My husband’s business takes him on stand up paddleboard adventure trips around the world and sometimes the stars align and I am lucky enough to go along. This summer I got to go with his group to paddle the north shore of Kauai, camping and exploring each and everyday. As you can imagine, it was great. Sparkly blue water, perfect weather, amazing scenery and one of our very few getaways without the kids. To top it off, the whole trip was catered by a whole foods chef on Kauai. Every meal was carefully prepared to fuel us for the trip but to also appeal to our taste buds. The chef (Danny, from Kauai Food of the Gods) and his meals were probably the highlight of the trip for me. Sure, I love paddling next to giant cliffs, swimming in waterfalls and quietly observing sea turtles basking at sunset but what I really like is when people cook for me. I still replay those moments in my mind…unzipping the tent to find breakfast prepared and the coffee hot; hot lentil stew and cold beer dished and waiting after I came in from a swim; someone else carrying and distributing the endless supply of homemade jerky while hiking. It was bliss. I didn’t have to think about preparing meals–just enjoying them. This must be what our kids feel like all the time.
One of the most memorable meals during the trip was chia pudding. I probably had four servings before we set off on our first paddle of the day. I knew immediately it would be a perfect recipe to feed the kids–a change from the cereal and eggs every morning.
Chia seeds are everywhere now. They are the “new” superfood that is full of protein, healthy omega-3 fatty acids, carbohydrates, fiber, antioxidants, and calcium. The little seeds absorb the liquid they are soaking in and expand into little tapioca like things. You can sprinkle them on cereal or yogurt, bake with them (they act as a binder instead of eggs) or whatever your heart desires. Some companies have started to add them to juices for an extra protein kick.
If you are looking for a quick, healthy breakfast food or snack to kick off the school year, chia pudding may be exactly what you need. It is very adaptable–use whatever kind of milk you want (soy, almond, coconut, cow), the sweetener you feel most comfortable with, and toppings of your choice. If you want to add some cocoa powder for a chocolate taste, go for it. The only real issue for the pudding is that it needs plenty of time to set, at least 12 hours. Throw it together while dinner is cooking and it will be ready in time for breakfast in the morning.
Here is our basic chia pudding recipe, inspired by Kauai Food of the Gods:
- 1 ½ cup milk of choice (I usually use unsweetened almond milk)
- 1-2 Tablespoons sweetener of choice (honey, maple syrup, agave), to taste
- ¼ cup chia seeds
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 1 cup of toppings (berries, nuts, apples...)
- In a medium sized bowl, mix together the milk, sweetener and vanilla. Add the chia seeds and stir gently. You want to make sure that all of the seeds are exposed to the liquid.
- Cover with plastic wrap and allow to chill for about 12 hours.
- Mix-Ins: I like to add blueberries, almond slivers, raspberries, blackberries, walnuts, granola. I add about 1 cup of berries to the chilling pudding about halfway through the chill time. You could wait until the end and just add it then as well.
- There are just so many options with this healthy recipe! Enjoy!