Friends- today’s post is a little different; it’s not just a recipe today. It’s about life. Because you see, though food is my life- it is my love, my passion- good, delicious food is how I connect with people, how I build relationships, there are other parts of my life I tend to neglect when life gets going even faster than normal. And I suspect a lot more of you do the same thing, even if you don’t realize it. A part of why I blog and write about food so with each post, I give you a little part of my life, but don’t actually paint the full picture.
But today goes beyond the love of food. It’s about self-care. It’s about being kind to myself so that I may be kind to the rest of the world; so that I can continue doing what I do and give it my 100%. Does that sound cliche? Probably. But it’s been a serious game changer- I have to remind myself that I
deserve need self-care. And my self-care is making the time- no matter how busy I get, or how many boo b00s there are to be kissed, lunches to pack, or meals to prepare- to exercise/workout/run/walk/sweat. Sometimes it means waking up at 4 AM and sometimes, it means squeezing in a run on the treadmill at the end of the day, after everyone has been tucked into bed (but still whispering so loud I can hear them two doors down). But it means that time is just for me. Because let’s face it: life can be exhausting. Life can be challenging. And life can be brutal if you never pause to give yourself a breather.
My wonderful friends, I see us struggling, constantly juggling so many hats/children/significant others/friends/family/pets/addictions in our lives, and I hear you when you say there aren’t enough hours in the day. We have to make time for ourselves. Working out may not be your self-care and that’s completely okay. Treat yourself to a facial, pedicure, manicure, meditate, write, read, reflect, do a head-stand, create a one-(wo)man play, take up bowhunting or nunchucking. Whatever you choose to do, it’s your self-care so own it. Demand it of yourself and don’t apologize for it. Because, ladies (and the one man who frequents this blog), a lot of us are guilty of putting everything else first, and in the process, forgetting that we need a little TLC too.
Another component of that self-care for me is eating wholesome, REAL food. I need fantastic, delicious, unadulterated food that will suppress the hunger I sometimes feel after an extra long workout session. I need protein. I need fiber. I need deliciousness. I need something already made. Lately, for that, I’ve been eating this fan-tab-u-lous wholesome vanilla chia seed pudding. This pudding is my magical superfood. It has so much texture, so much flavor, so much wow-look-at-me-I-just-ate-like-a-responsible-healthful-grownup-and-it-was-delicious factor but it is a minimal effort sorta thang.
I learned about the awesome powers of chia seeds recently- ya’ know, when it became uber trendy. It’s packed with fiber and protein and oh so versatile. I add it to things like marinara sauce and kababs where the chia seeds not only acts as a nutritional boost, but it also acts as a gluten-free binder. Yes, please! I’m always in awe of these tiny little seeds that seem so insignificant but, the joke’s on me for underestimating them.
Guys, when I say wholesome, I mean capital W-H-O-L-E-S-O-M-E. Chia seeds, (unsweetened) vanilla almond milk, honey, and an abundance of coconut flakes, plump medjool dates (always medjool), sweet, ripe banana slices, and/or any other toppings you can think of. The chia seed pudding itself is the perfect blank canvas for so many different toppings. Oh, someone please, pretty please, try different combinations and tell me about it!
- sliced strawberries
- dried cranberries/blueberries
- almonds/cashews/pecans/walnuts/any kinda’ chopped nuts
- chocolate chips (yes, yes, yes!)
- peanut butter/almond butter/cashew butter/sunbutter
- unsweetened coconut flakes
Chia seed pudding isn’t exclusively a post-workout snack/meal kinda food. It’s the perfect breakfast that won’t betray you mid-morning, urging you to hit the vending machine or reach for those oh-so-tempting muffins in the breakroom. Soak the chia seeds overnight in the milk, prepare your toppings in advance and you have a perfectly portable, to go, breakfast. OR give it to the kids as an afterschool snack and have them pick and choose their toppings. They’ll thank you for letting them “cook” and you can feel good about feeding them a wholesome, nutritious snack.
You’re looking at the screen skeptically because this doesn’t sound like something you crave/deliciousness you normally have when you really want to satisfy hunger. But, this chia seed pudding is truly spectacular. It gets a richness from the sweet, succulent dates, crunch from the coconut flakes, creaminess from the banana. And the pudding itself is silky, slightly sweet with a bit of a bite, similar to tapioca. The seeds plump up when they’re soaked in the milk and absorb the flavors of the milk and honey, take on a texture to hearty jello and natural sweetness. But way better!
- 3 tbsp chia seeds
- 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk*
- 2 tbsp plain non-fat greek yogurt**
- 2 tsp honey (or more if desired)
- 2 tsp sliced almonds
- 4 pitted & chopped medjool dates
- 2 tsp unsweetened coconut flakes
- 1 sliced banana
- In a medium bowl, whisk together almondmilk and honey, until honey is fully dissolved. Stir in yogurt until lumps disappear. Stir in chia seeds and set aside for 15 minutes, at room temperature. Stir again after 15 mins to break up any lumps that may have formed. Cover and refrigerate overnight.***
- When ready to serve, divide evenly bowls, add equal amounts of toppings per serving and serve immediately.
*any kind of milk works, but it will change the nutritional values.
**to make dairy-free, omit yogurt and reduce milk to 3/4 cup.
***when stored in an airtight container, vanilla chia seed pudding keeps well for up to 3 days in the fridge.