Cinnamon-peach chia seed pudding (gf + v)

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I remember, as a young Girl Scout, being taught how to collect wild chia seeds that grow in the chaparral of southern California. I remember learning way back then, that chia seeds were an important food for the Aztecs and Mayans and that they are incredibly nutritionally rich…But I forgot about all that until, in the last few years, chia seeds became a super-trendy health craze. Now I can’t browse the blogosphere without being inundated with chia seed recipes. But I must say, this is one trend that I think deserves all its hype. Chia seeds really are a superfood – packed with protein, fiber, omega-3s, calcium, and antioxidants, filling yet low in calories, they make a perfect nutritional boost to many favorite foods. They also tend to absorb water, becoming somewhat puffy and gelatinous, making them a perfect vehicle for making puddings!

My version of chia seed pudding is super duper easy and involves combining a few basic ingredients, a quick zap in the micro, and resting overnight in the fridge – it’s a perfect thing to throw together at night so you can look forward to a delicious (think creamy coconutty pudding meets a cinnamony peach cobbler!) and fortifying breakfast all ready for you in the morning. Also makes a super yummy and healthy dessert. Serves 1, but can be easily scaled up.

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Oatmeal-chia seed breakfast bake with stone fruit (gf + dairy free)

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The farmer’s market this weekend was full of gorgeous stone fruit, and the sun actually came out – summer is finally on its way! Here is a great way to capture those wonderful summer flavors and make sure you have a delicious, healthy breakfast even if you need to eat on the go. You can prepare a large batch, slice and pack up to enjoy it all week long, but you may end up making quite a big dent in it when you are seduced by its delicious cinnamony smell hot out of the oven. This simple combination of high-fiber filling oats and chia seeds, lovely ripe plums/peaches/apricots or whatever other nice fruit you have on hand, and a simple cinnamony batter will put a smile on your face and power you through busy work mornings. This will become a staple recipe, and there are so many potential delicious variations: add or sub in berries, apples/pears in the fall, frozen or dried fruits in the winter – it is really a recipe you can use all year long! (Hint: think beyond breakfast! this yummy treat also makes a healthy dessert…and yes, I know what you are thinking – you have my blessing to serve it with whipped cream or a la mode 😉

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Gingerbread oat one-bowl waffles (gf, dairy free)

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Unlike 99% of the time, I woke up this morning actually wanting a sweet breakfast instead of my usual savory go-to fare (toast/eggs/veggies)…so here is the very tasty result of some experimenting (and some recent gingerbread cookie cravings). Mind you, I still wanted a breakfast that would be hearty and high in fiber and protein. These waffles are just what I was hoping for. The secret is to grind rolled oats into flour, and the rest is pretty much a piece of cake. Your kitchen will smell heavenly, just like when you have gingerbread cookies in the oven. Very easy to make (notice that they only require the use of a single mixing bowl), and healthy too! I haven’t tried freezing them yet, but I think it would work well for convenient reheating in the toaster. Makes about 4 waffles. Adapted from the brilliant Cookie + Kate.

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Waikoloa sunrise smoothie

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I just got back from a much-needed vacation on the Big Island, and thought I might relive some of that experience by sharing this recipe with you. If you know where to look when traveling to Hawaii, you can find amazing unusual tropical fruits that you won’t generally see on the mainland – I highly recommend checking out the local farmer’s markets if you’re like me and you enjoy trying new and exotic fruits. This smoothie is made with Surinam cherries, which are one of the strangest, most wonderful things I have ever tasted. Funny looking little bright red pumpkin-shaped berries with a cherry-like stone in the middle. Their taste is just otherworldly; I don’t think I can do it verbal justice…a magical tart-sweet-citrusy-flowery-piney flavor you just have to experience! Also, it turns out you may not need to travel to the islands to taste them – apparently they are easily found in Florida, where they are popular ornamental plants. [For those who want to nerd out on botany: the Surinam cherry is Eugenia uniflora, part of the same genus as another myrtle relative more frequently seen on the west coast, Eugenia myrtifolia, an ornamental landscaping tree that also produces delicious berries, though with a more subtle and delicate flavor]. The other ingredients in this simple smoothie are island-grown versions of two classic fruits, papaya and banana – their sweetness perfectly offsets and complements the tartness of the Surinam cherry. I hope you enjoy this taste of Aloha!

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Butternut squash, arugula, and pesto galette (v + gf)

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Here is a fun weekend project for when you want to put in a little extra effort to make an impressive and memorable dish. A rustic French-inspired free-form tart with roasted butternut squash and shallot, arugula and my homemade super-easy vegan pesto. Each layer hits your palate in a symphony of yumminess – so many delicious ingredients all in one savory little pastry! Makes a beautiful centerpiece for a weekend brunch, or an elegant main dish for lunch or dinner (smaller slices could also be served as hors d’oeuvres). Makes one medium sized (~8″) galette, enough for 2 people as an entree or for 4 as an appetizer. There will also be plenty of extra roasted butternut squash to enjoy!

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Breakfast scallion potatoes

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Clearly it’s been too long since my last potato recipe, so here’s another. Thinly sliced Yukon gold potatoes oven-roasted and seasoned liberally with olive oil, salt, pepper, paprika and fresh scallions – perfect for your next brunch, but also works great as a dinner side dish when you want some comfort food. Serves 3-4 as a side dish.

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Creamy dreamy green smoothie with avocado, kiwi and aloe

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Green smoothies are one of those things that you can never have enough variations on. So here’s a new one, my favorite of the moment. This one is super-creamy thanks to avocado, banana, and coconut milk. The kiwi and aloe juice add a very unique refreshing flavor dimension. And of course it’s got kale AND spinach for extra green goodness. So all in all, a nice nutrition-packed powerhouse to turbo-boost to your day without caffeine. Give it a try! These things are strangely addictive. Makes enough for 2-3 servings. I make a big batch every few days and portion out into mason jars to bring to work (I tend to drink them in the morning while everyone is sipping their coffee).

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