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07/18/2013 / avenues of artistry

Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding

Chia seed pudding has become a summer favorite in my house these days!

For many people with food allergies or dietary restrictions summer fun events can feel limiting or isolating.  Or, sometimes you just want to have a summer alternative to eating ice cream… This dessert is great to share with everyone with and without dietary restrictions. There seem to be plenty of recipes out there for this but I wanted to create a recipe that is easy and simple to make with basic ingredients you most likely have lying around the house…. except for maybe chia seeds.  I also created this recipe to compliment all of the delicious seasonal fruit around us. This pudding can be sweetened to taste but I recommend  not making it too sweet so you can really taste the summer fruit you pair it with.

First let me tell you a bit about chia seeds

They are an ancient seed indigenous to Mexico and are said to be a staple of the Mayan and Aztec diet. They are extremely high in readily digestible fiber and have a really nice flavor. On top of all of that, they are high in Omega-3s, which is one of the most essential fats we need and usually don’t get enough of. Sooooo not only is this dessert delicious it has nutritional value as well. Chia seeds are roughly $10.00 for a 12 oz. bag. This bag will go a long way! You can add chia seeds to almost any dish for a great crunch, to act as a thickener of sorts for baking or for a beverage. My point is, if you are buying a bag for the first time it will last you a long time even though you will be finding uses for them in many dishes. I have also seen then available in bulk bins at local health food stores. Feel free to ask any more questions about where to order, brand etc… in the comments section.

And NOW! The recipe!

Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding (Serves 6)

1.5-2* cups Unsweetened Almond Milk (or any other milk you like. I always prefer unsweetened to control the amount of sugar I am

consuming as well as to avoid refined sugars) I wish I had home made almond milk on hand at the time…..

almond milk

almond milk

1 cup canned coconut milk

coconut milk

1/2 cup chia seeds

1 1/2 cup unsweetened coco powder

cocopowder

4-5 tablespoons Maple Syrup (grade B)

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a pinch of sea salt

pinch of cinnamon (optional)

*important note! the amount of milk  seems to vary a bit and depends on how much the chia seeds soak up. Start with a 1.5 cups of the almond milk and you can add more if needed to get the pudding consistency you want. Also, the more coconut milk you use the thicker the pudding gets.

For this post I made this recipe using the super, duper fast way by starting the chia seeds soaking  before making the flavor slurry that makes this so delish.  This way if you don’t have time to make it ahead of time you can make it in a pinch and will be ready to eat for dessert. In total the pudding should soak for at least 2 hours. The longer it sits though the better the flavors meld and the more puddingy the consistency becomes.

Step by Step:

Add 1/2 cup chia seeds to 3/4 of a cup almond milk and let sit for about 45 min in the refrigerator.

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Put coco powder into a small bowl with high sides and add a small amount of the coconut milk. Mix together making a chocolatey paste with no lumps.

chocolate flurry

Add maple syrup, cinnamon and salt along with the rest of the liquid.

Slowly add the chocolate mixture into the pre-soaked chia seeds. Make sure to break up any existing chia seed clumps that may have developed. Mix with a big spoon or whisk to incorporate all ingredients, evening out the consistency. It should still be liquidly at this point  but the chia seeds will still be sucking up moisture.  Let the mixture sit for about half an hour longer in the fridge to let the chia seeds soak up more liquid. At this point if it seems to be more chunky than the smooth you can add more liquid. Let the pudding sit for another hour. If it still seems like it needs more liquid you can add more.

clumps of chia seeds in the pudding that need to be incorporated into the rest of the pudding

Serve with fresh fruit. Ta dah! Enjoy!

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I hope to post a savory recipe soon! I don’t ever follow recipes so it’s a lot harder to make up savory foods recipe. I am looking forward to posting regularly again.

Thanks!

06/20/2013 / avenues of artistry

saying “welcome back” to myself

hello dear readers!

it’s been almost 2 months since i wrote a blog post and almost as long since i posted on the avenues of artistry facebook page.  throughout this sweet hiatus i did not forget about avenues of artistry social media or internet presence. rather, i have been collecting photos to post here and articles to post on the facebook page.

i consciously chose to take a pronounced break during my thesis writing to focus on finishing my master’s degree in Integrative Health with a certificate in Wellness Coaching.  april to may was a whirlwind of finishing my thesis and presenting my work to faculty and peers. the process of the thesis was perhaps one of the most stressful experiences of my life. once i completed  the thesis process i was relieved but i could feel the stress and exhaustion that had built up in my body.

graduation

graduation at Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco

at the end of may i was lucky to be able to celebrate my graduation with my family and my birthday with friends, as well as have some delicious alone time. june has been about celebrating love with the marriage of good friends and spending time reconnecting with myself. finding balance as a way to prepare for diving into my career.

i want to share with you the website i made for my academic e-portfolio. please feel free to take a look at it and contact me with questions or feed back. unless you’re my mom….. this is a prototype for the next steps in my career and i look forward to continue sharing with you as things unfold! please remember the art images images are copyrighted and may not be used without my permission.

here are some of my favorite photos i’ve taken over the last few months to let you know what i have been up to. hope you enjoy them!

so glad to be back!

