Hole-y Weekend

You know there are donuts and bagels involved in this post.

But first, can we talk about how it is absolutely frigid outside? Two weeks ago, the northeast was blessed with gorgeous weather, and now there’s this.

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#springbreak

And the temperature makes you hate everything when you’re outside.

But thank God for warm sunshine, warm clothes, warm radiators, and warm hearts.

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thanks for the pic, Fiona!

There’s supposed to a blizzard tomorrow, and this is the one time I am praying there is NOT a snow day, because I have a huge lab practical exam for gross anatomy that I would like to get over with ASAP. Please and thank you. The world revolves around me.

Before leaving home in New York on Friday morning, I made French toast for Madre, Brother Sam, and myself. It was some of the best French toast I’ve ever made! I think the keys were:

  • drying out the bread on a cooling rack overnight
  • adding more milk to the egg mixture (allows the inside of the toast to be more fluffy!)
  • sprinkling cinnamon over the bread after soaking it in the egg mixture, rather than adding cinnamon to the egg mixture (the latter causes clumps of cinnamon to form on the French toast)
  • using medium heat for the skillet
  • using a healthy dose of real butter for the skillet

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Also, real maple syrup!

Now that I’m back in the apartment, my food photo effort has decreased significantly, but the food has still been tasty.

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Friday night tuna salad made with Greek yogurt, mustard, sweet relish, raisins, chopped carrots, salt and pepper

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Greek yogurt with banana, honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, granola + a couple handfuls of cashews

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two sunny eggs on buttered toast (ketchup added to eggs post-photo) + veggies with hummus

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microwave oatmeal with cinnamon, nutmeg, honey, banana, and cashews

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this morning’s breakfast: super thick overnight oat smoothie with frozen bananas, vanilla protein powder, oats, lots of chia seeds, milk, yogurt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and a pinch o’ salt

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Irish soda bread sample from Trader Joe’s (one of the best parts of my job is shopping for my bosses at TJ’s, and this is why)

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smoked trout deviled eggs that my boss asked me to make from her South Beach cookbook, and dang that egg mixture (that I tasted for #qualitycontrol) was delicious

On Saturday night (after a 1.5-hour nap at 5pm + this Fitness Blender workout) I cooked one of the best meals in my apartment this year. I bought this Korean BBQ marinade from Thrive Market and used it to marinate chicken thighs (soooo much more flavorful and moist than chicken breast—just do it) for a few hours before grilling them.

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Served with brown rice, sautéed onions, and roasted garlic broccoli.

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and a substantial swirl of Sriracha post-photo 🙂

YUM.

Besides cooking and working, the rest of my weekend has involved lots of studying for that lab practical. Since I took a 1.5-hour nap on Saturday night, I ended up going to bed at 2am, which was actually 3am thanks to DST. Haha.

Sunday involved a lot of fun shenanigans though! First was my attempt at Crossfit Open Workout 17.1.

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The movements and equipment are accessible to me, so I thought I’d just go for it, but I definitely had to scale it. I used a 25-lb. dumbbell instead of a 35, and my gym only had an 18-in. or 24-in. box, so I used the 18-in.

And I still DIED. I had 7 burpee box jump-overs left by the 20 minute time cap. Womp womp. It was a “fun” workout though! Perhaps I will try it again later.

After I was annihilated, I showered and went to lab to study for a bit before meeting with Fiona, Rachel, and Austin for food bucket listing! On our list for the afternoon was Bagelsaurus for a sea salt bagel and Union Square Donuts for the PB&J donut (I gave up pb for Lent, but since it was Sunday, Rachel and I agreed that it would okay for me to have at least a bite of the donut).

Situation: Both places closed at 3pm, we were getting an Uber at around 2pm, and the walk between the two places was 28 minutes. Rachel and I thought we should divide and conquer, but Austin (the marathon runner) and Fiona (the army gal) convinced us that all of us could book it and make it to both places (because one of our rules for food bucket listing is that we go with each other to the actual store and buy the food together). Friends motivating friends for love of food.

I’m glad they pushed us, because we made it!

