It’s my one-year blog-iversary today. I am having a party in the real world tomorrow to celebrate. I’ll have a party in cyberspace too and I’ll invite all my foodie friends to bring wonderful things. There will be much revelry and champagne (with watermelon sorbet!) and good food shared.
I made these brownies for the party. I suppose you could say I made these brownies for both parties because this I will surely bring them to my virtual party too. I have to thank my sweet foodie friend Robin from Knead to Cook for the recipe for these … she made hers with raspberries. I started out doing that, too, but dropped the raspberries after the first batch because it just took too much time. I am a bit rushed this week … (by the way that first batch turned out bad because I undercooked that batch … ooops! so I turned them into something else … another post coming soon about that … )
I also substituted some low fat cream cheese for some of the butter. I was running low on butter but had plenty of cream cheese, and besides, it just sounded good. And I used chocolate chia pudding in place of the eggs. I had some in my fridge that I needed to use up to make room for party food! Chia pudding does make a nice substitute for eggs. It even rises like eggs! Those little chia seeds are magic, I tell you.
A year ago I didn’t even know what chia seeds were … things have changed a LOT in a year. I’ve learned so much, met so many wonderful people, shared so many wonderful foods. It’s been a fantastic journey so far … and I plan to continue this journey for a long, long time. Because food is meant to be shared. It’s the most basic human connection.
Chocolate Chia Brownie Bites
Adapted from Knead to Cook
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup butter (or light butter spread … I actually used a mixture of both)
- 4 oz light cream cheese
- 2 teaspoons real vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup cinnamon chocolate chia pudding (recipe here … or substitute 2 eggs and add a little extra cocoa + 1 teaspoon cinnamon)
- 1/2 cup of non fat greek yogurt
- 1/3 cup all purpose flour
- 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
- 2/3 cup of dark or Dutch processed cocoa powder (I used Ghirardelli cocoa powder)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- if you want: fresh raspberries (make sure they are very dry, not wet … put one or two berries in the middle of each brownie bite)
- for the top: mini chocolate chips (or other little candies or sprinkles)
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line 3 mini muffin pans with mini-cupcake liners or spray them with cooking spray (or spray an 8×8 pan if you prefer). (I only have one mini muffin pan, so I ended up doing this 3 times.)
- In a mixing bowl, blend the sugar with the cream cheese and the butter until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla, chia pudding and greek yogurt. Blend well. Add the flours, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt and stir till everything is mixed together well.
- Pour the batter into your mini muffin pans, filling them about 2/3 – 3/4 full and sprinkle each one with a few mini chocolate chips. (If you are using raspberries, put a small spoonful of batter in the bottom, add a couple berries, then top with more batter.) Bake at 350 for 15 – 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the biggest one comes out mostly clean.
So I have these chia seeds that I won from Lauren at Nutri-Savvy and Ruth’s Foods and I’ve heard they make a nice pudding … tapioca-like. Well, of course I had to try a chocolate version. I added a little cinnamon because I love the taste of cinnamon and chocolate together: the taste combination reminds me of Mexican hot chocolate.
The chia pudding does have a tapioca-like texture, except there is a slight crunch from the seeds. And it’s much easier to make than tapioca. I think I still prefer the texture of tapioca, but this is a nice, simple, and very healthy pudding. I thought it was really interesting how the little chia seeds seemed to absorb most of the chocolate. It’s so healthy you could eat it for breakfast and even pat yourself on the back for taking good care of your health. The chia seeds give it fiber, protein, and healthy omega-3 fatty acids (which are very good for your heart).
Cinnamon Chocolate Chia Pudding
Adapted from Oh She Glows
- 1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons chia seeds
- 1/2 cup fat free half & half + 3/4 cup milk (or use 1 1/4 cups milk of your choice)
- 1 Tablespoon honey (or more to taste)
- 2 Tablespoons dark cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 very ripe banana, mashed (optional, but hey if you have a ripe banana sitting there that needs to be used, toss it in. I always seem to have some over-ripe bananas about that need to be used up)
In a bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients until the clumps are gone. Place in fridge for 1-2 hours (or overnight), until it’s thick. Add milk if you want the pudding a little thinner, or more chia seeds if you want it thicker (then chill again for a while …).
Serve it cold or heat it up in the microwave for a warm pudding.
