Coconut Matcha Chia Pudding

A new year has dawned, carrying with it optimistic aspirations and a hopeful outlook. For the first time in a long time, I feel like I can breathe. The future carries a rosy tint; the months ahead no longer feel so heavy and intimidating. As a third year teacher, I am finally in a place where I no longer need to spend each evening lesson planning and writing exams. After the past several years of spending what feels like all my time and energy trying to stay afloat, this change feels as if an enormous burden has been lifted off my shoulders.

My time is finally, finally becoming my own.

Heading into this year, I intend to work on a work-life balance. After so many years of the scale tipping heavily in the work direction, I allowed life to take precedence the past few months. I was greedy with my personal time, devouring books and television shows by the series, relishing being unplugged in the evenings. The freedom was seductive. I faded from here during those months, certain you'd be able to forgive the brief absences once I could reason them.

The work-life balance will need continual adjustments, but with one heavy weight removed, it feels possible for the scale to even out.

Among wishes of a dedicated exercise routine and not leaving dishes in the sink to "soak," eating more greens often nears the top of my resolution list. With the color spot on, I believe that this matcha pudding also qualifies as a green. After delighting in the pairing of green tea and coconut in this iced latte, it was time to bring the flavors together again in another form. The pudding itself uses only a bowl and whisk, making it nearly effortless to bring together.

Go ahead, eat more "greens."

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Coconut Matcha Chia Pudding is simple to make and visually striking. The matcha pudding is thickened with chia seeds and topped with a coconut whipped cream mixed with shredded coconut. The sweet, creamy nature of the coconut contrasts well against the earthy flavor of the green tea. The pudding and whipped cream balance each other beautifullyโ€”one should not be served without the other.

Matcha is powdered green tea and can be found at most tea shops and health food stores.

One Year Ago: Chocolate Sugar Cookies and Coconut Almond Quinoa
Two Years Ago: Almond Date Banana Smoothie 
Three Years Ago: Chocolate (DF) Ice Cream, Peanut Butter Banana OatmealRaspberry White Chocolate Scones, and Lemon Poppy Seed Rolls
Four Years Ago: Candy Cane Popcorn, Chocolate Clementine CupcakesPeppermint Hot Chocolate, Green Tea Coconut Ice Cream, Chocolate Lavender Cupcakes, and Sugar Cookies
Five Years Ago: Gingerbread Cheesecake, Peppermint Ice Cream, Banana Muffins, Vanilla Pear MilkSalted Caramels, and Chocolate Salted Caramel Cookies

Coconut Matcha Chia Pudding

Yields four 1/2-cup servings

14.5 ounces (1 can or 428 mL) canned coconut milk
1 1/2 teaspoons matcha powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-2 tablespoons maple syrup (to taste)
1/4 cup (50 grams) chia seeds
1 recipe Coconut Whipped Cream
1/3 cup (30 grams) shredded coconut

In a food processor or blender, blend together the canned coconut milk, matcha powder, vanilla, and maple syrup. Transfer to a medium bowl and whisk in chia seeds. Cover and refrigerate for one hour. Then whisk the pudding once and return it to the refrigerator to set overnight.

 Before serving, stir shredded coconut into coconut whipped cream. Set aside.

Divide pudding evenly between serving containers. Top with a generous amount of whipped cream and serve.

Chocolate Espresso Custard

When I gave myself the gift of summer, I hoped for adventure and I hoped for leisure. While adventure is on the horizon (I'm headed off to France in two weeks!), this week was spent catching up on a year's worth of much needed relaxation. I pulled a deck chair out into the sun, slathered on the sunscreen, and read my way through a couple good books. With a tall glass of ice water at my side, it felt very much like a dream.

I have been savoring these little moments, taking them in and bundling them up for a rainy day. When summer ends and the responsibilities start up once again, I'll take one of these memories out, smooth out the edges, and remember the feeling of the sun and the smell of the grass.

Custards are among the things I do not need to be reminded to savor. As a part of my own tradition, I use the smallest spoon in the drawer. Eating it slowly, one small bite at a time, letting the flavor linger. These custards are simple to prepare, an afterthought to create after dinner, but they can be enjoyed for several evenings after.

Chocolate and espresso go together effortlessly and it shows in this simple dessert. Perhaps this can be your own reminder to slow down and take in the moment with a little more awareness than before.

