23 April 2015

Chia bro, too much

I came across this recipe for chia jam whilst perusing the latest edition of Nourish magazine at Red Kitchen.  There was an article about chia seeds and what makes them the superhero of the super foods.  I mean, if the 'superfoods' (blueberries, flaxseeds, kale, goji berries, seaweed etc) were The Avengers, chia seeds would be General Nick Fury.  

I have chia seeds in a smoothie most days (alongside berries and whatever other fruits we have in the house), but was interested to see how it would go in a jam - a jam that had no sugar as such in it, sweetened only by the berries themselves and either honey, maple syrup, yacon syrup or agave nectar.  Sweet!  

So what's gotten me going on about chia seeds?  They're 6 x higher in calcium than milk, have 3 x more antioxidants than blueberries, 3 x more iron than spinach and contain more omega 3 than salmon.  Plus good fatty acids, magnesium, potassium and a bunch of other vitamins and minerals that I can't remember.  

Ok, here you go - a (more or less) sugar-free jam, and it is tasty!  Not very very sweet, but you could easily add more honey (or whichever sweetener you choose).  

250 g frozen berries (I went with blackberries) 
1/4 cup apple juice
1/4 cup chia seeds
2 tbsp honey (I used blue agave nectar) 
  1. Place berries and juice in a small pot, heat through, then simmer on low for 10 minutes.  
  2. Stir in seeds and sweetener.  
  3. Pour into jar and refrigerate.  Yum!!

01 April 2015

You've been hit by a smoothie criminal...

Everybody loves a fruit smoothie.  It's one of those healthy things that kids and adults actually agree on.  (I say healthy - obviously sometimes smoothies are made with ice cream, cream, syrups etc, but let's for the sake of this post just assume we're all talking about smoothies made with fruit and either milk or juice of some sort.  Ice cream is the bomb, but sort of detracts from goodness of a kickass fruit smoothie.)

In our house Harry starts every day with a smoothie before school.  His Granny makes it for him and it's more like a fruit sorbet, made with frozen berries and a tiny tiny tiny bit of milk.  Brilliant way to get the body pumping for school.  If I make a blenderful then Finn will also kick start his day with a glass of berry and banana smoothie (my preference).  And KB happily downs a glass before work.  I usually make them with banana, berries (in summer we buy/grow lots of strawberries and freeze them for use throughout the winter), milk and a little cinnamon.  

A friend recently suggested I add in some seeds and try using coconut water and almond milk in my smoothies - this combined with the fruit makes for one heck of an energy kick and by using chia seeds I'm getting an awesome amount of calcium and omega-3.  As I'm currently breastfeeding, this is very good news.  I'd recommend adding these ingredients in for anyone who could use (a) more energy, (b) a bit of immune support or (c) a full stomach for longer - less desire to snack on muck.  Have a read of Katie's post regarding chia seeds, they're little power pockets!  I like her idea of a homemade energy gel, for kids doing sport, or adults working out etc (2 tbsp chia seeds to 1 cup coconut water).    

So, at the moment I'm using (to make about a half litre of smoothie): a banana, 1 cup berries (or thereabouts), half cup each almond milk and coconut water (add more if too thick when blended), 1 tbsp each chia seeds and linseeds.  

You could use anything really - stone fruit, pineapple, orange.