kefir and chia breakfast parfaits

IMG_3767

Once I turned 30, I began to get a bit more health conscious. Less sugar, more fiber. Small changes. Then at 31, I really pushed the fruits and veggies. But at 32, I found I could no longer eat a slice of chocolate cake and feel decent afterwards. My metabolism slowed and it took more and more effort to maintain my ideal weight. Today I turn 33, and I sometimes feel like my body is just no longer cooperative. I’m on a range of (unavoidable) medications that make me tired, grumpy, and basically feel like a slug. To counteract all those crappy side-effects I need to pour in a really balanced diet to make me feel my best (which still, even on days when my diet is perfect, doesn’t always work). But I’m determined not to feel 33 going on 66, so I push on just trying to eat my best and exercise as much as I can.

For being a “grown up,” I don’t feel very grown up. I would still rather eat Cinnamon Toast Crunch for breakfast than eggs and avocados. But I know if I do eat that sugary cereal I will crash 1.5 hours later and feel even hungrier. The angel on my shoulder says, “Eat balanced! Protein in the morning!” while the sugar devil calls for “Cinnamon Toast Crunch! Cookie Crisp! Chocolate nom nom nom nom!”  Luckily, I can bop the sugar devil over the head with this healthy concoction that leaves me sated until lunchtime, and just not, you know, purchase the sugary cereals in the first place.

To make my daily breakfast, I start a day ahead. Prepping 3 of these at a time means there are 3 mornings where I don’t have to think about what’s for breakfast or be tempted by the kid’s leftover pancakes. I just grab a chia parfait out of the fridge, a spoon, and dig in before my stomach gets the best of me. Then on day 3, I make 3 more.

IMG_3703

What is kefir? It’s a fermented milk drink, sort of like a liquid yogurt. But unlike sugary yogurt, it packs 10.5 grams of protein per cup without the extra fat and calories. Plus it has more of the good probiotics to aid in digestion (and maintain healthy bowels….yeah I’m talking about that) than yogurt does. If you’re here in the UK, I like Bio-tiful Dairy Kefir that you can purchase on Ocado. In the US there are a ton more choices in the kefir department, from flavors like vanilla to cherry pomegranate. Just watch the sugar on the label–you don’t want to start your morning with a blood sugar blast-off.

IMG_3729

Pour 1 cup of kefir into a glass or resealable container (glass jars work great, too).

IMG_3735

Add some chia seeds. These pack a wallop of protein, Omega-3’s, and a ton of vitamins and minerals. Adding them to the kefir will give you your entire day’s worth of calcium in one serving.

IMG_3739

Next, add oats. Not quick-cook oats that will become mushy, but nice, thick old fashioned oats. Organic and gluten-free, if possible.

IMG_3751

Next, add a little bit of fruit compote or fruit jam for flavoring. You can omit this step, but I find that just a touch of sweetness and flavor really makes this breakfast shine. Look for no-added-sugar jams (if you’re using a flavored kefir omit this step).

IMG_3755

Stir it all together (or shake, if you’re using a lidded container)…

IMG_3760

…until everything is well combined. The mixture will be thin; don’t worry. It will thicken overnight in the fridge as the chia seeds and oats soak up the kefir. Cover and store in the refrigerator overnight and up to 3 days.

IMG_3768

In the morning toss on some fresh berries, or if you need to use frozen you can add them before refrigerating the night before.

IMG_3781

See how the chia seeds have expanded? Those will help fill you up and keep you going all morning. The oats, too!

IMG_3775

What a perfect start to the day. Play with different flavors of jam and/or kefir until you find something that suits you just right. My absolute favorite is plain kefir with strawberry rhubarb jam–it tastes like pie!

