Today marks just two days until the school year is officially complete. It's hard to believe that I'm rounding out my fourth year as a school psychologist. The past four years have moved more quickly than ever, and it feels like just yesterday I was walking into my office with new-job jitters. In the blink of an eye, I've watched an entire group of students transform from nervous freshmen to brave seniors.
I'm stepping into this summer filled (mostly) with excitement but also with a small, nagging bit of anxiety. The latter of which has been building over the last two weeks as I've been outlining the specifics of a lengthy summer to-do list for the book. Seeing this list of action items grow has left me battling the most pesky self-talk of all: a case of the "What Ifs".
What if my photography isn't good enough? What if my recipes aren't creative enough? What if I don't know what to write for the introduction? What if my writing is too guarded? But what if it's too vulnerable?
And the most unsettling "what if" of all...
What if I'm not good enough?
That very question yanked me from sleep this morning, and it was accompanied by a gnawing sensation in my gut. I allowed the unwanted query to consume me while I moved through my morning routine, indulging it more than challenging it. By the time I opened my car door to head to work, I was exhausted. My morning tango with ruminative self-doubt had worn me out before I had even started the day. As I pulled out of our carport (who needs a garage??), I decided that I had two choices: I could continue to engage with my What Ifs and fight a losing battle or I could acknowledge their presence without entangling myself with them, thereby mitigating their power. The latter is a method I've learned to lean on when I'm having a surge of naysayer thoughts. It offers the emotional space to observe without judgment and allows doubts to pass like clouds in the sky.
I know you came here for cherries, chocolate, and chia pudding, so I won't ramble for much longer (and I certainly won't pretend that this recipe is somehow connected to the above musings). But I sat down to write this post last night, and I just stared at the screen. Even an attempt to strictly adhere to describing the recipe felt forced, and I've learned that writer's block is usually the first sign that I've accumulated a bit of emotional grime. The quickest way out is to walk right on through it. So, here's to clearing the grime and knowing that each of us is enough just as we are in this moment.
For real now, let's talk about this decadent elephant in the room: chocolate cherry chia pudding.
Antioxidant-rich chocolate chia pudding and cherry jam are layered, one after the other. The chocolate chia pudding comes together with just four ingredients and a patience-demanding 8 hours of chill time. The cherry chia jam requires just three ingredients: sweet cherries, pure maple syrup, and chia seeds, and it's from this recipe I posted last summer. Although I haven't tried making the jam with frozen cherries, I'm guessing it would work out just fine. BUT if you can get your hands on some fresh sweet cherries, I definitely recommend going that route.
These parfaits can be enjoyed for breakfast or dessert. If you pursue the breakfast path, I suggest preparing everything at the start of the week and layering the pudding and jam in four separate jars. That way, you can sprinkle on a few toppings each morning and head out the door with a fun breakfast in hand.
Self-empowerment and a chocolaty breakfast all wrapped up into one lengthy post. Take that, Monday.
Chocolate Cherry Chia Pudding Parfaits
Chocolate Chia Pudding
- 2 cups unsweetened plant milk
- ½ cup chia seeds
- 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons raw cacao powder
- 2 tablespoons cacao nibs (optional)
Cherry Chia Jam
- 2 cups fresh sweet cherries, pitted and de-stemmed
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup or more, to taste
- 3 tablespoons chia seeds
- fresh cherries, pitted and diced
- cacao nibs
For the Chocolate Chia Pudding
- In a medium-sized airtight container, whisk together the coconut milk, chia seeds, maple syrup, cacao powder, and cacao nibs (if using) until all of the chia seeds are free-floating within the liquid and there are no lumps. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight. Whisk thoroughly after refrigerating.
For the Cherry Chia Jam
- In a high-powered blender, combine the fresh cherries and maple syrup. Blend on high for 1 to 2 minutes or until completely smooth. Pour into an airtight container and whisk in the chia seeds. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
- In 4 small jars or glasses, layer the chia pudding and cherry jam, one after the other. Add desired toppings and serve.