Spring has sprung!
I think all that cooking her to us worked.
The urge to frolic is irresistible. The sun is up longer each day. Warm bursts of wind shake tiny buds on cherry trees. Daffodils peak up from their winter hibernation underground. We might’ve lost a Daylight Savings hour but we’ve gained so much more.
Six weeks. Six weeks. Next week the mantra will become five weeks, five weeks. I know it’s important to be in the present, but I can’t help counting down the days to graduation and Seattle and summer.
If you haven’t experienced the wonder of the Chia (and no, I’m not talking about those green, sprouted cha-cha-chia! heads and pets) then get thee self to the grocery store and buy yourself a bag. They’re rich in omega-3s, protein, fiber, and antioxidants. Chia seeds are easier to digest than their flax seed friends and lower in fat. And they’re a great vegan substitute for eggs when making pudding because they contain a compound that creates gelatinous texture.
I’m a fan of vegan food; I shamelessly crave hunks of Tofurkey, strips of smoky Seitan, and a vegan friend’s marinated-broiled tofu. But my world is too enamored with Gruyère cheese and Eggs Benedict to renounce dairy and eggs completely.
Almost all the chia pudding recipes online are vegan. These puddings satisfy a sweet custard craving yet lack the layered, creamy texture that you achieve with dairy. A couple days ago my mom created the non-vegan version below. We haven’t stopped chanting the cha-cha-chia theme song since.
Vanilla-Date Chia Pudding: Vegan/Non-Vegan
Serves 4 (makes about 2 1/2 cups.)
1 cup milk
1 egg7 Medjool dates, pitted and minced
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
handful of berries
maple syrup for drizzling and chopped dates and pecans for topping
- In a small saucepan, heat milk on low heat, stirring often, until steaming and then turn off heat. In the meantime, beat egg in a separate bowl.
- Temper egg by quickly whisking 2 tablespoons warm milk with the beaten egg. While vigorously whisking the milk, slowly add tempered egg to the saucepan.
- Add chia seeds, minced dates, vanilla, and maple syrup to taste while the milk-egg mixture is still hot.
- Garnish with dates, pecans, and berries and serve warm or cool overnight and serve chilled.
1 cup (5 ounces) cashews, soaked in filtered water for 2 hours to overnight
4 cups water or almond milk
7 Medjool dates (5 1/2 ounces), pitted
Pinch of sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 Tablespoons coconut butter
2 Tablespoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups mixed raspberries and blueberries
3/4 cup maple syrup, for drizzling
- Place chia seeds in a medium mixing bowl, and set aside.
- Drain cashews, and rinse well. Add cashews, water/almond milk, dates, salt, cinnamon, coconut butter, and vanilla extract to a blender. Blend on high speed for 2 minutes, and pour into bowl with chia seeds; whisk well. Let mixture stand for 10 to 15 minutes, whisking every few minutes to prevent chia seeds from clumping (pudding will thicken quickly). Refrigerate until cold, about 3 hours.
- Serve with berries, dates, and maple syrup to drizzle.
Pudding can be refrigerated in a covered glass container for up to 5 days.