Chocolate Cinnamon Chia Pudding

I want to share something real quick before I get to the recipe. As some of you already know, May 1st kicked of Celiac Awareness Month. I plan to make a conscious effort to pose a question on the Facebook page daily regarding symptoms and experiences. Make sure you stop in there to join the discussions.

Gluten Dude put out this wonderful infographic for those of us who like something visual. I compiled a list of symptoms a while back for an article I did for a friend’s newsletter. I realized the other day that I never shared that list here. They are listed in no particular order.

  • High/low blood pressure
  • High/low body temperature
  • Migraines/frequent headaches
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (or frequent stomach aches, diarrhea, and/or constipation)
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Abdominal pain/distension, bloating, gas/flatulence
  • Neuropathy/ataxia/Alzheimer’s/restless leg syndrome
  • Diabetes
  • Osteoporosis
  • Osteoarthritis/rheumatoid arthritis
  • Vertigo
  • Heart palpitations/chest pains
  • Mood swings/Diagnosis of a mood disorder
  • Brain fog/inability to concentrate or focus
  • Difficulty remembering things, especially if you used to be able to remember a lot
  • Fatigue/Adrenal Fatigue/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Rapid weight gain/loss
  • Inability to lose weight with exercise
  • Family history of colon cancer, stomach cancer, pancreatic cancer, lymphatic
  • Other food allergies/sensitivities (lactose intolerance is common)
  • Diabetes/hypoglycemia
  • Gall bladder issues
  • Eczema, rosacea, dermatitis herpetiformis, or other skin issues
  • Anemia/iron deficiency
  • B vitamin deficiency
  • D vitamin deficiency
  • Diagnosis of Sjogren’s, Fibromyalgia, Hashimoto’s, Hyper/Hypothyroidism, or other autoimmune disorders
  • Diagnosis of Schizophrenia
  • Diagnosis of ADHD/ADD
  • Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Family member diagnosed with Celiac or gluten sensitivity
  • Epilepsy/seizures
  • Acid reflux/heartburn
  • Environmental and seasonal allergies
  • Frequent infections/colds/flu
  • Asthma/respiratory problems
  • Other joint/bone/muscle pain not listed
  • Infertility/miscarriages
  • Dysmenorrhea/other pre-/menstrual issues
  • Failure to thrive/developmental delays in childhood
  • Hair loss/thinning/alopecia/balding
  • Dental enamel deficiencies/irregularities
  • Canker sores
  • Bruise easily
  • Nosebleeds
  • Inflammation not listed already
  • Night blindness

If you are new to this blog, newly diagnosed, or still trying to find the right diagnosis you should know that not all people who end up diagnosed with Celiac present with gastrointestinal symptoms. I had thirty-two of the symptoms above. THIRTY-TWO. Looking back once my symptoms started resolving themselves I realized that I had ataxia from childhood but no one ever picked up on it. I was labeled a clutz and my mother, thinking it was funny, would call me Grace whenever I tripped over air. I think being a gymnast and involved in a lot of active/sports play and later, martial arts, helped prevent ataxia from becoming as bad as it could have been. Right before I discovered the gluten connection it got really bad and I realized some of my tripping over air was really my right foot not fully coming up while taking a step and instead the ball of my foot would skid across the ground causing me to trip. I was walking into walls more frequently than before which was a great laugh for everyone because there is nothing like walking a straight line down a hall then BOOM! Oh, hello wall. So nice to see you again.

My earliest memory of tripping over air was at about six years old. I was in 1st grade and we were living in an apartment in Beaverton, Oregon, waiting for our house in Aloha (not the Hawaiian aloha, but American Indian. The h is silent) to be finished. We were close to a K-Mart and my dad walked me over there to get an Icee. We were walking on a dirt path along the road and either on the way there I tripped over air and stumbled. I looked down as I tried to catch myself with the stumble steps and spotted a snake curled up in the grass. I screamed and bolted. I was freaked out walking back because I knew the snake was there. Even if it was only a garter snake, to the six-year-old me a snake was a snake was a snake was a snake and snakes were no good.

I bring up my earliest memory because looking at all my symptoms it is the one I remember before all the tummy aches started in the mornings. I say tummy aches because it started as a kid. Not feeling well in the morning after eating breakfast (usually cold cereal) then trying to convince my mother that although I was ready for school, I was too sick to go. I was forced to go to school feeling ill more often than not. Once I was in college I wasn’t eating cereal for breakfast. It was usually Spam, eggs, and rice for breakfast and it was several years later after graduation when I was working for the YMCA that IBS symptoms started and about five more years before I was actually diagnosed with IBS.

These days my breakfasts are full of protein and vegetables like my Winter Hash. In my egg eating days it would be Black Bean Breakfast Tacos, Gluten-Free French Toast with Blueberries, Bananas, Walnuts, and Pure Maple Syrup DrizzleEggs en Cocotte, or an Omelette with Veggie filling. Sometimes a smoothie was enough for me (Banana Papaya, Chocolate Cherry Almond, Green Chai, Mint Chocolate Chip, Make It A Meal, Peachy Keen Cinnamon Toast Crunch, or my favorite, Super Berry).

