Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Almond Date Chia Pudding


If you've been following me, y'all know that I've been on the Sugar Crush Sugar-Free Challenge since the beginning of March. Mainly because I have a huge sweet tooth that had has gotten out of control. I mean I was eating cookies, pancakes with sweet syrups, and more cookies! And my thinking was this challenge would help me regain control of my sweet tooth once again.

Over the last few weeks, I'm slowly starting to regain control of my sweet tooth {smile}. And it really wasn't that difficult to do.

The first five days, I kept a food journal and kept tabs on the sugar content of the foods I ate. Most of my sugar was in my breakfast meals, hidden in my orange juice and milk. Since then, I've learned ways to cut my sugar down in my breakfast.


I've also started eating other foods that I had never tried before like chia seeds and matcha (recipes coming soon for matcha too!). So in all, I'm just trying to get back to my " healthy" and keep cutting out the sugar in my diet so my overzealous sweet tooth doesn't take over again!

And in doing so, I've learned how to make chia pudding. I know, if you've seen photos of chia pudding before, it doesn't look appetizing at all, with those little seeds covered in what some may call, er, slime. But really, if you grind those little seeds up, not only will you get more nutrients from them, but they don't have the slimy texture either. And you're left with a creamy, pudding- like mixture that is also good for you.


To make this, I ground up my almonds, used unsweetened almond milk, a little agave nectar along with dates for sweetener, some cinnamon, vanilla and almond extract, and wa-la, Almond Date Chia Pudding was born.

The best thing about this pudding is you don't even have to refrigerate to let it set up before eating as the texture is pudding-like as soon as you're done making it! Even though it does taste better after its chilled and the flavors mingle together.

After a bite of this, I'm like "sugar? Who needs sugar anymore when I've got this Almond Date Chia Pudding!


BAM!

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Almond Date Chia Pudding

Makes 17.6 ounces (500 grams)

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Ingredients

2 cups almond milk, unsweetened

6 Tablespoons chia seeds

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon almond extract

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 Tablespoons coconut butter

1 cup whole, raw almonds

12 dates, chopped

2 Tablespoons agave nectar

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Directions

Add almonds, chopped dates, and chia seeds into a high speed blender and turn on High setting. Blend until almonds, dates, and chia seeds are ground to a fine mixture, about 5 minutes or less.

Add in remaining ingredients until all ingredients are mixed and ingredients resemble a thick pudding-like mixture, about 3-5 minutes.

Place into a bowl, cover, and refrigerate or you can serve immediately.

Best served with chopped dates, chopped almonds, or both sprinkled on top, as pictured above.

Store in refrigerator for up to 5-7 days.

*Helpful Hints*

- When cutting your almonds, make sure you use a clean cutting board and not one that's used for meats. Here's a helpful link brought to you by CustomMade that tells you how to care for your cutting board and what makes the best type of cutting board, one that is easily cleaned and doesn't harbor bacteria from foods

- Also make sure you use a sharp knife that's made to chop the almonds. Here's a helpful link brought to you by Fix that tells you what type of knives work best with what you're cutting, how to care for your knives, plus how to properly store knives so they will last a lifetime in your kitchen.

All content and images are property of Sweet and Spicy Monkey. Please do not reprint this content without my permission. If you wish to include this recipe on your site, please re-write in your own words and use your own photographs and link back to this post for original recipe.
Follow Julie's board Sweet and Spicy Monkey on Pinterest.

Shared with: Savoring Saturdays

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Soda Bread with Cranberries


Ever since I made my mom's Irish Soda Bread last week for St. Patrick's Day, I've been wondering what it would taste like with cranberries instead of raisins. I know, it sounds so yummy, doesn't it?

Since there are only mere crumbs left of the last loaf, I made another one. Well, ok, I'm on my third loaf now, I really do love this bread!


This last time I made it a little more healthy by using organic flour, Splenda, a sugar substitute, since I'm still on my Sugar Crush Challenge, and I added Craisins, dried cranberries, instead of raisins. It was even more scrumptious than I imagined as the cranberries added a little tartness to the sweetness of this bread. D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S!

And the amazing thing about this recipe, is you can not only make it for St. Patrick's Day too, but it will compliment your Thanksgiving meal too with the cranberries.


With its sweet, crispy crust and soft, moist center, this bread is sure to be your family's favorite no matter what time of year you serve it up.
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Soda Bread with Cranberries

Makes 1 loaf
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Ingredients

3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted (I used organic flour for this loaf)

3 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon sea salt

3 Tablespoons Splenda (Stevia or plain granulated sugar)

1 and ½ cups Craisins (dried cranberries)

1 and 1/3 cups buttermilk
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Directions

Preheat oven to 375F degrees.

Line cookie sheet with parchment paper or you can use an ungreased cookie sheet. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, add all dry ingredients – sifted flour, baking powder, baking soda, sea salt, and sugar.

Mix Craisins with flour mixture, making sure all Craisins are covered with flour mixture and Craisins are not clumped together.

Add in buttermilk.

Using a bread attachment on your stand mixer, blend all ingredients together until all flour is mixed.

