Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia!!

If you haven’t tried chia seeds by now I seriously don’t know what planet you are residing on!! These nifty seeds are probably best known for their memorable appearance in the 80s during the beginning wave of the “Chia Pet”. You know. The obnoxious, yet catchy commercial, “Ch-ch-ch-CHIA!! The pottery that grows!” I actually think I was given one shaped like a bunny as a gift at one point in my life. The idea was to apply moistened chia seeds to an animal-shaped, terra-cotta figurine and wait for the seeds to sprout, leaving the poor animal to look as if it had grown an afro.
I’m pretty sure they’re currently being sold at Wally-World in the Garden Section to unsavy grandparents who think it’s a cool gift for a kid or to people that use them as a gag gift for co-workers.
Nevertheless, my point is they aren’t exactly popular anymore. BUT, the seeds themselves have risen from the dark depths of infomercial shame and have become the “it” item for those who are nutritionally minded.

Now, before I go any further, I would like to address one small issue- the pronunciation of said “it” item.
I was recently informed, by a professional dietician, that I wasn’t saying the word correctly. After which, I proceeded to research the matter further, as any English major- who had just been corrected– would have done. I personally think it is important to know for sure how to pronounce something before simply telling someone they’ve said it wrong and correcting them, rudely. So, in an effort to educate, I would like to share. It is NOT pronounced /CHī / (like Chai Tea). In fact, it IS pronounced ˈCHēə (chee-uh).

I WAS RIGHT.
{END OF RANT} and back to the point. Which is-
The flowering plant itself, native to central and southern Mexico and Guatemala, belongs to the mint family and was cultivated by the Aztec as a food crop. That’s right y’all. If the Aztec used it it must be good! Chia seeds are a nutritional powerhouse, providing maximum nutrients and minimum calories. Hello super-food! These puppies are full of health promoting awesomeness such as concentrated amounts of healthy Omega 3 Fatty Acids (heart healthy fats), calcium, potassium, fiber, protein, and antioxidants. Plus, chia seeds have a mild, nutty flavor and are easy to add to other foods and even beverages.
One of my favorite ways to use them is to make a simple chia seed pudding for dessert. It’s likely the easiest recipe in the world, and if I want to scarf down a bowl of it I can without feeling guilty. Did I mention the texture?! Chia seeds develop a gel-type coating, making this dessert basically a healthy tapioca pudding. Yumm.

Chia Seed Pudding

  • Servings: 4
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Ingredients
•1 cup milk, your choice (I like to use original unsweetened almond milk)
•1.5 tspn pure vanilla extract
•pinch of sea salt
•1/4 cup chia seeds
*Optional: 2 Tbsp pure maple syrup (for those who prefer a sweeter pudding)

Method
•In a small-medium bowl, whisk together milk, vanilla, and salt + maple syrup if you choose.
•Add the chia seeds and let sit for 15 minutes. If seeds have settled on the bottom, stir to distribute them then cover and refrigerate overnight.
*In case you can’t wait to try in out, the pudding should have reached appropriate consistency after 30-40 mins in the refrigerator 😉

If you are looking to add a little somethin-somethin, serve with fresh fruit or nuts on top.

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Mac’n Cheese, Please

I’m back!!!!! And you know you missed me 😉
Well y’all, I have officially relocated to Conroe, TX. If you don’t know where that is, no worries . . . I didn’t either until we had to start searching for a new place to call “home” near Houston. We’ve been here almost two weeks and some of our belongings are still in boxes (which drives me nuts), but I have managed to get most of my kitchen items out . So, y’all know what that means- TIME TO COOK!! Continue reading

Fluffy Happiness for One

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I woke up this morning knowing exactly what I wanted for breakfast, so I hobbled into the kitchen (trust me it’s definitely a hobble). My back is not 100% yet, but I’m going stir crazy laying in bed all day and not eating meals that I have cooked has left me feeling tubby. I wanted to make myself some healthy pancakes damnit and that’s precisely what I did 🙂 Now that my tummy is full of fluffy happiness, I will return to my cave and continue to alternate ice and heat on this injury like a good little girl should. Have a fabulous Friday y’all!

Applesauce Pancakes
Serves 1 person (yields 4 small pancakes)
Ingredients
•1/2 c. Whole wheat flour
•3/4 tsp. baking powder
•pinch of sea salt
•1 egg, beaten (can also use Flax for egg substitute)
•1/4 c. Coconut milk
•1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
•4oz unsweetened applesauce

Method
1. Mix dry ingredients in a small bowl
2. Add egg, milk, vanilla, and applesauce- forming a smooth batter
3. Spoon the batter into a non-stick skillet -or griddle- medium heat. Flip pancake to other side when bubbles appear.
4. Serve with your favorite toppings and enjoy!! I chose honey and sprinkled a bit of pumpkin spice on top.