I found this recipe on the blog Eating Bird Food and I was so intrigued by it. Could you really make jam without cooking, with no pectin and no sugar? Yes, you can! The chia seeds work so well as a thickener and they don’t need to be cooked at all; they just start thickening as soon as you add the liquid. And if you’re intimidated by making jam or canning it, you can skip all of that with this super simple jam!
If you’re not familiar with chia seeds, here’s a little background I found on Eating Bird Food:
“Chia is an edible seed that comes from the desert plant Salvia hispanica, a member of the mint family that grows abundantly in southern Mexico. You may have seen chia sprouts growing on the novelty planters called Chia Pets, but historically, the seeds have been the most important part of the plant. In pre-Columbian times they were a main component of the Aztec and Mayan diets and were the basic survival ration of Aztec warriors. I’ve read that one tablespoon was believed to sustain an individual for 24 hours. The Aztecs also used chia medicinally to stimulate saliva flow and to relieve joint pain and sore skin.” - Quoted from Dr.Weil
Chia seeds are an excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acid (the good kind of fat), protein, antioxidants, fiber, potassium and magnesium. 1 Tablespoon of dry seeds have about 60 calories, 5 g of Fat, 6 g of Carbohydrate, 6 g of Fiber, and 3 g of Protein. They do add a little crunch to the things you put them in, but with strawberry jam, you normally expect a little crunch from the berry seeds, so the crunch from the chia seeds isn’t even noticeable. (Not that it’s a bad thing anyway, I really love the tiny crunch of chia seeds in everything I’ve tried them in so far!)
No-cook Strawberry Chia Jam
- 1 cup strawberries (frozen or fresh)
- 1 Tablespoon chia seeds
- 1 Tablespoon water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Honey, to taste (or other sweetener, like stevia … I used 3 teaspoons honey)
- If you are using frozen strawberries, let them thaw. Mash the strawberries with a fork or blend them. If you are using fresh berries like I did, unless they’ve gotten very ripe and mushy, you will probably have to blend them because they don’t mash very well.
- Mix in the chia seeds, vanilla, water and honey (or other sweetener). Use the honey or sweetener to suit your own taste. I found just 3 teaspoons of honey gave it just a light sweetness and it let the fresh strawberry taste shine through, but it definitely isn’t as sweet as your typical jam.
- Cover the jam and put it in the fridge for at least 30-60 minutes to thicken.
That’s it! Your jam is ready to use once it has thickened up. Keep it in the fridge in a covered container and use it just like you would any other jam.
I created this post for Berrylicious. Look at these other lovely berrylicious posts!
- Joan, Chocolate Chocolate and More – Lemon Blueberry Pound cake
- Charity, Foodlets – Strawberry – Banana Popsicles
- Jamie, Green Beans & Grapefruit – Mixed Berry & Cookie Butter Clafouti
- Hani, Haniela’s – Red Currant Meringue Cake
- Katrina, In Katrina’s Kitchen – Frozen Blueberry Basil Lemonade Pies
- Sue, Munchkin Munchies – English Matrimonials
- Bia, Rich and Sweet – Blueberry Blackberry Orange Streusel Scones
- Sam, Sams Kitchen – Eton Mess Mini Cheesecakes
- Sherron, Simply Gourmet Photography – Mulberry Syrup
- Ann, Sumptuous Spoonfuls - Strawberry Chia Jam
- Karen, Trilogy Edibles – Meringue Nest with a Bumbleberry Compote
It’s time for the Crazy Cooking Challenge and this month we are all making smoothies. The assignment is to find another blogger’s smoothie recipe, make it, and blog about it.
I chose this watermelon smoothie (slushie?) from the Full Belly Sisters because as some of you who follow me on facebook know, I recently bought a watermelon that was less then stellar. To put it bluntly, it sucked. I asked my facebook friends what to do with it and I had such an amazing response! There were some really great ideas there, and this just happened to be one of them. I also just so happen to have some chia seeds that I won from Lauren at Nutri-Savvy and Ruth’s Foods.
Justine used mint in her slushie, and I have a tiny bit of mint that I planted, but it’s just starting and doesn’t have many leaves yet, so I decided to use some of the basil instead, since that plant ALWAYS needs trimming–and besides, basil is a member of the mint family and it goes very well with watermelon. The other change I made to the recipe was I had to add some liquid because my blender did NOT want to blend up the watermelon cubes “dry”. If you have one of those juicer kind of blenders, perhaps you won’t need any extra liquid, but mine was NOT budging without adding some liquid. I added it 1/4 cup at a time, till it was liquid enough to drink through a straw. It was still plenty thick, though, as you can see.
