Strawberry Chocolate Coconut Chia Pudding Recipe

Itz a Strawberry Chocolate Coconut Chia Pudding Recipe – with just a few ingredients and no added sugar, this makes for a deliciously healthy treat!

strawberry chocolate coconut pudding

Strawberry Chocolate Coconut Chia Pudding

~makes two very large servings… probably more like four normal size servings

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Stir cocoa syrup in to coconut milk.
  2. Add chia seeds and stir.
  3. Mix strawberries and shredded coconut.
  4. Refrigerate for several hours.
  5. Garnish with an additional strawberry, shredded coconut, and whipped cream (optional).

This stuff was awesome.  Jonny and I both thoroughly enjoyed it.  Itz thick and rich and creamy and delicious.  I was sent the NuNaturals Cocoa Syrup and have used it several times.  Itz chocolatey, syrupy, and sugar free!  I think itz best when itz stirred into something as opposed to drizzled on top (though I’ve done that several times, too).  I’ve found it a teeny bit bitter when eaten alone.  Mixed in to something like pudding or chocolate milk and itz just perfect!

strawberry chocolate coconut pudding1

I had to drizzle it on top for photo purposes.  Which clearly didn’t turn out nearly as pretty as I had anticipated.  Which also brings me to my next point.  Food photography.  I’m so not good at it.  I try.  And by “I try” I mean I use my iPhone for a camera. Sometimes I google pictures of similar items to try and replicate them, but they just never come out as good.  Some of my food pictures are better than others, but I always envision something different than what actually happens.  I try to use props.  Doesn’t work.  Someone help me.

In addition to the strawberry chocolate coconut chia pudding, I wanted to make something more similar to ice cream.  So I did the same exact thing as the pudding, but eliminated the chia seeds and let the bowl sit in the freezer all day.

coconut ice cream

And clearly I was out of ideas for how to change up this shot.  Jonny ate it and said it had a sorbet-like consistency.  He ate the whole bowl before I even had a chance to try it.  #typical  He was a major fan to say the least. #heeatsanything

I mean, I’m not trying to BE a food photographer; I’d just like to improve, that’s all.

So then I tried to get all fancy and do one of those spoon shots.

bite

Nothing about this looks good lol.  Food photogs, how do you do it?!

Here’s just a few fellow bloggers who I think always take beautiful food photos:

Since I can’t leave you with such a terrible looking photo and I also can’t leave you with a William-less post, I’ll share one picture from the baby photo expert, Stephanie Cotta Photography (aka my sister).

william 2 months

What are your food photography tips? HELP!

Cherry Coconut Granola Recipe

Wow! Fabulous discussion on yesterday’s Placenta Encapsulation post!  I promise not to mention placenta any more in today’s food-themed post. 🙂

Since I’m on spring break, I’ve obviously have had a lot more time on my hands. That means trying new recipes and spending longer in the kitchen which I love.  I felt like lately I hadn’t done a whole lot of baking or cooking, and I’m definitely making up for it this week.

Breakfast: Coconut Cookie Dough Oatmeal

coconut cookie dough oatmeal

I followed Chocolate Covered Katie’s Coconut Cookie Dough Oatmeal recipe and it was a winner! I was actually so eager to try it that I totally burnt the heck outta my tongue and mouth on the first bite. I don’t usually bake my oatmeal, but like Katie promised, each bite was warm and gooey.

Lunch: Deconstructed Refried Bean Burrito Salad

refried bean salad

I followed Kitchen Treaty’s recipe for Easy Refried Bean and Cheese Burritos and had plenty of the mixture leftover, so I used it to make a salad the following two days.  I started with a bed of shredded iceberg and spinach, added the mixture, and topped it with cheddar cheese and plain Chobani Greek yogurt.  Awesome.