Tangy salad and a tricky back

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I’ve been sort of a basket-case lately with our search for a new casa in Houston, so the past few weeks have consisted of pretty basic recipes and easy faves like whole wheat personal pizzas, healthy homemade mac, and quick fix salads. Yesterday I threw together a Tangy Salad ; it’s the perfect lunch on a warm spring or summer day. I know it isn’t much to look at but boy it tasted good!

•Fresh spinach leaves
•Sliced yellow bell pepper
And for the dressing
•Avocado
• Tbsp plain Greek yogurt
• A splash of lime juice
• Sea salt and pepper to taste
That’s it and you’re good to go!! Yumm yumm- Easy, light, and healthy.

On a more serious note, I had a little too much fun in zumba class yesterday apparently and have pinched a nerve in my lower back. This has left me incapable of much movement and even laying in bed is killer. So unfortunately I can’t make it to the kitchen to fix up some awesome new recipe for y’all 😦
But as soon as I’m better I will be back in the kitchen full force; I promise!
Until then, feel free to share some of y’all’s favorite quick fix recipes, OR start making me a list of not-so-healthy dishes you would like me to shake up. And yes, they can include meat…I have a large hunch that my hubs and I are on the verge of falling off the vegetarian wagon!!

Lots of Texas Love and hope to be back in the kitchen soon.
-Kelli

Not your typical Banana Nut Bread

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I love anything that incorporates bananas. I’m not a firm believer that humans evolved from apes or any of that jazz, BUT I do have a strange obsession with the yellow fruit which has me wondering if I might have been a monkey in another life?! No joke.
One of my favorite banana recipes is banana nut bread but the ingredients in the Wiese Family’s version are not exactly friendly for those who are health conscious. So, I renovated it of course!!
Say “Hello” to my Banana Nut Bread—made into cute, snack size bites for a quick grab and go treat or breakfast.
Let me know what ya’ll think!

Banana Nut Bread—Bites
Makes 12 small balls
Time: ~22 minutes

Ingredients
• 2 cups old fashioned oats, ground into flour
• ½ cup chopped nuts, I used pecans
• 1 banana, mashed
• 1 ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
• 1/8 –1/4 cup honey
• ½ tsp baking soda
• 4oz applesauce
• ¼ tsp cinnamon

Method
1. Preheat oven 375°F and prep baking sheet
2. Combine dry ingredients together first and then add the remaining items.
3. Mix well and form into small balls. Place on baking sheet and bake for ~22 minutes or until golden. Keep an eye on them as every oven cooks differently!

Boats ‘N …. Sweet Potatoes

I officially have sweet potatoes coming out of my ears since my grandma sent me home with a whole bag full this weekend. I’m not complaining though because they are one of my favorite foods and it gave me the opportunity to try out something new—Plus, I told myself if it didn’t turn out right the 1st time, I had a whole bag full to experiment with!!
But that wasn’t necessary; my Tex-Mex Sweet Potato Boats were a success, and I gobbled them right up. These little boats are packed with a great southwestern flavor and are very filling. Needless to say, I’ve found a new sweet potato favorite.

So you should definitely try them out!

Tex-Mex Sweet Potato Boats
Serves: 2 + leftovers of course
Time: ~25 minutes

Ingredients
• 2 medium sweet potatoes
• 1 cup frozen corn, thawed
• ½ tsp. chili powder
• ½ tsp. cumin
• ¼ tsp. oregano
• Sea salt, to taste
• ¼ tsp. onion powder
• 1 can (15oz) black beans, drained & rinsed
• 1 can (4oz) diced green chili peppers, drained
• 3 Tbsp plain Greek yogurt
• Shredded cheese—to top ‘boats’ with

Method
1. Wash sweet potatoes and place them in a large microwavable bowl covered halfway with water. Microwave for 5 minutes, turn potatoes to other side, and microwave for 5 more minutes. Remove from microwave, drain water from bowl, and set potatoes aside until cool enough to handle.
2. Sautee the corn in a dry skillet over medium high heat. Sprinkle with sea salt, chili powder, cumin, oregano, and onion powder. Cook until the corn is roasted and browned (about 7 minutes). Transfer to a medium sized bowl and add in black beans and green chilies; mix to combine all ingredients.
3. Once the sweet potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut them in half—lengthwise. Leaving a small border in the skins, scoop out the flesh of the sweet potatoes and add to the corn, black bean, and chili mixture. Stir in 3 Tbsp of plain Greek yogurt and thoroughly mix all contents of the bowl.
4. Preheat the broiler. Fill each potato skin with the potato-corn-bean mixture, and top each ‘boat’ with a bit of shredded cheese. Broil for about 2-4 minutes until cheese is hot/melted and serve.
*If you’re like me and love a little extra SPICE, top your boats off with some salsa. I promise it’s really good!!

