chocolate + almond butter pudding

dessert, recipes, snacks, treats

Who doesn’t want a quick and nutritionally dense way to answer a sugar craving? This chocolate pudding removes all the guilt and satisfies my sweet tooth . This dairy and gluten-free recipe is rich, smooth, creamy and nutritiousIt is also incredible easy and quick to put together – would make a great last minute Easter dessert.

-Take care of the ticker with avocados that are rich in healthy fats, folate, and extremely heart healthy.

-The creaminess of banana provides Vitamin B6, potassium, fiber and sweetens the pudding naturally.

-Cacao or cocoa powder provides antioxidants and magnesium. Did you know that most people are deficient in magnesium? It is an important mineral for regulating blood sugar and helps fight strong sugar cravings.

-The almond butter provides an extra boost of protein and even more healthy fats to keep you satiated and adds the right about of salty to sweet.

Ingredients

makes 4 small pots 

  • 2 large avocados
  • 1 large ripe banana
  • 2-3 tbs cocoa or cacao powder (to your preference)
  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • 1/2 cup canned coconut milk or other non-dairy milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp optional sweetener (date syrup, agave nectar, honey)

 

image

Method

Place the flesh of the avocados and all remaining ingredients together in a blender or food processor and blend, scraping down the sides as you go until well combined. Yep, that easy.

a). remove to a bowl + eat now

b). cover and refrigerate for a couple of hours + eat later

Both ways are delicious. Serve it up and share with your people.

The toppings are endless or it can be served plain and simple. Top with a pinch of cocoa, sliced bananas, a handful of berries, a dollop of almond butter or some shredded coconut flakes.

 

image

Notes

  • If you prefer an intense chocolate flavor, add less sweetener.
  • The pudding can easily be prepared in advance and put into serving glasses/jars to store in the fridge.
  • The consistency of the pudding will thicken when chilled. Leftovers will keep in the fridge up to a few days, though best when fresh.

 

image

 

Enjoy! x

 

Advertisements

February: month in review

devotionals, lifestyle, travel

image

I am almost thirty years old and still struggle with the concept of a leap year.

I think it has something to do with the sun/Earth’s orbit? Someone told me that if we did not do the leap year thing the seasons would shift around the calendar, and in 700-ish years June would find itself in the middle of winter? Just crazy. Did you also know that the 29th is known as ‘Bachelor Day’? Have you heard of this tradition? On this day, women are ‘allowed’ to propose to men and it is seen as socially acceptable and people were wildly excited about it around here. Leap years are just full of surprises, eh?

Speaking of surprises, we stayed up until 5am watching the Super Bowl on a work night this year. Worth it? Yes! Do we have Bronco fever? Yes! Did we miss American Super Bowl snacks and watching it family? Heck yes! However, we are really lucky to have an amazing group of  friends that also had NFL fever and hosted a Super Bowl party. And for the record, I loved the halftime show- I know there are some haters out there, but it brought me to tears! All of the Beyonce, Coldplay (#firstconcert2005), missing Colorado, and let’s be honest ‘Merica, I was just feeling emotionally overwhelmed in a fun and homesick kind of way. We miss you Denver!

IMG_5466

This Valentine’s Day was a little different, because we kind of forgot to plan something. Remember the elementary school days? Staying up late to make a homemade mailbox, signing your name on what felt like thousands of pre-made cards and getting sick off candy hearts? The pride of coming home with a treasure trove of My Little Pony and Nascar cards and buckets of candy?  A wee collection, a reminder, that an entire day of school could be devoted to love and friendship. Those were happy times. But over past couple of years, I think I know more people now that kind of hate Valentine’s Day and for fair reasons. Some people that I love are grieving for ones they have lost, experiencing loneliness without that someone they have prayed years for, angry at the commercialism and money-making scheme, disappointed with unmet expectations, or like me, dumped your sophomore year of college on Valentine’s Day (you can laugh at this one), who does that, so mean?!

I am a big fan of letting people know that they are loved, every day! I understand that the 14th can be a fun way to celebrate, indulge, remind us to love our people well. It is so important to tell people. To tell people they are loved. They are smart. They are valuable. They are beautiful. They have purpose. I pray that I can know God’s love more fully and more deeply because that is the only way I will know how to truly love others well and freely extend forgiveness and compassion. Thanks be to God that He gave us an example of this in Christ, without it I would truly be lost.

SRT-FOTS_DAY2-300x300SRT-Lent-Instagram13s

This month, Ash Wednesday marked the beginning of the Lenten season- part of the church calendar that is dedicated to repentance and remembrance leading up to Easter Sunday, a time to focus on the cross of Christ. I am following the reading plan led by She Reads Truth and it has been a very educational and encouraging study to read. So far it has covered the traditions of Lent and takes a deeper look into the spiritual disciplines of repentance, fasting, and prayer. I love this season because it helps to refocus the heart, gain a deeper understanding of the Cross and remind us that Christ defeats the power of the grave!

We had the privilege of finding some peace and quiet on a weekend trip to  Lindisfarne, also known as Holy Island, with some of our best friends, Benj and Amy. Located in Northumberland, near the border of Scotland and England, Holy Island has been a place of religious pilgrimage and retreat for centuries. It was St. Aidan who arrived on the Island in 635AD to start his Monastery and from here the Christian faith spread across the world, garnering the nickname ‘the cradle of Christianity’. We loved the island’s natural beauty, ancient remains and peaceful surroundings. 

