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she’s baaack

Recipe: almond vanilla chia seed pudding

It was nice to have some time away from Neva for her first week of doggy training camp, but by the second week, we were really missing her and excited to have pup pup back. As I’ve mentioned before, I will have a dedicated post to our experience with a professional dog trainer soon, but I can’t fairly assess until we’ve had more time to work with Neva ourselves. I’m sure some people have an unrealistic expectation that they hand their dog over to a professional for some time then get a perfect dog back. We definitely got our Neva back with all her weird quirks and silly habits, but she’s been primed to learn and we’ve been given instruction and some extra tools to improve our ability to communicate with Little Miss Goofball. We are determined to give Neva’s training our best effort and are already seeing improvements over the old Neva.

she was so tuckered when we brought her home

continuing adult education (see how she’s looking at jeremy?)

After a month of unseasonably warm spring-like conditions in February, we seem to be getting even more of it in March. This kind of weather makes skiers nervous, and it makes those of us who live in the mountains anxious. The end of the month might be bringing some precipitation (possibly in the form of snow, too!), but this weeks-long warm spell is already taking its toll locally as a wildfire burns in a neighboring canyon bordering the city of Boulder. I’m the first one to wilt under the sun when it’s 30°F outside, but it’s been in the 60s here and I can’t help but breathe a sigh of relief when the sun drops behind the mountains each day.

we have had some fantastic sunsets

glowing streaks and puffs

otherworldly sky

In the last year, I’ve had to change my oncologist and my primary care physician (PCP) due to retirements. I was pretty bummed because I really adored and trusted both of these doctors who basically saw me through my cancer treatments. I’ve since met with my new oncologist and PCP, both of whom are great (consider me most fortunate to have great health care through my spouse’s employer since I am freelance and have a pre-existing condition). My PCP asked me what medications I take and if I take supplements. Since I am lactose intolerant, I take a daily calcium supplement in addition to eating dark leafy greens and other natural non-dairy sources of calcium. She said she’d like me to get more calcium through foods rather than a supplement. Okay, that shouldn’t be hard for me to do. Brassicas like kale, collard greens, and broccoli are already in rotation, but I would never say no to more! Tofu, almonds, edamame, spinach – easy peasy. What I didn’t know was that chia seeds are a great source of calcium.

teeny tiny little chia seeds

If you’re wondering whether these are the same chia seeds of “chia pet” fame, the answer is yes. I had chia seeds for the first time in a raspberry kombucha when I was trying to get the balance in my gut right after a course of antibiotics. They look like frog eggs and have the texture of tiny, slippery tapioca with a crunchy center. That might not be appealing to some, but I love it. When I’m on Instagram, I scroll past all of those oh-so-popular smoothie bowls because I actually prefer to eat my fruit with my teeth. But a local blogger, Joan of Grist and Greens, posted a chia seed pudding last month, which looked and sounded lovely.

vanilla extract, almond milk, chia seeds, honey

While I went with a different recipe, Joan was still my inspiration. I opted for an almond milk chia seed pudding instead of her coconut milk chia seed pudding because – double bonus: almond milk is a good source of calcium. Since I knew I liked chia seeds, I went ahead and bought the Big Bag of organic chia seeds from Costco. The pudding itself is just about the easiest thing you could make. Just stir everything together and refrigerate.

add honey


and almond milk

I read several warnings about eating chia seeds straight up and how it’s not a good idea to do so. These little guys can absorb up to ten (or more) times their weight in liquid, producing a mucilaginous gel in the process. I imagine if you downed a bunch of chia seeds dry, then chased them with a glass of water or juice, you could end up with stomach bloat, discomfort, or other problems (one guy got a big bolus stuck in his esophagus). You can let them sit in water for as little as five to ten minutes to create a chia seed gel, but an overnight soak increases digestibility.

cover and refrigerate

after chilling overnight

I’m perfectly happy eating the chia seed pudding plain, but it really gets a boost in flavor and texture when you add things like fresh fruit and nuts to it. Actually, you should add whatever you like to it. And Joan’s puddings were so cheery with happy fruity cutout shapes, I had to try it myself. Yup, the pudding definitely tastes better that way. I’m sold!

topped with mango, raspberries, and almonds

easy, delicious, healthy breakfast or snack

Almond Vanilla Chia Seed Pudding
[print recipe]
from Daily Burn

1/2 cup chia seeds
2 cups almond milk, unsweetened
1-2 tbsps honey
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Stir all of the ingredients together. Refrigerate covered overnight (or at least an hour). Stir before serving. Serve with fruit, nuts, or other toppings. Refrigerate for up to 5 days. Makes 4 cups.

more goodness from the use real butter archives

quinoa, fruit, and nut salad crunchy granola steel cut oatmeal chinese chicken congee

8 nibbles at “she’s baaack”

  1. heather (delicious not gorgeous) says:

    so glad you’re happy with your new oncologist and pcp! i recently had to switch my pcp and dentist, and it has been a struggle. anyways, i love those mango flower cut outs; they make an otherwise grey chia seed pudding so sunny!