If mixing by hand, place dough on a flour covered surface and knead about 10 times.

Dough should be sticky.

Place on prepared cookie sheet and place into oven for 45 minutes.

After 45 minutes, remove from oven and brush with hot sugar water, brushing all exposed surfaces.

Place back into oven for 10 minutes, or until bread is a golden brown. Check after 5 minutes to be sure it doesn’t burn.

Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Best served with margarine or butter.

Ingredients for Glaze

2 Tablespoons Splenda (Stevia or plain granulated sugar)

2 Tablespoons hot water

Directions for glaze In a small bowl, add hot water and sugar. Mix together and brush over bread. Return to steps above.


*Helpful Hints*

- If you find you run out of buttermilk or don't have any on hand when you want to make this bread, for 1 cup of buttermilk, you can substitute 1 cup of milk with either 1 Tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice, letting it sit for 5 minutes before using it in the recipe.

- Or you can substitute 1 cup plain yogurt for 1 cup of buttermilk.

- If bread is not sticky after mixing all the ingredients together, add a little buttermilk at a time until dough is sticky. Or you can use any of the above buttermilk substitutes.


All content and images are property of Sweet and Spicy Monkey. Please do not reprint this content without my permission. If you wish to include this recipe on your site, please re-write in your own words and use your own photographs and link back to this post for original recipe.
Follow Julie's board Sweet and Spicy Monkey on Pinterest.

Shared with: Sweet and Savoury Sunday #105, Munching Mondays #83

Monday, March 16, 2015

Healthy Shamrock Shake (Smoothie)


I really think I made a big huge mistake for the timing of my Sugar Crush Challenge. I say this because every time I walk into a store, I see St. Paddy's treats and Easter candy all around me!

Ugh, this hasn't been easy!

My sweet tooth is telling me to indulge. Will Power is saying "don't do it!" It's like the battle between the little angel and devil that sit on your shoulders in the cartoons. Lucky for me, my willpower is much stronger than my sweet tooth.

And since I've been seeing homemade Shamrock Shakes all over the web these last few weeks, I decided to make a healthier version, one that doesn't have as many calories, fat, or sugar as the original McDonalds Shamrock Shake.

Sprigs of fresh mint

My version is still green, although a darker green, and has that refreshing, delicious minty flavoring that many of us look forward to at this time of year.


Plus, you can make it year round and it will satisfy your Shamrock Shake cravings. It's a win-win!

Healthy Shamrock Shake
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Ingredients

8 ounces coconut milk, unsweetened

1 frozen banana, sliced

3 to 4 sprigs of fresh mint

2 Tablespoons agave nectar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 Tablespoons chia seeds

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Directions

Add milk, banana, and mint leaves into a blender. Puree until all ingredients are liquefied. Add in remaining ingredients and pour into a tall glass. Enjoy!

Can top with whipped cream or garnish with a mint leaf.

All content and images are property of Sweet and Spicy Monkey. Please do not reprint this content without my permission. If you wish to include this recipe on your site, please re-write in your own words and use your own photographs and link back to this post for original recipe.
Follow Julie's board Sweet and Spicy Monkey on Pinterest.

Shared with: Totally Terrific Tuesday #24, Foodie Friends Friday Linky Party #139, Savoring Saturdays, Munching Mondays #83

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Irish Soda Bread


St. Patrick's Day is only 2 more days away and I've got a recipe that will make your St. Paddy's Day meal rock this year!

This recipe is one of the things I love about St. Patrick's Day, my mom's Irish Soda Bread. It's moist, mildly sweet, and has a sweet, crunchy crust that makes this bread my favorite.


And it's so easy to make! It doesn't have any eggs or yeast. So no more waiting and hoping that your bread will rise. You just mix it up, place it in the oven, brush over the glaze, and BAM! A deliciously moist bread with a crunchy crust that will be the star of your St. Patrick's Day meal.

But don't take my word, make it yourself today and you'll see what I'm talking about. Trust me, you will be making two loaves of this bread after you try it!


Irish Soda Bread

Makes 1 loaf
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 Ingredients

3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted

3 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon sea salt

3 Tablespoons granulated sugar

1 and ½ cups raisins

1 and 1/3 cups buttermilk
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Directions

Preheat oven to 375F degrees.

Line cookie sheet with parchment paper or you can use an ungreased cookie sheet. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, add all dry ingredients – sifted flour, baking powder, baking soda, sea salt, and sugar.

Mix raisins with flour mixture, making sure all raisins are covered with flour mixture and raisins are not clumped together.

Add in buttermilk.

Using a bread attachment on your stand mixer, blend all ingredients together until all flour is mixed.

If mixing by hand, mix buttermilk with dry ingredients and then place dough on a flour covered surface and knead about 10 times. Dough will be sticky.

Construct into a large ball shape and make an X on the top with a sharp knife (I forgot to do the X, as I was so excited about sharing this recipe with you!).


Place on prepared cookie sheet and place into oven for 45 minutes.

After 45 minutes, remove from oven and brush with sugar glaze (glaze recipe below), brushing all exposed surfaces.