Dinner: Easy Refried Bean and Cheese Burritos

Easy-Refried-Bean-and-Cheese-Burritos

That is actually Kitchen Treaty’s photo because I couldn’t get my burritos as pretty as that. I don’t think I wrapped them tight enough.  I also pinned this recipe to make it again because it was such a hit between Jonny and me.  Her recipe called for refried beans (obviously) and she linked to one of her previous recipes on Easy Vegetarian Crock Pot Refried Beans (without the lard!).  I made these to use in the recipe and loved how easy it is. They are much more economical than purchasing refried beans, not to mention much healthier since there’s no lard or added junk they put in. I probably won’t ever buy canned refried beans ever again.

Today’s What I Ate Wednesday is hosted, as always, by Jenn at Peas and Crayons.

Dessert: Healthy Whole Wheat Hamantashen

Hamantashen

Purim is a Jewish holiday in which itz customary to make hamantashen. Hamantashen are symbolic as they’re triangular-shaped to represent Hamen’s three-cornered hat. Hamantashan are usually filled with fruit, cheese, or poppy seed. This was the first time I made them and I followed No Way That’s Healthy! Healthy Whole Wheat Hamantashen recipe which was fantastic and so easy. I’ve made several batches including fillings of raspberry jam, poppy seed, and chocolate peanut butter.  I actually went to my grandma’s house, so she could taste them and when I got there she told me she had something she wanted me to taste, as well. It turns out, we both had made hamantashen!  (Her’s were much prettier – I posted a pic comparing the two on Instagram.) Both tasted good!

Snack: Cherry Coconut Granola

cherry choconut granola

Consider yourself warned: this stuff is addicting! We’ve been eating it by the spoonfuls by itself, with oatmeal, mixed in yogurt, and on top of smoothies.  This first batch didn’t last long at all. I absolutely love homemade granola and here is another prime example.

Cherry Coconut Granola Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • Several drops of NuNaturals Cherry NuStevia
  • 3 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup dried cherries
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut

Directions:

  1. Mix coconut oil, honey, and NuNaturals in a bowl.
  2. Slowly add oats.
  3. Stir in dried cherries and shredded coconut.
  4. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes, tossing halfway through, ensuring itz not burning.

cherry choconut granola recipe

Do you make your own granola? What’s your favorite recipe? Leave a link!

One Arm Handstand

I did it.  I finally did it.  I rocked the one arm handstand!

one arm handstand

(Shorts by Yogi Clothing, Sports Bra by Freemotion, Headband by Sweaty Bands)

I had tried the one arm handstand a few times before, but never felt strong enough.  On Sunday after my bikram yoga class, I decided to try once again.  Success!  Itz definitely worthy for Marvelous in my Monday courtesy of Healthy Diva Life, right?

MiMM

The handstand fun actually began on Friday.  You see, we didn’t have kids at school as it was a day to work on report cards.  While most of the day was very productive, we did need to take a few brain breaks.  And my brain breaks obviously consisted of handstands in my co-workers’ classrooms.

handstand

Saturday morning I woke up bright and early and prepared a delicious breakfast of oatmeal with Designer Whey French Vanilla protein powder, cinnamon, and sunflower seed butter.  On the side I had lemon water and coffee with Silk Vanilla Almond Milk and NuNaturals vanilla stevia.  Yes, I love vanilla.

breakfast

I ended up meeting my friend Kristi for bikram yoga.  It was her first bikram class and she ended up loving it, too!  I was so happy because many of my friends who I have taken do not like bikram.  Now I have a partner in crime!  Post bikram glow:

kristi yoga

The rest of Saturday was pretty low key.  It did involve a trip to the farmer’s market with my dad and nephew.  Jonny and I went to a SLU Billiken’s basketball game at night.  I’m pretty indifferent towards basketball, so I’ll show you a picture of what I paid more attention to at the game. 🙂

Billikens basketball game

I love watching the cheerleaders and dancers!  Luckily I snuck a Designer Whey protein bar in to the game because I knew we would not be eating until after.  For dinner, we picked up a veggie pizza from Imo’s Pizza.  It was delicious and we scarfed it down.  If you’re ever in St. Louis, you’ve got to have Imo’s – itz the best thin crust pizza!

