Mango-Coconut Chia Pudding

I enjoy hosting things at my house.  I like being with friends and gleaning knowledge from other people.  I'm a true extrovert.  For me, even thinking that someone might be coming over helps me keep the dishes at bay and bathroom wiped down.  Well, that and my own peace of mind.

However, I recently had a conversation with a good friend about her stress of inviting people over.  She doesn't feel confident in her hosting or her house for hosting.  She sees all the projects that need to get done before she would feel content, unable to see the good in her place, her hosting skills, or the way she can carry a conversation making you feel #1.   

My advice came in parts.  What would yours be?

1) Do what you can when you can.  If life is super busy right now and you're barely holding on to being sane, now is not the time to host a party of 50!  Consider strengthening the relationships you already have.  Consider 2-4 friends over instead.

2) Recognize the relationships you already have.  Don't lament not having more or new friends until you look at the ones you already have in the runnings.  Maybe start there in refreshing a friendship.

3) Make the time quality.  If you only get to be with friends once a month, make it a good time that energizes you and fills you for the month to come.  

4) Stress less about being in the middle of projects.  If you need an excuse for your home (or feel like you do) when people come over, then be in the middle of a project.  We all know it gets worse before it gets better when it's project time.  Easy excuse if you're feeling anxious about mess.

5) Stretch a little.  Exerting yourself can be hard work, but having people over or spending time with others is how you can show you care and they care.  I really believe that our lives are all about how we work together and treat each other.  And so long as things stay positive, you'll end the night better than you began.

I found this quote from Julia Child and really liked it: "Remember, 'No one's more important than people'! In other words, friendship is the most important thing – not career or housework, or one's fatigue — and it needs to be tended and nurtured.”

And commentary along with that quote: "We've looked at some beautiful kitchens..., but don't fret if your kitchen doesn't look ready for its close-up. Don't put off having that party because your cooking skills aren't up to Julia Child's level. After all, she once declared that 'cooking well doesn’t mean cooking fancy.' Call everyone up and invite them over anyway; what matters most to them is showing them that you care."

When we were in grad school, and lived in 600 sq ft, we had a party of 38 people in our small place.  Dessert was served and we had a great time squeezing together and enjoying company.  Did we have a lot of money, no.  Was our place spectacular, no.  Did we even provide all the food, no.  But we did give a place where people could come together.  

When we moved to Portland we had a family over for dinner who is very good at hosting.  We were still living in our apartment, but I finally decided that I didn't want that to hold me back from making friends.  Looking back, I'm glad I did.  It was more important to be together.

What is your advice to others?  Are you looking for advice on this subject?

This pudding was awesome!  It was the first pudding I've made with chia seeds and I'll be repeating it again.  I just bought coconuts to try making my own coconut milk, too.  

Mango-Coconut Chia Pudding
from Women's Health Magazine March 2013

1 13.5 oz can light coconut milk*
1/3 cup white chia seeds (I didn't have white, so used black)
2 Tbsp honey** 
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 mango, peeled, pitted, and diced
1 cup other fruit (diced strawberries, sliced bananas, blueberries, etc)
1/4 cup sliced almonds
4 tsp unsweetened coconut flakes

In a small bowl, mix coconut milk, chia seeds, honey, and vanilla.  Stir until combined, then refrigerate for 1 hour.  In each of 4 small serving bowls, layer 1/8 cup pudding mixture and 1/8 cup mango, and repeat three times.  Top with a spoonful of other fruit, sliced almonds, and a sprinkle of coconut.  (Personal note: the nuts are a must!  The crunchiness added another dimension and would be missed, still good, but missed.)

*If you're looking for unprocessed coconut milk, you can make some combining coconut flesh and water OR shredded unsweetened coconut and water.

**If you don't use honey. Try omitting it and doubling the other fruit you add to the dessert.

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