Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Chia Seeds

When I used to hear the word Chia I would immediately think of the pet, but since learning more about this powerful seed I think less of the pet (though the jingle does still come to mind) and more about OMEGA-3's!!!

I know, who would have thought a plant that was fun to grow as a child would one day become something I well planted in my own body. 

A few months ago I started reading articles and seeing features on TV shows saying, "Super Food: Chia Seeds, the New Flaxseed" 

At this time I had been incorporating flax seeds into my diet for a few months and was curious as to what was so great about chia seeds. Here are a few key items. 

- Chia is very rich in omega-3 fatty acids, even more so than flax seeds
- Chia is so rich in antioxidants that the seeds don't deteriorate and can be stored for long periods without becoming rancid. And, unlike flax, they do not have to be ground to make their nutrients available to the body
- Chia seeds provide fiber (25 grams give you 6.9 grams of fiber) as well as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, molybdenum, niacin, and zinc.
- When added to water and allowed to sit for 30 minutes, chia forms a gel. Researchers suggest that this reaction also takes place in the stomach, slowing the process by which digestive enzymes break down carbohydrates and convert them into sugar.
- Chia has a nutlike flavor

Some ideas on how to incorporate them into your diet:
- Sprinkle ground or whole chia seeds on cereal, in yogurt or salads, eat them as a snack
- Grind them and mix them with flour when making muffins or other baked goods
- Add to a smoothie or a juice 
- Mix seeds in water and add lime or lemon juice and sugar to make a drink known in Mexico and Central America as "chia fresca" 
- Or toss them in a bottle of water when going for a run

Any way you add these to your diet will be beneficial! I like to start my day with a fresh green juice with a tablespoon of chia seeds!


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Kale Waldorf Salad

I found a basic salad recipe while looking through the Whole Foods App on my iPhone, I highly recommend this app, it has great healthy recipes that are easy to prepare. I have made a few changes to the original recipe and find it to be heavenly. The dressing works so well with the Kale as well as on other salads or used as a dip or marinade.

Serves 4-6 people 

4 cups packed finely chopped raw kale
1 large red apple, such as Honeycrisp or Fuji, chopped, divided
1 cup thinly sliced celery
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons craisins, divided
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped, divided
For Dressing:
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons water, more if needed
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/8 teaspoon sea salt

Place kale in a large bowl. Add half the apple to kale along with celery, 1/4 cup walnuts and 1/4 cup raisins. Put remaining apple in a blender along with remaining 1/4 cup walnuts, remaining 2 tablespoons raisins, mustard, water, vinegar and salt. Purée until well combined and slightly thick, adding water if needed to thin. Pour dressing over kale salad and toss to combine.

*place the salad when dressed in the fridge for 15 minutes once dressed, it allows the kale to soak up the dressing and the leaves fill with flavor. 

Pea and Beet Salad

This unusually warm winter in New York has me eating plenty of salads lately and I decided it was time to think of some new recipes. This one is quickly becoming a favorite! 
- Arugula
- Sugar Snap Peas
- Pea Shoots
- Cucumber
- Roasted Beets
- Goat Cheese

For dressing:
- Balsamic Vinegar
- Egg Yolk
- Water

Well folks, this is a salad, not reinventing the wheel so I will make this short and sweet.

Place arugula in a large bowl, dice up the peas, pea shoots, and cucumber and add to bed of arugula. As for the beets I bought prepared beets at Trader Joes and diced them up and tossed in the salad. You can also roast your own beets it time permits.

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and sprinkle with goat cheese (feta also works well). I also like to sprinkle some roasted flax seeds on top as well for added benefits.

For the dressing add 1 part EVOO,  1 part water, 2 parts vinegar and an egg yolk to a bowl and whisk until it all turns to a balsamic vinaigrette.
Toss dressing into salad and serve.