seeds

Cha-cha-cha-chia!

Over the past few months, I've noticed the ancient Mesoamercian chia seed popping up everywhere. Remember the chia pet? Well, it's the same seed, and it happens to be a super food, high in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and fiber. Chia was one of the most important foods for the Aztecs and Mayans. I bought the raw seeds, and started drinking chia fresca, a Mexican drink simply made by mixing about a tablespoon of raw chia seeds into a glass fruit juice or water, and letting it sit for about 10 minutes so that the seeds become gelatinous - the result is a drink that's both refreshing and satisfying.

Where this nutritious little seed really shines for me, is as a hot breakfast cereal.  A good friend gave me some Chia Goodness to try - and I loved it. Inspired, I came up with this tasty combination of nuts, seeds, and fruit that's become a house favourite:

Recipe: Instant Hot Chia Cereal

Besides being tasty, filling, and nutritious - it's super-quick to make: just add hot water. Another bonus: you can customize the recipe with your favourite nuts, seeds, and fruit - fun!

Instant Hot Chia Cereal before adding water.

A Versatile Classic ~ Healthy Banana Bread

banana bread touch test

What classic baked good is easy to make, delicious, nutritious, yeast-free, portable, and can use up all sorts of bits floating in your pantry? You guessed it ;-)

I often make variations of these basic, easy, healthy banana bread recipes:
Healthy Banana Bread and Easy Gluten-free Banana Bread

Wonderfully versatile, banana bread can incorporate just about any nut (pecans, walnuts, almonds, pistachios, hazelnuts...), seed (pepitas, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, poppy-seeds...), fruit (figs, dates, apricots, berries...), flour (wheat, rice, spelt, barley...), sweetener (honey, agave syrup, maple syrup, fruit concentrate, marmalade/preserves, sucanat, stevia...), spice (cinnamon, nutmeg...) chocolate (chips, baker's chocolate, bars - dark, medium, or white), carob chips, extracts (vanilla, almond, lemon, orange...), or booze (rum, Kahlua, Grand Marnier...).

Tips for delicious and healthy banana bread variations:

nuts: use 1/2-1c. nut combos like pecans and walnuts are great. chop up large nuts
seeds (use up to): 1Tbsp poppyseeds, 2Tbsp sesame seeds, 1/4c sunflour seeds or pepitas
booze: 1-2Tbsp
extracts: 1/4tsp lemon/orange, 1/2tsp almond, up to 1Tbsp vanilla
sugar: 1/2c of sweetener/sugar (brown sugar, sucanat, fruit juice concentrate, honey, maple syrup, preserves...) is enough to make a sweet tasty bread. (I use as little as 1/4c.) try sweetener combinations like: 1/4c honey, 2Tbsp orange marmalade, 2Tbsp brown sugar
chocolate: 1/2c is great. you can, of course, use more or less (1/4c-1c)
mixing tip: coat chocolate and dried fruit with flower before mixing in to prevent it from sticking to the pan

*Bonus: a great way to use up all those over-ripe bananas!

UPDATE: Some new variations:

Chocolate Fractal Banana Bread: Gorgeous, delicious and marbled with chocolate.
Super-Healthy Banana Bread: Multi-grain, whole-grain and wonderfully spiced: gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free and flavorful with no unnecessary sugar or fat.