If you are anything like me, I was a little hesitant to try chia seeds a few years ago as all I knew of “chia” anything was the commercial for the Chia Pet I saw on late night infomercials. Well, chia seeds have come along way and these teeny seeds are huge in the area of nutrition as they are full of super nutrients like potassium, fiber, magnesium, protein, calcium, manganese, phosphorus and Omega-3 fatty acids!
Chia seeds come from the Salvia Hispanic plant which is native to South America and is related to the mint plant. Chia means strength in the Mayan culture and that is so true of this little seed based on its health benefits.
An extra bonus is that chia seeds are considered to be a whole grain and are typically grown organically, they are gluten free and usually non-GMO.
What can you do with chia seeds? Well, I started to sprinkle them on my salads and to incorporate them into my homemade gluten-free breads. They are also great in muffins and you can either add them to other seeds like poppy or sunflower seeds or use the as a substitute. They are great to add to smoothies in the morning as they help to thicken your smoothies and shakes and they are great for making pudding. I love pudding and since I began making my own dairy-free/gluten-free pudding, this one is really easy to make and very versatile. I found this recipe on allrecipes.com you can add just about anything to the recipe that you like to give it really flavor and interest. I adapted this recipe to be dairy-free but the original recipe came from sjeffery8045:
Berry Chia Seed Pudding
1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (I used Silk Coconut Milk)
1 cup vanilla fat-free yogurt (I used Blueberry Coconut Yogurt)
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/4 cup fresh blueberries (can use any fruit you like)
1/4 cup toasted and chopped almonds
Whisk milk, yogurt, 2 tablespoons maple syrup, vanilla, and salt together in a bowl until blended; add the chia seeds, whisk to incorporate and then let the mixture set for 30 minutes.
Stir the chia seed mixture to redistribute seeds that have settled throughout the mixture. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate 8 hours to overnight. Top with fruit and nuts/seeds of your choice and you can even drizzle with more honey or syrup but I feel it is sweet enough already for most. ENJOY!
This morning I had the opportunity to speak to a local Women’s Club about Clean Eating and why it is important for overall health and wellness.
You have probably heard the term Clean Eating as it has become somewhat of a new trend among celebrities and others, much like going gluten free did a few years ago. Clean eating is really a very simple concept and an easy one to follow as you do not have to count calories or order special packaged foods, in fact, all of that is discouraged when you eat clean!
Clean Eating really means that you “crowd out” all processed foods by adding in fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, fish and healthy fats. Sounds pretty easy, right? The reason that there is such a focus on clean eating is that many processed foods are pre-packaged for convenience so that they have a long shelf life and can be prepared quickly. Often times, they contain large amounts of hidden sodium, sugar, artificial ingredients and low food values which are always bad news.
Healthy statistics support the need for better nutrition and eating habits when you see the statistics and risks of having a poor diet:
* 160 million Americans are overweight or obese
* More than 1/3 of kids and teens are considered overweight or obese
* Over 29.1 million Americans have diabetes (8.1 million of those folks have not yet been diagnosed)
* More than 86 million Americans (over the age of 20) are pre-diabetic
* The 7th leading cause of death in this country is diabetes
* By 2050, if the trend in the US continues, the number of people with diabetes will double or triple!
So, it is crucial that everyone makes the effort to focus on better eating habits and better nutrition. Clean Eating can help to reduce risk and to prolong your life. Here is what else Clean Eating can do:
* Increase your energy level by providing lots of nutrients and vitamins
* Leads to weight loss
* Improves mental health
* Helps you to sleep better
* Puts you in a better mood/mental state
* Leads to a longer life (for more on this, read Blue Zones by Dan Buttoner)
What are the Principles of Clean Eating?
* Buy whole, fresh foods – those that occur in nature and not in a manufacturing plant
* Cook for yourself – you will have better nutritional value from your food and you control whats in it
* Eliminate refined carbs and sugar
* Eat smaller meals more often to stabilize your blood sugar
* Aim for lean proteins, good fats and complex carbs at each meal
Additionally, here are some other helpful tips you can follow:
* Shop the perimeter of the grocery store for the best whole food options
* Sit down to eat – turn off the television, cell phone and focus on your meal and family
* Drink more water
* Eliminate gluten and dairy
* If you cannot pronounce it, don’t eat it!