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Chili when it’s Chilly

Texas and its bipolar weather have been at it again . . .

Seriously, I think this state’s thermostat is on the fritz! I had just settled into the warmer weather, put my hoodies away, said buh-bye to my thermals until next year, and then BAM- or should I say brrrrrr! The chilliness decided to grace us with it’s presence yet again.

But I suppose I can’t complain; it was the perfect excuse for me to thaw out a bag of Quinoa Chili that I had made a couple of weeks back. Since Tanner has been out of town training for his new job, I haven’t made my way to the store to buy groceries, so a  pre-made meal ready to go was super handy. All I had to do was thaw out the freezer bag, put the chili in a bowl, warm it up, and eat. I even sliced up an avocado to throw on top to add a little more color. I have to say this chili tasted just as good as the day I made it. The recipe was adapted from one of my food browsing favorites, Cooking Classy and is a vegetarian, protein-packed, bowl of warmth that you can eat without feeling guilty afterwards. Plus, chili when it’s chilly is the best!!

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Quinoa Chili

  • Servings: 6
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Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cups of quinoa, cooked
  • 2 (14.5 oz.) cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 (15 oz.) can no sodium tomato sauce
  • 1 (6 oz.) can diced green chilies
  • 1.5 Tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1.5 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 1 (15 oz.) can kidney beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1 (12 0z.) bag frozen corn
  • 3 Tbsp fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • Juice of one lime (~2 Tbsp)

Method

  1. Heat olive oil on high heat in a Crockpot. Add garlic and onion.
  2. Stir in quinoa, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, green chilies, chili powder, cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper, coriander, and 1-2 cups of water. Make sure water covers most of the ingredients. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and cook on high for 30 minutes.
  3. Add beans, corn, cilantro, and lime juice. Cook until heated through, about 30+ minutes.
  4. Top with avocado and serve.

 

*Adapted from Cooking Classy

“Lady Date”

All women know that “girls’ night” is just an acceptable excuse to get together with the ladies and down a bottle of wine, or two. We do this while debating the new healthcare reform, how to achieve world peace, and environmental issues . . . Just kidding!!! Truthfully, we just need time to vent about how hellish our week has been, discuss guys, talk about the possibility of adopting a foreign baby in our 30’s, and catch up on each others’ lives.
Plus, it’s just a nice little break from reality to chow down and have a drink with a good friend. And since the hubs is out of town it was a great opportunity to try a new recipe out on my girl K.Tinsley, drink wine, go get froyo, and then drink more wine!!

Continue reading

Breakfast for Dinner

Sometimes I just want breakfast for dinner.

I have to say that whipping up some eggs & toast or making a stack of my banana pancakes is usually my meal of choice whenever I feel like there’s “nothing” in the house to eat. Translation: I’m too lazy to prepare what I originally had planned, OR my life is busy. Either way, breakfast is a quick fix, and there isn’t anything wrong with that. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day after all. And did I mention it’s my favorite! If I can have it twice in one day then I’m a very happy camper. But what’s a girl to do when she’s craving both breakfast AND Mexican food?! That is a serious dilemma and one that I came across the other evening.My first thought was to just make some breakfast burritos but that sounded too boring, and I didn’t have tortillas on hand anyways. So instead, I fixed my own version of Huevos Rancheros, and it turned out great!! The best part is that this delicious meal takes only a few minutes to throw together. huevoranch

The most work I did was put the pinto beans in the Crockpot around 2pm and let them cook for about 4-5 hours. Then when 7 o’clock rolled around all I had to do was fry two eggs, put the food on a plate, add some salsa & avocado, and Ta-Da!! Dinner, or should I say breakfast, was served.

So, the next time you think you have “nothing” to make for dinner, just remember that most of the time you’ve got eggs in the house. And cooking Breakfast for Dinner is a much healthier option than driving up to Taco Bell, DQ, or McDonald’s for a Crunch-Heart Attack-Supreme, PantBuster, or a Not So Happy Meal.

Just saying.