Chocolate Espresso Custard is a sweet, cool treat to enjoy any time of the year. While this version is dairy-free, utilizing coconut milk and coconut whipped cream, I have added substitutions to make it a bit more traditional. The smooth flavors of chocolate and espresso are both pronounced. When garnished with whipped cream, chocolate shavings, and chocolate covered espresso beans, this custard will disappear in no time.

One Year Ago: Rhubarb Ginger Bars and Nutty Rhubarb Oatmeal
Two Years Ago: Coconut WafflesDark Cherry Fruit-On-The-Bottom Yogurt, and Mocha Granola
Three Years Ago: Creamy Grape SaladCornmeal Parmesan & Poppy Seed Crackers, and Piรฑa Colada Cupcakes
Four Years Ago: Chocolate Orange Miniature CakesSimple Rhubarb Jam, and Twix Cookies

Chocolate Espresso Custard

Yields 4-6 servings

14 ounces (400 grams) full-fat coconut milk (can also substitute half and half or whole milk) 
1 tablespoon espresso powder 
1/4 teaspoon salt 
4 large egg yolks 
4 ounces (113 grams) bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, chopped finely 
1 teaspoon vanilla 
Coconut Whipped Cream (or regular whipped cream), optional 
Shaved chocolate, optional 
Chocolate covered espresso beans, optional

In a large saucepan, whisk together the coconut milk, espresso powder, and salt. Bring to a simmer over medium to medium-high heat. Turn the heat down to low.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Pour a small amount of the milk mixture into the eggs and stir quickly to prevent the eggs from cooking. Pour the egg mixture back into the saucepan and whisk everything together.

Turn the heat back up to medium and continue cooking, while stirring. Once the pudding thickens enough to thickly coat the back of a spoon, about 5-10 minutes or more, remove from heat.

Stir in the chopped chocolate until the pudding is smooth and completely melted. Stir in vanilla extract. Pour pudding evenly between serving dishes, cover, and place in the refrigerator to cool.

Just before serving, garnish with coconut whipped cream, chocolate shavings, and chocolate covered espresso beans.

Coconut Tapioca Pudding

Coconut Tapioca Pudding

Coconut Tapioca Pudding

I admire the resilience of the coconutโ€”the tough outer shell, the softer interior. It may not be a traditionally beautiful fruit, as it hides itself between layers of thick husk, but the brilliant white meat is worth the trouble. Coconut used to be a passing fancy for me, an afterthought more than a headlining ingredient. I would toss a few flakes in granola or a quick banana bread, but I never gave it much attention, or appreciated it for what it was.

All of this changed when I was diagnosed as lactose intolerant, and I could not be more grateful for the coconut and its countless uses.

Coconut Tapioca Pudding Coconut Tapioca Pudding Coconut Tapioca Pudding

When I was in Hawaii a couple years ago, I insisted on pulling the rental car to the side of the road to stop at a small fruit stand. One coconut, please, I requested.

Young or old?

There's a difference?

Since it was a quiet afternoon, the stand owner took some time to give me a little lesson in coconuts. After chopping through two with a hatchet, he allowed me to sip the water from each. Young coconut water was fizzy and refreshing. Old coconut water had a thick musky scent and flavorโ€”not bad, but not terribly pleasant either. Then, it was time to taste the meat. For the young coconut, he handed me a plastic spoon. The young coconut flesh was so tender, so soft, it had the consistency of custard. The old coconut had the hard white flesh I was already familiar with. When the lesson was through, he packaged them up and sent me on my way.

Coconut Tapioca Pudding

This coconut tapioca pudding combines coconut in three different forms. Rich coconut milk forms the base of the pudding. Whipped coconut cream, dolloped on top, provides a creamy thickness that is wonderful to eat between bites or to stir straight into the pudding. Lastly, a few flakes of toasted coconut are sprinkled on top, for flavor and for a pop of color.

A trifecta of coconut, in pudding form.

Coconut Tapioca Pudding

Coconut Tapioca Pudding is perfect for the unpredictable weather of spring. The pudding can be served warm or cold to suit the scene outside the window. Coconut is the clear star of the dish, adding flavor in texture in three separate forms. This is a simple dish best served for afternoon pick-me-ups or lazy evening treats.

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