Nuts for texture

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My favorite part of Indian food is the dessert.

Once (not that long ago… ahem, possibly less than a month), my family went out for Indian food at this ridiculously delicious place in LA… and I was goaded encouraged to order dessert before dinner… and then a dessert for after dinner. And I thought, why not?! Because I always get so full with naan and curried goodness and end up eating dessert anyway, and then I can’t move for a week. Or maybe a few hours but it feels like a week.

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So this time I got smart!! A bowl of kheer to start the dinner… and a bowl to end it. A proper way to do things, if you ask me.

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Anyway. This isn’t exactly like the kheer you find in Indian places—it’s made with quinoa and rice milk rather than white rice and dairy (which obviously gives it a nutritional bump), but it’s close enough that I love it anyway. Give me some textural, lumpy puddingy thing and I’m totally sold. Seriously. I can’t stand mousse or regular pudding, but tapioca?! Oh yes. Rice pudding? In a heartbeat. Bread pudding? Bring it. You see? Nuts for texture.

Besides, this one is gluten free, refined sugar free, and full of protein! Why *wouldn’t* you eat this for dessert?! It’s perfect, provided you’re nuts for texture like me :) (or maybe just nuts, that’s a distinct possibility)

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Quinoa Kheer

Recipe adapted from A Brown Table, here! My fambam was in a pudding mood so it served three…
Gluten free, high protein, refined sugar free, and dairy free (if you sub in vegan butter)! What’s not to love?

  • 1.5 c cooked quinoa
  • 1 tbsp butter (mine is Kerrygold Irish butter, salted)
  • 4 dates, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • 3 c unsweetened almond milk
  • 1.5 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp honey
  • chopped pistachios for garnish

Melt butter over medium heat in a thick-bottomed saucepan. Add chopped dates and cardamom, and saute for just about a minute. Toss in quinoa, almond milk, coconut sugar, and honey, stirring to combine. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, then reduce to a simmer. Let it simmer, uncovered, until the liquid has reduced significantly (you’ll be able to tell—it will become thicker, with a more puddingy consistency. It will still thicken as it cools, so I stopped mine when it was reduced by about a 1/3). Stir frequently as it simmers, as the milk will scald if left too long. Let cool at room temperature, then stick it into the fridge for another hour or two. Serve chilled with chopped pistachios!

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Sunday things and pudding.

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Things.

Pictures today, since I’m feeling more visual and less like the chatterbox I usually am. 

This. No words needed.

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 Architecturally glorious, but…  

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Mother Nature always wins! 

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Look! A barley-rice yin-yang! 

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And now the real subject of this post… pudding!! 

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Mmm, pudding. There has been so much pudding in my life lately, this is a trend I’ll be continuing. This one is barley and brown rice (would have been all barley but I was a little short—a fortuitous happening since barley and brown rice go well together!), made with rice milk and coconut milk. I like it for breakfast with more milk added, or dessert with a chopped date or some raw honey (or maple). Kind of whatever floats your boat, any way you eat it, it’s delicious! Comforting in the tummy, warming, and soothing. 

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Coconut Barley-Brown Rice Pudding

Recipe lightly adapted from The Gouda Life, here! Makes a fairly good-sized vat… I got maybe 5 servings out of it? They were varying sizes though, some were bigger than others. 

  • 3/4 c purple barley, rinsed
  • 1/2 c brown rice (mine was kashikiri) 
  • 1 c original rice milk
  • 1/2 c water
  • 2 c light coconut milk 
  • 2 tsp cinnamon, plus more to taste
  • 2 tsp cardamom, plus more to taste
  • 3 dates, pitted and chopped
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • shredded unsweetened coconut, for garnish
  • pistachios, for garnish

In a pot, combine barley, brown rice, rice milk, water, cinnamon, and cardamom. Bring to a boil, then turn down and let simmer until most of the liquid is absorbed. Stir in chopped dates. Once the liquid is mostly gone, add coconut milk 1/4 c at a time, stirring frequently (I found it helpful to stand there with a book and stir…it’s kind of like risotto), adding the next batch after the previous has been mostly absorbed. When all of the coconut milk is added, the barley should be mostly cooked (it should be a little chewy when done). Mine needed a little more time, so I added a bit more rice milk and let it cook longer. I tasted it as I went and added more cinnamon/cardamom or vanilla to taste. Let cool a bit, and top with shredded coconut and pistachios to serve. I liked mine with chopped date or raw honey, but maple is good too! 

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My personality in four words: I eat bird food! Peck peck peck…

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Ahhh, a day off.

And… I have THIS!

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Mmm… birdseed. Peck peck peck.

Not even joking. You know those little seed thingies they put in birdseed mix? Yeah. These things:

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That I just ate for breakfast! And youuu thought I couldn’t get any weirder. HA!

These little birdseeds remind me of being in my grandma’s backyard and blowing bubbles… and feeding the birds! And quite often the squirrels… Anyway. I associate millet with sun-drenched afternoons with my gram, eating ice cream and getting soapy bubble stuff all over the dish towel in my lap. And then probably running through the sprinklers! So obviously I’m naturally inclined to like this seed, besides it being totally delicious.

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But anyway. Millet is an excellent grain substitute: creamy and kind of nutty tasting, high in manganese, magnesium, and phosphorus. So far I’ve only used it as a breakfast/pudding/dessert thingy, but savory biz is coming soon, just wait. I can’t believe I haven’t eaten this before—it’s like rice pudding but a thousand times better! AND it’s good for you, soooo… why not eat it for every meal?! This one has heart healthy fats from coconut milk, natural sweetness from dates (as well as a boatload of other good bennies like vitamins and minerals), and cardamom has the added benefits of (in Ayurveda theory) of being warming, improving blood circulation to the lungs, and balancing the doshas.

