Perfect Sunday Morning Chia Pudding

It feels like just yesterday I was racing against the clock in culinary school during our flourless and frozen desserts unit to get this ready along with chocolate almond pastry cream and ninety other things, sneaking laughs of desperateness as Holly, my culinary school BFF, pulled off the same feat of boiling her homemade almond milk and getting her batch ready for “presentation” (that’s culinary school fancy speak for everybody grabs a spoon and eats too much while the chef critiques it all). Now, here I am, swirling up a tupperware’s full alone on a Sunday morning. A little less hectic, for sure, but somehow not quite as comforting. And isn’t that what Sunday’s are all about? A cup of green tea and the Sunday New York Times Magazine¬†didn’t quite make up for that lack of comfort (missing Holly), but gave me that soothing element I craved.

1/4 cup chia seeds + 2 cups (ish) almond milk + teaspoon cinnamon + teaspoon vanilla extract + lots of orange zest + 2 tablespoons maple syrup + whatever you need to taste (dark chocolate shavings are quite good, always; I topped mine with pomegranate seeds that looked better than they tasted and fresh berries) = lazy breakfst/dessert perfection.

Seal in a container and shake it up every twenty minutes or so (or whenever you remember) until mixture becomes gelatinous (give it at least two hours in your fridge).
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Our Final Culinary School Dinner: Put Some South in Yo’ Mouth

Nope, not your average meat and three or butter and cheese-loaded mac and cheese and cornbread-fest. Given my penchant for anything southern and involving glazed pecans, it’ll come as no surprise that my six-person culinary-cohort settled on a southern themed epicurean paradise. ¬†And this past Friday night (times two because I wrote it two weeks ago and forgot) was the culmination of my chef’s training program at the Natural Gourmet Institute: a three course vegan meal for 100 people.

Also of note, my amazing boyfriend who could subsist (ew did I just say amazing boyfriend? I hate people who wax poetic about that kind of stuff) on eggs and lean chicken breast alone with a wild aversion to all things plant-based, offered rave reviews of the bean and mushroom stout pot pie (even more miraculously, he hates both beans and mushrooms) and probably tried about five new vegetables in the appetizer alone.

After countless hours of chiffonading greens (because, hey, I can kind of do that now), supreming oranges (which, hey, I can also do) and arguing for spiralized beet “noodles” over roasted pickled beets, we managed to pull it all off. Behold, a few favorite photos from the feast.

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