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Sadly, Union Square Donuts did not have the PB&J donut that day, but we decided to still cross it off the bucket list. Instead, we ordered six donuts to split between the four of us (omg so much donut).

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(left to right) top row: toasted coconut + maple bacon // middle row: Vietnamese coffee + orange cardamom poppy seed // bottom row: sea salted bourbon caramel + raspberry basil

Let’s talk about donuts. These were delicious. But since donuts aren’t my dessert of choice (I feel like it’s difficult to get really good flavor into a donut), none of them blew me away. The raspberry basil was probably my favorite though, because the basil packed a surprising punch. We were all super excited for the sea salted bourbon caramel, but it was kinda disappointing. Too much bourbon, not enough caramel. Like I said though, these were all delicious still! Good quality donuts for sure.

We bought the donuts first but ate them after our bagel sandwiches at Bagelsaurus.

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I got the “Eggspañola” on a sea salt bagel, which was an over medium egg, pimento aioli, feta cheese, parsley gremolata, and I added avocado.

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This was also fantastic! I loved the flavors of the pimento aioli and parsley gremolata + the saltiness of the feta + creaminess of the avocado + richness of the egg. The bagel was really chewy though, so with every bite, everything slid out of the sandwich. ‘Twas a blissfully messy situation.

(I still liked my NY bagel from last week better. I’ve had one NY bagel and now I know everything about bagels.)

Eating bagels and donuts in one afternoon… You could call it a “hole-y” Sunday (creds to all my friends for coming up with great donut/bagel puns).

We did also go to Mass at night, making it a truly holy Sunday 🙂

Lastly, we rang in the new week with my friend Lauren’s 21st!!

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Woohoo!! Happy birthday, Lauren, my dear ♥︎

Hope you all have a warm and productive Monday!

So tell me:

How do you feel about donuts?

Two fun things you did this weekend!

What is the best thing you’ve cooked recently?

Have you ever done a Crossfit Open workout?

 

Big Kids in the Big City

I just finished one of the best smoothie bowls I’ve ever made!

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How I made it: Last night I mixed together 1/3 c. milk, 1/4 c. Greek yogurt, 1/4 c. [dry] quick cooking steel cut oats, 1 tbsp. chia seeds in a bowl. I also sliced and froze a whole ripe banana and half a mango. This morning I added to a blender another 1/2 c. milk, the oat mixture, a lot of mixed greens, a pinch of salt, a drizzle of honey, and the frozen fruit. Then I blended ’til the cows came home (probably also ’til I woke up Madre, sorry :/ ).

This was the thickest and coldest smoothie ever, thanks to the overnight chia mixture + the frozen fruit. Topped with sunflower seeds, Honey Bunches of Oats, and sweetened shredded coconut.

All I need is a tropical beach.

Other fun eats from this week at home:

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quick cook steel cut oats (that 1/4 c. serving size is diddly squat) with butter-caramelized banana slices + Greek yogurt with the rest of the caramelized banana, chia seeds, cheerios, and sunflower seeds

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half of one of my lunches: salmon and hummus on top of the last of the spinach in the container (fewer dishes FTW)

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crockpot split soup – one of my all time faves

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overnight oats (made with the quick cook steel cut oats again, because that’s all we have at home), topped with sunflower seeds + Honey Bunches of Oats

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leftover split pea soup + salad with homemade honey dijon vinaigrette

I’ve also been eating copious amounts of Boom Chicka Pop’s kettle corn, because once you start you can’t stop.

On Wednesday I had the privilege of hanging out with some of my beautiful friends from Boston University in NYC! Casey, Connor, Louis, Adrienne, and Fiona ♥︎

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We met up in Times Square and walked almost 4 miles down to The World Trade Center from there. We lucked out with some gorgeous weather!

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I also lucked out when this famous bagel place was on the way.

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It’s called Best Bagel and Coffee, which is the most gimmicky name ever, but over 1,000 people on Yelp loved it, so I went. In Yelp I trust.

I went for bacon, egg, and cheese on a whole wheat everything bagel.

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Indeed, this was whole and everything.

Confession: This was my first NY bagel in my entire life. Like, I’ve eaten bagels in the state of New York, but I’ve never had a quality NY bagel until this day. I’ve only lived here for 12 years. I’m a slow person in many regards.