  2. Trisha G. says:

    Yum! I love chia seeds, and am excited to find this way to get more into my diet. Finding out they’re a good source of calcium was an extra bonus, and I like the way you dressed your simple pudding with those lovely mango flowers…so pretty! I breathed a sigh of relief when I read that you like your new healthcare providers. It can be so difficult to find ones you can trust and relate too. My PCP isn’t retiring, but is switching to a concierge practice which I cannot afford (not covered by insurance), so the hunt for a new one will commence when I return to the States this summer. I’m so not looking forward to it, but your post encouraged me, so thanks for that too!

  3. Kristin says:

    Oh, switching doctors is so hard…especially when you’ve successfully navigated a major illness with them. I am lactose intolerant as well, so I will have to give this chia pudding a try! I’m glad that Neva is still Neva! Obedience is wonderful, but I wouldn’t want to lose all personality.

  4. Jill Hyde says:

    I’m looking forward to reading about Neva’s success in ongoing adult education classes! Such good parents!
    Only you would cut out daisy mangos! Darling!
    Hope you like your new Onc and PCP. I was able to drop my Onc, and just do follow up with a PCP. I see Patterson at Mohawk Clinic now and like her very much. But she’s been my PCP for years. Amazing how different, yet similar we are. I had to discontinue taking a Calcium supplement, because I get plenty from my diet, and apparently my bone density is great (despite the drug treatments I’ve been through). Just thankful for health after already going through a living hell. Hope the smoke from the fires is not too bad. I know several being evacuated. Tragic. xoxo, jill

  5. Deb Kelner says:

    Jen, I so appreciate your direct honesty and realness. I find it comforting to know that you, like I, have your struggles and challenges. I’ve admired your honesty in discussing your Neva challenges and I love your parental commitment to learn to work with her. And I so understand the health challenges. I’ve also done cancer and would like to believe that I’m a healthy person and my new PCP is very thorough and through her tests I’ve got to figure out how to deal with the findings… ugh, osteopenia, high blood sugar, and high cholesterol…. Ugh. I don’t share your love for chia seeds but maybe I can try to embrace your recipe to help my dietary intake of calcium. (Calcium supplements can be bad for cardiac health and have not been shown to be beneficial…) I also share your concern for our Colorado weather. I’m thrilled to see the Sunshine Canyon fire be listed as 80% contained. Scary stuff as is the premature leafing of our trees and much as I love my daffodils it’s too early for them to be blooming. I’m praying for more precipitation and I’ll take it in any form. Thank you for your posts. I love everything about them: your recipes, your photography, your travels, your recommendations, your musings, your DOG(s), your honesty. Wishing you well with everything. Happy 1st day of Spring, now let’s have some more winter!

  6. Joan says:

    Jen this looks so yummy! I love my chia puddings and have so much fun with them and I am glad I helped inspire you to give them a try. And I totally agree, cutting out fruit in fun shapes really does make it taste better.

    I am with you on the snow comment. The weather this week is making me nervous. We need it to be cooler and we need more precipitation. Ugh!

  7. R.C. says:

    My girlfriend absolutely abhorred it (I won’t say what she called it), but I think it’s great! This kind of thing is a perfect vehicle for all sorts of flavorings, and provides a lovely light breakfast or snack. Thanks!

  8. jenyu says:

    heather – Yes, it’s always nerve-wracking when you have to switch from a physician you really like because you never know if the next one will be even remotely as good. And yeah, I love the happy mango shapes :)

    Trisha – Oh, that stinks that your insurance won’t cover the new practice. I hope you find a good physician that you like. I think health care is a source of major stress for so many people. I’m looking into chia seed porridge, too!

    Kristin – The chia pudding is definitely a texture you have to like. I mean, I like it and sometimes a spoonful is just a bit much for me ;) But it goes down far easier than yogurt (which I love, but my favorite – Noosa – really upsets my stomach). Neva has managed to learn (some) obedience and still be her ridiculous goofy self ;)

    Jill – I think I might be able to drop the onc in a few years? This year will be 10, I think. Although I do appreciate having an oncologist advise me on more specific issues :)

    Deb – I wonder how much of those issues can be addressed with diet (not dieting, but your general diet) and exercise? There are things I also need to monitor, so I appreciate where you are coming from. And my PCP mentioned that it’s totally okay to drink soy milk or almond milk that has calcium added – just to avoid the supplement as it can be too much for the body to absorb at once (and result in things like kidney stones, etc.). I think folks in the west are more attuned to the threats of a changing climate because the impacts are more evident in our environment. So yeah, it’s a little terrifying. xxoo

    Joan – Thanks for the inspo, I never would have noticed chia seed pudding if it weren’t for you :) xo

    R.C. – ha ha!!! It’s an acquired texture, for sure! Sometimes I love it and then sometimes I’m just not in the mood for it. I get where your girlfriend is coming from :)

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