Plein Air Mt. Lebanon + The #ArtofFood Contest

Plein Air Mt. Lebanon

Yinz. I’ve been asked by the Mt. Lebanon Partnership to help spread the word about an amazing event in my neighborhood: Plein Air Mt. Lebanon.

For those who aren’t familiar with the event, Plein Air Mt. Lebanon is a week-long celebration of the arts. This year it’s taking place from October 5th to the 12th and artists from across the country are coming to my ‘hood to paint outdoors, or en plein air, for the week.

The artists will debut their work and have it available for sale at an Artists’ Market, with the proceeds being made available to local arts programming through a mini-grant program.

A special few will have the opportunity to preview the work and have first crack at buying it before the gallery is open to the general public. The VIP Preview Party: The Tastes of Mt Lebanon (where this will happen) takes place on October 10th from 7-9PM. And because it’s a preview party AND tasting event, there will be a smattering of food and libations from local restaurants and bars.

As the daughter of an artist and a food blogger, this event just plain (or should I say plein) speaks to my heart.

So much so, that I’ve agreed to run a little contest for a pair of tickets (i.e.—TWO tickets) to the event ($250 value).

#ArtOfFood Contest for Plein Air Mt. Lebanon

 The Art of Food

Here’s how this is going to work.

  1. You take a photo* of your favorite food, meal, herb, drink, or food product**.
  2. You email me said photo with the subject line “Art of Food Submission” by October 6th at 11:59PM ET.
  3. I upload the submissions to a special #ArtOfFood album on my Facebook page where people can vote by LIKING their favorite image.
  4. Photo with the most likes by October 8th (AKA the winner) will receive 2 tickets to the VIP Preview Party and Tasting Event.

Easy as pie, right?

*Photos can be super fancy and crazy, it can play to the local heartstrings, or be as simple and minimal as you like.

There are NO RULES around what the photo is, just keep it classy please.

 

Recipe: Pear Vanilla Chia Pudding

Pear Vanilla Chia Pudding | Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Nightshade Free

Three years ago I was obsessed smoothies.

Two years ago I was obsessed with refrigerator oats.

Last year… I was pregnant.

This year, I am officially obsessed with chia puddings.

Pear Vanilla Chia Pudding | Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Nightshade Free

I mean, the concept of chia puddings is pretty awesome. Throw some chia seeds into a jar with some liquid, let it sit overnight, and then enjoy… It doesn’t get much easier than that.

And with an endless variety of flavor combinations, it really is a thing of beauty.

My first attempt at chia pudding happened a year or so ago. I think it was a basic chocolate chia pudding. It was aiiight, but I definitely preferred the chocolate avocado pudding variety. And that was the last time I tried it.

I was also told around the same time about the deliciousness of a coconut mango chia pudding. It intrigued me, but I wasn’t so keen on the mango—or the coconut for that matter—so just let it pass on by.

Pear Vanilla Chia Pudding | Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Nightshade Free

Fast forward to now.

Boredom had officially set in with my regular breakfast routine. I was getting tired of the multi-grain toast and fruit combination, and didn’t have time to whip up a breakfast of eggs and potatoes (and eat it) on the regular.

I also happened to come across about eleventy billion recipes for chia pudding on Pinterest. Apparently someone in my feed was obsessed with them too.

I suppose that’s what happens when you follow the food allergy crowd.

Pear Vanilla Chia Pudding | Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Nightshade Free

The blueberry chia pudding was my very first attempt. And while it was good, it wasn’t great. It was a bit watery with all the almond milk, and not the thick “pudding” consistency that I was hoping for.

But all of the recipes called for the same ratio of chia seeds to almond milk with a bit of fruit thrown in for laughs. So I decided to try it without the almond milk, and just stick with fruit puree.

THIS recipe is the result of that experiment. And I have to say, this one is exactly what I hoped it would be. It’s sweet, flavorful, and thick like pudding.

Pear Vanilla Chia Pudding | Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Nightshade Free

I was thinking a dollop of cashew butter would make this even thicker and give it a little extra stick-to-your-ribs protein.

That may be my next experiment. Or maybe I’ll do a pumpkin cashew chia pudding. Or a chocolate and peanut butter chia pudding. Because chocolate and peanut butter are delicious.

What combinations would you do?

Pear Vanilla Chia Pudding | Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Nightshade Free

Pear Vanilla Chia Pudding
Author: 
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
Ingredients:
  • 2 pears
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbs chia seeds
  • ½ tsp maple syrup (optional)
Directions:
  1. Peel and core pears and cut into chunks.
  2. Place pear chinks into a blender and puree; you should have about 1 cup when you're done.
  3. Combine puree and all remaining ingredients in a jar or container; shake to combine.
  4. Let soak a minimum of 4 hours, or overnight.
  5. Transfer to a blender and pulse of high for 60-90 seconds or until smooth.
  6. Pour into a bowl, grab a spoon, and enjoy!
Allergen Information:
Dairy Free, Nightshade Free, Gluten Free, Wheat Free, Soy Free, Corn Free, Egg Free.

