Tiny Mighty Chia Seeds

UnknownChia seeds – these little seeds are pretty popular these days, so I thought we’d take a closer look at chia seeds today. Chia seeds have been used as a source of nutrition for hundreds of years, and are known to be eaten by the ancient Aztecs. Aztec warriors survived on chia seeds – they are light and easy to carry in small amounts. In his book Born to Run, Chris McDougall observes the chia seed as a staple of the diet of the Tarahumara – a Mexican tribe of superathletes who routinely do runs of 50 to 100 miles.

These little black or white seeds are packed with protein, antioxidants, fiber and omega 3 fatty acids. Chia seeds can help restore energy levels and have been used to help combat dehydration. If you’re a child of the 80s you may remember chia seeds from chia pets!

The chia seeds themselves have a pretty subtle flavor. This makes them easy to include in many recipes pretty easily. They form a gel when mixed with liquid, so you can make an easy, healthy pudding. You can also include them in granola, oatmeal and smoothies.

Vanilla Chia Pudding

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Gather:
3 Tablespoons Chia Seeds
1 cup almond milk
Pinch of vanilla bean powder
Pinch of cinnamon
1 tsp of maple syrup (optional)
For topping: raspberries, coconut flakes, hemp seeds

THE NIGHT BEFORE: Whisk all of the ingredients (except for toppings). Let sit for a half hour. Whisk again. Transfer to a pint-sized mason jar and store in the fridge overnight.

In the morning, stir and add toppings to taste. I love this topped with fresh berries, with hemp seeds sprinkled on top.

*Requires prep the night before


Cherry Cacao Smoothie

It’s no secret that I kinda love smoothies. I drink one most days as my breakfast or post-work out. This is my absolute favorite smoothie recipe. It is loaded with nutrients, antioxidants, protein and healthy fats. And, it’s freakin’ delicious and tastes like dessert!

Gather:

3 leaves of kale, stripped from stems

1 frozen banana

1 cup frozen cherries

2 tablespoons hemp seeds

1 tablespoon chia seeds

1 teaspoon cacao powder

1 tsp cacao nibs

5 Brazil nuts (or 10 almonds)

2 cups water

Make:

First, add the water and kale to your blender and blend. Then add the seeds, nuts and cacao, put the frozen fruit on top, and blend. Serve with some hemp seeds and cacao nibs sprinkled on top if you want it to look pretty. This makes one large smoothie.


How to eat your green leafs!

Greens are pretty much the most nutritious thing you can eat. They are loaded in calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, phosphorous, zinc, and vitamins A, C, E and K. They also contain high amounts of fiber, folic acid and chlorophyll and many other micronutrients. In fact, dark leafy greens are the most nutrient dense food we can eat, as according to the CDC’s list of nutrient dense foods.

Growing up, I didn’t experience eating a lot of greens. I had lettuce on a sandwich, the occasional salad, and that was about it. In fact, it wasn’t until I was out of college living on my own that I tried kale for the first time. I wasn’t feeling well, and one of my housemates cooked up some kale with garlic for me. Later, I joined a CSA, and was forced to learn how to cook with kale, chard, collards, bok choy and more. Now, I strive to eat greens on a daily basis, both cooked and raw. I love spring because it means I will have access to fresh greens!

This saute of greens is my “go to” way to cook greens. It’s easy and quick. Try it with kale, chard, collards, broccoli rabe and any other green you come across. Choose local, organic greens if you can.

Green Garlic Saute
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Serves: 2 large servings
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 5-10 minutes

Gather:
Kale – one bunch, organic
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon coconut oil
Sea salt to taste

Make:

Strip the kale leaves from the stems. Discard the stems (or save for juicing) and chop up the leaves.

Heat the coconut oil up in a pan on medium high heat.

Add the garlic and pepper flakes and stir for a minute or two, until the garlic is fragrant.

Add the kale to the pan along with a little bit of water. Stir, lower heat to medium low, and cover. Steam the greens in the pan until wilted. Then remove the lid and continue cooking greens until tender – just a few minutes. Season with salt to taste.

Here are ways to enjoy your greens:
*with quinoa and beans
*as a topping for a baked sweet potato
*with mac and cheeze
*with roasted potatoes


Easy Plant-based Mac & Cheez Recipe

IMG_1460So, mac and cheese is probably my favorite comfort food. When I was growing up, I loved the stuff you made from the box – Kraft. Now, not only do I avoid food that comes from a box, but I avoid the dairy too.

That doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy mac & cheese though! In fact, this recipe, which uses cashews as a base instead of cheese and butter – is not only tastier but easier and faster than making the “real” thing! And, I would argue its a heck of lot healthier too. Try this plant-based cheez sauce recipe & I guarantee you’ll be making it again.

Gather:
Pasta (I like brown rice pasta) – one package
2 cloves garlic
1 cup of raw cashews soaked in water for at least one hour
1 1/2 tbsp of Bragg’s liquid aminos
1 tsp paprika
1/2 cup Nutritional Yeast

Make the pasta according to the package directions.

Drain the cashews.

Add the cashews and the rest of the remaining ingredients to the blender. Start to add water to blend into a sauce. I start with about 1 cup of water. Add water, blend… if you want it thinner just keep adding small amounts of water. It will end up a creamy consistency.

Stir in the cashew cheez sauce into the cooked and drained cashew. I added some chopped parsley here.

Get creative – try adding miso, chipotle and other seasonings to the sauce. Throw your favorite veggies in with the pasta – I like kale, fresh tomatoes, cauliflower, broccoli and / or mushrooms.


Steel Cut Oats with blackberries, coconut and hemp seeds

steelcutoatsI’ve been on a big oatmeal kick lately. It’s the best on cold spring mornings. Steel cut oats take a little longer to cook, but you end up with several servings.

Gather:
1 cup steel cut oats
Almond milk – about 1/2 cup
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tablespoon coconut oil
Pinch of sea salt
Toppings: blackberries, flaked coconut, hemp seeds

Bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Slowly stir in the oats, cinnamon and a pinch of salt. Keep boiling until it starts to thicken. Then, turn heat to low and simmer the oats for about 30 minutes – until its a thick porridge consistency.

Turn heat off, and stir in the almond milk and coconut oil. Top with blackberries, flaked coconut and hemp seeds (or make up your own toppings).


Banana Baked Oatmeal

Spring is finally here! Even though the days are getting warmer here in Colorado, the mornings are quite cold. I made this baked oatmeal recipe on a lazy, cold, Saturday morning recently. It was delicious! Try topping with a drizzle of maple syrup and some fresh blueberries.

Serves 4

Gather:
2 cups oats
2 cups almond milk
1 banana pureed or thinly sliced
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp of vanilla powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Coconut Oil

Preheat oven to 375.

Grease a baking pan or cast iron pan with coconut oil. The cast iron pan I used here is 9″ diameter.

Mix the oats, almond milk, banana, spices and baking powder. Put into the cast iron pan.

Top with the walnuts and pecans and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Bake for 30 minutes.


How to Make a High Protein Lunch to Fuel Your Day

Sometimes, you’re in the mood for a healthy lunch… but are not necessarily in the mood for a green salad. Something that fills us up faster and keeps us satiated longer. Enter the quinoa salad! Quinoa is a fast-cooking grain with a high nutritional profile. I’ve introduced most of my clients to the idea of a quinoa salad for lunch, because its very filling, nourishing and energizing.
So what is quinoa exactly? It is an extremely high energy grain and has been grown and consumed for about 8,000 years on the high plains of the Andes Mountains in South America. The Incas were able to run such long distances at such high altitudes because of this powerful grain.

Quinoa:
  • Is a complete protein (contains all 8 amino acids)
  • Protein content equal to milk
  • High in B vitamins, iron, zinc, potassium, calcium and Vitamin E
  • Gluten-free, easy to digest
  • Ideal food for endurance
  • Strengthens the kidneys, heart and lungs

Quinoa Edamame Salad
This salad is very quick to come together and will keep in the fridge for a few days. So make a big batch and save for leftovers. It’s inspired by a similar salad I had while visiting a friend in Seattle.

Gather:
1 cup quinoa
1/4 cup sesame seeds (I like to use the black ones)
1 cup shelled edamame, thawed or cooked if using frozen
1 bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup of arame (arame is a seaweed, you can buy it at your local health food store)
1 clove of garlic
1 half inch slice of ginger
1 tsp Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (or soy sauce)
1/2 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
2 TBSP Sesame Oil (or olive oil)

Make:
1. First cook the quinoa. Combine quinoa and water in a saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to a simmer and continue to cook covered for 15 minutes or until all water has been absorbed. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes covered; fluff with a fork.
2. If you are using arame, start soaking it in water to soften it.
3. While the quinoa is cooking & arame is soaking, chop your veggies.
4. Make the salad dressing by blending the garlic, ginger and liquids.
5. Strain the arame.
6. Mix everything together

 

Enjoy!