Choc Cin Chia Seed PuddingOne of my favorite additions to breakfast is chia seed pudding. I use it like a breakfast side. Or a snack. Or dessert. It’s versatile enough to be any of the three. I like it as a breakfast accompaniment because I can shake it up in a mason jar the night before and it’s ready to go in the morning.

My love for pairing chocolate and cinnamon is no secret. Before I discovered all the new alterations I would have to make to my diet I was making this chia seed pudding.

If you have a mason jar with measurements marked on the side, you will save yourself from washing a measuring cup. I have one that I use just for chia seed pudding because it makes it even easier because I can pour my dairy-free milk right in the jar without measuring it out first. Also, there is no sugar added in this recipe. If you need to add a sweetener, feel free to do so. Chocolate Cinnamon Chia Seed Pudding

Chocolate Cinnamon Chia Pudding – serves 3 to 4

1 1/2 cups dairy-free milk

4 tablespoons chia seed

1 tablespoon raw cacao powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Add all ingredients to a mason jar, cover tightly then shake vigorously with both hands for five minutes. This will help keep the chia seeds from clumping together. Refrigerate for at least an hour. Top with fruit of your choice if you choose. It will help add some natural sweetness without adding sugar if you need the sweet.

See how easy it is?

This post is linked to Raw Foods Thursday at Gluten-Free Cat, Whole Foods Fridays at Allergy-Free Alaska, Wellness Weekends at Diet, Dessert and Dogs, and Slightly Indulgent Tuesday at Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free. 

Dairy-free Chocolate Cinnamon Ice Cream

Me & Andrea

We had some special guests Monday night.  Andrea of Rockin’ Gluten-free and her son, whom I shall dub Darth Serious, came through town for the night.  I got to cook for them and hang out with them for several hours.  Darth Serious, if you haven’t guessed already, is also a big Star Wars fan.  He even asked me if we could play Star Wars Trivial Pursuit.  I happily said, “Yes.”  I got that game for Christmas yearsago but no one would play with me.  Even my board game loving friends wouldn’t play.  No surprise since they wouldn’t play regular Trivial Pursuit with me anymore, either.

Ready to play?

Darth Serious is very expressive.  I absolutely loved the faces he was making.  Especially when I answered a question correctly.  Andrea and I decided after he got about 4 questions in a row in which the answer was C-3PO  to tell him when he’s not sure, just answer C-3PO.  Just like in school on multiple choice tests when you guess C.  Right?  What?  You didn’t do that?  You haven’t lived.

I spent the day doing prep work little by little so I wasn’t doing everything at the last-minute and feeling rushed.  This was after revamping the menu a few times a few days before.  If you think your food allergies/intolerances are bad, Andrea has a host of them, which I knew I could handle easily, but Darth Serious is also pretty picky on top of being gluten-free and dairy-free himself.  His favorite food?  Hamburgers.

I wound up making chicken burgers since Andrea can’t have beef and used my usual recipe for beef burgers, but added a little grapeseed oil to keep the burgers from drying

Foods By George gf, df, sf, cf English Muffins. Very light and fluffy.

out while I grilled them.  I was prepared to go bunless since all the burger buns I was finding had corn in them and Andrea can’t have corn.  But, tucked away almost out of sight in the freezer at Whole Foods was some gluten-free, dairy-free, corn-free, soy-free English Muffins by Foods by George.  I was a bit worried about how thick they are, but once they are thawed out and warmed up in the oven, they are light and fluffy.  Darth Serious wasn’t too sure about the chicken burgers, but he ate it anyway and called it, “spicy.”  He also gobbled up a lot of carrot sticks on the raw veggie plate I made.  I tried to get him to try my sweet potato fries, but he kept eating up the carrots.  He finally tried one when I mentioned ice cream.  You know a kid really wants something when they’ll try something they really don’t want to try in order to get what they want.

Now, the day before, I told Andrea I was going to make Chocolate Cinnamon Ice Cream.  She wasn’t sure Darth Serious

Darth Serious likes the ice cream!

would like it, but I figured what we didn’t tell him wouldn’t hurt him.  Right?  I even kept it light on the cinnamon so you get just a hint of it.  He was halfway through his bowl when I asked him how it was.  He looked up and said dryly, “What do you think?”  He is something else!  So then I mentioned cinnamon being in it.  Bad move, Debi.  He wanted

Andrea tries some Creamy Walnut Milk

nothing to do with it after that.  He ate a few more bites and went back into the living room.  Oh well.  Andrea finished it for him!