Watermelon Basil Chia Smoothie
- 4 cups cubed watermelon, frozen
- about 5 or 6 basil leaves
- 2 Tablespoons chia seeds
- juice of one lime
- pinch of salt
- 3/4 cup of juice (I used apple cherry juice)
- 1/4 cup of culinary rosewater (or you can substitute water or juice)
- Thin watermelon slices and basil leaves, for garnish
Put the watermelon, basil, chia, lime juice, and salt in a blender. Add 1/4 cup of juice and try blending. Add juice (or rosewater) 1/4 cup at a time until the smoothie blends, then add more as needed to get the smoothie to the thickness that you like.
If you drink the whole thing yourself, it will be like eating a meal. You will be full for a long while. The chia seeds add fiber, calcium and protein, so they give this drink a lot of “staying power”, and with all the nutritional benefits of the watermelon and the juice, you will be getting a lot of the vitamins, water, and nutrients that your body needs. Not to mention that it’s quite refreshing to drink this sweet slushie on a hot summer day.
This post is for the Crazy Cooking Challenge
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Click here to see all the other awesome smoothies in the Crazy Cooking Challenge …
This recipe was also shared at I’m Lovin’ It.
(a.k.a. “Healthy Muck”)
So far, I have a total of one smoothie on this blog. One. I guess if you count this one, that’s two, but it’s really the same smoothie (this one is a health-ified version of the other one), so does that count? I think it’s still just one.
I do really love smoothies … but I realized a while ago that many smoothies are packed with enough calories for a meal for a petite little middle-aged person like me. I like to maximize the enjoyment of my limited number of calories, and I tend to drink fast … so smoothies are not normally such a good dietary choice for me. I would much rather have a salad I can munch on for a long time … it satisfies my palate much better than a quickly-downed smoothie. For my son on the other hand, he is well over six feet tall and still growing … he loves smoothies and I’m quite glad to oblige him.
Anyway, the ONE smoothie that I do have on my blog is the cream of the crop. It’s my son’s favorite smoothie … AND the only smoothie I would choose to have to replace a meal, and I would enjoy every drop of it. My dad invented it. We used to call it “Grampa smoothies” up until my son’s friend said it looks like muck. So it was re-named “Muck”.
Anyway, I got a couple new ingredients to try out. First I won a bag of chia seeds from Lauren at Nutri-Savvy and Ruth’s Foods. I had never used chia seeds before, but I’ve heard they are a nutritional powerhouse: packed with Omega-3s, plus protein and fiber, they are even better than flax seed or quinoa. AND then a friend was telling me how wonderful PB2 is. It’s powdered peanut butter with most of the fat removed. I used to think that sounded just totally gross, but after talking to my friend, I thought what they heck: I’ll give it a shot. And did you know they have a CHOCOLATE version of PB2? Who can resist chocolate and peanut butter? Only 45 calories in two tablespoons? Um, yeah. I’m in. I found it in the health food section at our grocery store, but if you can’t find it there, it is available on Amazon.
I expected that my health-ified version wouldn’t really be as good. And really, I can’t say it has the same rich decadence as the original, but it was pretty darn close. The chia seeds added a slight bit of crunch … but they didn’t change the wonderful chocolate peanut butter banana taste. And the Chocolate PB2 did EXACTLY what I wanted it to do: gave it all the chocolate peanut butter taste without all the fat, sugar and calories of peanut butter and chocolate syrup.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Chia Smoothie (a.k.a., “Healthy Muck”)
- 1 1/2 bananas, frozen
- 1 cup lowfat milk (I used 1% milk, but you can use skim or I am sure almond or soy milk would work well too)
- 2 Tablespoons Chocolate PB2
- 1 Tablespoon chia seeds
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Put all ingredients in blender and blend till smooth. Pour into a nice tall glass (or two smaller ones) and enjoy! Drizzle with a tiny bit of real chocolate syrup if you like …
Just for fun, I put it in the Calorie Count Recipe Analyzer on About.com and it gets an “A” for a Nutrition Grade!
With 10.6 grams of fiber and 17.1 grams of protein, not to mention 39% of your day’s needs for calcium and 26% of your vitamin C, it’s a fantastic way to start your day.