My bagel sandwich was absolutely delicious and great walking fuel while the rest of my friends built up a “hangry” appetite for lunch by the time we arrived at the World Trade Center. It’s so interesting being the only nourished one in the group. You just watch everyone else get angry and/or delirious.

After they were all fed at a gastropub called Suspenders, we walked around to the 9/11 Memorial.

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Connor is from Maine, so the big city was a bit too overwhelming for him.

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sees grass. lays down.

And since I’m queen of navigation when it comes to food places, I brought my pals to Rice to Riches (the most vulgar but amazing rice pudding place you will ever enter)…

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…and then Eileen’s Special Cheesecake (it was featured on Food Network, so you know it’s legit).

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Holla for International Women’s Day!

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A delightful amount of food, a crap ton of walking, and countless laughs with some of my favorite people (I kind of hate myself for the cheesiness of that last one…but it’s true).

When I got home, my body wasn’t sore and had a lot of energy for the first time this whole week, so I did a quick 16 minute workout in the basement (30 seconds work/10 seconds rest/4 rounds):

Yesterday started with that smoothie up there + a manicure and pedicure with Madre early in the morning, because I had to take a train right back into the city for lunch with Pop, my brother, and Christine from Boutiquefull (also my good friend from BU)! Christine met my brother and dad in NYC, since they all work down there, so Pop asked to take us out to lunch one day.

I wouldn’t usually take a 40 minute train + 20 minute subway ride just to eat lunch in NYC, but I’d do it for these folks 🙂

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We went to Harry’s Italian, and let me just say, thank God for complimentary focaccia bread.

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Also for giant meatball subs, one of my favorite meals on the planet.

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It was so fun catching up with Christine and hanging out with Pop and bro Ben!

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After lunch, I headed uptown to meet with a couple of the Sisters of Life. I signed up to be a co-worker for them, which is essentially a volunteer to help women in crisis pregnancies (with resources, babysitting, material donations, praying, just being a friend, etc.), so we just chatted about that and all about life (duh).

All the Sisters of Life are just pure JOY. Ugh. Love ’em.

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stopped into this church as I was speed walking to catch my train back home

Last night we went to flavor town (as Guy Fieri would say) for dinner. In other words, I roasted/grilled a bunch of veggies, Madre made salmon and rice, and we dug in.

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grilled eggplant with s+p

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Moroccan roasted carrots (olive oil, salt, pepper, Moroccan spice, brown sugar)

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honey balsamic roasted brussels sprouts!!!

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the crispy leaves are the best, and I pretty much ate all of them straight out of the oven

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homemade roasted bell peppers for the first time ever

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Madre’s perfectly cooked teriyaki salmon

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altogether now

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Madre bought apple strudels, so I ate one a la mode of course

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Fancy, eh? The occasion was our friend Brother Sam visiting for the night!

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‘Twas a lovely evening of food, fellowship, and watching embarrassing home videos with the guest.

I’ll catch ya back in Boston! I need to buckle down and study, because I spent 75% of this spring break reading blogs (#noragrets).

Hope you all have a blessed weekend!

So tell me:

Do you like to sip or eat your smoothies? Eating them out of a bowl with a spoon is the superior way, but your opinion is still welcome.

Have you ever eaten a real New York bagel?

One fun thing you did this week!

Oatmeal Two Ways

Oatmeal used to be “grandma” food to me.

(NOT that there is anything wrong with grandmothers; they are the coolest!)

Until 4 years ago. I came across a blog called Kath Eats, and her “tribute to oatmeal” page. I had never seen anyone make oatmeal look so sexy in my life.

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[from Kath Eats]

Ever since that day, I have been loving on oatmeal like it’s the only grain grown in America. It was her “whipped banana oatmeal” technique that really changed the game.

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Gina’s cookie dough oatmeal cereal is also a big favorite

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And then there was this idea of “overnight oats.” Oats soaked in dairy products overnight sounded ludicrous, but someone thought to soak bread in eggs to make French toast, so..

I posted my overnight oats recipe (based off Kath Eats’ recipe) when I first started this blog.