Cheers to 33 years, my friends. *Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me…I look like I’m 32 28, but I act like I’m 12.*

xx

Jenny

Kefir and Chia Breakfast Parfaits 

  • 1 cup kefir
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats (not quick-cooking)
  • 1 tsp whole chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp no-added-sugar jam for flavor (omit if you’re using a flavored kefir)

Combine all ingredients in a resealable container or small bowl. Stir well. Cover and refrigerate overnight or up to 3 days. Top with fresh fruit before devouring!

raspberry cheesecakesicles

Remember in high school when you were forced to take a career aptitude test? You had to fill in little bubbles with #2 pencil, answering questions like “Do you enjoy completing the same task repeatedly?” and “Do you put others’ needs before your own?”
A few weeks later you were handed a list of possible careers. While my friends ooohed and aaahed at the prospect of becoming doctors and legal aides, I stared down at my own results list.
Jenny Puckett
Score: 0
Possible Career Matches: none
Likelihood of living in a van down by the river: 100%
“Well, shit,” I thought. “I guess I’m not suited to do anything.”
Yes, it’s a crap test. No, it won’t actually tell you what you’re going to do with your life. Because if it had any powers of prediction it would have said:
Jenny Puckett
Score: Awesome
Possible Career Matches: One Billion and a Half
Likelihood of crafting fabulous desserts: 100% 
Take my newest creation, for example. It combines the creaminess of cheesecake with the chill of ice cream. It has a crunchy graham cracker crust, requires no baking, and is so easy to make a toddler could do it (mine did).
All you’ll need are a few waxed paper cups and popsicle sticks, along with sugar, whipped topping (Cool Whip), raspberries, cream cheese, butter and graham crackers.

Place the graham crackers in the bowl of a food processor.

Pulse several times until fine crumbs form.

Melt the butter, pour it over the crumbs and squish together with your fingers until the crumbs are thoroughly moistened.

Scoop one heaping tablespoon into the bottom of each cup (or have a tiny helper do this part. It got messy but she was in seventh heaven).

Press the crumbs down firmly into the bottom of each cup. The more compact, the better. Lucy’s tiny pink “wine glass” was perfect for this step (yes, I find it weird that my 2 year-old has pretend wine glasses, too. I have no idea where they came from).

Stick them in the freezer for at least 15 minutes or until the crust is set.

In the meantime put the cream cheese, raspberries and sugar in a large bowl.

Blend with an electric mixer until smooth.

Fold in the whipped topping…

…and use a large freezer bag with the tip cut off to squirt the filling into each cup.

Insert the popsicle sticks into the center of the filling, careful not to push too far and break the crust. This is such a fun dessert to make with kids. Lucy was so proud of herself.

Stick ’em all in the freezer for at least an hour before serving.

When you’re ready to eat, simply tear away the cup and you’re good to go.

These are so creamy and light, with fresh raspberry flavor and great texture from the crust. They’re such a fun, easy dessert—we’ll be making batches for the rest of the summer with blackberries, peaches, cherries and nectarines. They would be so fun for a party, too, as an alternative to cupcakes or ice cream cake.

Take that, career crap-titude test. I’m a dessert genius.

Raspberry Cheesecakesicles        printable recipe

This is a fun, easy summer dessert that’s great for parties. Substitute your favorite fruit or combination of fruits to make your own flavor! Makes 8 popsicles. 

Prep Time: 15 minutes Freeze Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

  • 7 graham crackers to yield 1 c graham cracker crumbs
  • 3 tbsp butter, melted
  • 8 waxed paper cups, 9 oz size
  • 8 popsicle sticks
  • 1 c raspberries
  • 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/3 c sugar
  • 8 oz whipped topping (Cool Whip)

1. Pulse graham crackers in a food processor until fine crumbs form. Using your fingers, mix crumbs with melted butter until thoroughly moistened. Pour one heaping tablespoon of crumb mixture into each cup and press down very firmly. Freeze cups for 15 minutes or until crusts are hardened.

2. In a large bowl beat together raspberries, cream cheese and sugar using an electric mixer. Fold in whipped topping. Pour mixture into large freezer bag, cut off tip, and squeeze filling into cups. Insert popsicle sticks into center of filling, being careful not to pierce crust. Freeze for at least one hour before serving. Carefully tear away paper cups and eat.