When you think of chia seeds, you think chia pets, right?

chiasinspoon

Well, chia seeds are no longer being used just for (chi-ch-ch-) chia pet purposes…they are actually incredibly nutritious, and I use them to make one of my favorite healthy breakfast recipes: breakfast chia pudding.

Chia seeds are high in omega 3 fatty acids, protein, fiber, and minerals including calcium. My local natural foods store sells them in bulk, but you can also buy them online. They are a little pricey, but as you will see, they expand greatly when mixed with liquid, so a pound will last you a while.

My favorite way to use chia seeds is to make a raw foods breakfast pudding. This is a fast and healthy breakfast treat, or it can be a snack or healthy dessert, too. Though I’ve chosen to make the nut milk used in this recipe with pecans and dates, you can use any homemade nut or seed milk in this recipe.

It would be very simple, but not quite as good for you, to use a store-bought almond milk, or use creamy and yummy Living Harvest vanilla hemp milk (you’ll need to make your own nut or seed milk, though, if you want to keep the recipe raw).

Breakfast Chia Pudding Recipe

Serves 1

Ingredients:

*1/3 cup pecans, soaked overnight in water to cover
*2-3 pitted dates, preferably soaked in water overnight to rehydrate
*3/4 cup filtered water
*2 Tb. chia seeds
*tiny pinch of cinnamon
*tiny pinch of Himalayan or sea salt
*fresh or dried berries for garnish- optional

Directions:

1. Pour soaking water off the pecans, and then blend them with the dates and 3/4 cup water in a blender. I prefer that some pecan and date chunks remain so I just blend mine briefly, but if you prefer a smoother "milk", process until the consistency you like is reached. Place chia seeds into a bowl and pour the liquid over them. Add cinnamon and salt and stir to combine. You can eat this right away, but it is better to allow the pudding to sit for at least 5 minutes while the chia seeds soak up the liquid.

2. You can let them sit even longer if you like- they will keep swelling and become fairly gelatinous if you do, and you may find you'll want to add more water. Top with fresh or dried berries before serving, if desired.

chiapuddding

This is a fun recipe to play around with. When I forget to soak the nuts overnight, I like chia seeds with hemp milk topped with raisins or dried cherries and walnuts or almonds. I don’t think it needs additional sweetener, but you could add a drizzle of agave or maple syrup, if you like.

Sarma Melngailis loves chia pudding with chocolate and has a recipe for it in Living Raw Food. By the way, the winner of the signed copy of Living Raw Food in last month’s giveaway was Sarah from Olympia. Congrats to Sarah and enjoy the book!

Related posts I think you’ll enjoy:
More info on chia seeds from Kristen’s Raw
Chia Seeds Article from Living and Raw Foods

Comments Off on Organic Garden Early August

Organic Garden Early August

garden veggies

Somehow a month has passed, so it’s time for my monthly organic vegetable garden update.

Organic Garden Early August Highlights

lemon cucumber

It continues to be an incredibly rainy summer. My vegetables would like more sun, I’m sure, but they seem to be happy enough. The cucumbers in particular, with their high water content, are growing very well. I have three different types: “kirbys” perfect for making pickles, the lemon cucumbers (above), and marketmore 76 cucumbers (below). They are all producing well and they are delicious.

marketmore cucumber

There has been a lot of concern in my area, as well as all over the Northeast and beyond, about a fungal disease called “late blight”. A strain of this fungus caused the Irish potato famine; it can affect tomatoes as well as potatoes. If you are growing either of these, it’s important to be on the lookout for symptoms of late blight, because if you do have diseased plants, they need to be pulled out, bagged, sealed, and thrown away (not composted!) immediately.

Many farms are apparently losing their tomato crops due to late blight. I feel very fortunate that my plants look fine, and I am keeping my fingers crossed that it stays that way. I have many different types of heirloom tomatoes growing, and I’ll be very upset if anything happens to them!

white wonder

sanmarzano tomato

ripe tomato

cherry tomato photo

My scarlet runner beans, pattypan squash, carrots, beets, herbs and various salad and dark leafy greens are all continuing to grow well. I’ll be planting a fall crop of greens soon, too.

scarlet runner beans

little pattypan

shiso

We are able to eat out of the garden every day at this point, which is a pleasure. Most of the tomatoes, the peppers, the edamame, the corn and a few other things still need more time, but we’ll be able to eat them soon, too.

green pepper growing

edamame on vine

cantaloupesalad

This cantaloupe salad with lemon balm and lemon cucumber is delicious and very simple to make.

Lemon balm (Melissa officianalis) is an herb I am very fond of; I grow it in my garden and I often add it salads (I like it with greens as well as in fruit salads like this one). I also enjoy it in smoothies, and I have infused it into custard and chopped it into cookies, as well.

photo of lemon balm

Lemon balm is in the mint family. It has a reputation for being invasive like mint, but I find it to be very easy to grow and not too troublesome in my sunny herb spiral. Lemon balm is known as a “nervine” (meaning it helps to soothe the nerves). It also helps promote good digestion, and has anti-bacterial activity. If you don’t have access to lemon balm, though, I would substitute mint or perhaps basil in the salad.

lemon cucumber

I have these cute “lemon cucumbers” growing in my garden. They are pale yellow and have a thin skin; they are a little sweeter than regular cucumbers. If you can’t find these, just substitute one medium-sized typical cucumber for the 3 lemon cukes.

I garnished the salad with shavings of ricotta salata cheese. I love the super saltiness of this Italian cheese made from sheep’s milk, but if you are vegan or just don’t want the cheese on your salad, feel free to leave it off. I would sprinkle a little Himalayan or sea salt on instead, though, as the salt does help to brighten the flavors. If you want to add cheese but can’t find ricotta salata, you can substitute another salty hard cheese such as feta.

Recipe for Lemony Cantaloupe Salad

Yield: 2-4 servings

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

As an appetizer, this will serve 2-4 people ; I ate the whole bowl myself for breakfast, though!

Ingredients:

*flesh from 1/2 ripe cantaloupe, sliced into thin bite-sized pieces
*3 lemon cucumbers (or 1 medium-sized cucumber), peeled if not organic, and sliced into bite-sized pieces
*1 large handful of lemon balm, stems removed and chopped chiffonade-style
*2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
*1 teaspoon raw honey or pure maple syrup- optional
*shavings of ricotta salata cheese (or crumbled feta) to garnish- optional

Directions:

1. Mix cantaloupe through lemon balm in a medium bowl (if not using the sweetener, go ahead and mix in the lemon juice, too).

2. In a smaller bowl, mix the lemon juice with the sweetener and pour over the rest of the ingredients. Mix well.

3. Place individual servings on smaller salad plates and garnish with the cheese.

WHB3-1This is my entry for Weekend Herb Blogging, an event managed by Haalo from Cook Almost Anything. This week’s host is Anna from from Anna’s Cool Finds!