cha cha chia (pudding): a great way to eat this super seed
I struggle in the winter with breakfast. My old standby, a fruit and veggie smoothie, just doesn't entice me the same way as it does in warmer months. I do love them... I can pack so much nutrients into one meal, eat it on the go, and even creatively hide extra veggies and ickier-tasting vitamins for my kids in them. They are great.
However, I get cold super easily, and am super sensitive to the cold... hives, racing heart, swollen tongue sometimes. (Thank you Hashimoto's for the weird yet surprisingly common cold allergy). So, holding and consuming a frozen meal is not something I really want to do on cold winter mornings. Anything warm is usually not very quick or it involves grains which I'm avoiding as much as possible right now... this lifestyle of being a busy mom with lofty wellness goals is no joke.
So, let me introduce you to my new favorite breakfast treat... coconut milk chia pudding with berries. Yes, it's cold, but it's not frozen.
Add protein by tossing back a handful of nuts or a piece of almond butter toast if you can handle the grains, and you're good to go.
This meal is packed with healthy, plant-based fat, protein, fiber, and omega 3's. It'll leave you feeling full, and possibly give you leftovers for a mid-morning snack. (I couldn't even finish it all, and had a ready-made recovery snack after my workout).
While this version isn't fully AIP compliant, it is fairly low in inflammatory ingredients, and the vanilla and honey can be easily left out or subbed.
The fat, protein, and fiber are great for stabilizing blood sugar levels which supports mood, energy, and productivity. AND it's fast and pretty portable. If you put your berries and nuts in a container when you make this, you can grab the whole thing to eat at your desk when you get to work. For the adventurous types who can't wait that long, this can be eaten fairly easily while stuck in traffic, too.
For my meal preppers, and the wannabe meal preppers like myself- this one is for you! Super simple to make a batch for the week.
I've played around with chia pudding before.. made it with almond milk (super soupy), bought various versions at the store (felt like eating boogers).. I just couldn't do it.
Then one day, we took the kids to First Watch for breakfast with gluten-free toast! Yes, it's just Udi's brand which we could easily make at home, but it's sooo nice for all of us, especially the kids, to feel a little normal by ordering off of the menu.
Anyway, I saw the chia pudding on the menu, and it looked a bit different than anything I'd had before, so I ordered it hoping I wouldn't have to gag it down. It was DELICIOUS!
The texture was different than anything else I'd had... really hard ice cream is the closest thing I can relate it to. Definitely no boogery issues here.
I've searched for copycat recipes to no avail, so I came up with my own. I can't say this is exactly the same as the restaurant serves, but I nailed the all important consistency.
The trick: the full fat coconut milk with the cream separated.
Here's what I did to create this version:
Before going to bed, I grabbed a small mason jar and opened a can of full-fat coconut milk. Taking advantage of the cream being separated at the top, I scooped that out first. Then, I poured in some of the water and stirred it, adding cream and water until I got it to a consistency I liked and the amount that looked good to me (about 3/4 of the way full). Remember, this will set in the fridge, so you don't want it too hard now.
Next, I scooped in some chia seeds. I keep an old protein powder scoop in my chia seed bag to prevent the inevitable spilling of seeds across my kitchen counter and floors, so I used a hefty half a scoop of that... maybe a tablespoon and a half? You want to have what feels like a lot.. both for the nutritious benefit, but also for taste.
Then, I squirted in a little local lavender-infused honey (half a teaspoon?) and a quick dash of vanilla. Skip this part if you want to be as clean as possible. A date is a great low-inflammatory sweetener in this recipe though. It does add a blender step to the process... not a big deal if you're meal prepping several days worth though!
Finally, I screwed on the top, shook it up really well, and put it in the fridge. Done!
The next morning, I added some blueberries and chomped on some cashews between bites, and I was ready to go. (Why yes, that IS a baby spoon I'm eating it with... I'm not sure how we go through spoons so fast in my house).
Let me know how you liked it? I'd love to hear what you thought!