Later on, I gave Andrea a little cordial glass of some Creamy Walnut Milk, made just like I made my Creamy Cashew Milk.  She had commented when I posted the recipe that she wanted to try it.  I happened to have more walnuts on hand so I made it with those and got the same results.  Good stuff.  Used it in my smoothie this afternoon, too.

Back to the ice cream.  My inspiration for it was the Chocolate Cinnamon Ice Cream from Bubbies back home.  They make their own ice cream and is a popular spot for the college kids and after-movie crowd.  It’s fairly close to University of Hawai`i at Manoa and next to Varsity Theater.  For several years, I lived just a block away.  One day, I was babysitting one of my cousins, Surfer Cuz.  My Uncle dropped him since it was during the day, as opposed to picking me up to babysit at their place at night.  Surfer Cuz was about 4 at the time.  It was a beautiful day and thought a nice walk down the block for ice cream would be a good idea.  We weren’t even halfway to the intersection before he was complaining about being tired.  Guess who had to carry him the rest of the way.  He’s lucky I love him.

Anyway, once we walked in the door, I could smell cinnamon.  I was so intrigued, I bypassed my usual Strawberry Cheesecake or Banana

Dairy-free Chocolate Cinnamon Ice Cream

Royale ice cream and asked to taste the Chocolate Cinnamon.  I was in love at first taste.  I tried making a dairy version of it years ago when I first bought my ice cream maker and failed miserably.   I kept meaning to try it again, but other things took priority.  Now, with not being able to do dairy, I would like to have ice cream again, but a bit healthier than the dairy-free ones at the grocery.  Not to mention, cheaper.

Darth Serious may not have liked that there is cinnamon in it, but I’m in love once again.

Dairy-free Chocolate Cinnamon Ice Cream – makes approximately 1 quart

2 cans full-fat coconut milk (I used 365 Organic Coconut Milk)

6 tablespoons raw cacao powder

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup pure maple syrup

Chill your coconut milk in the can for at least 6 hours.  Prepare your ice cream maker according to your manufacturer’s directions.  Add all ingredients in a blender and blend well.  At least 3 minutes.  Pour mixture into your ice cream maker and run your ice cream maker at least 2o minutes before covering and transferring to the freezer.   Allow to freeze about 6 hours.

This post is linked to Wellness Weekend at Diet, Dessert and Dogs

Mint Chocolate Chip Smoothie/Shake

Mint Chocolate Chip Smoothie

It seems like the food blogosphere is running rampant with posts on homemade Shamrock Shakes.  I think I may have had one from the Golden Arches many moons ago.  It obviously left a lasting impression on me since I don’t go running for one as soon as I see they are back like so many of my friends seem to do.

I’ve been playing around with a play on one of my favorite ice creams, mint chocolate chip. And it has to be the old-fashioned kind with the small slivers of chocolate that will melt between your tongue and the roof of your mouth while loads of mint ice cream surrounding it.  Not those giant chunks.  By the time you can get those giant to melt just a little, the mint ice cream is gone from the palate.  If you didn’t see this coming from me a mile away the you haven’t read my posts for my Raw Peppermint Mocha Truffle Cake and My Dairy-free Peppermint Mocha.

This smoothie/shake is pure indulgence while being subversively healthy.  Yes.  Healthy!  It can also be a relief from the hot days coming our way if you make it with a frozen banana or opt to be a little more indulgent than healthy and use ice cream instead. Not to mention how easy it is to get that mint chocolate fix taken care of without waiting once a year for the Girl Scout cookie sale.  Funny thing is the Thin Mints were never my favorite.  They were far off my radar.  I much preferred the peanut butter sandwich and the chocolate covered peanut butter cookie.  Speaking of Girl Scout Cookies, if you don’t subscribe to Easy Eats online magazine, now is a great time.  The current issue contains several gluten-free Girl Scout cookie adaptations.  Brittany also has a great gluten-free version of Samoas on her site.  Yes, I miss Girl Scout cookies this time of year.  Hard not to when I sold them for 12 years.

But I digress.

I used both mint leaves and peppermint extract for this recipe.  The mint leaves are good for your gastrointestinal tract, especially if you’re feeling a little queasy or your intestines are staging an Occupy Your Body protest. The peppermint extract gives it the mint flavor.  If I were to try to get the proper mint flavor with just the leaves, I think it would be a little too much for the gastrointestinal system.

Mint Chocolate Chip Smoothie/Shake

1 banana, room temp or frozen, and/or 1/2 cup dairy-free vanilla ice cream (or regular dairy if you are not dairy-free)

half handful spinach or other mild greens

mint leaves from 3 stalks

1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract

dairy-free milk (or regular)

1 square very dark chocolate (I use Lindt 85% Dark), broken into small pieces

1 teaspoon maca powder (optional)

sweetener of choice (optional, the banana was sweet enough for me, but may not be for you)

Place ingredients in your blender and blend well.  If your blender takes a long time to blend everything, consider leaving out the chocolate until everything is nearly blended so you still have slivers of chocolate floating around.