Pumpkin Pie Chia Pudding

Sometimes during the hectic holiday season, we forget to take care of ourselves. We forget to make time for the things that are important to us, and get wrapped up in balancing holiday preparations, year-end work projects, and the usual plague of household chores. The past few weeks have been a bit more difficult to balance as Michael focused on defending his thesis (success!) and I had a number of work projects dividing my time unevenly. Last week I opted to postpone this blog post in favor of a little self care; working late always makes me want a relaxed evening by the time I make it home.

Pumpkin Chia Pudding {{Baking Bytes}}

One thing that always helps me during these periods is to ensure I’m eating well even when life is full. I always prep my lunches over the weekend and I try to prepare a couple breakfasts for my weight-lifting days as well. This makes my mornings a little more relaxed and provides a healthy and filling lunch even if I only take a fifteen-minute break to eat it.

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If you are also feeling a bit rushed in the mornings, this is a great option to prepare for the week ahead. Make enough jars for the week all in one go and they will be ready to eat as soon as you need them. I typically enjoy mine with a cup of hot cold-brewed coffee, a quick and healthy breakfast that is just the right amount before a weight-lifting session. I sometimes add a scoop (or half of one) of protein powder, but just as often I don’t. Know that it will change the texture slightly (and the taste, depending on your powder of choice) but it’s a great way to bump up your morning protein intake.

Pumpkin Chia Pudding {{Baking Bytes}}

 

Enjoy those fall flavors and give yourself an extra couple of minutes in the morning to enjoy a ready-to-eat meal. As an added bonus, making these in a jar gives them portability for those of you that don’t eat until you get to work, or want to wait until after your gym session. I like to make two on Sundays so my Monday and Wednesday breakfasts are all set. (One of these days I’ll share my Tuesday/Thursday recovery meal with you guys too.) If you’re making several servings, it works great to mix it all at once and then portion it into jars, but I don’t usually bother dirtying an extra bowl when I’m just making two at a time.

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PS – Not a pumpkin fan? I haven’t personally tried it but I’m pretty confident sweet potato puree would work just as well. Just make sure it’s blended smooth before you mix it into your pudding.

 

Pumpkin Pie Chia Pudding

Makes one serving

Ingredients

1/2 cup almond milk (or any milk)
2 Tbsp chia seeds
2 Tbsp hemp hearts
1/2 – 1 scoop protein powder (optional)
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice mix
1/2 tsp maple syrup, to taste

1/2 cup 100% pumpkin puree (I buy Libby’s)

optional toppings
1-2 Tbsp toasted, chopped walnuts
extra drizzle of maple syrup
cinnamon

Directions

  1. In 12oz jar, whisk together milk, chia, protein powder (if using), spices, and syrup until completely combined.
  2. Gently stir in pumpkin until well mixed.
  3. Seal jar and place in the fridge overnight, or until ready to eat (up to one week).
  4. Enjoy plain or top with hemp hearts and/or toasted walnuts.
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Carrot Ginger Soup

At the end of fall many folks are left with an abundance of root vegetables and winter squash and no idea what to do with them. Although M and I don’t quite have the garden space to have a surplus of anything (except mint), we are sometimes fortunate enough to share in the bounty of our friends. If you are bored of eating carrots raw or roasted, this is the recipe for you.

Carrot Ginger Soup {{Baking Bytes}}

Cozy but light and with a little spice, this carrot ginger soup is perfect for those crisp fall days when you want to eat healthy but also want something cozy. It works great for both lunch and dinner, either as an entree or a side dish. I like to add lots of ginger and sometimes punch it up with the ground version, but you can keep it milder to fully appreciate the carrot flavor.

Carrot Ginger Soup {{Baking Bytes}}

The slight sweetness from the carrots and coconut milk complements the ginger and turmeric flavors beautifully, resulting in a warm dish both in temperature and flavor. You can peel the carrots or not, according to your preference, which means this soup has relatively minimal prep work involved as well. Conveniently, it is inherently vegan and gluten-free which makes it appropriate for almost any diet, and also reheats nicely for all my meal preppers out there.

