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sweet pumpkin chia pudding

Good evening!

This morning I made it to the gym for another day of cardio and strength.  I’m happy to report that since I committed to doing more weight lifting, I have been sticking to the new schedule pretty well!  It’s funny how when I get back in the routine of weights, I can’t figure out why I ever got out of it.

Before I headed out this morning, I popped a few of my new favorite pre-workout snack.

Dried apricots are a great snack for workouts – at least for me.  They don’t weigh me down, I can eat them quickly, and they are relatively high in carbs and low in calories.  I usually eat anywhere from 3-6 right before a medium intensity workout.  Of course if I was going for a longer or more intense workout, I might want to eat something more substantial.  I’ve also been using them to curb my sweet cravings after meals – just a couple of them do the trick!

Monday is my busiest day of the week, and today it turned out to be extraordinarily busy because I got a new tutoring student!  She’s another sweet Korean girl, wife to one of my current students and as cute as pie.  International students make me smile big time:)

You know what else makes me smile big time?  Comments from you! I just want to say thanks so much to all of you who read my ramblings.  While I write this blog because I feel passionate about food and healthy living, and I love writing about and taking pictures of it, it wouldn’t be near the same if you didn’t talk back to me.  You guys rock. Seriously:)

Speaking of readers and comments, I got a comment the other day from reader Sarah who asked if I’ve ever made chia pudding.  “Why no, no I haven’t” I replied.  And then I asked myself – why have I not made chia pudding??

I love chia seeds so much that I named my blog after them and yet I haven’t made one of the coolest and most chia like recipes out there.  Something is wrong with this picture.  In fact, I think chias have taken a bit too long of a hiatus from CSM.  It’s time to bring ‘em back!

And what better way to bring them back than paired with my other favorite obsession as of late.

Pumpkin of course!

Sweet Pumpkin Chia Pudding

Here’s what you’ll need:

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup canned pumpkin (I used 1/4 cup this morning, but will up it to 1/3 next time)
  • 3-4 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup soy milk (any kind of nut milk would work)
  • 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Directions

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together all ingredients until well mixed.
  • Place bowl in the refrigerator and allow to set for 20+ minutes.  I threw mine together and then let it set while I was at the gym – probably a total of about an hour or a little more.  You could even let them set overnight and have a ready made breakfast.
  • Enjoy!

Super easy, super quick and tasty!  If you appreciate the gel-like texture of moist chia seeds and you like pumpkin – then you will love this pudding! I know there are many variations of chia pudding all over the place, and you can sub in and out ingredients to make whatever variation you want! I have yet to see pumpkin although I’m sure it’s out there somewhere.

I am still loving my fall table arrangement, and as excited as I am to switch it to Christmas, I’m kind of sad to say goodbye.  Not too sad though!  Nothing keeps me from being over the top happy for the Christmas season! Now if only it wasn’t still 80 degrees outside, I’d really be getting into the holiday spirit:) The fact that Walmart has already put up a giant Christmas tree in the front entrance is helping a little bit.

Hope the beginning to your week has been lovely!

Are you saying bring it on to the Christmas season?  Or are you clinging to the last days of fall?

Also, do you eat something before your workout?  If so, what works for you?

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all kinds of delicious

Praise the Lord for daylight savings time!  I keep forgetting today, and the husband keeps reminding me.  With every sweet reminder I let out a mini squeal of joy at having one extra hour left in the day…kinda like when I’m certain there’s not one more can of green enchilada sauce and the husband reminds me that I bought double on our last grocery trip.  Pure joy.

The weekend here at the McCoy house has been all about the small things.  You know, the little details in life that if you’re not careful can pass you right by and leave you wanting more out of the days and weeks, but having no idea where to look.  I’ve always been one to overlook these little details, but the older I become the more I’m (slowly) learning that life really is mostly about these things.  Finding thrills in the mundane and creating moments as sweet as pumpkin butter by no other effort than focusing a little bit deeper and seeing things – a pile of laundry, taking the long route home from church, discussing our dreams and goals for the millionth time – from a different perspective.

For us, this included tossing smiles at each other through the small space between the office and the living room and hollering (brutally honest) feedback on each other’s projects as we passed the hours, hard at work.

And then breaking for (admittedly) cheap pizza and fizzy drinks, beyond exhausted and with our stomachs begging us not to wait another moment before filling them.

