Easy Chia Seed Pudding

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I’ll take chocolate in any form. And I love pudding! But there’s a bunch of junk in store bought pudding. Some of the ingredients I don’t know how to read, and the very first ingredient is sugar. Ah! So what’s the alternative? Easy homemade chocolate pudding with NO sugar and NO weird ingredients. Make in just minutes!

Easy Healthy Chia Seed Chocolate Pudding

Ingredients:
10 dates, pitted
2 cups unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup chia seeds
3 Tbsp cocoa powder, unsweetened
cinnamon
vanilla extract

Instructions:

In a medium bowl, soak chia seeds in milk. Let sit for at least 15 min, or until most of the milk is soaked up and chia seeds are goopy. Meanwhile, pit your dates (if you havent already) and mash them together. I prefer to use my hands and work on a cutting board, it’s quite messy (big fun for kids). With a spoon or spatula, gently fold dates into chia/milk goop. Add cocoa powder, cinnamon, vanilla extract. Stir until ingredients are mixed together well with a smooth-ish consistency. Add additional cocoa, cinnamon, vanilla (or honey) to taste. Depending on how malleable your dates are, it may seem a little clumpy. If you have a good blender, pour in pudding and blend for about :30-1min. Refrigerate for an hour- or if you just can’t wait, eat immediately! Store in the fridge, if there’s any left.

Living with Intent

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Intent Noun
intention or purpose.
      “with alarm she realized his intent”
syn: aim, intention, purpose, objective, object, goal, target

“Be careful about what you think, your thoughts run your life” -Proverbs 4:23

 

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I am not a yogi. I am not a psychiatrist. I am not a dietician. I am happy. I am whole. I am living with intent. In an ever evolving journey to near a holistic lifestyle, I find it comforting that little things make a big impact on how I feel. Brussels sprouts make me feel satisfied. Sunlight brings me joy. Peppermint soothes my stomach. But what about your mind? I am constantly telling myself “it’s okay”. We always hear “our mind is powerful thing”, but what exactly can it do? Just like mastering a sport or instrument takes a lot of practice, so does training your mind. And in order to train your mind, you must live with intent.

What is living with intent?

In my little world, it’s the act of being present. Being here, not there. Being open, engaged and grounded. It’s not an easy thing to do and it doesn’t happen all the time. Some ways you can practice this are by putting your phone away when you’re out to dinner, pausing what you’re doing to listen to a coworker, or by eating your food slowly.

I should probably stop here and master these seemingly simple tasks because I haven’t yet (cue eating an entire bag of popcorn in three handfuls). In my yoga class, we practice noticing things. Noticing how my body feels in a certain pose, noticing how the room sounds, noticing where my mind goes in savasana. I’ve started noticing things outside of class, too. Like how I’m constantly on my phone, how I ‘multitask’ while talking to people, how I finish my food before I even know what I ate. Certainly not engaging acts, but the fact that I am aware makes me able to be more intentional in fixing them.

 

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How else can you live with intent?

There are a million ways to live intentionally. Some people chose to practice yoga several times a day. Some people chose to eat only organic foods. Some people only check their phone at the end of the day. I chose to cultivate my relationships by checking in with my friends regularly. I try to eat wholesome foods to fuel my body, not my mind (because my mind wants to eat everything under the sun). I **try to react slowly to things that easily cause anger (i.e. someone cuts me in traffic, “was that really a big deal? No. Am I fine? Yes. Does it actually matter? No.”). This is a big one for me. I am typically wired Type A, which causes me unwarranted and unwanted stress. Over what? I don’t know. And that’s exactly the point. I am proud to be competitive, driven and proactive. But controlling, worried and impatient are traits I’m working on mending. How? By living with intent 🙂

Take what you can get and be grateful for what it is.
Pass small stuff with ease.
Seek happiness and own it.
Clear your conscious.
Be here.

11 Purchases at Trader Joe’s You Won’t Be Mad About

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If you’re lucky enough to have a Trader Joe’s near you, then you probably know what I’m talking about when I say it’s the most fun place to shop. Grocery shopping is one of my favorite things to do in the first place, but there’s just something special about TJ’s and all their fancy treats. Living in downtown Chicago, I walk to get my groceries. This means I can only buy what I can carry. Trader Joe’s is the closest to me, so I do most of my shopping there. So much self-control not to buy the entire store! (Unless I bring my boyfriend, then a million more items are added to my *our* baskets. I have some go-to items that I always pick, but you know you can’t go there and NOT sample the treat of the day! So I usually buy whatever that is too…. Don’t you?

If I had to narrow down my list of top picks:

Just Mango Slices (dried, chewy mango with no added sugar)

 

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Creamy, no salt.

 

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It’s the same price for the individual packs. Perfect for work or on-the-go.

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I dare you not to eat the entire bag.

 

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Strawberry Austrailian Licorice

 

 

 

2 Buck Chuck- but who am I kidding, any wine will do.

 

 

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Thai Peanut Dressing (Hint: perfect for homemade pad thai)

 

 

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Baby Beets- ready to slice into a salad

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Great with the savory crackers!

 

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A slighhht waste of money since they’re gone in 2 seconds but still worth it.

Veggie and flax tortilla chips– for all chips and guac needs.

I’m not really sure there’s something I don’t like at this store. But as all groceries go, I try to stick to the perimeter of the store where the fresh and healthiest items are. Okay, and the free samples and wine. Trader Joe’s has great options for all food needs and also the coolest treats ever. Am I right?!