Raw, Vegan Valentine’s Day Treats That Prove Chia Seeds Are For More than Growing Pets

Raw, Vegan Valentine’s Day Treats That Prove Chia Seeds Are For More than Growing Pets

by Carmen Ng and Evelyn Li of Ocka Treats

Healthy eating doesn’t have to mean denial. For two friends, Carmen Ng and Evelyn Li, the desire to indulge in sweet desserts while maintaining healthy eating habits led to the creation of their own line of raw, vegan treats. They share with us how their company, Ocka Treats, came into being—and offer a few delicious, chia-based recipes just in time for Valentine’s Day!

Carmen Ng: Ever since I was young, I loved sweets and desserts. As I became more confident in baking, I would invite friends and family over and share my sweet creations in my tiny kitchen in New York City. I followed conventional recipes I found by searching online (i.e. “the more butter and sugar, the better”) and baked with highly processed ingredients like refined sugars, white flour and artificial coloring. Although traditional recipes yielded delicious results and flavors, after I had eaten the sweets and desserts, I felt sluggish and had a difficult time maintaining my energy levels and focus.

Upon further research, I was mortified to learn about the ingredients that go into baked “goods.” I started to question why I would put these products into my body or anyone else’s! The ingredients have little to no nutritional value and are detrimental to our long-term health and well-being. Armed with all the research and a curious inventive mind, I was determined to make the most delicious and healthiest treats for my family and friends that I could. My goal was to substitute artificial, chemical-based ingredients in my sweet creations with high quality and nutritional ingredients. Through many trials and errors in my kitchen, I finally created the perfect desserts that satisfy both my sweet tooth and my desire to live a healthy life.

 

Evelyn Li: One of my greatest loves in life is food. I am one of those people who live to eat. I also love feeling healthy and living an active lifestyle, so I desired sweets which agreed with my body, fueled my body and kept it working to its fullest potential. The difference I feel when I eat the right things for my body is incredible. Making treats myself seemed the best way to satisfy all these criteria. In meeting Carmen through rock climbing, I realized we shared this same passion. 

With our determination, belief and a clear mission to “have our cake and eat it too,” our quest of making favorite treats with a healthy spin had begun. To start, we carefully selected high quality and natural ingredients that had minimal processing—they were raw, plant-derived, soy-free and gluten-free. Without much effort, we were able to allow the natural ingredients to shine through—deliciously.

Carmen: During a random dinner conversation, Evelyn and I broadly asked each other the timeless question, “What could we do to help others in the world and what can we do to show our appreciation for this planet?”

We knew we were not building rockets or self-driving cars.  Our conversation spiraled into our joys of traveling, sharing stories of our adventures and our profound love for sweets and desserts. We realized that we can contribute in our own way – rather one small bite at a time! Our treats are not specifically designed to chase the labels of vegan, Paleo, ketogenic or other diets but can be compatible with these lifestyles. We believe that this is a way of living: live passionately, love ourselves, and treat the people around us, living things, and our planet Earth with compassion.

Recipes

We want to invite you to explore the joy and power of raw, plant-based treats. Using chia seeds (a nutritional boost!) and a few other basic ingredients can create nutritious, delicious and easy-to-make treats. Think about enjoying jam, pudding parfait, chocolate and even truffle. With Valentine’s day around the corner, the recipes will be a special treat for your bae.

***

Chia seed jam

This jam has only 4 natural ingredients.

Prep Time: 10 mins

Total Time: 3 hours 10 mins

Yield: Makes about 3 cups

Ingredients

  • 5 cups (20 –24 oz) fresh or frozen raspberries and/or blueberries (any combination)
  • ¼ cup chia seeds
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice or lemon juice
  • Optional – Up to 4 tablespoons maple syrup, to taste

Equipment

  • A medium-size mixing bowl
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Spatula
  • A fork or a potato masher
  • Glass jars or other storage containers, for the finished jam

Instructions

Combine the ingredients in a mixing bowl.

Wait. Cover and let the mixture develop for about three hours at room temperature, or overnight in the refrigerator.

Mash the berries with a fork or masher. If you like it more “jammy” and smooth, crush it up more. If you like some texture in your jam, then don’t mash it too much. Add a little sweetness (optional).

Taste the jam and stir in some maple syrup to your desired sweetness.

How to enjoy

Swirl into yogurt, granola, oatmeal, chia seed parfait (see next recipe)

Spread on toast, pancakes, waffles, bagels

Storage

Store leftover jam in the refrigerator, covered, for about 1 week.