Place back into oven for 10 minutes, or until bread is a golden brown. Check after 5 minutes to be sure it doesn’t burn.

Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Best served with margarine or butter.

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Ingredients for Glaze

2 Tablespoons granulated sugar

2 Tablespoons hot water

Directions for glaze

In a small bowl, add hot water and sugar. Mix together and brush over bread. Return to steps above.

All content and images are property of Sweet and Spicy Monkey. Please do not reprint this content without my permission. If you wish to include this recipe on your site, please re-write in your own words and use your own photographs and link back to this post for original recipe.
Follow Julie's board Sweet and Spicy Monkey on Pinterest.

Shared with: Sweet and Savoury Sundays #104, Munching Mondays #82, Totally Terrific Tuesday #24, Foodie Friends Friday Linky Party #139

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Crockpot White Chicken Chili


In honor of Throwback Thursday, I thought I would repost one of my favorite recipes that I made when I first started blogging, my Crockpot White Bean and Chicken Chili.

I first posted this recipe after just starting Sweet and Spicy Monkey, and I was using my mobile phone camera, which at that time was a Blackberry Curve. I know, it seems like eons ago doesn't it...Blackberry. Do they even make phones anymore?

When I made this recipe again last week, I decided to snap a few shots before chowing down so you can see just how delicious this chili really is, since the Blackberry didn't do this recipe any justice.

And since I was revamping, I figured why not rename it too, shortening the name from Crockpot White Bean and Chicken Chili to Crockpot White Chicken Chili. A new and improved recipe. Ok, not really improved, but the photos have been improved, at least I think so {smile}.


So without any further rambles from me, here's my Throwback Thursday recipe for Crockpot White Chicken Chili aka Crockpot White Bean and Chicken Chili.


A new name and new photos for a delicious chili anytime that's also easy to make and perfect for this chilly weather.



Crockpot White Chicken Chili

Serves 6



Ingredients

1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken breasts

3 - 15.5 ounce cans Cannellini beans, rinsed and drained (or white beans)

8 ounces shredded Pepper Jack cheese or Monterey cheese (approximately 1 and ¾ cup)

1 – 7 ounce can diced green chilies

2 – 32 ounce boxes Chicken broth (can use low-sodium)

2 – cups coarsely crushed tortilla chips

Tortilla chips



Directions

Bring out crockpot or slow cooker and spray inside with olive oil. Wipe out excess oil with paper towel. This helps the chili from sticking to the sides, even though there will be some sticking.

Pour in one box of chicken broth and turn crockpot to Low setting.

Place unthawed chicken breast in crockpot.

Add ½ of the 7-ounce can of chilies, placing other ½ of chilies aside until one hour before dinnertime.

Let cook on Low temperature for about 5-6 hours. Enjoy your day at work or go run some errands as you’re good for the rest of the day until you return.

*If you forgot to take the chicken out of the freezer and chicken is still frozen when you start making this and you’ll be home or able to return in 2 hours, you can place the frozen chicken in the crockpot and put the setting on High temperature for 2 hours. Then return and turn the setting back to Low. Then you’re good until about 1 hour before dinner. *

You can either add the beans in the chili in the morning with chicken breasts and broth or about one hour before serving dinner, since they are already cooked, whichever you find easiest. I prefer mine to cook all day.

About 1 hour before dinnertime, remove chicken breasts and place onto a plate. Shredding meat with two forks as meat will be hot to the touch. Add shredded chicken back into broth.

Add other ½ of chilies.

Grate pepper jack cheese and stir in with shredded chicken, chilies, and broth.

Coarsely crush 2 cups of the tortilla chips. I find it easy to place tortilla chips in large mixing bowl and crush with bottom of a cup until I have 2 cups. Add crushed chips into crockpot, stirring throughout.

Turn crockpot temperature back to High setting and let cook for remaining hour.

5 minutes before serving dinner, preheat oven to 405F degrees.

Take remaining tortilla chips and place on an ungreased cookie sheet or a parchment paper lined cookie sheet, sprinkle with grated pepper jack cheese.

Place in oven until cheese is melted, approximately 5 minutes, give or take.

Remove from oven and serve with chili. Enjoy!

*Helpful tips*

- You can prep remaining ingredients (grated cheese, crushed chips) the night beforehand or in the morning if you will be away all day, to help make it easier for you when you return back home.

- I add ½ of the chilies in the beginning with chicken to help get their flavor. And since cooking all day will lessen some of their flavor, I add remaining chilies during the last cooking hour. You can add all in beginning or all during the last hour if you choose.

-  If you find chili too thick after adding crushed chips, you can add more broth. Chili will thicken up as it cooks. If too watery, add more crushed chips.

Cover and refrigerate any leftovers. Can be stored in refrigerator for up to 1 week.

All content and images are property of Sweet and Spicy Monkey. Please do not reprint this content without my permission. If you wish to include this recipe on your site, please re-write in your own words and use your own photographs and link back to this post for original recipe.
Follow Julie's board Sweet and Spicy Monkey on Pinterest.