My weekend ended with time spent at my parents’ with the family, grocery shopping, dinner with the in-laws, and, of course, bikram yoga.  Marvelous!

before yoga

Handstands – can you do ’em?  Pizza – thick or thin crust?

Let’s Call It “Juice”

On Sunday I was contacted by Steve, owner of Nadoz Cafe, to come in and try their new juice bar.  I jumped at the opportunity because I did not even know a real juice bar existed in St. Louis.  (Smoothies that have fruit and tons of added sugar don’t count!)

After learning about the Euro Bakery + Cafe, Steve offered me a juice. He asked what I would like, and all of their combinations sounded so good!  Lately I’ve seen tons of juices with beets and ginger in them, so I was curious to try something along those lines. Steve suggested the Tropical Beet Juice with beets, apple, pineapple, and ginger.

Nadoz juice

It was totally awesome!  The pineapple provided the perfect amount of sweetness and the hint of ginger was not overpowering at all.  Definitely a fan.  I can’t wait to go back for breakfast, lunch, or dinner; they even have a wine bar that’s open in the evening.  Their menu is quite extensive and everything is made in-house.  Their juices contain no added sugar or pre-made juices.  They have a fancy juicer where they literally throw fresh fruit and vegetables in, and it turns it into smooth, nutrient-packed juice.  If only I had one in my own kitchen!

I did try to make my own juice at home by merely throwing a bunch of fruits and vegetables into my blender.  Here’s what my mix contained: ice, banana, carrots, celery, orange, flaxseed, spinach, kale, raw cacao powder, cinnamon, and water.

smoothie juice

Let’s just call it “juice,” yeah?  It really just turned into a smoothie, and I didn’t mind the taste, but it was certainly not as fine (nor as pretty!) as the juice from Nadoz.  Good try, Linz.  I did still get all the benefits of the vitamins and minerals from the fruits and veggies though.  And if you’re wondering: there is not a strong vegetable taste at all.  The banana and cinnamon really negate the strong “greens” taste.

Since this green juice didn’t provide any protein, I knew I needed to have something a bit more substantial to tide me over til lunch.  Plus, I workout in the morning, so having protein is especially important to refuel and repair muscles.  I made protein pudding.

protein pudding

In the puddin’: Sunwarrior vanilla protein powder, coconut flour, vanilla almond milk, cinnamon, and NuNaturals vanilla stevia.  I slowly add the milk until the desired consistency is reached.

Thanks to Jenn at Peas and Crayons for hosting today’s WIAW.

Lunch included baked chicken, steamed broccoli, and an apple.

lunch

Simple, but healthy and filling.  For snack I had a Dale’s Raw Protein Bar in raspberry hazelnut that I received in my last Conscious Box.  While the bar doesn’t look appealing, it actually tasted really good!  Plus, it packed 22 grams of protein!

dale's raw protein bar

(No nasty comments of what the bar looks like, please.)  Dinner was such a hodge podge.  We had leftover chicken and I roasted a cauliflower and sprinkled paprika and red pepper on it.  Then I found an eggplant in my fridge, so I roasted that, too.  After seeing the two white vegetables, I decided I needed some greens.  In the oven went rainbow chard sprayed with olive oil and nutritional yeast on top.

dinner

Very random, but it worked and was Jonny-approved, as well.  The other day I picked up Organic Stone Ground Extra Dark Chocolate from Trader Joe’s.  Itz a “traditional Mexican-style chocolate,” and ohmygoodness itz absolutely delicious!

chocolate

Itz such a rich and satisfying treat.  Mmm mmm mmm!

Do you make your own juice?  What’s your favorite combination?

Coconut Flour Pancakes

To the ordinary eye, this may look like any old pancake.

But take a closer (or read this post), and you’ll soon learn that this is not just an ordinary pancake.  Instead, itz a coconut flour pancake that is delicious, nutritious, and wildly easy to make!

Coconut Flour Pancake

~makes 1 large pancake

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup each coconut flour, milk, egg whites
  • a few drops vanilla NuNaturals
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Directions:

  • Combine all ingredients.
  • Cook over medium-low heat, being careful not to burn.
  • Flip pancake to cook the back side.
  • Add your favorite toppings and enjoy!