It included waking up late (as usual) and procrastinating getting out of bed, taking one more snooze to cuddle each other…and the pup before rushing around like mad to get dolled up for church.

It included sudsing up the baby, doing our best to avoid making contact with her pleading eyes as we reassured ourselves over and over that it really was “for her own good” and wondered how in the world we’re going to handle having a human baby.

And it included cranking Ingrid Michaelson in the kitchen, letting the final rays of light of this short day seep through the sink window while making a classic gooey vegan chocolate chip cookie pie for the husband.

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie
adapted from here

Ingredients

  • 2 cups unbleached white flour (gasp! it won’t kill you I promise:)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup vegan carob or chocolate chips (or as many as suits your fancy)
  • 1 cup organic pure cane sugar (or any raw sugar – turbinado, sucinat, whatever)
  • 1/2 cup Earth Balance, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup vanilla almond milk (water will work if you don’t have milk)

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Use Earth Balance and flour to coat the sides of a round cake pan.
  • In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, carob chips and sugar.  After mixing well, make a well in the center and set aside.

  • In a small bowl, mix together Earth Balance and sugar.  Then add vanilla and soymilk and continue to mix.
  • Add wet mixture to the middle of dry mixture and mix well, but don’t overmix.  Okay, guys, I had to seriously man-handle this dough.  I forgot to use my KitchenAid (how does a girl forget her KitchenAid???) and after about 10 minutes of trying to get the dough stirred, I went into a rage and threw the spatula aside and got down and dirty with my hands, basically kneading the dough like a big happy loaf of bread dough.  It was fun;)
  • After dough is completely mixed and moist, press it into cake pan until it is even all around.

  • Bake for 30 minutes, checking it every 10 minutes or so.  When it’s ready to come out, it should still look very pale.  This cookie pie will not be brown on top. I promise, it is done.
  • Immediately transfer cookie pie to a wire cooling rack and allow to cool before cutting.

I’m anxious to see how this holds up when stored in a ziplock baggie (I promise to give an update).  By the time this handsome guy was done with his photo shoot (the cookie, not the husband:), we pounced on him, having been enticed by the melty carob chips and heavenly smell for far longer than any person should.  The outer rim of crust had already gotten a little crispy, but everything else remained ultra soft, just how we like it. It was all kinds of delicious. The husband is always too honest about my vegan expeditions in the kitchen, and tonight he proved that this recipe rocks – and he has the tummy ache to prove it.  Poor husband.

We’re planning to finish off the weekend by making dinner, watching Amazing Race and probably scheming our audition video to get on the show just like most other Sunday nights.  Hope you all had a lovely weekend, full of wonderful things, whether big or small.

What was the best part of your weekend??

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things that make me smile

favorite snack: homemade bread with almond butter and pumpkin butter

lists

leftovers

black skinny jeans – best Gap purchase ever

lunchtime fun with the husband

big brown Olive eyes

see above

pumpkin spice latte of course

love

What things are making you smile on this lovely Friday?

Happy Weekend.

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bad day better

Busy busy day!  Wednesdays are always a little crazy, and today was no different.  I woke up in a bit of a down mood – not sure why.  Maybe lack of sleep as of late?  Either way, I booked it to the gym and lifted weights and worked on some ab exercises for about 45 minutes, and by the time I got home I was feeling a little better. I had planned on getting in a little cardio as well, but the treadmills were all full, and I was under a major time crunch, so I decided to skip it for today!

I spent the afternoon tutoring on campus and then rushed to teach my yoga class at 5:30.  Yoga was refreshing today.  I was really needing it after sitting all afternoon.  A deep ache had worked itself into my shoulders and neck, and almost all I could think about during my last tutoring session was working it out on my mat.

I have to say, the only negative so far about teaching classes is the lack of feedback.  Occasionally one of my students will tell me they enjoyed class on their way out the door, but for the most part I feel like I have no clue what they’re thinking!  I feel like I leave class a lot of weeks thinking the worst – maybe they didn’t like the poses we did, maybe my voice is annoying.  Was my cueing off?  Will they all decide not to come next week? Ahhhh!

It’s enough to make a girl crazy!

Must. Work. On. Positivity.

Anyway!  So as promised yesterday, I have a fun new recipe for ya’ll.  You’re sure to love this!