For a different flavor you can incorporate other veggies too: grated zucchini lightens it even farther and I think a beet or two would be a lovely winter addition. Play around with the base to your heart’s content and be sure to report back on your favorite iterations.

Carrot Ginger Soup {{Baking Bytes}}

I like to serve mine with toasted bread, either a baguette or slices of ginger cider bread (skip the rosemary and use your favorite ginger cider). It’s also excellent with some unsweetened shredded coconut (as shown in my pictures) sprinkled on top or an additional swirl of canned coconut milk. This is a super easy option to serve alongside although heavy Thanksgiving leftovers, so make sure you have an extra pound of carrots on hand.

Carrot Ginger Soup

Adapted from Everyday Easy Eats
Makes 4 (~1-cup) servings

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
8 carrots, chopped (peeled if you want)

2 cups vegetable broth
2 Tbsp fresh grated ginger, to taste
1 tsp ground turmeric, to taste (optional)

1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk

Directions

  1. In a 4-quart pot heat the oil over medium heat.
  2. Add onion and carrots and sauté until onions are translucent.
  3. Stir in broth and spices and bring to a boil. Simmer for 15 minutes or until carrots are tender.
  4. Use an immersion blender to completely puree the soup, then blend in coconut milk.
  5. Taste and adjust spices as necessary, or thin with additional broth or coconut milk. If you add more spices, simmer another 5-10 minutes to allow them to blend.
  6. Serve hot and refrigerate leftovers up to one week.

Thanksgiving Slaw

Coleslaw is something I’ve never enjoyed; it took me until my late twenties to realize I really just didn’t enjoy the mayo-based versions. Shredded cabbage or other veggies in a lighter dressing is just a salad that’s easier to eat, but in my opinion mayo is not intended to be the focal flavor of a dish. (Cue Midwest outcry.) If you disagree, that’s just fine, but I hope you’ll still give this non-mayo coleslaw a try.

Thanksgiving Slaw {{Baking Bytes}}

A few months ago when my mom visited, we took a cooking class from Olivelle. The one that happened to fit with our schedule was a paleo menu, and even though neither of us are paleo I figured the menu sounded great and Olivelle has yet to disappoint me, so we gave it a whirl. As it turned out, it was one of my favorite classes to date (I’ve done…several…) and I loved every single recipe on the menu.

One of those recipes was a Brussels sprouts slaw. I don’t usually care for cruciferous vegetables in their raw state, but somehow after being shredded with cabbage and toasted pecans, folded with blueberries, and lightly coated in a fruity balsamic dressing, I was in love. Not only is this one of the few class recipes I’ve gotten around to making on my own, but I’ve made it three times since August despite having to borrow a food processor eat time.

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Since it’s vegan, paleo, gluten-free and pretty much every-diet-ever friendly, this is a wonderful dish to take to potlucks and gatherings. Even better, it’s great chilled but just fine at room temperature, and best when made ahead, giving you all the time to relax and actually enjoy the party. It also makes a great lunch alongside your protein of choice if you’re fortunate enough to have leftovers. As a bonus, the green sprouts contrast nicely with the purple of the cabbage and the red pomegranate seeds, making it aesthetically pleasing in addition to its fantastic flavors.

I made a few tweaks for an autumn version, resulting in a perfect Thanksgiving side that doesn’t need oven space, and/or a healthy addition to Christmas that maybe even the kids will enjoy. (No guarantees, this recipe was not tested on children.) The Brussels and cabbage base remains, but I opted for walnuts since I prefer them over pecans, and pomegranate seeds for their color and tartness. I 100% cheated and bought a container of seeds, but if you want to get in your work out and seed a pomegranate then by all means, please do so.

