Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia Pudding

I’ve been experimenting with a lot of healthy food lately, and having a mixed bag of successes and failures. Some healthy food blogs make everything look and sound like they’re absolutely delicious, but c’mon…the brownies made with prunes and applesauce really don’t taste like they’re made with butter, and cauliflower, no matter how good it is roasted, is still, at heart, cauliflower. I’m all for making really tasty, healthy food, but we do need to accept that we’re not going to make a non-dairy, gluten-free substitute for full-fat, four cheese macaroni and cheese that will pass a blind taste test! In fact, I don’t want it to. I want to train myself to appreciate the different textures and flavors of the ingredients I’m using, not hide them and pretend they’re something else. So often, so-called ‘diet foods’ are marketed as low-calorie, facsimiles of the originals…”100 calories snack packs”, “skinny cow ice cream”, “low-fat salad dressing”…the list goes on, keeping people tied to the flavors and textures that we’ve become addicted to.

Instead of buying into the “diet-food industry”, I’d rather eat real food that’s both simpler and healthier. I’m finding my taste buds are adapting. I had a donut on Saturday, and the sweetness was almost overwhelming. I now eat plain greek yogurt with only banana and don’t need to add honey anymore. I’m not perfect; I still crave things, especially salty-crunchy things, but I’m working on that. I make homemade popcorn to quell that crunchy craving, telling myself it’s better than buying something in a bag. I just need to make it in a small pot, not a large one!

I haven’t written much about chia yet, mostly because I mostly use it to give fruit & yogurt smoothies some fiber; I haven’t really used it as a main ingredient, but I decided last night to make a breakfast “pudding” with it. I love the idea of making breakfast the night before, like those refrigerator oatmeal recipes, but honestly, I didn’t love my refrigerator oatmeal much. Chia seeds look like poppy seeds, but act more like tapioca; they absorb liquid and become slightly gelatinous. I mixed up 1 cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk with 1/4 cup of chia seeds, a small squeeze of liquid stevia, a dash of vanilla extract, and a little salt. After stirring together, I poured the mixture into two glass bowls with lids & refrigerated overnight, stirring a couple of times to disperse the seeds, which settle a little bit. At the same time, I cut up a bunch of strawberries & let them macerate overnight. This morning, my chia was not quite pudding-like, but it was close enough; I served it with my strawberries and sliced banana – the chia seeds give it an interesting texture that can be a little off-putting, but I got used to it; I’m not sure I would want to eat it solo, but it worked with the fruit, especially the creaminess of the banana – and it’s pretty satisfying. It’s a nice alternative to my standbys of yogurt and hard boiled eggs.

I have to remember that not every recipe is going to be an epiphany; some will just new ways to prepare some decent, healthy food.

note – this recipe was inspired by chocolatecovderedkatie.com, who features lots of healthy dessert recipes.

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