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Coconut Millet Pudding

Recipe slightly adapted from Delicious Living, here. As listed below, this one is vegan, gluten free, dairy free, and refined sugar free. Hooray! And… it’s delicious. Obvs. Otherwise I wouldn’t share it with you!

Rustle around and collect the following:

  • 1/2 uncooked millet, rinsed
  • 1 (14oz) can of light coconut milk
  • 3/4 c milk bev (I used Eden Soymilk, which is just soybeans+water)
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1/4 c medjool dates, chopped
  • 3/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • dash of sea salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • optional: pistachios for topping

Combine millet, coconut milk, soymilk, water, chopped dates, cardamom, and sea salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil (Being careful not to let it boil over, oops no of course I don’t speak from experience…), covered, then turn it down to a simmer and let it cook, covered, until millet is fluffy and most of the liquid is absorbed, about 20-30 minutes (mine was more like 20), stirring frequently. Once millet is cooked, remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Top with pistachios for a garnish if desired! Excellent warm or cool.

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Tart-tastic Antioxidants!

mmm, antioxidants!

I’m feeling less than creatively humorous today…It must be on account of all of the holiday sweets I’ve been consuming lately. Oops. Whatever, that’s not stopped me from baking like a crazy! Really, does anything ever stop me? … Correct answer: No.

BUT.

Bring on the healthy (ish) dessert! I win, I win!! Delicious AND nutritious (or hey, I can at least tell myself that, right?!). I sort of needed a break from all of the layer cakes. A short break, mind you, but a break none the less. In comes the tart! This tart is sort of a combination of a rice pudding and a tart crust, but it’s vegan! Which is awesome, as I’d like to get into more vegan baking (I find it intriguing). Besides, I LOVE rice pudding, and this definitely qualifies. It’s also really akin to a sticky rice dessert, which I ALSO LOVE (are we seeing a trend here?!), which therefore also makes it delicious.

On the nutritious side, it has a mostly minimal amount of fat in it—coconut oil is good for you, anyway! It also is made with black rice (sometimes known as Forbidden Rice, as only the emperor of China was allowed to eat it for the benefit of his longevity), which has more of the antioxidant antohcyanin than blueberries! It’s high in fiber, iron, and an excellent source of minerals. AND Kind of can’t go wrong, when I’m eating antioxidants for dessert! No wonder the emperor was so protective of his rice. But the common people have it now, so ha! Besides all that, it is a gorgeous purple color. Which makes my eyes AND my stomach happy. Everyone wins. Including the gremlins that hang out in my stomach, as we know they loooove color.

But wait. There is even more nutritionalness to be found in this dessert! The crust is made with whole grains and cashews (which contain the same oleic acid–monounsaturated fatty acid found in olive oil), and coconut oil, which is insanely good for you (the lauric acid is an antioxidant, among a million other things).

Okaaayyy. Enough with the nutrition lesson. I just really had to convince you how good this is for you… so that you’ll go home and make it. It’s fab, you won’t regret it. And then eat a slice. Or two. Or five. And revel in the fact that you’re making your body happy! It will thank you later :)

mmm, antioxidants

Black Rice Tart

From NeverHomeMaker, original here! (and their blog is fab, check it out!). Makes one tart.

For the crust:

  • 1/3 c raw cashews
  • 1/2 c rolled oats
  • 1/4 c brown sugar
  • 1/4 c coconut oil (because it’s good for youuu!)
  • 1/8 tsp/a pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp lavender (we grow our own)
  • 1 tsp vanilla

For the sticky rice

  • 2 c water
  • 1 c black rice, uncooked
  • 1/3 c maple syrup
  • 1 can of coconut milk (I used light from Trader Joe’s and it turned out fine!)
  • 1/3 c unsweetened coconut flakes

Whatcha do!

Preheat the oven to 325, and lightly grease a tart pan (or a pie dish—my tart pan is in Salem, so that’s what I used).

In a food processor, process the cashews and 1/4 c rolled oats until finely ground. Add the rest of the oats, lavender and salt, pulsing to combine. I left some slightly larger chunks. Pour into a medium sized bowl and set aside. In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the coconut oil. Once melted, stir in vanilla and brown sugar, and simmer over a low flame for 2 to 3 minutes. Mine looked weirdly separated/congealed, but turned out fine. Pour the hot syrup over the dry ingredients, and combine thoroughly. Press the crust into your pan of choice, making sure to cover the bottom and go up the sides a ways. Bake for 5 minutes, then let cool. When cool enough, let it set in the refrigerator.

While the crust is cooling, start the water for the rice. When it boils, add rice, cover, and simmer for about 30 minutes, until all the water is absorbed. Add coconut milk, maple syrup, and coconut flakes, and continue to cook until the liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes more. I stirred continuously (it makes for meditative thinking time, hehe), but I’m not entirely sure this is necessary—occasional stirring would likely be okay. Transfer the pudding to a bowl, and let cool. Chill briefly in the fridge before using. Once chilled, pour the pudding into the tart shell, and chill until serving. I topped mine with more shredded coconut.

It was deeeelicous! Mine had a little trouble coming out of the dish cleanly—my crust was rather sticky. Next time… more coconut oil to grease the dish. It was a bit more like a crumble than a tart slice, but ridiculously tasty nonetheless, so I wasn’t complaining ;)