In a few days it will be Thanksgiving. Have you been getting ready for the feast, Dumplings? This year, it feels especially urgent to remind ourselves of what we're grateful for, which (all circumstances aside) is a whole lot. If you start with number one--yourself--and just consider the facts of what your body does for you every day without your having to think about it at all, there's enough to fill gratitude notebooks for a lifetime.
Whether you find yourself toiling in the kitchen as sous chef, playing hostess extraordinaire, being a gracious and excited guest, or sliding between loving and hating your family members sitting elbow-to-elbow around a dining table, this week is bound to bring on stressful times. Your diet will be a little off, too, which is no big deal, but to maintain a sense of health and wellness (physical and emotional, mind you) don't forget to balance your holiday meal with wholesome standbys.
This chia pudding is an excellent way to keep in the spirit of the holidays while forgoing some common indulgences this time of year--namely, sugar and simple carbohydrates. While I wouldn't necessarily recommend putting this out for your guests on Thursday as a substitute for pie (it all depends on the crowd, though!), you can easily incorporate it into your dessert rotation (or breakfast! or a snack!) throughout the week and not feel like you're missing any fun or flavor. Here, fiber-full pumpkin keeps you feeling satiated, nourishing chia keeps you hydrated with omega-3 fatty acids--which are essential as temperatures drop, and perhaps alcoholic consumption rises--while a baker-approved blend of spices triggers all your sensory memories of warmth and family. With no added sugar, it can be a refreshing palate cleanser, too, between tastings of all things candied and baked.
1. Combine chia seeds and milk in a jar or container. Stir to mix evenly, and refrigerate overnight, at least 8 hours, or up to 2 days.
2. About an hour before you're ready to serve, add the remaining ingredients to the jar. Stir well, and return to the fridge for about an hour (this is to let the spices meld).
3. To serve, divide into bowls and add any toppings you like--fruit like pomegranate seeds or fresh cranberries, or a drizzle of maple syrup would be delicious!
Features Editor Jennifer Kurdyla is a New York City girl with Jersey roots and a propensity for getting lost in the urban jungle. An experienced publishing professional, yoga instructor, home chef, sometimes-runner, and writer, she adopted a vegetarian lifestyle in 2008 and became vegan in 2013. She has written for The Harvard Review Online, The Rumpus, and Music & Literature and maintains a wellness-based website, Be Nourished, which features original writing and recipes. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram @jenniferkurdyla, Twitter @jenniferkurdyla, and Pinterest.