I added a little maca powder and wheat germ to mine, too, but you don’t have to.  I like to bulk up my pancakes, oatmeal, and smoothies by sneaking in other ingredients.  Chia seeds and flax seeds often make an appearance, as well. 

What’s different about these coconut flour pancakes is that they are thicker and more moist than the traditional pancake.  They’re not light and fluffy; no, no, they are dense and filling and wonderful.  I find that fresh strawberries, unsweetened shredded coconut, and a drizzle of maple syrup are my favorite toppings, though a smear of coconut oil adds a whole other level of richness! Just look at the beauty:

 

What are your favorite pancake toppings?

Dreamsicle Smoothie & A Giveaway

Happy Memorial Day! A very sincere thank you goes to everyone, past and present, who serves our country and protects our freedom.  Thank you.  We went to the Cardinal’s game yesterday during the lovely St. Louis 100 degree weather.  In observance of Memorial Day, all military personnel were asked to stand so they could be recognized.  It definitely gave a nice sense of community to be cheering for so many wonderful people.  And again, we brought home a winner.

There was no fro-yo involved, so maybe we’re just the Birds lucky charm?  We went with some of our best friends, Diana and Andy (aka DiAndy) who are getting married June 16, 2013.  Can’t wait.  🙂  Itz also Diana’s birthday today, so a very happy birthday goes out to her! xoxo

With summertime here, some of my food choices change based on the warm weather.  I definitely like lighter meals, citrus flavors, and refreshing drinks and treats.  When I first discovered NuNaturals, I was hooked.  Then, they went ahead and came out with two new flavors which are absolutely perfect for the warm summer months.

Lemon NuStevia and Orange NuStevia.  I have been playing around with both of these and have found great success in many new recipes and a summer spin on some old recipes.  My favorite would have to be a Dreamsicle Smoothie I created.  Jonny loves going to Lion’s Choice and getting the dreamsicle milkshake.  Of course, I don’t love all the nasty sugar that even a small size packs.  I made a much better alternative.

Dreamsicle Smoothie: ice, 1 banana, 1 orange, 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk, 1 scoop vanilla Sunwarrior protein powder, 1 dropper full of Orange NuStevia, and ground flaxseeds. Makes 2 smoothies. Seriously tastes like a dreamsicle and much, much healthier.  (Not to mention the protein punch it packs!)  Dee-lish!

I’ve also been loving the orange and the lemon sweetener in my tea or water.  It naturally sweetens drinks without any artificial sugar or flavor.

The orange and the lemon are great for people who get tired of drinking plain water all day long.  My grandma loves adding sweet n low and lemon to water, but when I had her try the Lemon NuStevia, she approved!  I’ve also really been liking adding the lemon to water when I use apple cider vinegar.  It makes for a very refreshing drink.

You all know how I love my protein pancakes, so naturally I wanted to use the lemon and orange in them.  Mission complete.

Lemon Coconut Protein Pancake: 1 scoop of vanilla Sunwarrior protein powder, 3 eggwhites, a dash of baking powder, 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseeds, several drops of Lemon NuStevia, unsweetened vanilla almond milk, and some shredded unsweetened coconut flakes.  For the frosting, I used half a scoop of vanilla protein powder, almond milk, coconut, and Lemon NuStevia.  Definitely a summertime breakfast!

Now itz your turn!  Leave a comment telling me one way you would use the Lemon or Orange NuStevia and be entered to win a bottle of each.  Four lucky winners will be sent both bottles of the lemon and orange.  (No P.O. boxes.)  Don’t stop there.  If you wish, become a fan of Itz Linz on Facebook and NuNaturals on Facebook.

For additional entries: subscribe to Itz Linz, follow Itz Linz on twitter and tweet the following, “Summertime is here! I want to win a bottle of Orange & Lemon @NuNaturals from @ItzLinz! Enter here: http://wp.me/p264zq-wn

Plus, if you would like to order any of the NuNaturals products, go to the NuNaturals website and when you get to the checkout page, enter the discount code BLG0612 and you will receive a 15% discount on your entire order. This discount remains effective until June 30, 2012.  Online ordering customers may also receive free shipping to the continental US on all orders exceeding $35.00 after discounts.