* Focus on eating the RIGHT foods for your body and not calories
In keeping with the theme of Clean Eating, I took with me to my presentation a delicious batch of
Gluten Free, Dairy Free Berry & Oats Breakfast Cookies. I found this recipe a while ago but am not sure where. Here is the recipe:
3/4 cup gluten free one-to-one flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup soy margarine (I use Earth Balance) softened
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups gluten free oats
1/3 cup almonds, chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries (can also use dried blueberries or other dried fruit)
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix the first 5 ingredients together to blend. Add in oil, margarine, eggs, honey and vanilla and then mix by hand or with a standing mixer for about 1 minute. Add in the oats, about 1/2 cup at a time and mix well. Fold in the nuts and berries until well incorporated.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and then place a 2 tbsp ball of dough onto the sheet pan and space them evenly (they don’t spread much). Bake for 12-14 minutes. ENJOY!
For more information on Clean Eating, feel free to contact me at email@example.com
It has been a while since I have posted a recipe as I have been caught up in some other projects the last couple of months, so I am sorry to have been a slacker on that front! Today, I needed to make something for my husband to take to work to a Thanksgiving Potluck Dinner they are doing for the staff tomorrow. In addition to my famous Spinach Balls, I was to make a dessert and decided on a pumpkin cookie.
I’m not one to create a lot of recipes on my own but I love to modify others that I find to make them gluten free and dairy free. This recipe I found on Allrecipes.com and this was developed by Gina. I made it with Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Baking Flour and with organic coconut milk (instead of regular milk) and Earth Balance spread (instead of butter). I hope you love them!
Iced Pumpkin Cookies (made gluten free/dairy free)
2 1/2 cups Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Baking flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup Earth Balance soy spread, softened (can use real butter)
1 1/2 cups organic cane sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
3 tablespoons coconut milk (can use real milk)
1 tablespoon melted Earth Balance
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon Allspice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, and salt; set aside.
In a medium bowl, cream together the 1/2 cup of butter and white sugar. Add pumpkin, egg, and 1 teaspoon vanilla to butter mixture, and beat until creamy. Mix in dry ingredients. Drop on cookie sheet by tablespoonfuls; flatten slightly.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven. Cool cookies, then drizzle glaze with fork.
To Make Glaze: Combine confectioners’ sugar, milk, 1 tablespoon melted butter,allspice and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Add milk as needed, to achieve drizzling consistency.
The cookies are light and airy and have a subtle pumpkin flavor to them. Can leave the icing off completely if you want to eliminate that sugar element as they are delicious naked and would be great with a hot cup of tea! ENJOY…
I’m excited to share with you a great resource in the Houston area that I was not familiar with and the great news is that it is a bakery! How awesome is that?
Recently, there was a thread on our neighborhood Next Door app that and it was a lady looking to find a gluten free/allergy free bakery in the area for some children in her class who had allergies. She likes to celebrate each child’s birthday by brining in treats and needs to accommodate allergies that a couple of new children the class have. People were offering suggestions of local merchants who did gluten free cupcakes but not other allergies, and then Liberation Gluten Free Bakery came up!
Now, I am not a huge sweet eater, however, I occasionally like to bake something for either a meeting I’m going to or a party or family gathering I’m hosting at the house. I can usually make something that tastes ok but a baker I am not. Savory dishes are my deal but I am not patient enough to measure things properly as you need to when baking.
The owner of Liberation GF Bakery, Angela Winston, was kind enough to agree to talk with me today about how she started the bakery and why. Her start came from necessity as her son was diagnosed with allergies to dairy, soy and wheat. They discovered his allergies about 13 years ago as an infant when he was suffering with eczema, dermatitis and various infections.
I know how difficult it was to manage my diet when I was diagnosed with celiac so I can only imagine how much more challenging it is for a mom to manage their child’s condition at school, events or at a friend’s house. Angela mentioned an occasion when she and her son had gone to a friends house and her son was given a Ritz cracker and had a pretty significant reaction to it. An episode like that would certainly make you want to create your own treats to send along with him the next time he goes to visit a friend.
As she experimented with recipes and perfected them she decided to make a go of it by producing gluten free and allergy free items for others to enjoy as well and that was when Liberation GF Bakery was born about four years ago. She offers muffins, cookies, cupcakes and cakes that you can special order and tell her what allergens to avoid. Her menu list of items is expansive and includes things like Rich Chocolate Cake, Lemon Lavender and Hummingbird Cake. Delicious!
We talked about the challenges both children and adults can face when they have food allergies and I mentioned going to a local women’s group meeting and they serve refreshments and food at the meetings. For the first couple that I attended, there was literally nothing I could eat that was offered. I started to bring gluten free/dairy free muffins and they were a hit. Turned out that a few other ladies were also gluten free and/or dairy free and never really said anything so as not to be a bother. Angela said that sometimes “You feel you can’t eat well when you can’t have certain things and that is not the case.” She is totally right, especially now with places like Liberation GF Bakery who can do the baking for you. I’m lucky enough to be able to sample her goodies next month and cannot wait to try them.
So, if you are in the Houston area and need to find gluten free and/or allergy free baked goodies, contact Angela at www.liberationgfbakery.com. ENJOY!
