22 Apr

Raspberry Chia Jam

Raspberry Chia Jam with Vegan Chocolate Chip Scones

Raspberry Chia Jam with Vegan Chocolate Chip Scones

“Ch-ch-ch-chia”. Growing up, I loved the chia pet commercials! How cool to have fun ceramic characters that grow crazy green hair. But wait, flash forward a few decades and now it’s trendy to eat these black seeds that were smeared all over these clay figurines. Recently my kid’s Great Grandma actually got them a chia pet! Yes, they have a hip, thoughtful Great Grandma. I think it’s time to pull it out of the closet and watch the magic happen! What do you think? I’ll keep you posted on that!

Raspberry Chia Jam

I was first introduced to chia seeds a few years ago by a friend who read the book, “Born to Run” by Christopher McDougal. In his book, he talks about, well, running. I love to exercise, but I am pretty darn sure I was NOT born to run. I am better off with anything other form of exercising than running. My friend’s biggest take away from this book was the chia energy drink. Basically, it’s water, chia seeds, lime juice, and a little honey for a touch of sweetness. She likes this drink, but truthfully, I had a tough time taking it down. The seeds quickly gel up. So if you like a crunchy, jelly texture, then you’ll love chia drinks. Otherwise, like me, you are better off finding different ways of enjoying these tiny nutrient-packed seeds.

Raspberry Chia Jam

Chia seeds are a whole grain food that our bodies can absorb as seeds, unlike flax seeds, which are better absorbed when ground. Two tablespoons has 137 calories, 4g protein, 9g fat, 11g fiber, plus omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, and other minerals. In other words, they are chalk full of goodness! No wonder chia seeds have so much hype.

I take any opportunity I can to add chia seeds to my family’s meals. They have a very mild flavor and so can easily be sprinkled onto salads, sauces, oatmeal, cereal, quinoa dishes, and made into jams. How do you eat your chia seeds?

Raspberry Chia Jam

Notes about the recipe:

This is such a quick and easy recipe. I love to have this on hand for nut spread sandwiches. Making your own chia jams is one way to cut out some added sugar to your diet. If you have fresh berries, you can skip making jam all together and just smear some nut butter onto bread and top it off with fresh berries for a delicious PB and berry sandwich. Or in 5 minutes or less you can have your own chia jam. Frozen berries work really well, if not better, for this recipe. For this posting, I chose to use fresh berries, well because, they just look prettier for the pictures! If you use frozen berries, don’t add water. I have found that frozen organic blueberries or raspberries are perfect for making chia jams! Really, any fruit can be cooked to a reduction, so go wild! I can’t wait to hear which chia jams you create!

Raspberry Chia Jam
 
Author:
Serves: ¼ cup
Ingredients
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon lemon zest
Directions
  1. In a small saucepan, heat raspberries over medium-high heat.
  2. If using fresh raspberries, add 1 tablespoon water.
  3. As berries begin to cook, reduce heat to a simmer and mash berries.
  4. Cook to a slight reduction.
  5. Remove from heat.
  6. Stir in chia seeds and lemon zest.
  7. Store in an airtight container up to 1 week.

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09 Apr

Lemon Kale Muffins

Vegan Lemon Kale Muffins

A friend of mine figured out a way to have one kid-free morning a week. That’s like winning a million bucks! During her precious “me time” she likes to hang out at a local coffee hot spot, reading a book and indulge in pastries. Lately, she has become bored of their selection and texted me, asking if I had a vegan muffin recipe to share.

What perfect timing! I had been playing in the kitchen, trying to come up with a moist, healthy muffin I could toss to my kids in the morning or have as an afternoon snack. I was so excited when she asked me for a recipe that I worked on this one for a few weeks and made sure to have lots of taste testers, friends, my kid’s friends, teachers, librarians, even our dog by accident! My testers where opinionated and gave great feedback. After a few revisions, I got thumbs up from all of the adults. Most of the kids asked for seconds, and thirds, jumping up and down as if they were getting chocolate cupcakes topped with plastic characters! But, to be completely fair, I did have a few kids scowl when offered a sample. Well, I am pleased with the outcome and can’t wait to surprise my friend with a basket of muffins she can enjoy during her “me time”!

IMG_6348_Resize

I first wanted to name the recipe, “Apple Kale Muffins”, but even though they are loaded with fiber-rich shredded apples, it’s hard to taste the flavor. Should the muffins be named, Kale “Dates” a Lemon? What do you think? Too corny? I got the eye-roll from my husband. Ok, I’ll stick to “Lemon Kale Muffins”.

Ingredients

Ingredients

Notes about the recipe:

If you have a food processor, this is the time to use it or borrow your neighbor’s! Yes, if you live a few doors down, I’ll share my food processor! It will cut your prep time in half! I first used the the shredding blade and shredded the apples. Set them aside in a bowl. Then change the blade and purée the dates. Scoop out the date paste. Now purée the kale. You can do all of these steps without washing the food processor bowl in between. Once you have prepped all of your fruits and veggie, then tackle the recipe.

For the most part, this recipe is pretty forgiving. If you don’t have whole wheat pastry flour, or whole wheat flour, you can use all purpose flour instead, substituting equal proportions for this recipe. Equal substitutions are usually not the case for flours, but with this recipe it works out.

If you don’t want shredded apples, you can use apple sauce, but use less since it is more fluid than shredded apples. I have not substituted this recipe with apple sauce, so I do not know the exact measurement. 

To keep the muffins lower in processed added sugar, I puréed dates. Dates are a “super” food that are really nutritious, adding fiber, potassium, calcium, and iron to the muffins. Even though they are a much better choice over processed sugar, they are dense in natural sugar and therefor calories, so don’t think you are eating a calorie free muffin! For the most part, when substituting dates for sugar in a baked recipe, I have found equal proportions (1cup sugar = 1 cup pureed dates) work well. I also like to puree the dates. I have found that adding chopped dates don’t evenly melt away and the baked good ends up with chunks of dates. But that can be a good thing if that’s what you are looking for, especially in a fresh pumpkin muffin. I’ll post that recipe next pumpkin season!

Use this recipe as your own guide to create something new and delicious for your family and friends! I can’t wait to hear about your muffin creations!

Vegan Lemon Kale Muffins

Lemon Kale Muffins
 
Author:
Serves: 72 mini muffins or 20 regular size
Ingredients
  • 6 tablespoons ground flax seed
  • ½ cup warm water
  • 1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 17 dates, pitted (3/4 cup pureed dates)
  • ¼ cup grape seed oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest (zest of 1 small lemon)
  • 1 bunch Lacinato kale (about 14 small - medium size leaves or 2 firmly packed cups), ribs removed (1/2 cup when pureed)
  • 5 Granny Smith apples, cored, peeled, and shredded
  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (all purpose flour can be substituted)
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. Line muffin tins with paper liners or grease loaf pans.
  3. Mix together ground flax seeds and warm water.
  4. Beat in sugar, pureed dates, oil, vanilla, and lemon zest to the flax seed mixture. Stir in pureed kale and shredded apples.
  5. In a separate bowl, mix together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add dry ingredients to the wet mixture and stir until combined. The batter will be thick.
  6. Scoop batter, about 1 tablespoon for the mini muffin tins, or ¼ cup into the regular size muffin tins.
  7. Bake for 12 minutes with convection for the mini muffins and 15 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean, for the regular muffins.
  8. Remove from oven and cool.
  9. Muffins can be stored in an airtight container in the freezer for up to a month.

 

 

 

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