My favorite overnight chia pudding (with the works)
I don't even know where to start. So I guess I'll start from the beginning. From a city so foggy we were unable to land and, instead, were rerouted to Santa Cruz. We decided to roll with the punches instead of trying to fight our new itinerary, so we booked a lodge on a regional park (!) and stayed with a man who was so kind and generous that I was moved to tears when it was time to leave for our second attempt to La Paz. 20 minutes into the flight, while I was jamming to the Fugees (The Sweetest Thing, if you were wondering), the oxygen masks dropped and I looked at Thom like WHAT THE HELL IS HAPPENING? Since we're not exactly fluent in Spanish, a good two minutes went by before we had any idea what was going on (and during those two minutes we I was 90% certain we were going to die on our honeymoon). Eventually a nice man informed us that the cabin lost pressure and that we'd be turning around for an emergency landing in Santa Cruz. Which made me question whether we should have been going to La Paz: the Universe is sending us some pretty obvious signals, dude.
On the third attempt, we made it. And when we walked off the plane and there was a driver waiting with a sign that read MR. CASSIDY (no love for MRS. WARNER), I nearly lost it because I had never been so relieved to see someone in my life. We spent a couple of days in La Paz, where we realized that most of our pre-departure literature was full of shit because we didn't find it to be unsafe or grubby or any of the other unsavory adjectives that were used to describe Bolivia's highest city. We did feel a little unsafe at one point, but that was because of a vicious dog who had beef with Thom. Not because of a person who was hiding in an alley ready to slit our backpacks and run off with my fancy camera. But anyway. Bolivia was incredible. Two weeks there really pushed my limits, which was mostly because - for three days straight - I was so sick that I couldn't keep any food down. And those three days happened to be the only three days we were crammed into a jeep with five other people, exploring the Salar de Uyuni. But YOU GUYS. Even with the nasty stomach bug, it was one of my favorite parts of the trip. We roamed around the largest salt flat in the world and got to visit a bright pink lagoon (algae is cool), and then spent our last night soaking in a geothermal hot pot, under a blanket of stars.
And then we went to Peru. Which started with a whirlwind trip to Puno to see the Peruvian side of Lake Titicaca (and the floating islands), followed by the most memorable bus ride of our honeymoon. We were on a pretty tight schedule since we had to be in Cusco by a certain day (the Salkantay trek was the only part of the honeymoon that Thom had planned), so we opted to take a more flexible local bus instead of an overnight tourist bus - which everyone advised against doing for the simple fact that it takes about twice as long as the tourist alternative. Except what everyone forgot to mention is that the route takes so much longer because the driver stops every ten minutes to let people on to sell knockoff Nikes and stale bread. They also forgot to mention that 1) the driver drives like a maniac and 2) the stop times, at the few major scheduled stops, aren't even remotely consistent. So when Thom got off the bus in search of some oranges, assuming he had about the same amount of time at stop #2 as he did at stop #1, you can imagine my surprise when - after five minutes - the bus driver pulled away and I was sitting there trying to figure out if he was actually pulling away or just moving the bus (like he did at the first stop). The alarming glances from everyone around me made it clear that he was actually pulling away. And before I could say anything, the nice backpacker with gold teeth and three iPods started yelling all sorts of non-sense at the driver. He stopped. I ran off with our things (fully expecting that the driver wouldn't want to hang around), but thankfully Thom was about 400 meters back, running like mad to catch up. And thankfully I was able to use my broken Spanish to convince the driver to wait.
Guys. This was our honeymoon in a nutshell: over-the-top thrilling and hilariously chaotic (the exact opposite of that relaxing Fiji honeymoon I was half expecting Thom to surprise me with on our wedding night) (heh), all rolled into one. We're home now and I'm over-the-moon happy to be back in familiar territory. And I'm even happier to be back in the kitchen - our kitchen - where I put an end to the month-long, overly starchy breakfast streak with my new favorite early-morning treat: overnight chia pudding, with the works. I think you're gonna like it.
Notes: If you don't have an extra ripe banana and are craving the heck out of some chia pudding, you can use this recipe, instead. Since rediscovering the mashed banana trick, I've pretty much abandoned my maple sweetened recipe because the puree adds a luscious touch that just can't be achieved with liquid sweetener. If you don't have beet power, don't worry - omit it or replace it with your favorite whole food powder (lucuma is delicious, by the way). I followed Izy's method for making the stovetop granola so if you're down with butter and honey, you may like that one, too. If you're in a hurry and want to eat the banana pudding sooner rather than later, you can eat it so long as its been chilling in the fridge for an hour (although I really recommend letting it thicken overnight).
This post is sponsored by Califia Farms, maker of my favorite non-GMO almondmilk (amongst other delicious beverages). All opinions are my own, and I think Califia rules.
OVERNIGHT CHIA PUDDING (WITH THE WORKS)
1 medium (115g) extra ripe banana, mashed (about 1/3 cup of puree)
3 tablespoons (30g) black chia seeds
1 teaspoon beet juice powder, optional
3/4 cup (164g) Califia Farms toasted coconut almondmilk
Pinch of fine sea salt
Coconut whipped cream
Easy stovetop granola (recipe follows)
Fresh or frozen raspberries
Add the mashed banana to a jar and stir in the chia seeds and beet powder (if using). Slowly mix in the almondmilk, followed by the salt, then cover the jar and let the pudding chill in the refrigerator overnight. The next morning, top with coconut whipped cream, stovetop granola (or your favorite granola), and raspberries.
Yield: 1 serving
EASY STOVETOP GRANOLA
1/4 cup raw almonds, roughly chopped
1/4 cup raw walnuts, roughly chopped
1 cup thick rolled oats
1 tablespoon refined coconut oil
1 tablespoon Grade B maple syrup
1/4 cup flaked coconut
2 tablespoons toasted buckwheat groats (AKA kasha)
Melt the coconut oil a large skillet over medium heat. Once melted, add the nuts and rolled oats and cook for 2-3 minutes, until lightly fragrant. Move the granola to one side of the pan and drizzle the maple syrup over top, careful to make sure you only pour it over the granola and not the pan. Stir to combine then continue cooking the mixture for 4-6 minutes, or until the oats start to darken. Remove pan from heat, stir in the flaked coconut and toasted buckwheat groats, and allow the granola to cool (in pan). Transfer to a jar for storage. Will keep for up to two weeks.
Yield: About 2 cups of granola