I'll admit, the first time I was confronted with the interesting concoction that chia seeds become when they encounter liquid, I was more than a little bit skeptical. If you haven't tried immersing the seeds in water or milk before, you're in for a treat, because once you get used to the new consistency, I guarantee that this particular ingredient will lead to a total transformation in your dining habits.
Chia seeds are a powerhouse source of nutrition; with origins in Guatemala and Southern Mexico, chia seeds were dietary staples in the Aztec and Mayan cultures. In the Mayan language, chia actually means "strength", and travelers would carry them in pouches on long journeys to eat for energy. They are packed with vitamins and minerals and are high in antioxidants, which makes them a great breakfast option. There's no better way to start the day out than with a handful of chia seeds in your smoothie or cereal to boost your energy and endurance throughout the day. In the Mayan language, chia is actually the word for strength, and many people swear by the health benefits of chia, saying that they were even able to cut coffee and other caffeinated beverages out of their diet once they started using chia regularly in their recipes.
A few simple steps:I like to start out by heating the milk and vanilla in a medium saucepan just long enough to warm it up a bit. The cinnamon is a bit tricky, as it tends not to dissolve so easily, but I have found that the best way to deal with this is to spend about a minute stirring it and then just allow it to sit for a while as the milk heats. Set the chia seeds aside in a medium sized cereal bowl, and after the milk has reached your desired temperature, pour it over the chia. You will need to stir continuously for 2-4 minutes while the chia absorbs the milk mixture; stirring will keep the chia from clumping and will give you a much more desirable consistency. Don't be intimidated by the way it looks. I'll be the first to say that I nearly agreed with the initial mocking from other people in the kitchen the first time I tried this dish, but give it a chance and I promise it will be worth it. Mix your chia concoction in with the apple slices and shredded coconut, and you're good to go!
In the end, what I really love about this recipe is its versatility. I first prepared it (in under 10 minutes!) the night before an early morning so that I could have it as a grab-it-and-go breakfast on my way out the door. However, it works just as well as a dessert, or even a midday energy-booster snack. And just because summer is approaching doesn't mean we have to automatically give up some of those seasonal flavors that make us swoon. This particular flavor set is like a crisp glass of apple cider, which I personally will drink any time of the year!