Vanilla Chia Seed Pudding {Recipe}


I haven’t made chia seed pudding since 2009. The first experience was okay, but I’m not sure if I’m liking it more this time around because I like it better with rice milk or because my palate has changed. I’m thinking the latter is the reason. My love of desserts has stayed strong over the years, but I find myself looking for different kinds of desserts – more made from scratch and Not So Sweet.

I whipped this up on a whim not expecting to enjoy it much, but this was a time that curiosity paid off. From the first bite, I knew I’d made something to enjoy for the next few days. Seriously, I remember taking the first bite and being pleasantly surprised. Like “Heyyyyyy…this is pretty tasty!”. So far, I’ve eaten it straight up, with fruit, with nuts, and as dessert and a pre-workout snack (though I think it would make a great breakfast, too). I love a multi-purpose recipe.

Vanilla Chia Seed Pudding

Did you know chia seeds come in two colors? If you’re a chia seed expert, you probably already have both types and are rolling your eyes. But, for those new to the ingredient, it comes in white and black. According to this chia seed article on, there is no nutritional difference between the two, so you can get whichever you prefer or can more easily find. I usually get mine from the bulk bins at my local health food store, but they’ve grown in popularity over the years, so you can find them almost anywhere. And then there’s Amazon prime…which may be going up $20-40. Doesn’t that stink?

Vanilla Chia Seed Pudding Vanilla Chia Seed Pudding

Anywho, whichever color you end up purchasing, be sure to not skip the step below asking you to stir shortly after mixing up the ingredients. Those little chia seeds just loooove to stick together. If you leave the mixture for 20-30 minutes, it will look like the above left photo. After you stir it, it should start looking more like the right one. Much better!

Vanilla Chia Seed Pudding

Vanilla Chia Seed Pudding

This pudding is really versatile. The simplest serving I enjoyed was with sliced almonds.

Vanilla Chia Seed Pudding

My favorite was the chia seed pudding fruit parfait. Yum! I layered the chia seed pudding in between layers of fresh kiwi with some vibrant raspberries on top.

Vanilla Chia Seed Pudding

I also meant to stir some of the chia seed pudding into a smoothie, but I never did get around to making that smoothie. Maybe I’ll make it for breakfast today? I usually soak my chia seeds in a smoothie liquid for at least 10 minutes, so this is practically a short cut when it’s already made!

Vanilla Chia Seed Pudding

Vanilla Chia Seed Pudding {Recipe}
Prep time
Total time
Chia seed pudding is a versatile dish that’s super easy to make. Just mix, give it a stir, and then wait overnight…or at least for a few hours. You can serve this any number of ways – with nuts on top, as a fruit parfait, or mixed into smoothies. Get creative! You can enjoy this for breakfast, dessert, or even as a pre-workout snack!
*Vegetarian, Vegan options below*
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 2
  • 1 cup unsweetened rice milk (or milk of choice)
  • ¼ cup chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon honey (or use agave or maple syrup for a vegan pudding)
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. In a mason jar or medium sized bowl, add rice milk, chia seeds, honey, and vanilla. Whisk well until the ingredients are evenly distributed. Cover jar or bowl and place in the refrigerator.
  2. After about 20 minutes, remove the lid and give the chia seed mixture a good stir. They like to stick together, but if you stir them now, they’ll stay pretty evenly spread out.
  3. Wait overnight (or at least until the liquid has been soaked up enough, about 4 hours). Serve and enjoy!
This recipe makes a small serving size. I don’t usually eat a large serving, so I’ve been able to enjoy this a few times already. The recipe easily multiplies if you’re looking for bigger portions or you’re serving others.



Chia seed pudding seems to be a love-it-or-hate-it kinda thing. Personally, I’m a new fan. What about you?

Refreshing Blueberry Chia Fizz Drink {Recipe}


There aren’t enough mocktails in the world. Ok, there probably are, and I just don’t know about them. It just seems like there are all kinds of cool cocktails, but I don’t seem to find as many cocktails.

