Our resident foodie, Elizabeth Blake, forwarded me this article (http://www.foodandwine.com/blogs/2014/1/6/9-ways-to-use-chia-seeds?xid=DISH010914WaysToUseChia) because she knew that I am a chia fan. The team is always making fun of me for it, because chia seeds are a bit off the wall. In fact, my kids openly mock me with “Daddy eats chia pets!” before dissolving into laughter and running out of the room.
I probably deserve the mocking if I am being honest. I mainly eat chia in one of two ways:
1) Classic Chia Fresca. This is when you mix chia seeds with water, lime juice, and some sort of sweetener (I like agave nectar but sugar, brown sugar, and honey work well, too). I got hooked on this after reading Born to Run. The heroes of the book drink it all the time and run 100’s of miles. I drink it before and during long trail races (but unfortunately it hasn’t turned me into a champion like the guys in the book…)
2) Mixed in with plain greek yogurt. I eat a lot of plain greek yogurt; my favorite is Fage 2%, though I also like Chobani and Oikos. It can get a little boring, though, and the chia gives it an extra crunch and also lots of extra nutrients (just be sure to eat it right away– otherwise the seeds get pretty soggy and the experience is nowhere near as good). I could accomplish the same thing with granola, but I often eat low-carb and so chia is much better.
The reason I deserve the mocking is that in each case, the chia looks pretty gross. It becomes almost gelatinous in the Chia Fresca, and just kind of blends into a seedy paste when it comes to the yogurt (in an ugly brown color to boot when I mix in cinnamon, which I often do…).
But what are you gonna do? It’s a superfood and I like it, so I am game for a little mocking. Some of the ideas in this piece give me hope that I can add some variety to my chia life and perhaps even do it while minimizing the mocking. A couple quick thoughts on the suggestions:
– I love the pancake idea. I already sneak in protein powder or pumpkin puree without even telling them! They would notice whole chia seeds but maybe I could grind them up in the food processor first? hmmm….
– My younger daughter already makes jam. It’s delicious, but a bit of a nutritional disaster. Using chia as the thickening agent helps with that and delivers a TON more nutrients than regular jam. I will try this with my daughter and let you know….
– Smoothies and Agua Fresca are what I already do. If you can get over the weird appearance, they are great. Perfect for a quick breakfast or healthy snack. Trust me.
– The salad dressing I just have to try– maybe a proxy for poppyseed?
– I am hoping Elizabeth will test them out in some of our recipes that call for breading– I am intrigued
– The pudding is a wild card. I just got my girls into almond milk (only chocolate, but hey, it’s a start). So I want to mix up the chia with the chocolate almond milk and maybe try to convince them it’s special chocolate pudding. I cannot tell them it’s chia or else they will balk. Stay tuned….
– I am skeptical of the egg thing. Gotta draw the line somewhere! Plus I LOVE eggs…
Bottom line is that chia is a weird but pretty cool and super healthy food. It’s worth trying to weave into your diet in some way. It is getting easier to find in mainstream channels, but I still buy mine in bulk from Amazon, so you might check that out.
If anyone has any more great chia recipes, please share them back with me and the group!