Friday, March 15, 2013

Apple Pie Chia Seed Pudding

I have made a few batches of chia seed pudding over the past few months, trying to perfect the texture, taste and consistency. Since nothing’s ever perfect, this recipe comes pretty close in my book.

Like I said before, these tiny black chia seeds pack a powerful punch of omega-3 fatty acids and dietary fiber.

I love apples. They are the (almost) perfect snack. The varieties are colorful, tasty and vast. Granny Smiths are bright green and shiny and taste great in pies. Pink Ladies have a slightly tart taste with a lingering sweetness under their pink skin.

Fuji apples are sweet and one of my favorites. They were first introduced in the United States in the 1960s and their sweetness and sugar does a great job as an afternoon pick-me-up. These apples, with their brilliant green and red speckled skin, are even better when combined with chia seeds.

What if I told you you could have apple pie for breakfast and that it would not only be nutritious, but tasty too.

Welcome Apple Pie Chia Seed Pudding! 

Plain unsweetened almond milk is mixed with all-natural unsweetened applesauce and spices to create the taste of apple pie without tons of added sugar or too much flaky crust in the morning. This pudding can easily be enjoyed as a healthy, quick and readymade lunch as well as a breakfast-for-dinner item too. Cinnamon and nutmeg are a winning combo in many of my meals and I even sprinkle the pair over banana slices in my peanut butter and banana sandwiches. The spices also compliment the nuttiness of the almond milk. A tiny dash of pumpkin pie spice adds a gentle kick of cloves and ginger. And, the vanilla extract and small amount of stevia combine to provide a balanced level of sweetness to the pudding without being overly sweet, like some actual pies can be.

Apple Pie Chia Seed Pudding topped with a slice of Fuji apple and a sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg.

Once the pudding firms up in the fridge, the texture of the chia seeds and smoothness of the applesauce blend together in pudding bliss.

Apple Pie Chia Seed Pudding:
(makes 2 generous servings) (vegan, gluten-free, dairy free, egg free)
• 1 cup all-natural unsweetened applesauce
• 1 cup plain unsweetened almond milk
• 3 to 4 tablespoons chia seeds
• 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
• 1 tsp. cinnamon
• 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
• a dash of pumpkin pie spice (I use the Trader Joe’s brand and it’s delicious.)
• about 1 ½ tbsp. organic stevia (Try this amount first and add more if you prefer a sweeter pudding. Don’t add too much at once though, because sometimes stevia can have a slightly bitter taste if too much is added to a dish.)

- Mix the applesauce, spices and stevia together. Next mix in the almond milk until everything is well combined.
- Add in the chia seeds and mix everything very well. If you want a slightly firmer pudding, I’d suggest using 4 tablespoons of chia seeds up from 3 tablespoons.
- Refrigerate the pudding mixture for at least 2 hours. This will allow it to firm up in the fridge.
- Give everything a good stir when you’re ready to eat and top with thinly sliced Fuji apples, or apples of your choice.

I topped my Apple Pie Chia Seed Pudding with organic fruit & nut granola, another sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg and banana slices. Raw cacao nibs also taste great with the sweet and spicy apple pie pudding!

topped with more goodies

 Happy belated Pi Day! Enjoy this updated version of an All-American classic, the apple pie!

On a side note, today was a great day for a few reasons. I've started to run again these past few weeks and I took a spontaneous mini road trip with a running buddy and good friend to pick up our race packets for the Run to the Pub in Bozeman tomorrow morning. There are supposed to be more than 2,000 people decked out and dressed up in their St. Patty’s Day finery. I’m signed up for the 10K race and have my green attire ready for tomorrow morning’s race.

I received a letter from another good friend who is off sailing somewhere warm and tropical, far away from Montana winter. I love snail mail and handwritten letters. They are tiny treasures, always.

Dodger's always ready to run!
 And while we’re on the topic of pie… The icing on the cake, cherry on the sundae, yippee moment of my day, however, was finding out that I was selected as one of 10 finalists in the VegNews Dessert Contest with vegan chef Chloe Coscarelli for my dream dessert submission of Meyer Lemon & Pear Meringue Pie! Better yet, finalists get a signed copy of her new cookbook, "Chloe's Vegan Desserts!” Thanks VegNews and Chef Chloe. Check out the complete list of finalists and grand prize winner here.

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