Wednesday, July 2, 2014

fourth of july: coconut chia pudding parfait

Back when school was in session, as a part of our week of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, the kiddos and I made coconut chia seed pudding. If you are not familiar with chia seeds as a thickener or over all super food, check out this article. It was ridiculously simple and two of the children gobbled it up before it could set. I still need to post photos from our recipe day but here is a super easy patriotic parfait you and your children can whip up in a flash. Set time is at least two hours but an overnight rest is even better. If you want the texture to be firmer, add more seeds. If you want it to be sweeter, add more honey or other liquid sweetener of your choice (maple syrup is a good substitute).
Here's what you need to make four small parfaits...small meaning an 8oz mason jar. I added a little half n half to give the pudding a richer flavor. You do not need to do this. Some people add coconut water as well, some add different juices or other milks. I went with straight up coconut milk (the refrigerated variety, not canned) and it's just dandy. Chia seeds are on trend right now so the cost is a bit inflated. Trader Joe's sells a nice smaller bag for around $4 (I think it is 8oz). When I made the pudding with the kiddos at school, I picked up a cup of seeds from the bulk bin at Whole Foods. If you have never tried chia seeds I would try to find them in bulk. If the pudding is something you do not cotton to, you can add the seeds to smoothies, oats, cookies, or salads.
Pour your coconut milk into a medium sized bowl (I used a 4 cup measuring cup) and add your half n half. Next dump your chia seeds into the milk and add your honey as well. Use a wooden spoon to mix it up and add your vanilla. I also added a dash of cinnamon...I was feeling whimsical. Mix it all up and pop it into your refrigerator. If you think of it, after an hour or so, pull out the mixture and give it another stir or two. The seeds tend to settle on the bottom.
The next day, once the pudding is set you can assemble your parfaits. Place a handful of blueberries in the bottom of the jar, spoon a quarter cup or so of the pudding on top of the berries, add sliced or chopped strawberries and top with granola. I have to admit, chia pudding is will not win any beauty contests. Admittedly it looks a it alien and goopy. The mister will not touch it. You may want to liken it to the consistency of tapioca but that isn't right. The chia seeds are not as firm as tapioca or boba if anything the texture is a bit like a cold malt-o-meal...sort of. If you find that your mixture is too goopy, add another tablespoon of chia seeds, stir and let set. This recipe is really loose and you can play with the ingredients to get the texture you like.
This tiny jar full of goodness is adorable and ready for the 4th! Tie with a length of variegated cotton yarn or twine and throw a happy shindig!
Really, look how cute that is! It's tasty too! I suppose you could try making this pudding with any type of milk beverage. Oooh, I wonder what it would taste like with horchata? Or what if you got all decadent and omitted the coconut milk and used straight up half n half? The possibilities are immense!
See? Easy peasy. Kiddos can easily measure, pour, dump, and stir it all up. This is not an exact recipe so there is a lot of wiggle room. Now getting the young ones to eat it up may be a different story. Happy July 4th!

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