Matcha and cinnamon chia seed pudding

Post-Thanksgiving I was 90% wine and 10% whipped cream. It was a good feeling, but also one that I preferred remain temporary. After heavy amounts of apple cider vinegar, power yoga, and more wine, I feel that I have now gotten myself to an okay equilibrium and that I can go about my merry way. After all, it is a Saturday. 

I spoke on the phone with my father a few nights ago, rambling on and on about my anxieties regarding the world and growing up and decision making and all that super scary stuff that everyone tells me will be okay but I can never seem to believe. My dad is a good guy. His name is Russ, and I could never call him that, but I feel that he was named well. He is friendly, smart, and charismatic. He makes Mish and I cocktails while we cook, and he cleans up the dishes without complaint. He rubs my back and I walk on his. We have a good system.

Dad, aka Russ, told me, "you're 24. go be 24." I later told one of my friends, "you're 23. go be 23." (Now everyone knows where I get my advice.) While the fear of long-term commitment cause may cause trepidation (I know I am a victim), it's easy to commit to the moment. To be 12, 24, 36, or 82.  Relax and take it by day by day, because each moment is pretty and precious and exactly what we need.  We do our pushups, paint our pictures, and eat our pudding. 

Making pudding is pretty great. Especially chia seed pudding, which is so full of antioxidants and fiber and protein and all the things that allow one to stay strong and kind. Chia seeds need to soak a bit, so if you'd like this pudding for breakfast, you need to set some time aside the night before. I like standing in the evening light of the kitchen, stirring up chia seeds with almond milk and spices while listening to Holiday Folk playlist on Spotify. It's rare we get to make breakfast in the nighttime. Wrapping up a mason jar in the dusky, late hours and then sliding it into the fridge feels as if I am leaving myself a present. 

This pudding combines chia seed, matcha, cinnamon, and almond milk, making it a health powerhouse. In addition, it tastes really, really good. The spices make it perfect for the holiday season. I even added whipped coconut cream, because I can't allow my whipped topping ratio to drop down too low.  That will make me sad. 

Matcha and cinnamon chia seed pudding 

1 cup of vanilla almond milk

1 teaspoon of stevia (or agave, honey, etc)

1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg

1 teaspoon of matcha powder

coconut whipped cream (optional) 

Combine the milk, stevia, spices, and matcha into a large bowl or glass. Whisk until combined. It may be easier to use an immersion blender, if you have one. 

Pour the chia seeds into a half-pint mason jar or small bowl. Pour the milk and matcha mixture over the seeds and stir to coat. Refrigerate for three minutes, and then re-stir to break up any clumps. 

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for three hours, or overnight. Top with coconut whipped cream, if desired. 

Thank you Choosing Raw for inspiring chia pudding. I can't wait to test out all sorts of flavors. Oh and links! I don't have too many but, here's a few: 

This melty cookie is perfect for adult sleepovers and both kinds of spooning. // 

// I would really like to see "Wild" with Reese Witherspoon, and admire David Denby's words about her story. In the article, he mentions, "narrative art lives in small details woven through large emotions," and I could not agree more. 

Courage is only where fear exists. // 

-stay cozy!

Homemade chai lattes, and saturday morning links (!!)

I can't forget you. 

I can't quit your cozy layer of warm milk, exotic spices, and nostalgic whimsy. It's not worth it. 

Though a few months ago I pained through the grueling torture of coffee withdrawal, I have not gone completely caffeine-sober. I can't. No matter what science does to food and drink, there will always be caffeine in black tea. And there will always be black tea in chai tea lattes. 

My love affair with chai tea lattes began in girl scouts, after caroling, and at a Starbucks. I went to casually order my go-to hot peppermint hot chocolate, already feeling like a badass for being able to handle the "spicy" flavor of mint, when one of the older girls ordered a chai latte. I was 12, and figured if I started drinking something with the word "latte" in it, my maturity factor would skyrocket. So I ordered one too.  

But chai lattes do more than bring on the air of false maturity. They're warm, comforting like the blankets are your grandparents house, and layered with the smooth bite of nutmeg and cardamom. And they pair quite nicely with the strum of a mandolin and a flowy bathrobe. 

In college I drank them on snowy mornings with a shot of espresso. Those were called "dirty chais." I really miss those guys. 

So I sat, chai latteless in my apartment, and reviewed my options: wait in the longer-than-life lines of the Los Angeles Starbucks (NO) or deal with the super $$$$$$$$ chai in independent coffee shops (also NO). Going without chai was not an choice, and I've got all them crazy Los Angeles bills to pay, so I took matters into my own hands and made my own. 

I've got a big ol' crush on it. 

homemade chai lattes

5 thin, round slices of fresh ginger 

2 cinnamon sticks

2 teaspoons black peppercorns

3 teaspoons ground cloves

2 teaspoons nutmeg

2 teaspoons ground cardamom 

6 cups cold water

6 bags of black tea (preferably Darjeeling)

Milk and sweetener to taste

Add the first six ingredients to a medium saucepan. Use a large spoon to gently break and bruise the whole spices.  Pour in the 6 cups of water and bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium-low, and allow to simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the two teabags. Seep for five minutes and remove bags.

Combine 1/2 cup of chai, 1/2 cup of desired warm milk and sweetener (agave, stevia, sugar) to taste ; and store the rest in the fridge for future chai lattes (the recipe makes about six cups of pure chai.) The black tea will keep up to two weeks.  


Dirty Chai - Combine hot chai, milk, and desired sweetener. Add one shot of espresso. This is delicious and will have you buzzin' for hours. 

