“We grow great by dreams. All big men are dreamers. They see things in the soft haze of a spring day or in the red fire of a long winter’s evening. Some of us let these great dreams die, but others nourish and protect them; nurse them through bad days till they bring them to the sunshine and light which comes always to those who sincerely hope that their dreams will come true.” - Woodrow Wilson
Time seems to be standing still for me lately. While my feet are firmly planted in the last weeks of winter’s cool soil, the critical step I’m supposed to take next is unclear. Ideas are swirling in my mind, frenzied at times and quite controlled at others. All the while, everything is still — as if something big, a dream not yet realized, not yet materialized, is about to take shape.
Until then, all I can do is wait. And hope. And, of course, eat.
Here’s where this pudding comes in. Do you know that feeling when a recipe grabs hold of you? So much so that you’re unable to stop thinking about it, dreaming about what it tastes like, and conjuring up how you’ll tweak the ingredients to make it your own?
The chia seed is a newer ingredient to me. I’ve heard plenty about it and the health benefits it touts, but haven’t experimented much with it — until now. After a bowl of this silky concoction (full of protein, omega-3′s, iron, antioxidants, calcium, magnesium and fiber) and topped with the freshest pineapple, mango and orange, I’m officially hooked.
The best part is that it’s so simple to make and any combination of ingredients can be added to make it your own. In this version, I added fresh vanilla bean, star anise and Cara Cara orange zest, which rounds out the inherent nutty flavor and brightens the entire pudding temporarily whisking you away to a dreamlike land.
Recipe inspired by Food & Wine
- 32 ounces unsweetened organic almond milk (about 4.5 cups)
- 2 whole star anise pods
- 2 tablespoons agave nectar, plus extra for drizzling over top
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla bean, scraped from the pod (reserving the empty pod to add to the mixture)
- zest of 1 orange (Cara Cara works well)
- pinch of sea salt
- 1 1/4 cups chia seeds
- finely crushed pistachios or macadamia nuts
In a large glass jar or bowl, combine the almond milk, star anise, agave, vanilla bean (and pod), orange zest and salt. Slowly add the chia seeds and stir to incorporate. Cover tightly and refrigerate for at least 3-4 hours, stirring occasionally during the process.
To serve, remove the star anise and vanilla bean pod and scoop the pudding into small bowls. Top with fresh pineapple, mango, orange, crushed pistachios or macadamia nuts and drizzle with a little agave.