This giveaway will be open until Friday, June 1st at 6:00 pm CST.  Four winners will be randomly selected and announced on Saturday, June 2nd.  Winners will have 48 hours to contact me to claim their prize or another winner will be drawn.

*I was not compensated for this post beyond being given the NuNaturals products to try.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

NuNaturals Goodness

For someone who has an enormous sweet tooth [ME], sweetening food is very important.  However, most people [ME] do not want the extra sugar and calories sweetening food can usually entail.  This is only part of the reason why I was ecstatic to sample and review the wide variety of NuNaturals products.

NuNaturals products are Stevia based, all natural, zero calorie, zero sugar sweeteners.  I had never tried any type of Stevia product before, but was eager to since I’m not a huge fan of all of the additives in the other fake sweeteners.  I am thoroughly impressed with NuNaturals.  Every single product I used sweetened my dish, did not have a funky aftertaste, and definitely didn’t hurt my waistline!  Let me show you some of my favs:

I have to sweeten my coffee.  These single serving packets get the job done!  I actually tried all of the NuNaturals products in my coffee (with the exception of the baking blend) and I liked them all!  I really liked the added flavor that the vanilla and cocoa bean added in addition to the sweetness.

In the morning when I make oats or quinoa, I like my bowls sweet.  Traditional oats or quinoa are not sweet, so something must be added.  Clearly I chose NuNaturals!

I prepared 1/2 cup of quinoa on the stovetop.  Then, I stirred in banana flavored protein powder, a dash of unsweetened vanilla almond milk, 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseeds, and 1 dropper full of cocoa extract.  Banana chocolate quinoa bowl?  Yes, it really was that good!  I said it before, but I’ll say it again: there is not a hint of bitterness in these products!  They don’t taste fake (because they’re not); they truly provide the sweetness and flavor the label suggests.

Itz been a lot of fun experimenting with these products and adding them to my everyday eats.  Don’t tell the other recipes, but I have found a favorite.  Our friends from out-of-town came over on Saturday night, so I quickly whipped up a batch of cookies.  They were phenomenal.  Jonny had 6 in one sitting.  Seriously.  Another girl had 4.  (I won’t tell you how many I had.)  And you know what?  We didn’t feel guilty at all!

Guiltless Vanilla “Sugar” Cookies

          ~makes 21 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 3/4 cup NuNaturals More Fiber Baking Blend
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons ground flaxseeds (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 droppers NuNaturals Vanilla Stevia
  • optional: dark chocolate chips and/or sprinkles and/or other mix-ins

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in large bowl and mix.
  2. Spray cookie sheet.
  3. Drop 1 – 2 tablespoons of cookie batter on tray.
  4. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.

I was in the mood for variety, so I made some plain vanilla sugar cookies, and then added dark chocolate chips to others and sprinkles to others.  Check out why I call these cookies guiltless.  One cookie contains 60 calories, 1.2 grams of fat, 12 grams of carbohydrates, 3.8 grams of fiber, 2.1 grams of protein, and 0.2 grams of sugar.  Impressive, eh?  Note: those facts were for the plain vanilla sugar cookies.  Obviously adding chocolate chips or sprinkles will add calories and sugar.

Another benefit of NuNaturals is their website.  There are tons of recipes listed, and NuNaturals will even send you a sample!  Click here for details.  I would definitely recommend checking out the NuNaturals products.  How much more can you ask for in a sweetener?  Oh I know.  You can’t.  They are natural, non-bitter, and zero added calories and sugar.  Awesome!  Thank you so much, NuNaturals, for my wonderful products.  You definitely got me hooked!

Have you tried NuNaturals before? 

Disclaimer: NuNaturals graciously sent me the above products to review.  They did not compensate me beyond this as all thoughts and opinions are my own.