Awhile back, I had some friends over on a Sunday afternoon for an impromptu pot luck, and I wanted to do something sans alcohol.


I thought back to the chia fizz I saw in Clean Eating Mag, but I wanted to do a twist.


I recently read about a blackberry simple syrup in a magazine, and when I remembered that I had a bunch of blueberries in the fridge, the idea for the Blueberry Chia Fizz was born. A quick google search yielded two recipes for inspiration on the syrup (see recipe below for links). The blueberry simple syrup was super easy. I went light on the blueberries, but I think you could easily double or triple the amount of berries for a stronger flavor.


And for the chia seeds, I decided to keep those separate in case my friends didn’t want them. I let them soak in water in the fridge just before they arrived.


Since I wasn’t sure if they’d even like this concoction, I started with a half pitcher.


But, the drink was a hit!


The drink was barely sweet and barely fruity in a totally good way. The hints of flavors with fresh mint and citrus made the drink taste so perfect for a hot summer day.


I’m definitely making this one again, and I’m hoping to try some other flavor variations.


Refreshing Blueberry Chia Fizz Drink {Recipe}
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Inspired by Clean Eating Magazine, Closet Cooking, and Simple Bites
A few years ago, I tried a fun drink I found in Clean Eating Magazine called “Chia Fizz” that reminded me of a mojito sans alcohol, add chia seeds. Since then, I’ve thought about a couple variations and how I like simple drinks like the “Chiz Fizz” and classic mojito – light liquids mixed with muddled fresh limes and mint. Nothing like a little citrus and mint to make something feel like summer.
This drink is light in all ways – lightly sweetened, lightly blueberry in flavor, and made with light ingredients. If you want more flavor in any area, adjust the ingredients as you prefer.
*Vegetarian, Vegan, Not So Sweet* Time : Approximately 20 minutes active, plus an hour to one and half hours chill time Serves : 6-12 (depending on how many refills you serve!)
Recipe type: Drinks
Serves: 8
  • ½ cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup, plus 1 cup water
  • ¼ cup chia seeds
  • 4 limes, cut into quarters, plus 1-2 limes for garnish
  • 4 sprigs mint, approximately 20-30 leaves, plus top sprigs for garnish
  • 2 1-liter bottles of Pellegrino
Make the Blueberry Syrup:
  1. Add blueberries to a medium-sized pot. Mash with a potato masher until no blueberries remain whole.
  2. Add sugar and 1 cup water and bring mixture to a boil. Simmer 10 minutes. Let cool for 30 minutes to an hour in the pot.
  3. Place a mesh strainer over a heat-proof container (use a funnel as wide as the strainer, if needed) and carefully pour blueberry mixture into the container. Press all the liquid through the strainer using a spatula. Note: You can reserve the blueberry solids to put into a smoothie or oatmeal later.
  4. Cover blueberry syrup and let cool in the refrigerator.
Assemble Drink:
  1. Assemble drink at least 10 minutes before serving.
  2. In a cup, combine 1 cup water and chia seeds and stir. Let chill in the refrigerator for at least 10 minutes.
  3. In a pitcher, combine limes and mint leaves and muddle (using muddler or back of a wooden spoon). Add blueberry syrup and Pellegrino.
To Serve:
  1. You can either pour the drink over ice in individual cups and spoon in some chia seed mixture or you can pour the chia seed mixture into the pitcher and pour over ice (either way, the chia seeds need about 10 minutes to soak up the liquids of the drink). Garnish with a lime slice and mint sprig. Enjoy!
If you want to prep early, make the blueberry syrup in advance and let it chill all morning, all day, or overnight. The rest of this recipe is a cinch!

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Hope you all have a wonderful summer full of delicious eats, great drinks, and lots of fun!

