Happy new year! 2018 came tiptoeing in quietly, gently and unobtrusively, on tiny sock-covered feet. Then it seized me by the hair at the back of my head and started shrieking and pummeling me with miniscule fists and an overflow of love and emotion. Nothing will bring you back to earth like a thirteen-month-old's enthusiasm. I looked down at the date on the calendar and realized something else......January is nearly OVER. I haven't shared a recipe in this space since before the holidays, which seems unbelievable now. The ebb and flow of the seasons has ebbed and flowed and left me here on the other side of the holly and the ivy and cookies and fairy lights. There were presents, there was laughter......there was a Thanksgiving and a Christmas and it was all merry, hope that yours was, too.
I have realized something else recently, too: why there are so many blogs by glowing pregnant ladies and mothers of babies, and so few by moms of toddlers. Infants need everything, it's true, but there are still large swathes of the day when they are unconscious and it's possible to sit down and tap out something of more substance than a to-do list. Things may feel harried, your new-mother days may be blurred around the edges, but you can always run fingers through your messy hair, throw the baby in a sling or stroller and get out for a walk or coffee with a friend. But when the day comes that your formerly-swaddled, immobile lump of cooing baby suddenly perks their head up, stands unassisted and lurches with jerky first steps into toddlerhood you will share this realization: I am so screwed. I will never again use my hands for anything but chasing, tackling and restraining an errant two-foot-tall cyclone. This is of course, not entirely true, but it will feel that way. Breathe with me for a second, mamas. We will regain the use of our hands someday. But, perhaps, not this day.
Because I love you, dear readers, and because ultimately I believe there should always be a recipe to share, here is a little something that is so easy you can practically make it without the use of your hands at all (legal disclaimer: fully functional hands may technically be required to make this recipe). I'm not the first cook to discover the weird appeal of chia seed pudding, and I won't be the last, but to me this is the perfect breakfast (or mid-afternoon snack) for January. The beginning of the year always leads to resolutions, which leads to "cleanses" and nonsensical declarations like "I'M DOING WHOLE30" and things like that. I'm not a big believer in cleanses as a way of, say, technically removing toxins from the body. I do, however, believe in them as a way of cleansing my brain of the habit of putting cheese and chocolate into my body at every meal--after the holidays they are a straight-up necessity. This creamy pudding will appeal to anyone who loves tapioca and rice puddinglike things, and is an endlessly adaptable canvas for toppings like toasted coconut flakes, tangerine slices and pistachios (seen here). Chia seeds are also a great source of omega-3s, antioxidants, fiber and so on, which makes them an ideal addition to January's meal planning.
Makes two heaping servings
1 cup coconut milk
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup chia seeds
pinch of salt (add this to taste, but to me it's about 1/8 teaspoon)
Whisk together coconut milk, maple syrup and vanilla in a bowl. Add chia seeds and mix thoroughly, chill for at least two hours until they plump up into little balls. Add salt to taste, then serve in bowls topped with anything you like: toasted coconut, dried fruit, nuts, shaved chocolate, cinnamon, etc.