IMG_8456

IMG_8497

The entire area is tranquil and feels much further away from the city, although it only took us an hour from Waverly Station in Edinburgh to the front door of our cottage on Holy Island. We stayed at Sally’s Cottage, a charming cottage from the 1660s, built above an ice cream and fudge shop.  If you are planning to visit or stay on the island, make sure you check the tide timetables! The causeway to the island is a narrow two-lane road that is only open to drivers during low tide or you risk getting stranded.

IMG_8459

One of our favourite places on the island was a local coffee bean roaster and cafe called Pilgrims Coffee. Each bedroom of the old house has been converted into living room styled spaces for guests to take a break from the windy shoreline. We went back a few times for the homemade cherry almond scones, iced tea (Ryan’s fav, also harder to find in the UK than you think!) and delicious pour over coffee. Like I said, perfect weekend escape.

Around the corner from the cottage car park are the ruins from the Lindisfarne Priory. The monks first came to the island in the year 635 but fled after the violent Viking attack in 793 AD. The ruins you see today are from the early 12th century! Up the hill from the Priory is a quaint observatory where you can take in picturesque views of the coast, Lindisfarne Castle, walk to St.Cuthberts Isle and see Bamburgh Castle in the distance.

IMG_8489

IMG_8490

Sunday morning, Ryan and I walked out to St.Cuthbert’s Isle while the tide was out – and the colours in the sky were just perfect. St. Cuthbert, the patron saint of north England, would often retreat here to pray. Just one of those moments that made us slow down, to think about Christians from all over the world, over hundreds of years, that make pilgrimages to this very place.

IMG_8476

“The serenity of Christ be ours

The serenity of Christ, King of tenderness

Help us to make the transition from criticism to joy

God of renewal, lead us from complaining to appreciation

From stagnation to creativity

From coldness to love

From ourselves to you

Most glorious Giver of Life

May hills and islands praise you

May male and female praise you

Darkness and light praise you

Stars and moon praise you

The sheep and the butterflies praise you

The ducks and the sea otters praise you

May all creation praise you and give you glory forever.”  

IMG_8423

A little wander around the quaint village found admiring the sheep in the fields and collecting driftwood and colourful sea glass along the beach. If you are lucky and depending on the time of year, this area is also home to lots of wildlife, including baby seals!

Our February was a busy one. I still can’t believe how quickly the month went by despite it being a day longer than usual. We are now ramping up for Ryan’s departure to Germany next semester and going to enjoy every moment we have together this spring.

I hope you are entering March with the motivation you started with in January and carrying lots of good things over from February. Here is to looking ahead to spring weather, (less rain and clouds here in Scotland?) buds on the trees and longer days of daylight!

With love from Scotland! x

image

Princes Street, Edinburgh

 

 

warm mushroom + toasted hazelnut salad

appetizer, dressing, mains, recipes, salads

Most of us know that our tastebuds react to four tastes – sweet, sour, bitter and salty. But did you know there’s a fifth taste called ‘umami’?  Uuuuumami! (That’s oo-ma-mee.)

Umami has been translated from Japanese as ‘yummy, deliciousness’ or a ‘pleasant savoury taste’. It is the taste sensation we often associate with food items that are ‘meaty’ and have a slow-cooked taste. This is why Black Bean Burgers, Lentil Meatballs and Portobello Mushroom Pizzas exist and make perfect vegetarian and vegan alternatives- it’s the umami! Again, this is the stuff I nerd out on. Very interesting TED talk on the topic and all you have to do is google ‘what is umami?’ and you can go down my same rabbit trail.

I enjoy this mushroom salad because it’s warm, colourful, nutty, packed with flavour from the vinaigrette and makes a great light dinner option that is quick and inexpensive to make.

Ingredients

Serves 2-3

For the salad:

1/2 cup hazelnuts (or preferred nut)
2 tablespoons finely diced shallots

2 handfuls of small cherry tomatoes
2 pounds mushrooms (chestnut or button are delicious, cleaned and sliced)
6 ounces salad greens (kale, arugula, spinach or a mix of your choice)
1 cup mix of fresh herbs (optional) such as chives, tarragon

2 tbs coconut oil

 

For the dressing: 

3 tbs white wine vinegar or balsamic

9tbs extra-virgin olive oil

1 tsp fresh thyme + rosemary

salt+ pepper

 

IMG_2529

Method

Preheat the oven to 375°F/190C. Toast the nuts on a baking sheet for 8 to 10 minutes, rolling them around once or twice to make sure they toast evenly.

Chop the hazelnuts and mushrooms coarsely in a small food processor.

Heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons coconut oil, add the mushrooms, thyme, salt + pepper.

Sauté the mushroom mix for about 5 minutes, softened but not limp (your cooking time will depend on the type of mushrooms you used). Add tomatoes, cook till soft not mushy.

Spread salad greens on a plate. Sprinkle fresh herbs on top. Spoon hot mushrooms + tomatoes over the salad greens.

IMG_2533

For the dressing: whisk the shallots, vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt together in a bowl and let sit for five minutes (this will soften and almost pickle the shallots), before whisking in 5 tablespoons olive oil. Drizzle dressing over salad  and toss

Adjust to taste — you may need more salt, pepper, vinaigrette or even more vinegar.

Share with your people. x

 Notes

  • If you tolerate dairy, add some freshly grated parmesan or crumbled goat cheese
  • Not a hazelnut fan? Use almonds or pumpkin seeds for a crunch
  • To be AIP compliant, omit nuts/seeds, dairy + tomato. Can substitute a roasted vegetable of your choice. Toasted shredded sweet potato or parsnip perhaps?

IMG_2535