the sadness of chia pudding

It has taken me almost a year to write about chia pudding. I know it’s been a while because the original draft I started was dated last October. No, I’m not a terrible procrastinator. The truth is, this mango chia pudding recipe is closely linked to memories of my dear friend Michelle, who passed away on July 30, 2015. 

Emotions can be such a strange thing. They can come back and make an appearance at the sight, smell and taste of a particular food. For me, mango chia pudding is associated with the grief I feel about losing my friend. I have made mango chia pudding a few times since Michelle’s death. Every time I have made it in the last year, I’ve thought about my friend who should still be here. I’ve thought about how unfair it is for a 36-year-old woman not to get to experience life the way she intended. I’ve thought about how our ‘gang of four’ is now three. I’ve thought about all of the ‘what ifs’ one tends to when it comes to cancer treatment options.

I first made mango chia pudding for Michelle when I was staying at her house after she had been diagnosed with cancer. She was trying to load herself with high protein foods to get her body strong and ready for her first round of chemotherapy. I admit, I didn’t know what to do or how to help my friend. What made sense to me was to cook for her and stock her fridge with good-for-you foods. During this particular visit, I saw that she had purchased chia seeds. I decided to make a chia seed pudding that would be great for her as a breakfast, snack or dessert. The next time I came down to visit and stay with Michelle, she was quick to point out that she had a bowl of chia pudding in her fridge.

Several weeks after I returned home after I first introduced Michelle to chia pudding, I received a text from her. She let me know that she had been experimenting with different fruits to use in the pudding. She had tried blueberries, (weird texture) strawberries, (too many seeds) and pineapple (not tasty). Mango was her favorite. It’s my favorite too.

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My kitchen notes

I typically use agave as the sweetener. However, honey or maple syrup can be used.

If you don’t love mangos, try using strawberries or peaches. They both work well.

Mango Chia Pudding 

16 ounces frozen or fresh mango

13.5-ounce can coconut milk

1/4 cup agave syrup

1 vanilla bean, scraped

1 teaspoon lime zest

1/2 cup chia seeds

Directions

  1. Place the mango, coconut milk, agave, vanilla bean and lime zest in a blender and blend until smooth.

2.  Pour the mango mixture into a large bowl and place the chia seeds on top. Whisk thoroughly. Let stand for 10 minutes and whisk again.

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3. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Stir the pudding before serving. The longer it sits, the thicker the pudding will become.

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4. Spoon into individual cups or bowls and garnish.

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