That crazy looking gelatinous mass in the round tin is actually a delicious serving of chocolate tapioca pudding with homemade strawberry chia jam on top. After making traditional tapioca last week, which involved separating eggs, whisking, stirring, stirring, more stirring, beating and folding, I decided to try making tapioca pudding in the crock pot. I made e a super simple vegan tapioca pudding, so I wouldn’t have to worry about eggs curdling and all that. I am happy to report that it’s SO EASY to make a big batch of delicious tapioca pudding in a slow cooker.
Crock Pot Chocolate Tapioca Pudding
8 cups milk (I used almond milk)
1 cup tapioca pearls
1 cup sugar
4 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Add all ingredients to the crock pot, except the vanilla extract. Cook on high for 2–3 hours. After about an hour, stir the pudding to make sure that the tapioca isn’t all lumping together. Then stir occasionally until the tapioca pearls turn translucent. The pudding will look a little runny at this point, but it will thicken up substantially as it cools. Once the pudding is cooled down to room temperature, stir in the vanilla extract and refrigerate. This makes a pretty big batch: tapioca pudding for a crowd!
This is the first of what I’m sure will be many meals made from Easter leftovers. It’s all there: hard-boiled eggs, grilled glazed ham, hot cross buns, carrots and strawberries. Now I just need to come up with creative ways to use up more than a dozen hard-boiled eggs. We’ve already had pickled eggs and deviled eggs and hard-boiled eggs sliced on top of fried rice—I’m just warming up.
Last night for dinner I made a decadent frittata filled with crunchy bacon, potatoes (sautéed in bacon fat), spinach, leeks and loads of cheddar cheese. Because we’re fancy, the kids and I sprinkled some nasturtiums on top. The leftovers went right into the lunch boxes. I was thinking this would be a super fast lunch to make until Iain requested tapioca pudding. I grumbled a bit, but then went to work separating eggs and stirring, stirring, stirring. Tapioca pudding is quick to burn if you don’t keep stirring. Since this is the last lunch of the week, I didn’t mind making a little tapioca pudding for my sweeties.
Last night I was feeling tired and in a bit of a lunch rut, until: inspiration! Thinly sliced whole grain vollkornbort bread (German power food) + butter + lightly smoked sardines = most satisfying sandwich ever. I am crazy about smoked sardines and, believe it or not, the kiddos share my love of oily little fish. As I was making this sandwich, it looked so delicious that I decided to make a version for myself with sliced cucumbers and cracked pepper.
This is shaping up to be another insanely busy quarter. Lots of late nights and working on the weekends, but no matter, lunch still goes on. Friday’s lunch contained all sorts of fun stuff: Nutella on German hippie bread (vollkornbrot), a little homemade granola bar (pulled out the freezer), dried apricots, cinnamon schoolbook cookies, a date, and chunks of watermelon.
Monday’s lunch featured a mini tuna sandwich on a King’s Hawaiian sweet roll (processed white bread: the opposite of vollkornbrot) with Goldfish, and colorful fruits and veggies.
Tuesday’s lunch contains a kid-favorite sandwich: smoked turkey and cheddar cheese on multigrain sourdough bread. The sides have a green theme: cucumbers and grapes.
Now, if I could just figure out what to make for tomorrow’s lunch.
This sandwich is a guaranteed kid-pleaser: sunflower seed butter, Nutella and thin slices of banana. Umm, yum. I made a little crunchy mix to go with the sandwich: cinnamon schoolbook cookies, Corn Chex, Rice Chex and Baby Goldfish. The fruit just screams “springtime in California”: strawberries and tangerines.
For today’s yummy lunch, I went with a very different, but equally kid-pleasing sandwich: smoked turkey and cheddar cheese on a buttery dinner roll. The sides are little rice cake pieces (every try to cut up a rice cake?), grape tomatoes, baby carrots, apple slices and little tangerine segments.
If your dates didn’t just fall off a date tree, soak them in the almond milk for at least an hour. Blend all ingredients, except the chia seeds, until smooth. Pour into a glass container, stir in the chia seeds, cover and refrigerate overnight or until the pudding is thick.
The kiddos are big fans of smoked turkey sandwiches—especially smoked turkey with cheddar cheese and lots of dill pickle relish. As you can see from this lunch, the produce at the farmers market is starting to look truly spectacular.
I decided to go with a lunch of small bites for today’s fun Friday feast. There are all sorts of goodies in this lunch: fancy cheese, Canadian bacon, cereal trail mix, savory crackers, crisp veggies, and slices of tart Granny Smith apple.
The trail mix is a winning combination of Chex, almonds, date pieces, dried cranberries and peanut butter chips. Yum! The kiddos absolutely love a snacky lunch of small nibblies.
Lately, the kids and I have been eating tons of yogurt—yogurt parfaits for breakfast, yogurt with peanut butter, honey and graham crackers for a snack, and fruit-filled yogurt for lunch. Today’s yogurt is swirled with homemade strawberry chia jam, a little bit of Nutella (crazy decadence!), and lots of banana slices. Mmm: sweet, tart, and creamy yumminess. For sides I packed a whole wheat raspberry Fig Bar, some cinnamon schoolbook cookies, a dried apricot, sliced oranges, tangerines and celery sticks. And the little treat is a dark chocolate covered sea salt caramel.
Last night’s dinner of spaghetti with turkey meatballs was immediately repurposed into today’s lunch: thinly sliced turkey meatballs, spinach and cheese with marinara sauce on cracked wheat sourdough bread. The kiddos are currently on a big sourdough kick, and cracked wheat sourdough has become the new bread of choice for toast and sandwiches. Yum—I love sourdough. And take a look at those strawberries. Now that April has arrived, the strawberries at the farmers market are starting to get incredibly sweet and delicious.
I love tortilla pizzas. Put some marinara sauce and mozzarella between two tortillas, top with more sauce and cheese, and pop it in the oven until everything looks crisp and golden. Yesterday, I made some kale and basil pesto, so I had that on hand to use as a pizza topping. Little Stuff loved the pizza, but Big Stuff rejected the kale pesto. Kids are so unpredictable. Next month, Big Stuff might decide he loves kale pesto. Who can get inside the crazy brain of an eight year old—not me.