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04/03/2013 / avenues of artistry

fuel for the creative fire

2 posts in 24 hours, i must be procrastinating? nope! i just find inspiration when i am working really hard!

last night a poem. this morning music. these are fuel to my creative fire.

i just had to share this with you because of the uniqueness of the sound of this cover of a song that most of us know. this version blew my mind this morning. these two go together like peanut butter & jelly. the way their voices dance together is cosmic bliss. ENJOY!

back to typing away!

04/03/2013 / avenues of artistry

blessings on a birth

we are bound in our ancestral cellular make up
our histories written in our DNA
we exist within our nurture
but our nature is a story our bodies tell
and relive in their expansive beauty.

our bodies
exclaim ancient memories
that our minds alone can not hold.
within the tiniest microscopic versions of ourselves,
that are the building blocks our glorious being
remain lost tales, visions and experiences
of those that came before us
and birthed us into being
wrapped in their own lineal, primordial shroud.

there is a raw beauty in these embedded details of lives past and present
and if pain, loss and destruction exists in these pieces
we dive in and through those dark, damp, earthy places
to rise verdant and anew
manifested within those puzzled segments of those that came before

03/13/2013 / avenues of artistry

how do you experience listening to yourself?

wave 1

 

life is a process, health is a process, art is a process. part of this process is listening to yourself in body and spirit. often the mind tempts us with a voice that offers doubt and insecurity. it is often hard for us to listen to our true self and set aside the critical voice that arises alongside the positive feelings.

for me, the sensation of trusting intuition is like a wave. i experience the self-judgment and identify it. then i choose to let it go, and enjoy the experience of listening to myself.

wave 3

 

do you identify with this? if so, how? and what’s your experience?

03/05/2013 / avenues of artistry

left and right side of the brain… cant we all just get along?

this week i have been diving into my thesis work and trying to keep myself from feeling utterly overwhelmed. one of the ways i have been managing my stress is a lovely little ritual I created ( with my coach!)-  putting on relaxing music, pulling angel cards, sitting for a 20 min meditation, and follow it up with water color painting in my mini moleskin watercolor journal.

Screen shot 2013-03-04 at 10.29.36 PM

unknown image source. found in cathy malchiodi’s brain image collection on pintrest

i have found myself having to live in the world of academia and keep the mindset of an artist. it’s difficult balancing the creative expansiveness needed to conceptualize new programs in a relatively new field with the narrow focus needed to construct a well-organized thesis. i found a bit of hope and excitement in one article i am reading that explains some of the different functions of the left and right side of the brain and how they work best when used together.

Screen shot 2013-03-04 at 10.32.50 PM

let me explain a bit more….

the left side of the brain is responsible for convergent thinking which is a linear logic way of seeing the world. in convergent thinking the brain examines previous experiences and aims to solve a problem as a yes or a no. a right or wrong view of the solution.

in contrast the right side of the brain is responsible for divergent thinking. this type of thinking is non linear, and sees many possibilities to a solution. divergent thinking does not focus on a particular starting point or ending point but sees multiple outcomes.

each side of the brain needs the other side to work at its best though and i particularly love one example given in the article.  one can have so many wonderful creative outrageous ideas but to distinguish which idea is best we need logical thought. through this we come to see that creativity works best when combined with some parameters. the opposite is also true, for logical linear thought. logic is important, but without creativity no new ideas would come into being.

for me, this was an important message to myself! i need to be doing both these types of investigation and enjoy doing both. BOTH logic and creative thought are important!

Screen shot 2013-03-04 at 10.31.51 PM

the applications of this are more far reaching than my thesis. this can help in many situations. anytime one of us faces a challenge big or small perhaps we can take a step back and say “what do i really need to help solve this problem?”. this type of solution gathering can be especially helpful in  establishing new health habits as well. really dig in, find some creative ways of accomplishing what you want and maybe even reach out to those that love you for support.

maybe you have other examples of how you can see this being helpful in your life? please share!

citations
Kraft, U. (2005). Unleashing creativity. Scientific American Mind, 16(1), 16-23.

photos found on Cathy Malchiodi‘s pintrest page. lovely aren’t they?

while searching for brain images after writing this i found this article in an online publication stating a similar thing just with an overly sensational title.
http://bigthink.com/ideafeed/debunking-the-right-brain-creativity-myth

02/25/2013 / avenues of artistry

doodles

 

this past week i have still been trying to kick my own butt into gear. luckily i am getting a bit of the creativity going. part of this practice is just doodling whatever is in my head when i am feeling stuck or frustrated. here are a few cuties….

universe

 

get focused

 

these little drawings are made with a multi colored japanese gel pen that i got in the airport for my travel and school bag. i love having all the colors at my finger tips!

 

 

muji pen

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