By Amanda Stone
JOPLIN, Mo. —
I ate my daughter’s Chia Pet today. It was delicious.
Seeds are no longer just for the birds. They’re high in fiber, which keeps us feeling full and helps us with digestion. They are an excellent form of protein and vitamin E, which we need to keep our coats shiny. We’re mammals, after all. Don’t even get me started on the Omega-3s; seeds are great for heart health and may even prevent certain types of cancer.
Drum roll, please. My favorite seeds are (in no particular order): chia, sesame, sunflower, flax and pumpkin. They are all easy to find at a grocery or health food store. Don’t be intimidated by the lesser known seeds; they can be familiar friends, too. Sunflower and pumpkin seeds are an old standby at this point. They can be found at any store — roasted, salted or flavored — and they make an excellent grab-and-go snack. They are easily grown and harvested at home. I love that.
Chia seeds are my passion at the moment. Thanks to the Chia Pet, chia seeds have become a household name. Yes, you can eat the sprouts from your Chia Pet. They taste and look just like alfalfa sprouts and are a fancy addition to a sandwich or salad. Don’t be afraid; my family eats them on a regular basis. I’ve seen my daughter grazing on her Chia Pet on numerous occasions.
While unsettling at first, eating your chia sprouts just makes sense. You grew them, you spritzed them with water twice a day, and you rotated their faces toward the sun — you deserve to enjoy your harvest.
You don’t have to sprout your seeds. Chia seeds pack plenty of punch all on their own. Because they’re so tiny, they can easily be sprinkled on oatmeal or batter for pancakes or muffins. They virtually disappear. Chia seeds become gelatinous when mixed with liquid, so they are great for making healthy pudding with a slight crunch.
Flax seed is best absorbed in the body when it’s ground. That works out great because it’s so much easier to hide. Add some to mustard or mayo when making a sandwich or to your yogurt or cereal, and always add it to baked goods. You will be the only one who knows it’s there.
Size truly doesn’t matter. Sesame seeds are proof. They pack an incredible amount of flavor into such a tiny package. They add a nutty crunch when sprinkled onto sautéed vegetables or any Asian dish, and true hummus couldn’t be made without tahini, which is sesame paste. They’re definitely not just for your hamburger bun anymore.
Chocolate chia pudding
3⁄4 cup chia seeds
2 cups milk (you’ll get more flavor from almond milk or soy milk)
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
Sweetener of your choice, to taste (I use agave nectar)
Whisk ingredients in a bowl at room temperature. After about 10 minutes, the pudding will start to gel. Allow it to sit until it has thickened to a tapioca-like texture.
Adapted from Family Circle magazine.
4 cups whole-wheat flour
1⁄2 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1⁄2 cup wheat germ
11⁄2 cups flax meal (ground flax seed)
3⁄4 cup chia seeds
1⁄2 cup walnuts
3 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
Stir ingredients together and keep in the fridge or freezer for a quick, healthy breakfast.
To make 8 to 10 pancakes:
11⁄2 cups pancake mix
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon oil (I usually omit this or add a mashed banana instead)
1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla (optional)
Grease a pan or griddle and heat on medium. Beat egg; add milk, oil and vanilla. Stir pancake mix into wet ingredients. Pour 1⁄4 cup portions onto hot pan and cook until pancakes bubble, then flip. We top ours with almond butter and mashed fruit or maple syrup.
Sesame pasta chicken salad
1⁄4 cup sesame seeds
1 (16-ounce) package whole-grain rotini pasta
1⁄4 cup olive oil
1⁄3 cup soy sauce
1⁄3 cup rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons honey
1⁄2 teaspoon ground ginger
1⁄4 teaspoon black pepper
3 cups shredded, cooked chicken breast
1⁄3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1⁄3 cup chopped green onion
Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add sesame seeds; stir frequently until lightly toasted. Remove from heat and set aside. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta; cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente. Drain pasta; rinse under cold water until cool. Transfer to a large bowl. In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine oil, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, honey, sesame seeds, ginger and pepper. Shake well. Pour sesame dressing over pasta and toss to coat evenly. Gently mix in chicken, cilantro and green onions.
Adapted from allrecipes.com.
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