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."

IMG_0373.jpg

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 beautifullyβ€”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.

Iced Matcha Coconut Latte

When I moved to Montreal for graduate school shortly after starting this blog, I eased into life there slowly. My program would last two years; there was no rush to see (and eat) everything the city had to offer. I had plenty of time to explore. I stayed close to home, visiting the markets and bakeries lining my walk to the metro station, venturing further only when invited by friends. 

When I quit graduate school a few short months later, I scrambled. With a couple weeks left before flying back home, there was not enough time to check everything off the to-do list I had carefully curated. The plates went uneaten. The sights unseen.

I called Montreal my home, but I had missed out on many of the things that made Montreal so unique. As I boarded the plane, I vowed that I would never do this to myself again, whenever and wherever I should move in the future.

Three weeks into my move to the big city, I find myself in the same pattern as in Montreal, a pattern I promised myself I would never fall into again. I unconsciously created a bubble for myself, extending five miles in every direction, where I walk through the mundane activities of everyday life. My mother keeps asking me if I have gone exploring, visited a museum, walked through a park.

Not yet, I reply. I have plenty of time

On my short drive to the gym this morning, I listened to a segment on the radio about exploring the city you live in as a visitor instead of a resident. Instead of dismissing certain restaurants or neighborhoods as places you can visit any time, it is important to extend the limits of your backyard by making it a point to venture out of that familiar comfort zone. 

I moved to the city for the diversity and variety. It is time to leave the bubble and embrace it. 

Matcha is an ingredient I have known about for a long time, but never took the time to fully explore. Unlike most tea leaves, matcha is created when the entire green tea leaf is crushed into a fine powder, giving it an intense green tea flavor. It can be used for flavoring in baking, but traditionally it is used to make tea. I may have taken a less traditional route by using the powder to whip up an iced latte, but after looking longingly at my empty glass, I can assure you it was an excellent decision.

Although I have professed myself as an avid black tea fan in the past, I may have to make a little more room in my cupboard for the green.

Iced Matcha Coconut Latte is a treat for the eyes and the tongue. Matcha powder is blended into almond milk, with maple syrup for sweetness, and layered into a glass with thick coconut milk. The matcha and coconut complement each other well, making this latte as distinctive in flavor as it is beautiful.

Matcha should be a vibrant, bright green color when purchasing. Over time, the color will fade into a dark mossy shade. Use within 6-12 months for best results. Matcha can be found in tea shops, some health food stores, and online.

One Year Ago: Salted Chocolate Chunk Cookies 
Two Years Ago: Blueberry Braided Bread and Date Flapjacks
Three Years Ago: Maple Roasted Peaches and Rum Raisin Oatmeal Cookies
Four Years Ago: Malted Chocolate Cupcakes, Coconut Pancakes, and Rocky Road Cookies
Five Years Ago: Chocolate Prune Cake

Iced Matcha Coconut Latte

Yields 2 servings (or 1 large)

1/2 cup (120 mL) almond milk (or milk of choice)
1 1/2 teaspoons matcha powder
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Large handful of ice
1 cup (250 mL) coconut milk*

Place all ingredients except the coconut milk in a blender and blend until smooth. Divide matcha mixture evenly between two glasses. Pour the coconut milk over the matcha, dividing evenly between glasses. Stir before drinking.

* Full-fat (canned) coconut milk is my personal preference because it is so creamy, but light coconut milk will work as well. Avoid coconut milk from a carton (the milk is too thin to layer).

Green Tea Coconut Ice Cream

Green Tea Coconut Ice Cream

Green Tea Coconut Ice Cream

It's the time of year for New Year's resolutions. If you're like I am, five days into the new year and I've already tossed my resolutions to the wayside. I almost tried to follow them. I had a bad cold, my couch felt oh so lovely, and the cupboards were stuffed with leftover Christmas candy. It was too easy to pretend I hadn't made them in the first place. Excuses, as opposed to resolutions, are surprisingly easy to make.

Last year, after studiously making my resolutions, I actually followed them. I did eat healthier over the past year, choosing apple slices over potato chips and finding a way to keep my food groups more balanced. I took a photography class, but I think I taught myself more in the end. I found my place working in a bakery (and I certainly didn't stop baking). After reflections over last year's resolutions, I give myself an A+.

This year, however, not so much.

Green Tea Coconut Ice Cream

I always feel that if I don't start following my new resolutions exactly on the first day of the new year, I never will. And sadly, more often than not, this is true. Last year is the only year I've successfully managed to both follow and keep my resolutions. Perhaps it's not too late to make a set of January 5th resolutions?

This year I resolve to eat healthier. Not just swap apple slices in for potato chips, but choose healthier grains (quinoa, brown rice, whole wheat pasta) over their white, bleached counterparts. I want to eat less salt and less processed foods without losing any of the flavor. I want to want to choose the healthier option instead of begrudgingly accept it.

Also, I hope to keep some room in that new diet for dessert. No diet is complete without dessert.

Green Tea Coconut Ice Cream Green Tea Coconut Ice Cream

I want to learn how to cook. This resolution may sound silly to you (after all, I do run a food blog), but the truth is that I have no idea what I'm doing when it comes to using the stove top instead of the oven. I can't cook meat properly (dry chicken anyone?), sauces are a foreign concept to me, and I am absolutely useless when it comes to using spices. Except for a few delicious favorites, most of what I invent in the kitchen isn't worth revisiting. If I'm going to keep my resolution to eat healthier, learning to cook comes hand in hand.

Since I do believe we are all allowed a "fun" resolution, this year I would like to learn French. Though I lived in Quebec for 6 months, I never quite picked up the language, instead reverting to English whenever possible. As a result, the French language has become a bit elusive for me. French is something I wanted to learn ever since I've moved back home, but haven't had the time until now. How else am I going to understand the French cookbooks I bought?

Green Tea Coconut Ice Cream Green Tea Coconut Ice Cream

To start off the new year, I thought a new and more unusual recipe would be fitting. Though green tea ice cream is popular in Japan and parts of Asia, it's uncommon in the United States. I paired my green tea ice cream with a bit of coconut to make it more familiar and topped it with toasted almonds to round out the flavors. It's different, it's exciting, and I am in love with the pure, green tea color.

Green tea powder (or matcha powder) can be tricky to find unless you know where to look. Living in the heart of the Midwest, it took me a solid year to track it down. Asian supermarkets will be your best bet and health food stores often carry it. I found my green tea powder at a local tea shop. Like always, if all these options fail, matcha powder is always available on the internet. Green tea powder is great for baking, making green tea lattes, or brewing a simple, but elegant cup of tea.

Green Tea Coconut Ice Cream

Green Tea Coconut Ice Cream is fresh, tasting vividly of green tea with just a hint of coconut. The recipe is easy to follow (simply blend all the ingredients together in a blender), but it does require an ice cream maker to give the ice cream that sought after, smooth quality. I topped my ice cream with toasted almonds and I strongly recommend you do the same. Toasted almonds and green tea complement each other in a very unexpected, but delicious way.

Read More