Coconut Almond Chai - My personal favorite. Use coconut almond milk in place of regular dairy milk. It tastes like Almond-Joy-Chai-Craziness. 

Chai White Russian - Add your sweetener and milk to the chai mix, 1/2 shot of vanilla vodka and 1/2 shot of kahlua. WOAH. 

Iced Chai - This works best with the chai you've refrigerated. Pour 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 cup chai mix, and sweetener into a mason jar. Seal tightly and shake. Pour over ice. (You can add vodka to this too!)

Plus links! So much for perusal these days. 

//  One of my favorite bloggers Beth takes a trip to Harrisonburg's very own Blue Hole, and takes lovely photographs. 

This info about the best way to reheat cold pizza is of the upmost importance. //

// LA folk! My new favorite place for a Manhattan is just around the corner at Bigfoot West

Seeing First Aid Kit this Wednesday, and am clapping my hands in glee. // 

// Now contributing to the beautiful Wolftree magazine, next issue to release in January (!!) 

This spices and seasons pairing guide is helpful and lovely. // 

// Molly's words continue to rock me. 

Have a wonderful weekend, friends. I hope it's full of adventures, even if that means nothing but a good book and soft bedsheets. 

- stay cozy 


Raw avocado cookie bars

Avocado, meet chocolate. Chocolate, avocado. I'll give you two some privacy.  

I heard rumors that avocados and dessert went hand-in-hand, and now I know them to be true. 

A few weeks ago, I took Weston over to a neighbor's house for a playdate with his friend Tanner. We were greeted by Tanner's nanny Blas, a middle-aged hispanic woman wearing a floral pink top and blue capri pants. She instantly welcomed us both in, squeezing in between her brown arms, and then leading us on tour around the house.  Part of said tour included a trip into the backyard, where a treehouse akin to those in 90s Nickelodeon sitcoms stood tall within the avocado tree. 

I had never seen a treehouse like this one, let alone one built into an avocado tree. Let's be honest; I've never seen an avocado tree. Those guys are LARGE. While the boys ran up into the treehouse to launch into imagination land, Blas began collecting up the fallen avocados.

"Look," She said, holding out an avocado that had several tiny teeth marks gnawed into it. She turned it around a few times and shook her head. "The squirrels get them."

Some of the avocados, however, were still very much in tact. Often times, they simply fell from the trees when they got too heavy. If they were lucky enough to avoid the squirrels, Blas would pick them up and hand them to me.

"For you," She said.

I asked her if she was sure. These were avocados, for pete's sake. These cost 99 cents each, and that was at Trader Joe's! Here I was getting fresh, fat avocados for simply dropping off a five-year-old. But Blas assured me that they had plenty, and continued to stuff my hands, and backpack, full of the dark green gems. When we made out way back to the kitchen, she even placed them in a brown paper bag with a white ribbon, adding beautiful presentation to an already splendid gift. I told her thank you over and over, and assured her that the avocados would go to good use, as my roommate and I loved guacamole. 

And guacamole we made. That night, I spilled the avocados on the table and got to work; when life hands you avocados, you make guacamole. But, dear readers, there were so MANY avocados, some of them not quite ripe, that I simply had to save a few for later avocado recipes. 

Such as these raw avocado cookie bars.

I've had raw desserts before, and while there's nothing like a brownie that's terrible for you, I love that combination of sweet and healthy. It's nice to eat a comfort food that doesn't make me want to pass out afterward. 

These bars have a cookie-like bottom with a mousse-like middle. The bananas really sweeten them up and the darkness of the cocoa adds a hint of sophistication. And since they green makes them look a little spooooooky, I brought them out to the our cemetery-meditation-picnic. It was chilly and fall-esque and we drank white wine while paying our respects to the super awesome gift of life. It's starting to look a lot like Halloween, folks. 

Raw avocado cookie bars

Bottom layer

2 cups shredded coconut

2 tbsp raw cocoa powder

2 tbsp honey 

½ cup virgin coconut oil, melted

2 tbsp almond butter

1 tbsp vanilla extract

Middle layer

1 large avocado

2 medium bananas

½ cup coconut oil, melted

½ cup slivered almonds

1 tbsp vanilla extract

Top layer

¼ cup raw cocoa powder

¼ cup coconut oil, melted

1 tbsp honey syrup

1 tbsp stevia powder (optional)

1/2 cup finely shredded coconut 

Bottom layer - Pour all the ingredients in a bowl or stand mixer. Blend until fully incorporated. Transfer the mixture into a 9x9 plastic wrap-lined pan. Using your fingers, gently flatten and smooth the coconut mixture evenly throughout the pan. Transfer to fridge.

Middle layer - Slice the bananas and dice the avocado. Add to a bowl or stand mixer with the rest of the middle layer ingredients. Blend until you have a mousse-like consistency. Using a rubber spatula, spread the mixture on top of the first layer. Place back into the fridge. 

Top Layer - In a small bowl, combine the cocoa powder with the honey and coconut oil. Add stevia if you think the chocolate is too bitter. Using a spoon or whisk, lightly drizzle the chocolate over the avocado layer. Sprinkle with the remaining coconut. Chill for at least 20 minutes and serve. 

Note! The bars taste amazing even a few days after, but the avocado and banana start to oxidize about an hour or so after they've been made, so they"ll lose their pretty green color. Just keep this in mind if you're bringing to an event and want to keep the color consistent. :)

They were originally found over at SweetAsHoney's blog, which is full of adorable and healthy treats. 

 Avocado cookies from an avocado tree. Never underestimate the power of a stranger's kindness, friends.

-stay cozy