Recipe Notes

  • If the chia seeds jam isn’t plump yet, let the mixture rest for longer to let the chia seeds absorb some more moisture.
  • If you’d prefer not to have visible chia seeds in your finished jam, grind the chia seeds in a spice grinder prior to mixing it with other ingredients; or you can puree the jam in a blender or with an immersion blender.
  • If the jam seems a little thin, add another teaspoon or two of chia seeds. Stir, and let sit for another 30 minutes.

***

Chia seed parfait

Prep Time: 10 mins

Total Time: 2 hours 10 mins

Yield: Makes about 4 cups

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup milk of your choice (cashew, almond, coconut, oat etc)
  • ¼ cup chia seeds
  • Optional – ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract, rosewater or orange blossom water
  • Optional – Up to 2 tablespoons maple syrup, to taste Layers and toppings (really anything you like or have at home!):
    • Chia jam (see recipe above)
    • Fruity – fresh fruit such as banana, kiwi fruit, berries
    • Crunchy – chocolate chips, cacao nibs, coconut flakes, nuts
    • Creamy – coconut cream, yogurt, frozen fruit blended with non-dairy milk

Equipment 

  • A medium-size mixing bowl
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Spatula
  • A whisk Glass jars or other storage containers

Instructions 

Whisk and combine the chia seeds, milk and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl

Wait. Cover and let the mixture develop for a minimum of 2 hours or overnight in the refrigerator.

Stir to break up any clumps of chia seeds

Layer the pudding-like mixture with fruity, crunchy and creamy ingredients of your choice

How to enjoy

Enjoy as breakfast or snack

Storage

Store leftover chia seed pudding in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 5 days.

Recipe Notes

  • If the mixture has not achieved the pudding-like texture yet, let it rest for longer to let the chia seeds absorb some more moisture.
  • If you prefer not to have visible chia seeds in your finished pudding, grind the chia seeds in a spice grinder prior to mixing it with other ingredients.
  • If the pudding seems a little thin, add another teaspoon or two of chia seeds. Stir and let sit for another 30 minutes.

***

Chocolate Chia Jam Cups

Prep Time: 30 mins

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: Makes about 8 mini cups

Ingredients

  • 1 cup finely chopped cacao butter
  • 1 cup cacao powder
  • ½ cup maple syrup, or coconut nectar
  • ½ cup chia seed jam (see recipe above)
  • Optional: up to 2 teaspoon of vanilla extract

 

Equipment

  • A medium-size mixing bowl
  • A pot or saucepan
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Spatula
  • Whisk
  • Mini cupcake liners

Instructions

Grate the cacao butter into thin shavings

Melt the cacao butter slowly in a bowl that is sitting in a pot of hot water or in a double boiler

Whisk in the cacao powder then the maple syrup until the mixture is completely smooth

Pour a spoonful of melted chocolate into the bottom of the cupcake liners (about ⅓ of the cup) and wait for the cups to harden

Scoop a teaspoon (more if desired) of chia jam and place it in the center of the harden chocolate

Pour the melted chocolate on and around the chia jam till the chia jam is completely covered

Wait for the chocolate to cool down and harden

How to enjoy

With a glass of sparkling beverage

Optional: sprinkle chopped nuts, berries, coconut flakes on top (before the top layer of chocolate is completely set, which is about 5 mins (10 mins) after the cups are placed in the freezer (refrigerator).

Storage

Store in containers and in the refrigerator (freezer) for about 1 week (1 month).

Recipe Notes

The melted chocolate mixture might seem very fluid. Do not worry! It will set and harden after it is being chilled in the freezer or refrigerator.

***

Beeting Heart Truffles

Prep Time: 30 mins

Total Time: 30 mins

Yield: 10 balls

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Medjool dates (pitted)
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter
  • 2 tablespoons cacao powder
  • 2 teaspoons chia seeds
  • 2 teaspoons coconut cream
  • Optional – up to 2 teaspoons maple syrup, to taste
  • Optional – 2 tablespoons orange zest
  • For the coating:
    • 2 tablespoons beetroot powder
    • 1/3 cup shredded coconut

Equipment

  • Food processor
  • A small or medium-size mixing bowl
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Spatula

Instructions

Combine the ingredients in the food processor until a paste is formed

Scope out a tablespoon of paste and shape it into heart shape

Mix the beetroot powder with the shredded coconut till the coconut turns into pink color

Coat the heart shape paste with the beetroot powder and shredded coconut

How to enjoy

With a glass of sparkling beverage

Storage

Store in containers and in the refrigerator for about 1 week

Recipe Notes

If you prefer not to have visible chia seeds in the truffles, grind the chia seeds into powder form in a spice grinder prior to mixing it with other ingredients


See more at the Ocka Treats website and follow Ocka Treats on Instagram.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *