Some people synchronize their watches. Our family synchronizes their calendars. We pour up a cup of hot tea or coffee and discuss what events “we need to get together on” and what we are looking forward to on the menu. Won’t you join us and look at all the fun we can have in February?
We look forward to family movie night on Feb. 2. Bill Murray’s “Groundhog Day” seems like an iconic movie with a message for self-improvement (just as the shine is already beginning to wear off our New Year’s Resolutions). We’ll make some double chocolate cupcakes for the “eat cake” scene in the diner, coffee for the scene where he brought coffee to his co-workers, etc.
I suppose we’ll focus on foods rich in antioxidants for Feb. 4th which is World Cancer Day. Lincoln’s Birthday is Feb. 12 (chicken fricasse with biscuits and gravy per our history research of meal A.L. enjoyed), Mardi Gras is Feb. 13 (my family will want jambalaya and possibly King Cake), Feb 14 is Ash Wednesday and St. Valentine’s Day (OK… a challenge to keep the meal heart healthy and still provide the expected treat), Feb. 16 is Chinese new Year (definitely serving spring rolls that day, maybe sweet and sour soup). Oh, yes, and taxes… (we do them early and I like to serve comfort food to to encourage and reward us.)
Through out the month, we’ll be boosting our intake of Omega 3s. While the government fact sheet on Omega 3s lists many foods rich in Omega 3s (including flaxseed oil, salmon, walnuts, etc.), we have multiple food allergies to work around and will focus our intake on chia seeds.
According to articles in medical and nutritional journals I have recently read, chia seeds seem to be good source of dietary fiber, antioxidants, Omega 3s, some calcium, some phosphorous, and some Omega 6s. They help raise HDL (the “good” or “happy” cholesterol). They help reduce inflammation. These are beneficial to my family.
Salvia hispanica (the scientific name for chia) is in the mint family and originally comes from Central America. Reputedly, the Aztec word for this plant means “strength”. This encourages the male members of my family to consume them.
Versatile in the kitchen, I can keep a small jar of chia seeds (black or golden) soaking in some water in the refrigerator to be ready for use as an egg substitute, or to add to salad dressings, or to mix with a little honey and some blueberries for a quick treat (like a pudding or in a smoothie).
As an egg substitute: I use 1 tablespoon of soaked chia seeds to equal 1 egg. (This makes for moist cakes, brownies, or cupcakes).
Tapioca pudding was a family favorite when I was growing up. Stirring together 5 or more tablespoons of soaked chia seeds, a teaspoon of honey or stevia, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla (optional), and a handful of blueberries (or other berries or cherries or your favorite fruit), we make an easy dessert that is tasty, easy, and requires no cooking.
A tablespoon of chia seeds stirred into a tablespoon of oil, a teaspoon of vinegar (rice or apple cider), and a teaspoon of honey or stevia makes a quick salad dressing. We like to spice it up with some crushed or powdered garlic, salt, basil, ginger, paprika, or other spices.
We use sushi rice to make the filling of spring rolls, stuffed bell peppers, cabbage rolls, stuffed artichoke, or rice pudding because it holds together so nicely. I find that stirring soaked chia seeds into the filling is a quick and easy way to add the Omega 3s and fiber we need without changing the taste or texture. If anything, it just improves the way the filling “holds together”.
It is so easy to add a tablespoon of chia seeds to a smoothie or any sauce (ginger-soy dipping sauce, for Chinese spring rolls).
What are some of the ways you might incorporate chia seeds into your recipes?
Best of health to you all!
This article is not meant to diagnose nor recommend treatments for allergies or illnesses. As always, check with your health care provider to be sure that you are eating foods that are beneficial to you and your family, especially when there are certain dietary needs in your family
Bio: Charl enjoys allergy-free cooking, raising a herb garden, reading good books, and sketching nature. She and her family have enjoyed the opportunities to explore the parks, wildlife, and bookstores in the Tyler area for the past 15+ years that they have lived here.