Blueberry-chia parfait: super easy, no sugar

This pudding is delicious. I get bored of the same thing all the time for breakfast and I switch things up with this a few times a month. If you haven't tried making chia pudding yet, now's your chance! Just be somewhat warned....the texture is a little like tapioca, slippery and lumpy. You can make it without, but this version is with yogurt. It gives it more body and holds the chia seeds uniformly throughout. Sweetened with just a little stevia, because that's all it really needs. 

2-3 servings

1 cup almond milk (or other milk of choice)
1 cup yogurt (I use 3.5% organic cow's milk yogurt)
1/4 cup chia seeds
a few drops liquid stevia (I used english toffee flavoured stevia drops) (optional)
1/4 cup blueberries (optional)
handful of hemp hearts (or sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds or whatever you like)

1. Mix everything but blueberries and hemp hearts/seeds in a container or bowl
2. Refrigerate overnight
3. The next day, spoon into bowls or travel containers and top with fruit and seeds of choice. If you like being fancy and want to impress others, layer with blueberries and make parfait! How cute is it in this little glass jar? Too cute.

No sugar, no grain banana bread

Now, I know what you're thinking. This is going to be dry/mushy/tasteless/grainy. I am happy to say you will be so wrong! Someone (I wish it was me) has found a yummy banana bread recipe that I feel good about eating. I got the recipe here thanks to a friend who passed it my way. 

It's very easy to make but you need to use VERY ripe bananas. She stresses that in her recipe to use bananas destined for the freezer, a week ago. 

Yield: 1 loaf
  • 4 very ripe bananas mashed
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon raw cocoa powder (this is my add-in)
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4- 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips 
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  2. Put ingredients in a bowl and mix until combined
  3. Pour into a loaf pan that has been greased or lined with parchment
  4. Bake for about 60 minutes or until the centre seems not to jiggle when you wiggle it a little (in original recipe she says to bake 45-60 but in the times I've made it, I bake for about 65 minutes)

I used high cocoa content chips but you could easily chop up a dark bar if you can't find dark chips.
With all those eggs, it's good for breakfast! It seems to taste better at room temperature, but that might just be me. FYI, I tried it last night with only 3 eggs (rather than the 4 it calls for) and while it was edible (it has already been eaten), it didn't set up as nicely and it took an extra 20 minutes in the oven. 

Peanut butter & dark chocolate protein bars

After multiple requests for a snacks and many enjoyable hours researching recipes, I came across this lovely one. I wanted something a little sinful (but actually quite healthy and low in sugar) and quick and easy. This one is from my favourite blog, Oh She Glows and it ticks lots of boxes (including the very important chocolate box). Not many ingredients and high in protein. You can find her fabulous recipe here (along with very artistic drizzles-she's a pro). My very similar version is below (mine is a low fructose version). 

Yield: 12 bars
1 1/2 cups rolled oats, blended to flour (I used my vitamix for the first time to make the past I used a coffee grinder...never again)
1/2 cup unsweetened protein powder (I used Natural Factors, Whey Factors)
1/2 cup rice crisp cereal
1/4 tsp fine grain sea salt
1/2 cup unsweetened peanut butter
1/2 cup brown rice syrup
1 tbsp coconut milk or other milk (use to moisten batter if too dry)

Homemade chocolate drizzle   
1 tbsp cocoa butter (or coconut oil)
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp brown rice syrup   

1. Line an 8-inch square pan with a piece of parchment paper. Mix the oat flour, protein powder, rice crisp, and salt together in a large bowl.
2. Add in the peanut butter & syrup. In the first batch I tried, I used maple syrup and it was quite moist. The brown rice syrup was a little dryer and needed some added liquid. Also, I used my hands to mix the batter as it's firm like dough. 
3. Press into pan. Flatten with the bottom of a glass or press with fingers. I bought a pastry roller at Christmas and I used that (very good investment those things). Put into the freezer for about 10 minutes until very firm. 
4. Make the chocolate drizzle. Melt the cocoa butter or coconut oil over low heat or in a double boiler. I use a stainless steel bowl set over a small saucepan. Add the cocoa powder and brown rice syrup and mixed until well incorporated. 
5. Remove the bars from freezer and slice into 12 bars. Drizzle with your warm chocolate drizzle and freeze again until set. Store in the freezer..they taste best cold. 

I'd never 'drizzled' before so forgive their haphazardness. They're really delicious so I'll be making them again. Watch out drizzles, you are sure to improve.

Granny striped crocheted blanket

What better way to end a dry posting spell than to show off my 3 years in the making blanket! I finished it up yesterday night while watching Lilyhammer on Netflix. It all came together quite nicely I just took my sweet, sweet time working on it. But enough was enough I said, I want to finish up projects from the past to get started on new ones in 2014.

The blanket is a simple pattern from Lucy at Attic 24. I love her blog, it's all lovely crocheted things and gets me inspired....Look at this cozy neck thingy she made. Kind of a crocheted buff.

Speaking of warm-weather crochet gear, I also love these ear warmers from Mother earth boutique on Etsy. They look deceivingly simple. I'll try to make one but they're probably a bargain at $20. 
More blanket shots? why I don't mind at all. Mr. Roo loved the new blanket too during the photo shoot and couldn't help himself (he knows he's not really allowed to sit on it- his claws get stuck in the yarn and pulls happen!!). In the bottom corner, that's what he thinks of rules. 
I'll keep it short and sweet. I hope everyone had a happy and healthy Christmas season. Looking forward to sharing and posting in 2014. 
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