Food Trends in My Kitchen: Chia Seeds

As you may or may not know, I am a rather picky eater. That was just the understatement of the century. I’m the pickiest eater I know. I’ll own it, I know it’s obnoxious and annoying and within my control. There are always improvements to be made.

Anywho, that tangent was supposed to bring us to the idea that I’m not the most receptive eater when it comes to new ingredients. This month, however, in the spirit of the new year, I’ve tried to incorporate a couple new/different foods into my regular routine. One of my new faves: chia seeds.

chia seeds

I know, I’m late to get on this bandwagon, but better late than never! I’ve dabbled with them previously, but I’m definitely starting to eat them on the regular these days.

Chia seeds are a funny thing. I have thrown them into granola bar recipes in the past, and they came out quite well. I flipped on the TV while I was getting dressed for work the other day, and the first thing I saw was Dr. Oz telling me to put a tablespoon of chia seeds into water for a quick snack to satisfy hunger. I am always hungry so this intrigued me. Then later that same day, I saw a quick video on the internet about several super foods and their benefits, and chia seeds were first on the list because they help burn fat. Sign me up!

So that was a long way to say that I bought some chia seeds and have started adding them to my oatmeal, or putting them in water for a quick afternoon snack to hold me over to dinner. They get a slightly weird gelatinous texture when they are submerged in water, but they have no taste so you can add them to anything really. Since I’ve only started eating them regularly a couple weeks ago, so I can’t brag about any specific ways they have changed my life, but I’ll keep you posted!

Here’s the play by play of my oatmeal assembly:

Chia seeds on top, mixed in, then some almond butter and walnuts and it's a meal!
Chia seeds on top, mixed in, then some almond butter and walnuts and it’s a meal!

What new/different food has found it’s way into your pantry lately?

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Peanut Butter Granola Bars

So I’m going through a little bit of a granola bar baking phase thanks to the fabulosity of the pumpkin granola bars, that I have made several times at this point.  I decided to switch it up a little and try a granola bar recipe from Martha.  This recipe is great because it doesn’t have a million ingredients (sometimes granola ingredients can add up quickly), and it had all the best stuff: peanut butter, dried cranberries, sliced almonds, and oats!

I decided to make a couple alterations as usual.  First, I felt the need to add some mini chocolate chips, of course.  And second, I threw in some protein powder just for fun.  I will try protein powder in anything these days.  Don’t worry, I’m aware that I’m weird.  Martha’s recipe only makes an 8 x 8 pan’s worth, but since I was made these for a big group I tripled the recipe and used a full cookie sheet.

To make them more portable I ended up wrapping them individually!  They’re a great snack when you’re on the go!

Peanut Butter Almond Granola Bars

Adapted from Martha, yields about 24 bars depending how you slice them.

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 ½ cups sliced almonds
  • 1 ½ cups dried cranberries
  • 1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 “scoops” protein powder (optional)
  • 1 ½ cups creamy peanut butter ( I used an entire 15 oz jar)
  • 1 ½ cups light brown sugar
  • 9 Tbs oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350.  Prepare a cookie sheet with parchment.
  2. Combine the oats, almonds, cranberries, protein powder, and salt in a bowl.
  3. In a small pot over medium heat, combine sugar, oil, and peanut butter.  Cook for about 5 minutes until brown sugar is completely melted.
  4. Pour warm mixture over oat mixture.  Stir to combine.  When mixture is slightly cooled add egg whites and continue to mix to ensure that the eggs don’t cook.
  5. Spread mixture out on parchment lined cookie sheet.  Sprinkle top with mini chocolate chips (if you add them earlier they will just melt into the mixture).
  6. Bake 30-40 minutes until golden brown.

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

Surprise, surpise, December is going to be all about the cookies.  It’s cookie season people, and I take it very seriously.  I really enjoy mixing it up every year with a combination of traditional and family recipes, and then a few new options to broaded my horizons.  I love the holiday flavors: gingerbread, buttery pecans, chocolate and pepermint!

For this first cookie I’m a little stuck in November because I can’t get enough pumpkin!  I found this recipe through Pinterest I believe, and I must say, after making several pumpkin recipes this fall, this was a great one to end on.

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

Yeilds about 40 depending on size, adapted from My Baking Addiction

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter; softened
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup pure pumpkin puree
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside: flour, spices, oats, salt, and baking soda.
  3. Cream together butter and sugars until light and fluffy.  Add pumpkin puree, egg, and vanilla.  Mix until well combined.
  4. Gradually encorporate dry mixture into wet being careful not to over mix.  Fold in chocolate chips and dried cranberries.
  5. Drop cookies onto parchment lined cookie sheet in generous teaspoon size. Bake 12-14 minutes.