Apricot Chia jam - no added sugar

My parents came to stay with me last week - so I spent one afternoon doing a few things at home with my mum. One of them was making jam.

We made strawberry balsamic chia jam first - using just three ingredients - fresh, yummy, small, local strawberries, chia seeds, and balsamic vinegar. No sugar was used - the strawberries were definitely sweet enough and the chia seeds acted as the gel for the jam.


Delicious.

But then my mum asked how we could adapt the recipe to use apricots - as she loves apricots.  So we had a go, with dried apricots.  It worked well.  Instead of the balsamic vinegar, we used ginger - so apricot and ginger chia jam - with no added sugar!



Basically, we cooked the apricots and ginger in water for about 5 minutes, pureed them in a blender - but still kept some texture, added some chia seeds and simmered for 15 minutes until thickened.  Voila! No added sugar apricot jam!

My mum bought us Shaun the sheep oven gloves during their visit, so they had to come in the photo too!!!


Do you know Shaun the sheep? You should!  He's cool.
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Overnight Omega 3 Oaty breakfast!

O-O-O breakfast!


I'm not sure if you are like me, but throughout the year, I usually stick to one of two breakfasts with maybe just varying the berries on top:    either my homemade gluten free, sugar free, granola or my homemade GF, sugar free muesli.  I think I just want to get up and not really think about creating something first thing - just reach in the cupboard, pull out my cereal and add a few sprinkles and non dairy milk and start eating.

But then I see all these pretty breakfasts in cookbooks and blogs, and all these smoothies, and I get a bit envious.  The taste of food begins very visually for me, so eating things that look good is important.  And yes, faithful granola and muesli - you do look good - but just not as "pretty" as some other breakfasts out there!

So I had the idea to try making something a bit prettier, but doing it the night before - while dinner is cooking. Then when I get up,  it'll all be ready in the fridge, and I won't even have to add milk!

And thus - two new breakfasts came about - that I made while dinner was cooking. Pretty Parfaits!  Today is the sweet mango banana version.  My Triple O breakfast!


Overnight Omega 3 oaty breakfast!

A lovely combination of oats, mangoes, bananas, flax and chia seeds and non dairy milk make up this overnight breakfast.

Part smoothie, part bircher muesli - a breakfast parfait with plenty of omega 3 essential fatty acids from the flax seeds, the chia seeds and I used flax milk as the non dairy milk!

Make it it in the evening, put it in the fridge and its ready for breakfast in the morning.

Here's the recipe (serves 2):

1 large mango or frozen mango pieces
2 bananas
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
1 cup gluten free oats
4 tablespoons chia seeds
1/3 cup flax milk or non-dairy milk


Peel the mango and cut away the flesh from the stone, or defrost if frozen, and add to a food processor with the bananas and ground flaxseed.  Blend until smooth and creamy.

In a bowl, combine the oats, chia seeds and non dairy milk, stirring well.

Pour half of the mango banana mix in the bottom of two glasses or bowls.  Top with the oat mix, and then add the remaining mango mix as a top layer.  Sprinkle with oats or chia seeds to decorate. Refrigerate overnight.  Serve cold.

Don't try and keep this more than overnight, as the banana in it begins to go a little brown.


This is a wonderful way to start your day with a great dose of omega 3 fatty acids from the flax and chia.  All too often our omega 6: omega 3 ratio is too low in omega 3s, so gives you a good dose in your first meal of the day.  Omega 3s are anti-inflammatory with lots of benefits to your health.

I used white chia seeds in this recipe as I think they look nicer, but you can use black ones instead. Nutritionally, there isn't a difference.

Tomorrow's pretty parfait is a berry parfait instead.  Stay tuned.

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Chia Fresca

I never thought I would, but I like chia fresca!

Never being one for tapioca because I always thought it looked like frog spawn, now here I am drinking frog-spawn-looking chia fresca!!


Chia fresca is a mexican drink - with lots of health benefits - mainly due to the chia seeds which are an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids (more than flax and salmon), high in fiber (1 tablespoon has 5g fiber!), calcium ( 6 x that of milk), magnesium (15 x that in broccoli)....

Here is the recipe:
2 cups water
2 tablespoons chia seeds - I like to use the white ones in my drink
Juice of one or two lemons or limes, depending on your taste.

Directions:
Pour the water into a jug and add the chia seeds, whisking immediately.  Leave for 3 - 4  minutes and whisk again.  Leave for 10 minutes, whisk again and add the citrus juice.  The drink will thicken and become like a gel. Stir before drinking.








Don't say you can see the tadpoles starting to swim!!
Enjoy! If you can get over the look and unusual texture for a drink I'm sure you'll love it ;-D
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Sugar-free Strawberry balsamic chia jam

I'm so excited with my new jam recipe!  For a few years now, I've been wanting to make jam without refined sugar and have tried it before with pectins to set the fruit, but its never been very successful.

Now however, I have a solution! As I've been preparing for my Food as Medicine class on fatty acids, I've been using chia seeds more and realized that I could use their gelling capacity to "set" the jam. So forget the pectin and use chia seeds instead.



It is so quick and easy to make, is high in fiber, high in essential fatty acids, you don't need the sugar, and just delicious.

Here's the recipe:

3 cups of sliced fresh strawberries
1 tbsp coconut nectar
1 1/2 tbsp chia seeds
1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

In a medium saucepan, bring the fruit and coconut nectar to a low boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
Use a potato masher to mash the fruit, but leaving a few pieces larger for texture.
Stir in the chia seeds and keep simmering over low heat, until it thickens (approx 15 minutes). Stir occasionally so it doesn't stick.
When thickened, remove from the heat and add balsamic vinegar and stir.  Taste and pour into a jam jar. Refrigerate and use within 2 weeks.

The balsamic vinegar really brings out the flavor of strawberries. If you use a different fruit you could add spices instead or vanilla extract.  If you use a less sweet fruit, you may need a little more coconut nectar, but wait until the end and taste it before you adjust.


You may be able to keep this jam longer than 2 weeks, but I haven't been able to, as its always eaten within a week!

I use it on toast (especially with homemade nutella), but also love a spoonful on my cereal in the morning. You could also try it on oatmeal, muesli, granola, cookies, on puddings, dairy-free ice cream.....Once you try it, you'll find lots of ways of using it.



You know I'm going to be using this idea in lots of different ways.

Chia seeds are an excellent source of the essential fatty acids - both omega 3 and omega 6, with a higher level of 3 compared to 6.
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