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But I’ve tweaked the recipe a bit. The main change is no Greek yogurt (inspired by my dairy dilemma, which btw is no longer an issue) + more chia seeds. Check it out.

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Overnight Oats (based on Kath Eats’ recipe)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup rolled or quick oats
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • dash of nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp. chia seeds
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup milk of choice
  • 1/2 very rude (← real autocorrect) ripe banana, sliced
  • ~1/4 c. other fruit, chopped (optional)
  • 1-2 tbsp. nut butter

Step 1: For that “end of the jar” vibe (if you don’t have an almost-empty jar of nut butter, which would be ideal), scoop that nut butter into the bottom of your container (bowl-mug preferable, but anything will do).

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Add your dry ingredients (oats, spices, and chia seeds) and mix ’em together (don’t touch the nut butter).

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Add your milk and fruit, mix it all together (only scraping some of that nut butter from the bottom to mix with the rest).

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Let it sit in the fridge overnight, and wake up the next morning with excitement, knowing that a BOMB breakfast is already made and ready to eat.

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optional: top with granola for crunch

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special day when it’s overnight oats in a jar

Onto the hot oats.

I’ve been loving this oatmeal that is a hybrid of Kath’s whipped banana oatmeal + Jen’s egg white banana oatmeal. I made a video!

  • 1/2 c. rolled oats (or quick)
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 1/2 c. milk
  • 1/2 very ripe banana, sliced
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • dash of nutmeg
  • pinch of salt
  • splash of vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tbsp. chia seeds
  • 1 egg white
  • any other fruits and/or toppings (*cough* nut butter)!

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It’s 11:00 pm, and I would like some oatmeal now.

So tell me:

What is your favorite way to eat oatmeal?

What is your favorite oatmeal recipe?

Did you always like oatmeal? I used to only eat those sickeningly sweet Quaker oatmeal packets, but now those taste like dessert to me!

Overnight Breakfast Obsession

God bless refrigerators.

Some of you might know how much I love overnight oats (<— I need to update that recipe a little!), but in the past couple years I’ve discovered some other overnight breakfasts that are making me dance before I’m fully cognizant in the morning.

Not only are these breakfasts delicious (thanks to the breakfast trifecta), but they require little to no effort in the morning when you’re running late so ready to eat breakfast. Here’s a look at some of the overnight breakfasts I’ve been loving lately.

“Banana Pudding for Breakfast” via Yeah…Imma Eat That

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One of the most ingenious and impressive-looking breakfasts ever. It’s basically a peanut butter oatmeal cookie – yogurt parfait. Praaaaise.

Next up is this banana bread “custard” oatmeal, inspired by The Big Man’s World.

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Get this: You cook oatmeal on the stovetop the night before, and you add a whole egg and some coconut flour to make it the most doughy, fluffy oatmeal ever. Then you chill it in the fridge overnight, which makes it this dense, cake-like dish.

The night before, I cooked 1/2 c. rolled oats in 1/2 c. water and 1/2 c. milk. Then I stirred in half a very ripe banana, 1 tbsp. coconut flour, vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, a pinch of salt, and a drizzle of honey. Once it was thickened, I turned off the heat and whisked in a whole egg.

Optional: eat with a side of plain Greek yogurt for some more texture and creamy dreaminess.

Last one is something you’ve often seen: overnight oat smoothies, inspired by Kath Eats.

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This is what I ate this morning, and it was the most luscious smoothie ever. I’m sad it’s gone.

In the blender last night:

  • 1/2 c. milk
  • 1/3 c. oats
  • 1/3 c. plain greek yogurt
  • cinnamon and nutmeg
  • 1-2 tbsp. peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp. chia seeds
  • pinch of salt

Pop it in the fridge. Then in the morning, add half a frozen banana and half a frozen peach (~1.5 c. frozen fruit total). Add more milk as needed to blend your concoction into a magical cloud of peachy, peanut buttery goodness.

The chia seeds and frozen fruit MAKE this smoothie.

I’m done fan-girling over my breakfasts.

(for today.)

