Perfect Parfait…

I am so super excited about this week’s recipe, I can barely contain myself.

I just finished my experimental batch of this parfait, and I might have to go back for seconds. It’s that kind of day here in the great Northwest; we just got our first large-ish dump of snow (in January!) and I’m feeling sort of like I want to stay inside and eat yummy things.

What’s more likely to happen is that I’ll head out for a ski tour and enjoy it for awhile…then come back in and eat.

In the meantime, I will have a great breakfast to fuel my endeavors.

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The great thing about this breakfast is that even though it takes a little advance prep (you can easily do this the night before, or maybe on a weekend morning), it’s pretty easy, fairly quick, and just-sweet-enough…the apple juice negates any need for sugar in the jam.

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I did find that although the original recipe makes sweetener in your “overnight” oats optional, I would probably add a little maple syrup next time, just to give it that added oomph. When I make them on their own as a quick out-the-door, go-time breakfast, I usually add some maple syrup or agave along with dried fruit.

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The chia seeds thicken this up nicely, and give you some extra staying power through your morning. It’s a great way to incorporate them into a morning routine as an alternative to mixing them into a smoothie, if you’re looking for a change of pace.

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In addition, apples also provide a host of health benefits you might not even think of; I know, I know…they told you to eat and apple a day to keep the doctor away. But it’s true: apples can help prevent Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, as well as reduce your risk of diabetes and some cancers.

The fiber in apples will also help beat diarrhea and constipation, and neutralize irritable bowel syndrome. Not to mention detoxify your liver, which is always a good thing, considering how much crap we put into our systems without even knowing it.

Basically this one hits it out of the park. Give it a try. You won’t be disappointed. The best part is that it makes enough for two, so you’ll have some left over. The jam will also keep about a week, if you want to make a little extra, and make the oats as you go.

Sugar-Free Apple Pie and Chia Seed Jam and Parfait

Ingredients:

For the jam…makes about 1-1.5 cups

3 large apples, peeled and diced
3/4 cup 100% pure apple juice
2 tablespoons chia seeds
3/4-1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (optional)
pinch of fine grain sea salt (optional)

For the parfait…

1/2 cup gluten-free rolled oats
1 + 1/4 cups homemade or store-bought almond milk
2 tablespoons chia seeds
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
sweetener, to taste (optional)
Apple Pie Jam (from above)
Chopped toasted walnuts (optional)

Directions:

1. For the jam: Add all jam ingredients into a medium pot and stir to combine. Bring mixture to a low boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so. When the apples are fork tender, remove from heat and mash 50% of the mixture to thicken. Set aside to cool.

2. For the vegan overnight oats: Combine the oats, chia seeds, almond milk, vanilla, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Whisk to combine. Place in the fridge overnight, or for at least 1-2 hours to thicken. Once the oats are softened and the liquid is mostly absorbed, it’s ready. You can thin it out with more milk if needed or thicken it with more chia seeds.

3. To make each parfait: Layer the vegan overnight oats with the apple pie jam, a few spoonfuls of each per layer. Add toasted chopped walnuts on top of each layer if desired.
Store leftover jam in an air-tight container or jar in the fridge.

*Recipe courtesy of http://www.ohsheglows.com

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