Coconut-Almond Chia Seed Pudding

Coconut-Almond Chia Seed Pudding

I think that it’s time for some LARK breakfast hints! I rotate what I eat during the week between Granola, Chia Seed Pudding, Tiger Nut Pancakes, and the Basic Smoothie. Sometimes I add some scrambled eggs with feta, spinach, and tomatoes in the rotation, but generally this rotation of meals is what keeps me healthy and starting the day off right. On the weekend we splurge, of course, with The Sunday Pancake - I love them with a little granola and fresh blueberry sprinkled in the batter.

 For better or worse…don’t expect this to taste like the chocolate pudding of your childhood!

For better or worse…don’t expect this to taste like the chocolate pudding of your childhood!

If you look closely at LARK recipes, you can see I’m big on oatmeal. I love it, but it doesn’t give me the energy I’m looking for to last me all day. The answer? Trendy Chia Seed Pudding! I make it on Sunday afternoon, store it in Mason jars, and eat it a few mornings each week. Top this pudding with a tablespoon of almond butter, fresh fruit, and a drizzle of maple syrup for a satisfying breakfast.


I’ll post the other recipes mentioned above later this week, so for now enjoy this one!


Coconut-Almond Chia Seed Pudding
(makes 3 cups of pudding)

1 can unsweetened coconut milk (13.6 oz.)
½ c white chia seeds
1 T maple syrup
½ t salt
1 t almond extract
½ c frozen blueberries or tart pitted cherries
2 T Collagen Powder (click this link to read about the health benefits of this product!)

Stir well to combine and pour mixture into three 8 ounce Mason jars. Allow to set in the refrigerator overnight and, when ready to eat, top with nuts, seeds, fruit and a hint of honey or maple syrup.

Steamed Artichokes

Steamed Artichokes

This recipe stems from my admiration of local chef and cookbook author, Julee Rosso.  Julee mastered the steamed artichoke, and this is my weeknight, kid-friendly version of that lovely French dish. I often steam one  artichoke while I make dinner and tell the kids it’s there to eat before dinner everytime they remind me they are hungry (which is OFTEN!).

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I love when my kids surprise me and eat something I deem interesting or FANCY.  There is something lovely about kids pulling artichoke leaves out of the heart and scraping the goodness out with their teeth.  It seems harder to do than shovel string cheese into their mouth and also feels a bit European. Why do I assume artichokes are better than white, waxy, cheese?  This seems to be just my personal taste, but artichokes are truly more healthy and satisfying for my kids’ energetic needs. Enjoy this recipe and all the fun of eating petals!

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Steamed Artichokes
Serves 2 as an appetizer

1 artichoke
1 lemon, sliced in half
3 T olive oil
1 t chili flakes

Wash artichoke and trim off all the sharp points with scissors.  Cut off stem with a knife and then cut off the top sharp point of artichoke as well.  Lay the artichoke in the middle of a 1-foot long piece of Plastic Wrap and squeeze a lemon over it.  Tightly wrap the plastic around the artichoke and place it in microwave. Cook for 5 minutes. Meanwhile,  combine olive oil with chili flakes in a cute bowl for dipping. After cooking, unwrap the artichoke and place it stem side down on a plate.  To eat, pull the petals off and dip in oil. Don’t eat the whole petal! Scrape off the fleshy parts with your teeth and -- YUM! -- enjoy. Put out an extra plate for used petals.

Storing up for Winter

Storing up for Winter

When my basil plants (the only thing I can grow well; I’m just not such a green thumb) are huge, I make large batches of pesto. This year I ONLY planted basil and guess what?  It’s hardly growing. The only plant I have (and I planted eight plants!) isn’t working. SO...I just bought some amazing basil from our local farmers’ market and I’m making pesto this week.  I’m freezing it in ice cube trays for use all winter. If you live in California or East Jerusalem and can make good pesto with your own basil all winter, please know that I’m so jealous. As in my other recipes, there’s not garlic here -- but feel free to add a clove or two if you prefer it, and for the recipe page click here!  

 

  these pics have nothing to do with summer pesto except they are very Winter-ey photos, which we are storing up for now! 

these pics have nothing to do with summer pesto except they are very Winter-ey photos, which we are storing up for now! 

  photo credit:  Alexa Karen

photo credit: Alexa Karen

Basic Pesto
Makes 2 cups


1 c parmesan cheese (I love Kirkland Signature Parmigiano Reggiano Aged 24 Months from Costco, in blocks)
2 c basil
1/2 c pine nuts or walnuts
1 c olive oil
1/4 t. salt  
1 t. pepper
Garlic, optional

In a food processor, grate block of parmesan until course.  Add basil and pulse until combined, then add pine nuts, salt, and pepper, and pulse again.  Add olive oil while machine is running. Spoon this mixture into ice cube trays, freeze, then pop into plastic bags for use during the long winter.  