Now onto Weekly Moves and Grooves! I’m still keeping workouts low-key and feeling pretty awesome. I’ve loved working on mobility and skills such as handstands this summer.

weekly moves and grooves

  • Friday: handstands and mobility in the hotel
  • Saturday: Rest
  • Sunday: Rest
  • Monday: 8 minute abs
  • Tuesday: 45 minute yoga
  • Wednesday: 1 mile walk, (probably too many) air squats and other bodyweight leg exercises, handstands
  • Thursday: Rest

Today is my last day at my physical therapy internship! It’s been an amazing learning experience, and I’m grateful for the people with whom I’ve worked.

Tomorrow starts early for Dad and I, since we’re driving up to Ontariooooo. It’s been a hot minute since we visited our relatives in Canada, so I’m stoked!

Happy Friday! Let your hair loose, let your foot loose, don’t let your dog loose.

So tell me:

Do you like overnight breakfasts? Any favorites?

How did you move this week?

What are you doing this weekend?

Mango Banana Chia Pudding

Some of your comments on yesterday’s post about taking advantage of silence made me laugh out loud.

For one, you guys are actually hilarious. But also, I got the sense that some of you thought I was in.sane. I said that I strangely enjoyed silence in the car while sitting in traffic, but I should have mentioned that I definitely do still listen to the music in the car— for a majority of the time actually. I just try to devote some time to silence.

My attention span is only slightly longer than that of Dug from Up.

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[source]

Moving on from that matter…

I am quite surprised with myself, because I’m actually crossing a decent number of items off my summer bucket list! If I can get 50% of it done, I will feel like a champion. If I get 90% done, I will call it a miracle. If I get 100% done, I’m lying.

One of my list items was to make at least two new recipes. I made energy balls last week, and this week I have pudding for YOU. Pudding made out of chia seeds.

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Salba Chia was kind enough to send me a bag of their whole chia seeds to try. They call their chia seeds “smarter than your average chia.” I thought a chia was a chia, but apparently not! What makes Salba seeds smarter compared to others?

  • higher in omega-3s
  • higher in protein
  • consistent color that makes recipes more aesthetically appealing
  • non-GMO project verified
  • standardized and nutritionally consistent

Alas, these chia seeds do not necessarily make you smarter. Nevertheless, they are little  powerhouses!

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Y’all might have seen how I love chia seeds in my hot oatmeal, overnight oats, yogurt bowls, and smoothies. But I thought it was time to step out of my box and try chia pudding.

I was very skeptical of chia seed pudding for a long time, because: a) pudding recipes can turn out weird; b) chia seeds are a little creepy if you just look at them; c) will it really taste good?

a) This is easy. I mean, I made it, so you know it’s dummy proof.

b) The neutral color of Salba chia helps a little.

c) It most certainly can taste fabulous! And this one does, if I do say so myself.

You can eat this pudding straight up, in a parfait with some Greek yogurt and granola, on top of ice cream, with more fresh mango and banana, or with a couple peanut butter cookies like I did (as inspired by Kylie’s recipe).

Whichever way you enjoy this, make sure you share it with others and tell them how this luscious pudding required classic French techniques. Then smirk on the inside because it actually took about 10% effort. Then tell them the truth because honesty is the best policy.

Mango Banana Chia Pudding

  • 1 cup milk*
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp. chia seeds
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • half of a very ripe medium banana, sliced
  • half of a ripe medium mango, roughly chopped
  • 5 small or 3 large dates, pitted and roughly chopped

* I used 1% milk, but unsweetened nut milk or even light coconut milk would work!

Combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl.

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Refrigerate for at least 3 hours (overnight is best!).

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After refrigerating, the mixture will be very thick and gelatinous (It passes the upside-down DQ Blizzard test.) Pour mixture into a blender or food processor and blend. You may have to add a splash of milk to get things going.

Serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge.

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Feel fancy.

Honesty is the best policy: Salba Chia sent me their seeds to try for free. All content and opinions are all my own.

Wishing you all a kick-butt day!

So tell me:

Have you ever tried chia seed pudding before?

What are your favorite ways to use chia seeds?

What is your favorite easy dessert recipe? Amanda’s banana bread mug cake forever.