have two routines that I hold sacred, at least Monday to Friday. First, no matter what my day brings my morning routine is basically untouchable. Just ask anyone that has tried to schedule a breakfast meeting with me. Unless you are someone very, very special (like the president, Ina Garten or Tim McGraw) it is just not going to happen. My morning routine is one of the few constants in my week and I cherish the time I leave aside to read and respond to emails, walk Maddy, go to SoulCycle, and drink my green juice.

Another sacred part of my weekday routine is my green smoothie for lunch. Even if I have a lunch meeting I will usually not eat ( or eat very little) and instead wait until I can either make or get my hands on a green smoothie. Having a nutrient dense smoothie for lunch helps satiate me for the rest of the day without making me feel full, bloated, tired or weighed down. I truly find that I do better during the day when I sip my lunch instead of chew it.

This Pineapple Ginger Smoothie is one of my latest and favorite lunchtime green smoothie creations. It’s cold and creamy goodness is a nice refresher on the scorching hot days we have been having in NYC. If you don’t have frozen pineapple this would work well with mango instead. I hope you give it a try!

Do you have any daily, sacred routines? I would love to hear about them!

  • 1 cup almond milk ( I use OMilk!)
  • 1/4 of an avocado
  • 1/2 cup frozen pineapple
  • 3-4 stalks of kale ribs removed
  • 1″ knob of fresh ginger, peeled
  • liquid stevia to taste
  1. Combine all ingredients in a Vitamix or high speed blender
  2. Serve immediately

 

 

Strawberry Rhubarb Smoothie

I love taking requests from friends. Nothing makes me happier than getting an email or text asking me to SJMify (a real term amongst my friends) a favorite dish. Often times creating a recipe for a friend takes me out of the realm of what I usually eat and allows me to get truly creative!

This smoothie is a perfect example of a friend’s request leading me to a new discovery. I have never actually tried strawberry rhubarb pie in my life. Growing up, mine was not a real summer fruit pie family. We love our apple and pumpkin pie in the fall but come summer our desserts were mostly watermelon, sorbet’s and frozen yogurt (yes I used to eat it). So when a very good friend texted me about an idea for a strawberry rhubarb smoothie I was excited to try to make it work. The key with this recipe is to use fresh rhubarb and frozen strawberries. I tried it in other combinations ( both fresh, fresh strawberries and frozen rhubarb) and the flavor was just not right. This smoothie is so creamy and sweet it would be the perfect dessert or healthy breakfast!

Strawberry Rhubarb Smoothie

  • 2 cups OMilk Almond Milk
  • 8 large frozen strawberries
  • 4 stalks rhubarb chopped
  • 1/4 of an avocado
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • stevia to taste
  1. Combine all ingredients in a high speed blender or Vitamix
  2. Adjust sweetness to taste. Enjoy immediately!