The Good News: Chia seeds are legit a really good choice for healthy eating. The are loaded with tons of nutrients including fiber, antioxidants, omega 3 fatty acids and protein. They really don't have much flavor so adding a tablespoon here or there doesn't really affect the taste of your food - but it packs it with extra healthiness! I read a few articles about them, but this one was the most straight-forward, easy to understand. I'm excited to start using these in more of my baking and cooking. In fact, I made a blueberry smoothie this morning and added a good heaping tablespoon.
Blueberry Protein Smoothie
1 Packet EAS Vanilla Protein powder
1 cup Almond Milk
A whole lot of blueberries - I used probably 2 cups, but I needed to get rid of them because they were nearing the end of their freshness - so it was smoothie or garbage, so I just used them all.
1 tablespoon Chia Seeds
I blended this all together in my ninja blender and it tastes great! I had one of my chocolate chip muffins with it for breakfast - I am still nursing the smoothie because it's huge! It filled up like a 24 oz mason jar. I mean, it's HUGE.
Win for the chia seeds! I plan to add them to oatmeal and I see a lot more smoothies in my future! Thanks to some couponing magic, I have about 20 packets of EAS protein powder in my pantry that I got for FREE! It was actually a huge money maker. At the time I only bought it because they literally paid me like $1.50 to take 2 packets out of the store- I had multiple coupons so I have a whole bunch of the stuff just taking up space in my cabinet. I'm excited to finally use it!
The Bad News: Agave nectar is probably the worst possible choice for a "natural" sweetener. I'm literally better off using granulated cane sugar. Big healthy fail on that one. It's so yummy though, and much easier to use than honey. Oh well. Glad I decided to do a little research before I kept using it! I have a whole bottle unopened in my pantry - I wonder if Woodman's would let me return it?
Turns out it's really high in fructose which is not easily digestible so it is also really high in carbohydrates - exactly what I'm trying to stay away from! I also read a bunch of articles about Agave nectar and really didn't find anything positive about the stuff. This one had the most helpful information.
So there you have it.
Oh, more good news: I DID get up and run this morning! It was short because I found a great new jogging stroller on a Facebook rummage site that I went and picked up right away because I always miss the good stuff! So I cut my run short so that I could get my hands on that...and it is awesome! I love it-can't wait to take princess for another [longer] run later when the boys are at softball.
Happy Thursday everyone!
-The Farmer's Wife-
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
Today I dabbled in grain-free baking.
I know what you're thinking. I promise - I thought so too.
But these muffins are really pretty good. And I only say "pretty good" because if you eat full gluten and enjoy "regular" muffins with no second thoughts, then you will probably know the difference between these and "regular muffins".
If you are looking for a reasonable substitute for easy eats (like muffins) without all the processed sugar, carbs and calories - then look no further.
First, I did what every red-blooded American does when they need something, I Googled "Paleo Blueberry Muffins". Google introduced me to this handy link: PALEO GRUBS. I studied a few of these recipes until I found one that contained mostly ingredients that I already had on hand. I was planning a trip to the store, but didn't really want to invest a whole bunch of money into ingredients to just try this, ya know?
Enter, THE BEST LOW CARB BLUEBERRY MUFFINS. The only thing I did not have on hand was Chia seeds - which quite honestly I'm still not even sure what they are, but they sound super healthy and I'm pretty sure I saw them on a Super Food list on Pinterest.
So off to the store I went, got my Chia seeds and I was back in business. I sort of followed this recipe-but made a few minor modifications based on what I had on hand and what I like.
I don't really do the whole Stevia thing. I don't know, it just seems weird. But honey, agave nectar and maple syrup are my friends. I use those in place of any and all other sweeteners. I also had a whole boat load of fresh blueberries I wanted to use up so I skipped the frozen thing. Or I 'let it go', if you will.
Ok, focus. I also kept out the vanilla extract because (gasp) I only had IMITATION vanilla - ew. Ok, but for real. I just read a whole bunch of stuff about MSG and Vanillin and this stuff was basically 100% chemicals. So I figured I was better off keeping it out of my precious paleo muffins.
Then I dumped out the whole rest of the bottle of fake vanilla.
Then I went to Sendik's and bought real vanilla extract. Ok, I'm getting ahead of myself. I went later - after dinner. I digress....
So this is what my version of the recipe for Paleo Blueberry Muffins is:
Set oven to 350 Degrees
1/2 Cup Almond Milk (because I didn't have coconut milk)
1/2 Cup Coconut Flour
1 TBSP Chia Seeds
2 TSP Baking Powder
3 Eggs *laid TODAY*
3 TBSP (plus an extra drizzle, for good measure) Raw Agave Nectar
*some* Lemon Zest - I just kind of zested some in there - it was supposed to be measured, but I got all Martha Stewart and just eye balled it.
1/2-3/4 Cup Fresh Blueberries
Combine it all - I just used a wire whisk then folded in the blueberries when the batter was completely incorporated. Pour the batter into greased or paper-lined muffin tins. I yielded 7 muffins, I probably could have gone lighter on the batter in each cup and squeaked out a few more.
Bake them for 25 minutes and let them cool completely before you take them out of the tin.
I just greased the tins, and they did stick a little to the bottom, so you might be better off using paper liners.
So there you have it. Oh, and they tasted really good. I put some butter on it - and you know what? I kind of felt like I was at Panera for a second. Because I don't care what you say, Panera Bread has THE BEST blueberry muffins that ever were in the history of the world. The end.
So those were so yummy that I figured I really should try it with the actual vanilla extract and heck, throw some dark chocolate chips in and it would be like healthy person dessert! So I went to Sendik's.
I wish I had millions of dollars. Because I would shop at Sendik's. But, I wanted nice steaks for dinner and they have the best so I went to Sendik's and spent 5% of my entire month's budget on steak and vanilla extract. Hashtag: moneywellspent.
And after we ate our steaks (which were delicious, if you wanted to know) I baked some even-more-delicious-than-the-blueberry Chocolate Chip Muffins. Using what I knew from the other recipe -I invented this recipe using my favorite ingredients.
COCONUT FLOUR CHOCOLATE CHIP MUFFINS
1/2 Cup Coconut Flour (Bob's Red Mill)
1/2 Cup Almond Milk (Califia Farms)
3 TBSP (plus an extra drizzle for good measure) Raw Agave Nectar
1 TSP Pure Vanilla Extract
1/2 TSP Pure Almond Extract
1/2-3/4 Cup Dark Chocolate Chips (53% Cacao)
1 TBSP Chia Seeds
2 TSP Baking Powder
Combine it all together with a wire whisk, pour into lined muffin tins and bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees. I got a half a dozen from this recipe. They're super yummy with a little butter.
So yea....go me. Between these coconut flour delicacies and the homemade granola bars I made last week-my breakfasts have been pretty fantastic! Add my home-brewed iced coffee with a splash of coconut milk and seriously I'm hashtag livingthelife!
Assuming I can keep up with the food prep that is required with this type of lifestyle, I should be made in the shade. I eat so well and I haven't sacrificed too much of the convenience. I'm still trying to make up the ground I lost in my relapse - but I've only got 3 more pounds to go until I'm back to where I was just a few weeks ago.
Here's to running tomorrow morning, like I said I would. I have been getting up early, but filling my time with other things. I cleaned the laundromat today at 6:30 AM because I could go without the kids - and going to the laundromat with kids during a busy time is pretty much suicide. So that, in my opinion, was time well spent.
But tomorrow, tomorrow I have NO excuses.
Ok, good night.
6:30 AM comes awfully early.
*The Farmer's Wife*