A note on the cheese: I remove waxy rind from the block of cheese before grinding in food processor.  I then cut the block into small 1 inch blocks and toss into the food processor and grind until fine.  I'm sorry if you don't have a food processor -- it's essential for this recipe, so please borrow one if you don't own one!

Fig Sangria

Lark events have helped me create some new recipes in this one-batch-size-cocktail-a-week repertoire.  I didn't expect friends and local business’ to ask for recipes specifically for their events, but it’s been fun and necessity has certainly been the mother of invention in my kitchen!  In search of a signature cocktail for the BIG READ HOLLAND, I created the Fig Sangria (with inspiration from the West Elm blog featuring Gabriel Cabrera @artfuldesperado.

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The Big Read is a community reading project highlighting the book When the Emperor was Divine by Julie Otsuka.  It was fun to search for a signature drink for this event! There is star anise in the recipe so that is what caught my attention, although that is where the Asian influence here stops. The recipe is inspired by Moroccan flavors, but it’s a serious fusion with elderflower syrup, star anise, and figs — overall the theme here is lavish and elegant — two things that I love in recipes.  Enjoy this mix of sultry flavors and buy fresh figs while they are ripe and available in stores. Freeze them for the winter months when rich luscious fruit will be a welcome treat!

 photos by   Bridging Her Story

Follow the Recipe

I’m not a chef.  I really wish I was, as it would help with my butchering and knife skills as well as every other amazing little thing chefs do.  The benefit of me not being a chef is that I’m a home cook.  I hope you are too, because that’s who I’m writing for: you! (And if you are a chef, and you are here, I welcome you -- I LOVE that you would read my work!)  Back to the benefit of my home cook status -- I create dishes for people who use the same kind of Pyrex measuring cups, shop at the same standard local grocery store, and need a recipe to ensure what they are making will turn out.  I love that people mess with recipes and create their own lovely version of things, but I’ll admit that I am a recovering creative in the kitchen. I have solid, tried and true recipes that I use in a rotation (a CONSTANT rotation) when entertaining so that the money we are spending on good ingredients won’t be wasted on a dinner that’s inedible because I decided to get creative with the recipe!

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My theory on creative use of recipes is this: make it AS WRITTEN once.  If you don’t like the recipe, throw it away and find a new version of the dish or cocktail you want to make.  If the recipe is a winner, note what you do and don’t love about the recipe, and make it in your own, new way the next time you make it.  Keep doing that until it becomes your own, and file that into your brain under WHAT TO COOK WHEN THE BOSS COMES TO DINNER or for your best friends who love food as much as you do.

 

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Enjoy going out on a Lark with new recipes this week.  Make mine once (will you make the Pom Pom Cocktail or the Winged Goddess dressing?) and then make it your own!  

Wall of Books

Wall of Books

 

I have a cookbook collection.  It spans the kitchen wall, from the baseboards to the crown molding.  The range of authors is somewhat varied, lingering long in French classics and American bistro:  from Ina Garten to Yotam Ottolenghi, Julia Child to Nancy Oakes. I draw inspiration from these books, but I also strictly follow recipes from these books.  I’m a rule and recipe follower, which inspires me to write all of my own recipes down so that I can make them the same way every time. {My writing and pen can be more reliable than my memory and brain, people.}

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On that note, while Pinterest is fun and accessible, it’s not always reliable.  If I find a Martha Stewart recipe pinned, I know it will cook the way it’s written.  I trust the recipe testing and reputation of magazine and brand, so it’s my go-to. If I don’t know the author but find a cornbread recipe while waiting in the grocery line, there is no guarantee it’s going to work, and for me -it usually doesn’t.  I love the tried-and-true, the reliable. That’s why my goal is to write clear and simple recipes. I want to build a brand and book that is reliable. I want every recipe to show up for you the way I intended it. One thing I can’t rely on is your taste and palette.  That’s why, for example, I have included two recipes this week.  I don’t know if red wine gives you a headache, or if you only drink white in the summer.  So here are TWO reliable sangria recipes. Make one this weekend as you unwind from a very long week.  Make a jug for a neighbor and leave it at their door to spread the love.  Let me know which one you prefer (but no one said you can’t enjoy BOTH.)

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Let me know, also, how you enjoy gathering recipes.  Are you a rule follower? Send me an email or use #livinglark on Instagram to let me know -- I’d love to hear your thoughts.

 

Go on a Lark!

Kate