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Hot Blueberry-Honey Breakfast Quinoa {Recipe}


I may be the only one excited for the time change. I know we lose an hour, and that is no bueno, but I’m in it for the extra sunshine every day. I’ve already started enjoying it. Days will seemingly last longer, I’ll have better (more?) light for photos, and maybe I’ll even get a few more people into my Zumba classes. People seem to like to come more when there’s more light outside. Anywho, on to the food…

I made this simple and healthy breakfast for a pre-Zumba meal this past Saturday and posted a photo of it to Instagram. It’s a hot blueberry-honey breakfast quinoa. People immediately started asking for the recipe, so I decided to fast-track it ahead of a couple other posts in the works.

When I’m feeling extra organized, I like to make a batch of quinoa and use it in a couple different dishes. I think most grains taste better cooked in broth, but I like to cook quinoa in water so I can make savory and sweet dishes from it. This particular breakfast was as easy as combining a few ingredients in a pot and gently heating through. Top with almonds. Eat. Enjoy. Rock the day.




Hot Blueberry-Honey Breakfast Quinoa {Recipe}
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Make a big batch of quinoa cooked simply in water, and this breakfast will come together in a jiffy. I like to cook one batch and use it for multiple purposes like this breakfast. Just toss the ingredients below in a small pot and cook until it’s the consistency you like. So easy! As it thickens, the quinoa gets nice and creamy. I’ve given you some portion ideas, but you can tweak this recipe to suit your appetite. I can’t eat a lot before I work out, so I made a very small amount since I like this before Zumba class, but just adjust as you prefer. Try fresh blueberries when they’re in season.
*Vegetarian, Vegan options listed*
Serves: 1
  • ½ cup cooked quinoa
  • ¼ cup blueberries (frozen or fresh should work – I used frozen wild blueberries that were a little smaller than most)
  • ¼ cup milk of choice (I used rice milk; use vegan milk for vegan option)
  • 1 teaspoon honey (or sub agave/maple syrup/etc. for vegan option) for a lightly sweet flavor, add more if needed
  • dash or two ground cinnamon
  • small pinch salt
  • sliced almonds, optional, for garnish and texture
  1. Combine quinoa, blueberries, milk, honey, cinnamon, and salt in a small, non-stick pot. Heat over medium low heat, stirring occasionally, until quinoa has reached your desired consistency. Note: Exact time will vary on your consistency preference and stove heat.
  2. Serve in a small bowl and top with sliced almonds (or your other favorite ingredients). Wait until it’s safely cooled to eat and enjoy!
The cook time will be approximately 10-20 minutes, depending on your stove heat and preferred texture.


I’m looking forward to eating this more this spring…especially with fresh, local blueberries from the farmers market!

Reader question: Do you like or dislike the spring time change?

Apple Oatmeal Muffins with Sweet Oatmeal Topping Recipe


One of my favorite things about cooking & baking is that when you can’t find what you want, you can just make it up. I think that’s why I like baking muffins so much. So many muffins remind me more of dessert than breakfast. My ideal muffin is hearty & wholesome and made with clean ingredients. When I can’t find such a muffin for sale, I can bring it to life in my kitchen. And thanks to this blog, I can share the recipe, like this Apple Oatmeal Muffins with Sweet Oatmeal Topping Recipe, with like-minded muffin enthusiasts.

I got my love of this style of muffin thanks to my family, so when my sister and I decided to come up with a new apple muffin recipe, I knew it would be a winner (at least for us).

We used more of our fresh-from-the-orchard, hand-picked apples for these babies, too. We got these apples from Sky Top Orchard in NC.

Apple Oatmeal Muffins with Sweet Oatmeal Topping Recipe

Apple Oatmeal Muffins with Sweet Oatmeal Topping Recipe

Apple Oatmeal Muffins with Sweet Oatmeal Topping Recipe

Apple Oatmeal Muffins with Sweet Oatmeal Topping Recipe

Apple Oatmeal Muffins with Sweet Oatmeal Topping Recipe

Apple Oatmeal Muffins with Sweet Oatmeal Topping Recipe

Apple Oatmeal Muffins with Sweet Oatmeal Topping Recipe


Apple Oatmeal Muffins with Sweet Oatmeal Topping Recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
My sister and I made these muffins one weekend, inspired by the hand-picked apples I brought back from an orchard in Flat Rock, NC. Oatmeal, whole wheat flour, and the sweet oatmeal topping help distinguish these muffins from the Healthy Cinnamon Apple Muffins I recently blogged. Skip the sweet oatmeal topping for a healthier muffin. Keep it on for extra texture and sweetness.