“Jack of All Trades” Chickpea Patties
adapted from Eat Drink and Be Vegan

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup red cabbage, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cooked broccoli, chopped
  • a pinch of salt
  • a pinch of black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground red pepper
  • 2 cups canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp tamari
  • 3/4 tsp dried thyme
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 cups cooked bulgur
  • 3/4 cup quick oats

Directions

  • Add 1 tsp olive oil to a skillet over medium heat.  Toss in onion, cabbage, broccoli, salt, pepper, ground red pepper and saute until vegetables are tender.
  • Meanwhile, add warm chickpeas (if they’re warm, they’ll process more easily), garlic, Worcestershire sauce, tamari, thyme and salt to food processor and puree until smooth.
  • Add in sauteed veggies and process again until smooth.
  • Add 1 cup bulgur to processor and puree until incorporated into the chickpea mixture.
  • Transfer contents of food processor into a large bowl.  Add remaining 1 cup cooked bulgur and stir until combined.
  • Place mixture in the refrigerator and let set for at least 1/2 hour. I allowed mine to set overnight.
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees and grease a baking sheet.
  • Remove from fridge and shape mixture into patties.  Shape some of the mixture into “chickpea balls” if you so desire:)  I highly recommend it:)
  • Place patties on baking sheet and allow to bake for 20 minutes.  Flip patties and allow to cook for another 20 minutes.
  • If making balls, cook for 20 minutes and then turn them before cooking another 10 minutes.

see how well they hold together?

There are hundreds of things you could do with these patties.  They hold together really well, so you could eat them burger style.  You could also just eat them with a fork dipped in barbecue sauce or ketchup.  Or use them as a salad topper!

These were delicious in my opinion.  Crispy on the outside, moist on the inside.  And best of all, they were husband approved! Hands down my favorite “veggie burger” I’ve ever made.  And the balls were delicious too…and fun to eat:)

And of course you must have a side of chips/fries!

This little meal was well worth the wait.  I’ll definitely be making this again in the future!

So here’s to a bad day ending better.  Hope you all had a wonderful Wednesday!  Like I always say, it’s all downhill from here.

And now I’ll leave you with this.  Just because I can’t resist:)

G’night!

What do you do to make a bad day better?

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the day i almost didn’t vote + giveaway winner announced

Hello!

What an exciting day with elections and all!  I feel terrible to say this, but I almost forgot to vote.

Well, maybe I didn’t almost forget to vote.  I just almost didn’t vote.  But then I started to feel really guilty and like a terrible citizen who isn’t taking advantage of her right to have a voice.  So, the husband and I hightailed it to our voting center and basically shut the place down. Next election I definitely want to do more research and have a better idea of who I want to vote for in each area…and why.

Another exciting thing about today was making and inhaling the single best snack known to man.

Homemade bread. Almond butter. Pumpkin butter.

Heaven on a plate.

Moving on.

After a full afternoon of working on the biz, I was all geared up for a fun dinner.  I’ve had a recipe waiting in the wings for several days now and finally decided to make it tonight.  It’s a multi-step process, and I got through step #2 before I had to abandon ship kitchen and head to the polls!

By the time we finished reading and over-analyzing 99 hundred state questions, we were both starving and made the last minute decision to ditch my marinating meal and grab a pizza instead.  Isn’t that terrible? haha! I’m a fan of spontaneity.

And pizza :)

The mystery mixture should be good and ready by tomorrow night, and I shall reveal it to you then!  It’s a spin off an Eat Drink and Be Vegan recipe, so it’s sure to be a winner.

Okay, I must cut this short and get to bed asap.  I’ve been getting less than 6 hours a night lately, and it’s not making for a nice Candice.  Sleep is important!

But first, I shall announce the winner of the CSN $40 gift-card giveaway!  Thank you all so much for entering!  I loved hearing all of your favorite foods – so fun!

And the winner is…

Kathi!

Her comment:  “One food? I would have to say oatmeal I love it both hot and cold.”

Congrats Kathi!  Please email me your information, and we’ll get your gift-card to you!  Happy shopping!

*The winner was chosen using random.org

Thanks again to CSN for sponsoring the giveaway!

G’night friends:)

What is your favorite healthy (or not:) snack?  Let’s generate some ideas!

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