Thanksgiving Slaw {{Baking Bytes}}

The dressing is a lovely mix of Olivelle products, so if you’ve not jumped on their bandwagon for some reason then now (or actually, Black Friday) is the time to make the leap. If you’re still not ready, a substitution of regular olive oil and white balsamic vinegar with some splashes of blood orange and pomegranate juices might work out, but I have not tested it. (If you go this route and you like the result, share your recipe in the comments!)

Thanksgiving Slaw {{Baking Bytes}}

If you’re in the market for a healthy but different addition to your holiday table, and cannot stomach the thought of putting yet another dish in the oven, this is the recipe for you.

Thanksgiving Slaw

Adapted from Olivelle
Serves 6

Ingredients

1 lbs Brussels sprouts
1/2 small head red cabbage
1 cup walnuts (or nut of choice)
1 cup pomegranate seeds

dressing
1/3 cup Olivelle Harvest Fig or Vanilla Pomegranate Balsamic Vinegar(Or a mix of both!)
1/3 cup Olivelle Blood Orange Olive Oil1
1 Tbsp lime juice
1 tsp Olivelle Vanilla Bean Sea Salt (or regular salt)

Directions

  1. Use a food processor (or a grater and a lot of patience) to shred the sprouts and cabbage. (If you’re a novice at food processing, this works best if you do it in relatively small batches.) Add both to a large mixing bowl.
  2. Coarsely chop walnuts (by hand, or with the food processor). Add to a dry pan and toast lightly over medium heat until fragrant. (Or skip this step if you’re lazy or in a hurry – it’ll still be good just a slightly different nuttiness flavor.)
  3. Combine all dressing ingredients in a jar and shake vigorously until well mixed. Taste for flavor preferences, and adjust if necessary.
  4. Pour over the sprouts and cabbage and stir with a rubber scraper until well coated.
  5. Fold in toasted nuts and pomegranate seeds.
  6. Store in the fridge until ready to serve – overnight is better – then enjoy chilled or at room temperature. Will keep for at least five days in the fridge.

Notes

If you have not purchased the entire Olivelle store, a substitution of 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar, and pomegranate + blood orange juice to taste might work. This is an untested substitution so let me know if you try it!

Savory Cocoa Stout Bread

Hello friends – can you believe it’s already the last week of October? As usual autumn has flown by and also as usual, Montana doesn’t care that I’m not ready to have snow in the forecast every day this week. Fortunately, M got my winter bike all prepped for me so if the snow does stick at least I am physically prepared even if I am emotionally reluctant.

Savory Cocoa Stout Bread {{Baking Bytes}}

To round out this Oktobeerbreadfest series, this last one is another savory take on a typically sweet palate. Chocolate is an extremely versatile flavor and despite its tendency towards use in sweet recipes, it can add an intriguing depth to savory varieties. A dash of cocoa in your chili can take it to a whole new level – and no, it won’t taste like a brownie. Like vanilla, chocolate is not sweet until you add sugar and so it can be even more interesting in your entrees than in your desserts. My recent love affair with Olivelle’s Vanilla Bean Sea Salt has me adding it to a number of fall veggies like squash and beets and trust me, it’s delightful.

Savory Cocoa Stout Bread {{Baking Bytes}}

On that note, this is a chocolate bread not in the way you think of a sweet bread, but more in the way that beer and wine is described as having notes of chocolate in the flavor. (Except with recipe this it’s not a lie – you can actually taste the cocoa.) The addition is  subtle in flavor but adds just a little something extra to every bite.

Savory Cocoa Stout Bread {{Baking Bytes}}

The small amount of cocoa also deepens the coloring of the bread, resulting in a rich and rustic brown. Obviously this isn’t something that matters to everyone, but for those of us that know you do eat prettiness, it’s a happy side effect.

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This bread blends just as well with peanut butter as it does your favorite stew, making it an easy staple to keep around. I haven’t tried it (yet), but I have a hunch it would make some pretty fun French toast as well. Whether the other breads in the series spoke to you or not, I hope you give this one a try.