*Vegetarian, Vegan Options*
Recipe type: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Serves: 6
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • ¾ cup whole wheat flour (or sub flour of choice)
  • ¾ cup spelt flour (or sub flour of choice)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • dash nutmeg
  • ¾ cup sucanat (or sub sugar for a sweeter taste)
  • 1 egg (or use vegan substitute, like a flaxseed egg – 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed mixed with 3 tablespoons water – let sit for about 10 minutes)
  • 1 cup milk (or sub vegan milk)
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large apple, cored and chopped small, about 1½ cups (I like to leave the peel on, but if you peel them, you’ll get a smoother texture in each bite)
  • non-stick spray or muffin liners
Sweet Oatmeal Topping (optional)
  • ¼ old fashioned oats
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F and prepare a 12 cup muffin tin with non-stick spray or muffin liners.
  2. Add oats, whole wheat flour, spelt flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg into a medium bowl and whisk together.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk to beat egg and sucanat together till combined.
  4. Whisk in milk, canola oil, white vinegar, and vanilla extract.
  5. Pour dry ingredient mixture into the wet ingredient mixture, and stir gently just to combine – careful to not over-mix. Gently fold in apple pieces.
  6. Pour muffin batter into muffin tin cups – about ¾ full each.
  7. If using Sweet Oatmeal Topping, in a small bowl, combine oats, butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon and stir together. Evenly distribute no top of the muffins.
  8. Bake for 18-22 minutes until centers set or a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.
  9. Cool at least 10-15 minutes, or until safe to eat, before serving. Enjoy!
Yields 12 muffins

Apple Oatmeal Muffins with Sweet Oatmeal Topping Recipe

Happy baking!

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By the way, I posted this on Facebook, but I’d really like your feedback on the following, so I’ll post it here, too:

Feedback request: I’m considering doing some “haul videos” where I show things I’ve purchased recently and explain why I bought them, etc. Would anyone be interested in those types of videos? I’m on the fence because there are so many other great YouTubers who already do “haul videos”, but then I thought TCL readers may be interested in my opinions/purchases/etc. Or not. Who knows. Let know what you think. :) I’m leaning towards no, but I thought I’d ask first.


Reader question: How would you describe your ideal muffin?

Autumn Granola: Oil-Free with Canned Pumpkin {Recipe}


I was thinking recently that I hadn’t had granola in a long time, so I decided to come up with a fall-inspired recipe. I’ve made oil-free granolas with applesauce before, but I wondered if if I could use another fall ingredient – pumpkin. I’ve heard you can swap canned pumpkin (okay, it’s available year-round, but just go with it) for other ingredients in baking, so I wondered…would it work for granola, too?

As it turns out, it does!

Oh, and in case you’re wondering while you look at these photos…yeaaa, I forgot to stir in the cranberries before taking these photos. Unfortunately, I had already prepared a bowl of granola and yogurt to eat, and it was too late to re-take the photos. Oops.






Autumn Granola: Oil-Free with Canned Pumpkin

Canned pumpkin replaces the oil typically used to make granola in this Not So Sweet, fall-inspired mix. Enjoy this with yogurt or milk for breakfast or for a snack.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Bake Time: 45-50 minutes
Total Time: 55-60 minutes
Serves: 6-8

*Vegetarian, Vegan*


  • 2 cups old-fashioned oats, dry
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • 1/4 cup coconut flakes, optional
  • 2 tablespoons flaxseed, optional
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • dash nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin (or sub applesauce)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (add more for a sweeter flavor)
  • 2 tablespoons brown rice syrup or barley syrup (or sub maple syrup)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries


