I owe you a follow-up on last month’s farmers’ market bowl. When I shared that I have been struggling this winter, I received so many thoughtful responses and heard from a lot of you who have been in the same boat. On your urging, I made an appointment with my doctor to check my iron, thyroid, vitamin B levels and so on—fortunately, all the results turned out normal.
It seems I am just seasonally affected. Solar-powered, if you will. My doctor said that most American women are low or deficient in vitamin D3, so I’ve started taking supplements (she recommended 2,000 IU/day). What has helped the most, though, is sleeping with my blinds partially open, so I get a blast of sunlight every morning. I’m not a morning person, and this new apartment’s black-out blinds are just too effective!
If you’ve been feeling sluggish this winter, I recommend getting a good dose of sunlight right when you wake up. Whether that’s by opening the bedroom blinds or eating breakfast next to a sunny window, I think it’ll help. I’m also trying to accept that different seasons offer different energies. Maybe I just operate a little slower in the winter, and that’s ok. Maybe you can relate.
I wanted to share my new go-to breakfast recipe today—chia pudding. I’ve not been a fan of chia puddings in the past (this creamy blended treat being the sole exception), but I crave this vanilla-orange chia pudding. It tastes like sunshine in a bowl. The best part is that you can make individual servings today, and enjoy them all week long.
It turns out that fresh citrus, vanilla and honey are a perfect match for chia seeds, especially with a base of creamy homemade cashew milk. You can also use store-bought almond milk or coconut milk, but I really love the rich, neutral flavor and creamy texture that cashew milk provides.
This easy recipe doesn’t require any cooking at all; it just needs an hour-long (or overnight) rest to give the chia seeds time to plump up. The resulting tapioca-like pudding tastes similar to a creamsicle or an orange julius. Enjoy this one for breakfast, dessert, or as a snack. It’s a creamy, filling, and healthy treat, no matter how you serve it.
Chia seeds are high in fiber and Omega-3’s (Aztec warriors used to rely on them for energy), so this chia seed pudding will keep you going for a while! As always, please let me know how you like it.
- 1 cup homemade cashew milk, almond milk or light coconut milk
- ½ teaspoon orange zest, preferably from an organic orange
- ⅛ teaspoon vanilla extract, more to taste
- 3 tablespoons chia seeds
- Recommended toppings: drizzle of honey or maple syrup, sliced bananas, fresh or defrosted berries or my berry chia seed jam, shredded coconut, toasted chopped nuts...
- In a small jar (these are perfect) or bowl, combine the milk, orange zest, and vanilla extract. Taste, and if you'd like a more pronounced vanilla flavor, add another ⅛ teaspoon vanilla extract. Be sure to measure out the extra vanilla extract rather than just pouring more in—it's easy to go overboard.
- Whisk in the chia seeds, cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (or overnight), until the chia seeds have absorbed enough moisture to achieve a pudding-like state. If you think of it, give it a stir sometime along the way to break up any clumps of chia.
- Before serving, stir once again to break up any clumps of chia seeds. Serve with a drizzle of honey or maple syrup on top and any additional toppings you might like. This pudding will keep well in the refrigerator, covered, for about 5 days.
Make it nut free: Use a nut-free milk, and don't top with nuts.
Change it up: I haven't tried yet, but I bet this recipe would be tasty with other varieties of citrus zest as well.
To make 4 servings at once: Combine 4 cups milk, 2 teaspoons orange zest and ½ teaspoon vanilla extract. Add up to ½ teaspoon more vanilla extract for a more pronounced vanilla flavor. Whisk in ¾ cup chia seeds and refrigerate overnight.
Recipe update 3/15/17: My recipe originally included orange juice for extra orange flavor, however, it's come to my attention that the acidity level of orange juice can prevent chia seeds from plumping up—this depends on the pH of the orange juice and the other liquid involved. I've edited the recipe from the original ¾ cup milk, ¼ cup orange juice, and ¼ teaspoon orange zest to the recipe you see above. It's just as good and more reliable! My sincere apologies to anyone who had trouble with it before—what you see up there now is actually how I'd been making the pudding in the first place, and I've verified that it works with all of the milk options provided above.