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Vegan Breakfast Basics: Chia Pudding

This week Provisions featured some amazing looking stone fruits from Frog Hollow Farm.  Peaches and nectarines are my favorite fruits and my favorite topping for chia pudding, so when they were there on my screen – perfect fuzzy pinkish orange orbs, I had to have them.  It helped that I had a coupon, a necessity for a New Englander to try something new.

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Our Alaska grocery options for the soft fleshed fruits are often disappointing.  They are typically travel weary at best, bruised, frost bitten or just plain flavorless at worst.  Marginal fruit quality is a small price to pay for the hiking and outdoor activities, or at least that’s what I tell myself when I pine over the Harry and David catalog, trying to justify the expense or devise a delivery method that would not leave my perishable fruits on the doorstep in inclement weather.  I won’t even mention the expense of shipping perishable items to Alaska.  It’s a pet peeve of Alaskans that shipping to the US often doesn’t include Alaska, a major shipping hub for all the carriers.

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The Frog Hollow fruits were quite spendy, but the shipping was reasonable by Alaska standards and it was the same price as the rest of the states in the Union.  This on top of the fact that the local options have been just abysmal lately, drove me to make a rather large purchase.   They all arrived at my door last night in perfect condition.  Since my mom reads this blog I am not going to divulge how many boxes of fruits I got, but suffice it to say it was more than two.  I can already tell that our weekly phone call will involve the word “frivolous”.  Sigh.  Note to self – remind mom that there was a coupon involved.

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The resulting consumption of said stone fruits was just like the scene from “When Harry Met Sally”.  The boyfriend who was doing dishes as I dove into a pluot had to rush into the living room to see what the heck was going on.  He promptly had what she was having, with similar effect.    I haven’t had a fruit this good since I bought my house last year and the real estate agent sent me a box of Harry and David pears as a house warming gift.  Compared to what I spent to get that box, these fruits were practically free!

Be on the lookout for some peachy recipes coming your way – starting with a vegan breakfast basic: chia pudding topped with Frog Hollow Farm peaches!

[recipe title=”Chia Pudding ” servings=” 2″ time=”5 minutes active, 30 minutes or overnight inactive ” difficulty=”easy”]

1/2 cup chia seeds
2-2.5 cups homemade almond milk
1 whole peach or nectarine, pitted and diced

Pour 1/4 cup chia seeds into each of 2 two cup, lidded containers.  Add 1 cup almond milk to each container and stir.  If the chia mixture appears to be thickening quickly, or if you like the consistency to be a bit looser, you can add up to 1/4 cup more almond milk to each container.  Stir until no seeds are clumping on the sides or bottom and mixture is starting to thicken and hold the seeds in suspension.  Cover each container and place in the fridge overnight.  In the morning, dice up the fruit and divide evenly between the two servings.  Serve, or cover and bring to work to impress and / or confound your coworkers.

NOTES:

  • If you like matcha, you can make a delicious and energizing matcha version by mixing 1/2 – 1 teaspoon matcha powder in with the dry seeds and 1 cup almond milk.  It will make a very pretty green pudding sure to spark up comments if you’re toting your breakfast to the office
  • I REALLY recommend making your own almond milk for this recipe, but if you have a store bought variety that you like, then go for it.  It will be quite a bit less viscous than the homemade, so you may have to experiment with the liquid volume.  I’d start with 3/4 cup and go up from there if the pudding seems too thick
  • You don’t have to let this soak overnight, it’s ready within 30 minutes or less.  I just prepare it the night before so it’s ready for breakfast the next day.  If you’re a morning person, and want to make the whole thing fresh – more power to you!
  • For you non-morning people, please don’t add the fruit in with the pudding to soak overnight.  The fruit will oxidize and get mushy, which is a terrible thing to do to a peach.

[/recipe]
Matcha_Chia_1_600wI like to make my own almond milk for this recipe since really there are only two ingredients to the pudding and the almond milk is the dominant flavor.  It’s not necessary, but as I mentioned in the notes section, the homemade variety is often quite a bit thicker than the store bought, so the proportions won’t be the same.

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[recipe title=”Almond Milk ” servings=”4-5 cups” time=”10 minutes” difficulty=”easy”]

1 cup whole almonds
4 cups water
1/3 cup homemade date paste or 4 whole dates, pitted
1 teaspoon vanilla paste

In a high speed blender puree almonds, 1 cup water and whole dates (if using) until completely smooth, adding more water if blender is struggling.  When the almonds are completely smoothed, add the remaining water and blend briefly to combine.  Strain through a nutmilk bag, squeezing gently til all liquid has been extracted.  Add date paste (if using) and vanilla paste to milk and stir to combine.  Store in the fridge in an airtight container.  It should last for at least 4 days.

NOTES:

  • The reason that the almonds aren’t blended with the full volume of water is to maximize the breakdown of the almonds.  If they are blended with too much water initially, they will rattle around and you’ll be left with larger chunks to strain out and less flavor in the overall milk.
  • I prefer to use date paste because it can be added after the blending of the almonds so that no dates have to be strained out.
  • Similar to the date paste, I like to add the vanilla after the almonds have been strained so that I’m not leaving any vanilla flavor behinds with the strained nuts.
  • If you use whole dates you’ll end up with 4 cups of almond milk.  If you use date paste it will be closer to 5 cups.
  • If you have a high speed blender it’s not necessary to soak the almonds.  It will help them blend if you do soak.  I’ve soaked them anywhere from 30 minutes up to 4 hours and had success.  Truthfully I don’t really notice a difference in flavor with soaking or not – I just figure it must be easier on the blender.

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And of course if you’re already making your own almond milk, you may as well make your own date paste first and then just reuse the blender.  No need to rinse!

[recipe title=”Date Paste ” servings=”1.5 – 1.75 cups” time=”5 minutes” difficulty=”easy”]

12 large medjool dates, pitted (~5-6 ounces)
1 cup water

Blend water and dates in a high speed blender until completely smooth.  Store in the fridge in an airtight container. Lasts at least one week.

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