Chia Seed Pudding Parfait

Chia seed pudding is one of my favorite breakfasts. It’s vegan, gluten free, and packed with antioxidants, fiber, protein, omega-3’s, and deliciousness. Chia seed pudding works its magic overnight and is ready to go when you wake up, which is especially nice as a high school senior with very little spare time in the mornings! Not only is it one less thing for me to worry about, but it makes for a great start to my day.

The best part about chia seed pudding is its versatility. You can make it a fruit parfait (like this recipe), a chocolate “sundae”, or a warm oatmeal. You can mix it with anything from almonds to matcha to mangoes. This recipe is extremely easy to make, and it’s loaded with fruity goodness. You can swap out the berries with a fruit of your choice – it’s really up to you! Try it out, and let me know what you think.

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup chia seeds
  • 2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons sweetener (I use organic honey or 100% pure maple syrup from Trader Joe’s)
  • 2 cup berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries)
  • unsweetened shredded coconut
  • sliced almonds

Instructions:

  1. Combine chia seeds, sweetener, vanilla, and almond milk in a bowl or mug. Stir well, and place in the fridge overnight (or at least three hours).
  2. Stir the mixture again when removed from the fridge. Add almond milk to your own preference if it is too thick.
  3. Top with fruit, sliced almonds, and a sprinkle of shredded coconut.
  4. Enjoy!
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Stay Close to Beautiful Things

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“Once he knew what he really was, he looked around at other humans and the rest of nature, and he was amazed at what he saw. He saw himself in everything — in every human, in every animal, in every tree, in the water, in the rain, in the clouds, in the earth.

And he realized that everyone was dreaming, but without awareness, without knowing what they really are. They couldn’t see him as themselves because there was a wall of fog or smoke between the mirrors. And that wall of fog was made by… the Dream of humans.” – Don Miguel Ruiz

This quote from one of my favorite books of all time, The Four Agreements. It perfectly articulates the idea that we often we find ourselves stumbling along through life, living in a fog that blinds us from this simple truth: that we are beautiful, whole, and connected to everything. We work tedious jobs, complete trivial tasks, and live unsatisfactory lives, but this is the nature of our human existence, since societal conditioning, the mind, ego, and the illusion of our world all withhold us from seeing our true essence. I know that deep down unconditional love beats through our hearts, but as humans, our physical bodies are not equipped to easily fathom this sort of truth. So, we fall victim to listlessness, existential depression, superficiality, and falsehood, all of which I’ve experienced, when our lives don’t align with our true passions and joy. We become crushed by the very weight of our own third-dimensional existence.

Sometimes the fog dissipates for a moment, and I see with clarity what this world is and what exactly I am here to do. I lose interest in the earthly twists, turns, and tediousness. I fall in love with the beauty of the natural world, the ancient world, the inner world. The only way for me to connect with this space, to cope with the weight of my humanity, is to follow my joy and stay close to beautiful things. Over time, I’ve come to realize that there is no use in wasting my time with anything that does not bring me happiness or contribute to the well-being of myself and others. My happiness, I’ve found, is in the simplicity. It lies in old books, writing, pastel winter skies, sunshine, flowers, yoga, giving to others, creative and intimate moments with my guitar or piano. The more I allow space and time for the activities that bring me joy, the more heart-centered and balanced I feel, the more alive in my skin, and the more grateful for the opportunity to be alive.

It is true that we do not always have to live in this fog. However, it is difficult to get outside of ourselves. It takes a brave and dauntless soul to step back and question all of the things he has been conditioned to believe. It takes a brave and dauntless soul to see beauty and surround himself with it. And, it takes a brave and dauntless soul to follow his joy and stay in his magic, especially in a world abundant in darkness. Know that there is a purpose for the chaos that is our world. Know that there is a purpose for being different and having a heart that no one understands. All you have to do is shift your perspective, and you will see the beauty that is embedded in everything. I hope this post can provide some comfort and encourage you to stay close to beauty, connect with that space within that is unabashed joy, and above all, remember who you are. So much love to you.

-Nicole Ricken