  1. Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper (or use aluminum foil and spray with non-stick spray).
  2. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients oats, pecans, pepitas, coconut flakes (if using), flaxseed (if using), cinnamon, and nutmeg and stir to mix well.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine wet ingredients canned pumpkin, maple syrup, brown rice syrup, vanilla, and salt and stir with a whisk to mix well.
  4. Add wet mixture to dry mixture and stir until wet mixture is evenly distributed.
  5. Pour granola mixture onto prepared baking sheet and spread to an even layer.
  6. Bake, stirring every 15 minutes for 45-50 minutes, or until granola is browned to preference. Remove from oven and stir in cranberries.
  7. Set aside to cool to room temperature. Serve with yogurt or milk.
  8. Store remaining granola in an airtight container.


I have a quick yogurt trick to share coming up soon!

Plus, a business casual work look, more delicious recipes, and possibly a Bailey video! Check back soon…

Thanks for reading!

Breakfast Strawberry Shortcake for One {Recipe}


Here’s a fun project to try this strawberry season…

Does this look familiar?


I mean, from the photo, we appear to have something I’ve blogged about before – Farm-Fresh Strawberry Shortcakes with Amaretto-Spiked Whipped Cream (click for recipe).

It looks like a rich shortcake with sugar-sweetened strawberries and fluffy, potentially-spiked, whipped cream, right?

As it turns out, looks can definitely be deceiving…


What we actually have here is a strawberry shortcake made-over for breakfast. I added one of my favorite breakfast ingredients – oats. I also used a whole grain flour (spelt), cut the sugar by not macerating the strawberries in sugar, and found a fabulous, breakfast-worthy substitute for the whipped cream – yogurt.

I’m not going to promise you that this is healthy, but it is more breakfast-friendly. Would a chocolate croissant have more butter and sugar? I don’t really know, and I don’t really care. But, anywho, you could probably use this version as another Not So Sweet dessert with even less sugar than the original. Just tell them it’s good for you because of the probiotics. Yeaaaaaa…


Breakfast Strawberry Shortcake for One

I took my dessert strawberry shortcake recipe and switched up the ingredients to make it more breakfast-friendly. I used a whole grain flour, added oats, skipped macerating the strawberries, and substituted yogurt for the whipped cream. You could probably make this even healthier by substituting a good oil (maybe coconut?) for the butter (and please report back if you do). Oh, and I took almost all of the sugar out of this baby, so if you like your breakfast sweeter, by all means, add your preferred sweetener, to taste.

*Vegetarian, Vegan Options Listed*


  • 1/4 cup spelt flour (or flour of choice)
  • 2 tablespoons oats
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter, cold (or sub vegan substitute, like Earth Balance)
  • 3 tablespoons milk (or vegan non-dairy milk)
  • 3-4 strawberries, tops removed, sliced
  • 1 small container vanilla, Greek yogurt (or yogurt of choice or vegan yogurt, like a coconut-milk-based option) – or sub plain yogurt and add sweetener of choice, to taste


  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F. Prepare a small baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Combine flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium-sized bowl. Whisk (or use a fork) to evenly combine.
  3. Use a pastry cutter or fork to cut butter into the dry ingredients until the butter is in small bits (about the size of rice grains or pop rocks…yea, I said pop rocks).
  4. Gently stir in the milk/non-dairy milk until just combined (careful to not over-mix, but do ensure all flour combined into dough).
  5. Form dough into a ball-shape and place on the prepared baking sheet.
  6. Bake for 15-18 minutes, until golden brown on top and cooked through (if a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean).
  7. Allow to cool to room temperature. Cut shortcake in half. Top bottom half of shortcake with strawberries. Stir yogurt to desired texture and spoon as much as you’d like (I used about half the container) over the strawberries. Top yogurt with top half of shortcake and enjoy.

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Dessert for breakfast? You betcha.


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Reader question: What’s the sweetest thing you ever ate for breakfast?

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