My husband and I are big foodies and we love ethnic foods. In particular, we both love to eat Indian food but there are many dishes that I cannot eat. My husband is a sweet man and he took the recipe for naan bread that I love and worked out how to make it gluten-free and also did his cilantro chutney dairy free! Here are the recipes and I hope you enjoy them as much as we do!
Gluten Free Naan Bread
• 2 ¼ tsp active dry yeast
• 1 cup warm water
• ¼ cup sugar
• 3 tbsp milk
• 1 large egg, beaten
• 2 tsp kosher salt
• 4 ½ cups gluten free flour (cup for cup flour like Pamela’s)
• 3 tbsp vegetable oil
• ¼ cup melted butter (1/2 stick)
• ½ cup flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
Make the dough: In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in warm water. Stir in sugar, milk, egg, salt and flour to make a soft dough. Knead for 6-8 minutes on a lightly floured surface until smooth.
First rise: Place dough in a well-oiled bowl and cover with a damp clot. Set aside to rise for 1 hour and until it doubles in volume. Punch down the dough and divide into 12 pieces. Roll into balls and place on two sheet pans – do not allow the balls to touch.
Second rise: Cover with towel and rise again until double in size, about 30 min.
Pan fry: (Can also be done on a grill) Preheat grill pan or cast iron skillet to high heat. When hot, lightly brush pan with vegetable oil. Roll one ball of dough out into a thin circle about 5-6”. Place in pan for 2-3 minute until puffy and lightly browned, brush the uncooked side with melted butter while in the pan. Flip and cook until browned, another 2-4 minutes brushing the top with melted butter. Keep warm by covering with foil while cooking the remaining naan. Serve warm and sprinkle with chopped parsley or cilantro if desire.
indian food two pieces of home made naan bread
(Serve with warm Naan bread)
6 green onions, cut into 2” lengths (white and green parts)
2-4 serrano chilies, stemmed and roughly chopped
2 ½” long pieces of fresh ginger peeled and thinly sliced
4 cups (Packed cilantro) tough stems removed
¼ cup fresh lime juice
¼ cup water
¼ cup plain Greek yogurt
1 tsp sugar
¾ tsp kosher salt
With food processor running, add green onions, chilies and ginger through feed tube; process until minced. Add cilantro, lime juice and water. Process until smooth. Add yogurt, sugar and salt; pulse a few times to combine. Taste for seasoning and adjust if needed. Transfer to bowl, cover and refrigerate until needed. Do ahead! This recipe is better when made a day in advance. Seal tightly to cover and refrigerate. ENJOY!
The following is an excerpt from my book, Milk. Toast.
When I was fist diagnosed with celiac, I worried about how I would manage my dietary restrictions with my travel schedule for work. At the time, I was working in the meetings industry and was traveling a lot! When I say a lot, I mean that I was close to being one of those “road warrior” types who flew eight thousand miles a year and knew the gate agents at O’Hare by name. If I was on the road that much, how would I ever find anything I could eat that would not make me sick?
I must tell you, back then, it was difficult. At the time, early in the first decade of the twenty-first century, there weren’t many products on the market and there were certainly almost no restaurants serving gluten-free meals. Even more challenging was going to a conference, where the standard fare really consisted of bagels and Danish for breakfast, lunch was some kind of pasta and sauce on it and dinner was usually eaten at a reception with passed hors d’oeuvres, of which about 90 percent of those were fried or served on a toast point. I was truly out of luck on most occasions and was not sure what to do.
It soon became very clear that now that I had taken care of managing being gluten-free at home, I had to do the same thing when I was on the road. So much of our daily lives take place away from home. Whether you are at work, traveling for business or pleasure, at business meetings, at children’s activities, or at family outings, you will now need to learn, like I did, how to work around your dietary restriction and continue to live your life! The good news is that today, so many new products are on the market, more restaurants are recognizing the need for gluten-free options every day, and choices offered for vegans, vegetarians, and other dietary preferences are on the rise. Choices are now plentiful!
Things to remember when you will be away from home are to plan ahead, ask a lot of questions, and be prepared. Ultimately, you are responsible for your own health and wellness when you are away from your home environment. You can do some things in advance to make sure that your experience is easy, safe and pleasurable.
The first thing I suggest is to go into things with a positive and proactive mindset. A gluten-free or other “free” diet does not have to put a damper on your experience away from home. Keep in mind that you just don’t have control over some things and some situations. For hose you can control, don’t be afraid to ask questions and look for alternatives. Be sure hat no matter what situation you find yourself in, you need to be prepared with something you can eat that is safe for you.
For more information on eating safely away from home and tips that will make it easier, please check out my book, Milk. Toast.