Vanilla Chia Pudding with Mixed Fruit & Nut Muesli
Two weeks ago in Vancouver there was a huge wind storm; unlike any I had ever seen before. Trees had fallen on houses and cars, power lines were down, businesses closed, and busy downtown intersections turned into 4-way stops because the stop lights weren’t working. It took over two hours to get home from work in what was supposed to take 45 minutes. I arrived home at noon to see the power was out – how exciting! Yes indeed, I’m one of those strange people that likes it when there’s a storm outside, and you’re cozy and warm inside the security of four walls… even if there's no electricity.
After a few hours my computer and phone died. No electricity to charge them back up.
Okay so what to do next? Ooh, make some tea! Nope. Kettle needs power to boil water. Duh. Okay, I’ll have a kombucha instead and head down into the garage and sort out the pile of boxes I’ve been neglecting for months.
In only a couple hours, not even 4pm, I powered through it all. I was so proud of myself. Nothing distracted me and there was no way I could procrastinate.
Now what? Well I’ve been meaning to de-clutter for a while. I'll get rid of clothes and other household items I haven’t used in months.
Two more hours later and I was done that too.
Now what? Okay, there's a pile of papers getting taller day by day in my closet that needed sorting.
An hour later I was finished that as well. Wow – power seriously needs to go out more often!
In the early evening family members starting to stop by for a visit. They too were out of electricity and had nothing to do. We sat around by the window and exchanged stories while eating some fresh fruit. We were hoping the power would return before the sun set. This didn't happen.
Dietitian's Recognition: Let's take a moment to appreciate the chia. What a powerful little seed. Here's a fun fact: in the plant-food kingdom, chia seeds provide the most omega-3 fats per serving (1.9g per Tbsp). The average adult male needs only 1.6 g/day and the adult female 1.1g/day. Who said we need fish for our healthy omega fats?
We stayed up well past midnight chatting by the candlelight. It was so interesting trying to eat dinner in the darkness. It reminded me of those new popular restaurants where you eat in pitch black darkness to heighten your sense of taste. Talk about practicing mindfulness.
The next morning the power was not back on. Luckily we don’t have any meat, eggs or dairy in the fridge to go bad; all the fresh produce was doing just fine. The frozen berries in the freezer had melted, but nothing that couldn’t be re-frozen to add to a smoothie later.
Dietitian's Recognition: Let's take a moment to appreciate another fun fact: chia seeds hold 12x their weight in water when they gel up, making them a wonderful source of soluble fiber (keeps you regular, if you know what I mean).
With all the tasks on my to-do list completed the day prior, I had the whole day available to do whatever I wanted. (Obviously) I decided to make some food and snap some photos. Without the stove or oven, it all had to be raw. Here is one of the four dishes I made that day… stay tuned for the other three.
I admit: chia pudding is not a unique recipe. This post is intended to show you that it isn't difficult to whip this together as an impromptu breakfast if lacking time, or in my case, electricity. Bon appétit!
Vanilla Chia Pudding With Mixed Fruit & Nut Muesli
▸ ▹ Vegan, raw, gluten-free, oil-free, soy-free, refined sugar-free
Yield: 3 cups (2 servings)
Prep Time: 5 min
Total Time: 1-2 hrs (refrigeration time for chia seeds to gel)
3 Tbsp (35 g) chia seeds (use 2 Tbsp if you prefer the consistency to be more fluid and less pudding-like)
1 cup (250 mL) soy or coconut milk, or other plant-based milk of choice (store-bought or homemade if making raw)
1/2 cup (100 g) strawberries, sliced, fresh or frozen (or other berry of choice)
1/2 cup (80 g) mangoes, chopped, fresh or frozen
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 kiwi, skinned, diced
2 plums, seeded, sliced
1/4 cup (35 g) nuts/seeds of choice, chopped (optional - I used walnuts and almonds)
2 dates, pitted and chopped
Combine chia seeds, milk, berries, mango and vanilla extract in a bowl or jar, stirring to combine. Let sit for 5-10 minutes and the stir again to prevent clumping.
Cover and chill in the fridge for 1-2 hours, or overnight (yay, make-ahead breakfasts!).
Stir well before serving. Portion into bowl(s) and add desired toppings. Mine were the kiwi, plums, walnuts, almonds and dates.
You do NOT need to use the same fruits or nuts I did. Feel free to add any variety you have on hand. I recommend adding the berries in with the soy milk and chia seeds instead of to the top because the berries naturally colour and add another dimension of flavour.
Make ahead breakfasts are the best for night owls or people that drag themselves out of bed in the morning. But if you didn't have the chance to whip this together the night before and want to make it in the morning, no problem. Add to a jar with a lid that can seal and take it with you - it's gelled reasonably in 20-30 minutes.
You can make in batches and store in air-tight containers in the fridge for 3-4 days (in this case, do not stir in fruit - such as mango and strawberry - until serving).