Monday, March 19, 2012


When my daughter hears the word "pudding" she runs to the refrigerator and starts yelling "pease! pease!". For just a minute or two I'm going to bask in this proud mama moment because what she is eagerly anticipating isn't the well-known store bought brand whose first ingredient is sugar followed quickly by a host of words that take a minute or two to pronounce. Not a good sign in health world. Instead, what she knows is coming is homemade, chia-packed, chocolaty tapioca-like pudding and quite possibly the current love of her life.

It's true, I've created a chia addict. And you know what? I think we'll forgo the chia-anon meetings and indulge our cravings instead. This is the beauty of creating wonderfully healthy snacks - you can enjoy them without that little voice in your head saying "you know this really isn't the best choice" followed by your long list of excuses why, just this time, it is okay. We've all heard that voice I'm sure, and ignored it from time to time, I'm even more sure. That voice is one of the main reasons, in conjunction with conviction and passion, that drives me to have an arsenal of daughter and health conscious mother-approved snacks lining the refrigerator. It is my best defense against lazy, nutrient lacking, detrimental snacking.


So what's the deal with all of this chia-craze? Chia seeds follow flax as the highest source of omega-3 fatty acids. This fact may be their greatest claim to fame. Used for endurance by Native Americans, chia seeds also help relieve constipation by lubricating the intestines and preventing dryness. Got the jitters? Chia seeds happen to be great for fighting nervousness and improving mental focus. Can't sleep? Try chia as it helps treat insomnia.


This recipe is inspired by the recipe found in the Martha Stewart Living Magazine, January 2012 Issue, page 120.

1 c. of chia seeds
1 c. of cashews, soaked over night*
4 c. of pure water
8 dates, soaked overnight* + soaking water
1 whole vanilla bean
4 tbsp. carob powder
2 tbsp. extra-virgin, unrefined coconut oil [optional]
2 tsp. vanilla extract [I use homemade**]
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
pinch of sea salt

Place chia seeds in a large glass bowl and set aside.

Cut the vanilla bean, length wise, without breaking through the back of the bean. Split open and, using a small spoon or butter knife, scrape the seeds from the pod. If you make your own vanilla extract**, add the scraped vanilla bean to the jar. In a blender, combine all of the remaining ingredients including the scraped vanilla seeds. Blend on high until very smooth and creamy. You shouldn't see any cashew pieces.

Pour cashew mixture over chia seeds and stir using a wire whisk. Let stand for 15 minutes. Whisk again, cover, and refrigerate for 3 hours.

*To soak your cashews, place in a glass bowl or jar and cover with 2 c. of pure water. Refrigerate over night. Drain and rinse well. To soak dates, place in a glass or jar and cover with pure water. Place in refrigerator and soak over night. Use both the dates and the date soaking water in this recipe.

**To make your own vanilla extract, place 4 - 5 vanilla beans in a pint size jar. Fill with rum [this is what I use b/c it is gluten-free] or gluten-free organic vodka [note that gluten-free vodka is generally made with corn]. Let sit for a few weeks. You can continually add scraped or whole vanilla beans to intensify the vanilla flavor.

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