 

Pinteresting Things, The Pumpkin Edition

Interesting pumpkin related things on pinterest

It’s getting colder outside, which means Pinterest has been inundated with pumpkin-themed recipes as of late. I’m certainly not complaining. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’ve added each and every single one of these to our menu for the week.

I mean, if you’re going to do it, you should really do it.

I am also testing out a few dairy-free desserts for Thanksgiving (shhh, don’t tell my SIL).

  1. Flourless Pumpkin Pie Muffins via Running with Spoons
    These muffins are reminiscent of my favorite flourless peanut butter chocolate chip muffins from Averie Cooks. It stands to reason that since those are so amazing, that these would be spectacular. I’m super excited to give them a try.
  2. Pumpkin Brownies via Real Food. Real Deals.
    Can I get a HELL YEAH for these bad boys. I mean, seriously. Brownies. With pumpkin. Brownies. and pumpkin. Together. I’m going to have to summon all the restraint I have to not eat the entire pan in one sitting. Which means I’ll likely eat them in two. Heh.
  3. Pumpkin Truffles via My Whole Food Life
    These are like the fall version of buckeyes (chocolate and peanut butter). I’m not sure what I’m more excited about, that these bad boys are dairy-free or that they look super easy to make. Either way, they will be made. And they will be devoured.
  4. Pumpkin Pie Chia Pudding via Free People
    I’m apparently super enamored by chia puddings. And this one looks like a tasty fall treat. It looks creamy and filling. And without any processed anything, would make for a super healthy breakfast.
  5. Maple Pecan Pumpkin Granola via Fit Foodie Finds
    Maple pecan granola has long been a favorite of mine. It was the very first granola I tried my hand at. And one that I continue to come back to over and over again. When I stumbled upon this recipe, my mind was kind of blown. Who would have thought to add in pumpkin?! Clearly, someone did. And I can’t wait to try it out.

Looking for more Pinteresting things?

Make sure to follow me on Pinterest! You can check out all of my boards at pinterest.com/emilylevenson.

Recipe: Blueberry Chia Pudding and Smoothie

Blueberry Chia Pudding

It all started with a quest to find some healthy-and-easy-to-eat one-handed snacks.

That quest led me down a rabbit hole on Pinterest of all things chia pudding. I dabbled with a strawberry chia pudding and kind of sort of enjoyed it (once I got the sweetness levels situated). Enough that I was curious what other kind of flavor combinations would be enjoyable.

That led me to contemplate what blueberries would be like in a chia pudding.

Blueberries for Blueberry Chia Pudding

I found it odd that I there weren’t any recipes for what I was dreaming of. I mean, there were vanilla chia pudding recipes topped with blueberries. And, of course, there were about a thousand chocolate chia puddings. But nothing that was straight up blueberry.

Perhaps I should have taken that as a sign…

But I didn’t. And I am certainly glad I went for it anyway.

Blueberry Chia Pudding

One thing I will say about chia pudding: it is never as sweet as you think it’s going to be. Something about those chia seeds soak up all of the natural sweetness of the fruit.

I kind of forgot about this principle and tried to go the unsweetened route. Let’s just say it wasn’t a very good first bite.

Ahem.

Chia seeds for Blueberry Chia PuddingChia Seeds

I also would like to just sit and observe this chia pudding all day long; it’s just so purdy.

Purdy. Delicious. Nutritious.

It’s the whole package.

Blueberry Chia Pudding

Blueberry Chia Pudding
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2-3
 
Ingredients:
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 4 tbs chia seeds
  • 2 tbs maple syrup
Directions:
  1. Combine blueberries and almond milk in a food processor or blender and puree until smooth.
  2. Transfer to a container.
  3. Stir in chia seeds and maple syrup.
  4. Place in refrigerator overnight (or at minimum 4 hours) to let chia seeds congeal.
  5. Serve with extra blueberries, cut up banana, or just enjoy it the way it is.
  6. For a little extra smoothness, puree again until smooth.
To make a smoothie:
  1. Combine blueberry chia pudding and 2 ripe bananas in blender and pulse until smooth.
  2. Pour into your favorite glass or mason jar and sip away.
Allergen Information:
Dairy Free, Nightshade Free, Gluten Free, Wheat Free, Soy Free, Egg Free, Corn Free.

Blueberry Chia Pudding

Every inch of you is perfect.

"I'm here to tell ya every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top." Meghan Trainor

I am currently obsessed with Meghan Trainor and her song All About That Bass. It gets stuck in my head no less than 50 times a day. And I couldn’t be happier about it.

The Hubster, on the other hand, thinks I made it up since all I do is walk around the house singing “I’m all about that bass, ’bout that base, no treble.”

I don’t care. I love the message of the song—about loving yourself and your body the way it is. That no matter what your body looks like, that it’s perfect from the bottom to the top. (My mama, she told me, don’t worry about your size…).

Also, the video. It’s pretty incredible. From the dancing to the colors, all amazing. I may or may not have watched it 5 times before sharing it here. And I may or may not need an intervention to get the song out of my head.

If you know have “I’m all about that bass, ’bout that base, no treble.” stuck in your head… You’re welcome. Or, conversely, I’m sorry.

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