Savory Cocoa Stout Bread {{Baking Bytes}}

PS – Isn’t this cutting board beautiful? M’s grandparents gifted it to us when we visited last Christmas and I am loving it as a fall background for my photos!

Savory Cocoa Stout Bread

Makes one standard loaf

Ingredients

1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cup white flour
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1-2 Tbsp brown sugar
4 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt

12 oz chocolate/coffee stout (I used Obsidian Stout)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9×5″ loaf pan and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients to remove lumps.
  3. Pour in stout and stir until just combined.
  4. Spread evenly into prepared pan, smoothing the top as best you can.
  5. Bake 50-60 minutes, or until nicely browned and a toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Perfect for toast or alongside stew. (And I haven’t tried it yet, but I would bet it’d be great as French toast, too.)

Savory Pumpkin & Sage Beer Bread

In the onslaught of pumpkin recipes that is autumn, there always seems to be a vast majority of them leaning sweet. Excepting the occasional soup, pasta, or chili, nearly all recipes (and certainly most of the baked goods) play with the sweet side of pumpkin’s uses. While I love a sweet pumpkin bread as much as the next girl, I was intrigued with the idea of going savory.

Savory Pumpkin & Sage Beer Bread {{Baking Bytes}}

Much like the other breads, a few tweaks to the standard recipe resulted in just what I was going for. Definitely savory and with a prominent beer flavor, this one has gentle notes of pumpkin and sage that work well on their own or will pair nicely with your favorite fall chili.

Savory Pumpkin & Sage Beer Bread {{Baking Bytes}}

In addition to the subtle flavor change, the pumpkin adds a little moistness to the finished product. Lightly toasted, it works beautiful with butter or a spread, or to dip into soup. The savory beer flavor would be a lovely complement to a slightly sweeter squash soup, or make your chili extra hearty.

Savory Pumpkin & Sage Beer Bread {{Baking Bytes}}

The pumpkin-ness of this bread will depend largely on your choice of beer rather than the amount of puree. I made this recipe twice with the same pumpkin beer and the results were only vaguely different. On the plus side, it makes it a great recipe to use up leftover pumpkin, but on the downside it means you need to choose your beer wisely. As someone that doesn’t actually consume beer in its beverage form, I don’t have a lot of experience in beer picking, but the particular beer I chose was not hugely pumpkin flavored on its own. Choosing one that that is heavier on the pumpkin aspect would likely result in a stronger flavor within the bread.

Savory Pumpkin & Sage Beer Bread {{Baking Bytes}}

 

I opted to top my bread with a sprinkling of pumpkin seeds. This is largely for show (the pictures are way prettier, amirite?) but it also adds a nice crunch and gives some expectation as to what the bread flavor might be.

Savory Pumpkin & Sage Beer Bread {{Baking Bytes}}

If, like me, you get burned out on the overwhelming amount of sweet pumpkin recipes, tone it down several notches and make a cozy loaf of bread.

Savory Pumpkin & Sage Beer Bread

Makes one standard loaf

Ingredients

1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cup white flour
2 Tbsp brown sugar1
4 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup fresh sage, finely chopped

12 oz pumpkin beer
1/2 – 1 cup pumpkin puree1

Garnish, optional
1 Tbsp raw pumpkin seeds
1/2 tsp olive oil
1/4 tsp dried sage
pinch of salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9×5″ loaf pan and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together remaining dry ingredients to remove lumps.
  3. Pour in beer and stir until just combined.
  4. Spread evenly into prepared pan. If desired, mix together seeds, oil, and sage until seeds are coated, and sprinkle on top of the batter.
  5. Bake 50-60 minutes, or until nicely browned and a toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Perfect for toast or to accompany your favorite fall dinners.

Notes

There is not a great difference in flavor with this range, so just use whatever amount of pumpkin you need to use up. The larger amount results in a slightly more moist bread but that is the only noticeable difference.

If you do want a little sweeter bread, add up to 1/3 cup of brown sugar.