Blissful Basil's Vanilla Chai Chia Pudding

Wow, can you believe how far we already are into March? The weather here in Toronto is completely unpredictable, one day it's warm and sunny, the next it's freezing and snowing. It's frustrating,  you never know what to wear or if you want to pack stew or a salad for lunch. The fact that I'm still limited in my food choices due to my elimination diet doesn't help the situation. Tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich is perfect no matter what the weather, but alas I'm not on wheat or dairy yet. As a result I have been making a ton of grain bowls which can be eaten hot or at room temperature; luckily bowls have unlimited options in terms of flavor combinations.

Believe it or not, my snacks have been more difficult to figure out than my meals. In the cooler months I love to have healthy muffins or oat squares as my morning treat. In the summer I am more likely to reach for a piece of fruit or yogurt. I can't have wheat, dairy or added sugar these days so I have had to think outside the box in terms of delicious and healthy snacks that I'll want no matter what the weather is. I went to buy coconut yogurt in the store only to find that it was loaded with sugar and was a totally unreasonable price, so that option was removed quickly. Lately there have been a lot of recipes on my favorite food blogs about chia seed pudding so I thought that I'd give it a try. 

If you are of my generation or are older you will remember the Chia Pet commercial, ch-ch-ch-chia! Turns out that the same seeds that were used to grow "hair" on a ceramic figure as house pant also are edible and are packed with good for you stuff. These little seeds are full of protein and fiber and have very little taste. They expand when they are exposed to liquid making them a good choice to create puddings that resemble tapioca or even as a thinking agent for refrigerator jams. I have added chia seeds to my oatmeal for ages now, but I didn't branch into the world of chia seed pudding until I was on this diet and couldn't reach for my normal yogurt. 

I have tried a number of recipes over the past few weeks and this was by far my favorite. It's so good in fact that the only change that I made was adding a handful of raisins to it. Chopped dates or even dried cranberries work just as well, I know because I have tried both over the past couple weeks. This recipe is both vegan and gluten free, so it works great so almost everyone! I liked to be decedent and use creamy canned coconut milk, which makes this taste like even more of a treat!