I have been a little jittery lately, well no, maybe I'm just so relaxed. I'm out of sorts. The end of school is quickly approaching and it's showing up with grad events and everyone's excitement in being so close to the end. I've received acceptance letters to the two universities I applied, and after the stress of sending in the right documents before the right dates, it's such a relief to finally have a big booklet with the word congratulations written in block letters across the front, and my name at the top of a letter inside. (And the bragging rights that goes with it). And now I have finally figured out the program to study in university after a year off travelling and hopefully volunteering across the globe. Who knows where I'll be this time next year. I might be flying to Australia, or set up in a country cottage in Italy enjoying the warmth of that oh so famous Tuscan sun. Or will it be the Amalfie Coast which mum so eloquently describes each chance she gets that will lure me in.
In any case, I've accepted my first choice of university with an entrance scholarship, and things are finally fitting into place. Bit by bit the puzzle is slowly being put together. I can make out a few more flights this summer, and a month full of French, adventure and lots of fun in Quebec. And I'm already starting to think in French, it must be the excitement: I'm creating phrases in my head while brushing my teeth or rolling out the dough for a batch of cookies.
Il y a deux mois et demi jusqu'à je vais voler à Rivière-du-Loup...
And then I get all excited again, and the phrases slip my mind while I think of all the delicious food Montréal and Quebec City have to offer, tucked into neat little cafés and restaurants, a cup of warming hot cocoa in a rounded mug, or a cooling lemonade as it will be summer while I'm there.
I'm getting ready with pommes frites served with marmalade baked brie... A delicious appetiser, and a delicious way to get my mind into action for checking and booking flights and trains. A whole new journey.
I am more than ready to be finished with school, to begin meeting different people and see a whole new part of the world with people of different points of view and lifestyles. I no longer want to feel caught in this collection of bubbles with groups divided into their own soap sud and standing in close knit circles with oblivious and blank expressions. I'll be choosing for myself which path to take, which country to travel to, and the people I'll meet.
Sometimes I forget, even on this blog with no other pressure to write or post any certain thing than from myself, that I should be doing the things which I enjoy.
Step 1: Remind myself daily, this blog is for me. I am writing for myself, and as an outlet of my creative side, my passion for good food, and colourful photography. Sometimes I get caught up in making it perfect, as I do with many other things, and forget to enjoy the beauty of intertwined words and weaved ingredients into a delicious plate of freshly baked gluten free bread. It takes a post that I find difficult to write to help me realise this again, to stop me from focusing on making it like the other successful blogs, and instead focus on what I really want to write about, or what I really want to post.
Step 2: Relax with hot, soothing drinks. I love these most after a long day, feet up, and the dog by my side (as long as she doesn't snore too loudly!) Boil ginger with honey and lemon for something really refreshing, or whip up a quick chai latte with almond milk to rejuvenate and reawaken.
Step 3: This is the fun part! Planning my adventures for next year is what will really get me through these last two months of school, even though I have no doubt that as exams are slowly dealt with, I'll enjoy grad events more and more. And because I love organising with maps and pictures, I'm sure I'll be drawing out lots of plans to prepare the where, when and how of my travels.
Step 4: Don't stress... And this might be hard, but I've learned that things will come into place if they're meant to happen, and good things occur with time. Always. You just have to relax and let it all play out. (And step 4 also includes taking my sister and mum's advice: the little things never turn out to be worth the stress and worry in the end).
Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding (With Fried Chai Pears)
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Chia and Chai... goes so well together.
For a certain luxury, there's always the pleasure of having dessert during the week. There's an even greater luxury when it's healthy, full of "good-for-you" ingredients, and after a long flight from across the continent. Except I believe that all food is good for you, as long as its real, and unprocessed. That's why I love this little après dinner treat - or it could even be eaten any time - it's so wonderfully delicious and chock-full of nutrients. I missed having some decadent desserts in Cuba, although the food is good, you don't go there for it, and instead of looking at the menu before entering a restaurant, the live music and atmosphere is a greater draw. Once, we had delicious
creme caramels after dinner, but after tasting these, I'm sure you'll have satisfied your sweet tooth perfectly.
Now it might sound a little deceiving to have fried pears, but when you have a basket of ripe pears which were flown halfway across the world and are losing their "flavour" fast, it's time to bring in other means to enjoy the juice of these delicious fruits - even if it means adding a few pinches of spices to the mix. They were traditionally used in food to mask undesirable flavours, so why not put them to use.
I love using chia seeds in puddings and smoothies, as well as in a pot of overnight oats, because they give it that wonderful pudding-like texture. You could also add in other ingredients, such as shredded coconut, for more crunch and texture, but just make sure you let these babies sit in the fridge for at least 3 hours. We tried half an hour in eagerness, and ended up with half a pudding and half a glass of cold chocolate milk. Delicious no doubt, but also a little unexpected. So be patient! I'm considering trying a blend of nuts and chocolate (perhaps even dates?) to create a base later, and maybe even turn this simple dessert into a decadent tart. Let me know if you try it, and I'll hopefully post it soon!
2 tablespoons chia seeds
2 tablespoons gluten free hot chocolate powder (or 2 tablespoons raw cocoa powder plus 1 tablespoon maple syrup, divided)
1 1/2 cup almond milk (or alternative)
1 ripe pear, cut into quarters and sliced horizontally
1 teaspoon chai tea spice mix
In two pots or ramekins, we used small mason jars, combine chia seeds, hot chocolate powder, and almond milk. Stir until combined and place in the fridge.
The stirring may take some time to combine the chia seeds and chocolate mix, but it will happen!
Now let them rest! Keep the pudding in the fridge for at least 3 hours. I expect leaving them overnight would have the best results.
20 minutes before serving, heat a frying pan over medium heat and add the sliced pear with spices. Sauté until the pear begins to brown, and serve over top the pudding.
Sit down and relax.
Enjoy the delicious and healthy dessert you have created.
Labels: Chai, chia seeds, chocolate, dessert, easy, fried, fruit, gluten free, pears, pudding