Strawberry Chia Seed Jam

Jam is a breakfast favorite of so many people but at the same time people might try to avoid the store bought varieties because of the high sugar count! Vegetarians and vegans often have a hard time finding jam that they can eat because several brands of jam do not qualify in either category! The best way to have control over your diet is to make things like jam at home yourself. It does not take as long as you might think, it will always be healthier than anything you can buy in the store and it will be delicious!

Strawberries are such an amazing way to get a wide range of vitamins and minerals into your diet. Even though some people opt to eat them dipped in sugar or cream, they are still very tasty without any added extras. Strawberries are particularly high in a certain group of antioxidants known as polyphenols and will provide protection for your heart as well as increasing good (HDL) cholesterol levels.

To make my strawberry jam, you will only need the following ingredients:

2 cups of strawberries, de-stemmed and chopped in quarters
¼ cup maple syrup / honey /coconut nectar
2 Tbsp chia seeds
Water as needed

To get started you will first need to add the strawberries to a pan and heat at a medium to high heat. You must also add the sweetner of your choice. The liquid from the strawberries will soon start to fill up the pan. Once the mixture starts to boil, reduce the heat and simmer for a further 7-10 minutes, stirring every so often. Then, ussing a fork or masher, smash your strawberries to your desired level of consistency.

The next step is to stir in the two tablespoons of chia seeds and leave to cook for another minute – making sure to stir well. You can then remove from the heat and allow the jam to cool while the chia seeds swell up to thicken the jam. Don’t worry if it isn’t at the desired consistency as it will continue to thicken as it cools. Once the jam is cooled you can serve on your favourite piece of toast or top onto your favourite pudding! There’s no end to the many uses of delicious and healthy strawberry chia seed jam!

If you want to store this jam for later use then do so in an airtight container. If you keep it in the refrigerator then it will be good for up to two weeks.

To learn more about nutrition head over to The Flexi Foodie Academy!

Chia Mushroom Meatballs

Meatless meatballs are not as difficult to create as you might think and it is more than likely that you already have the necessary ingredients in your cupboards! The use of chia seeds is a fantastic way to get the consistency just right and to hold the meatballs together. As you will no doubt already know from previous posts of mine, chia seeds are an absolute nutritional powerhouse and something I recommend including in the diet every day! If you are unaware of their amazing health benefits then click here to find out!

To make these meatballs you will need the following ingredients:

1/2 cup of Puy lentils
1 pack of button mushrooms
1 cup of walnuts
2 tablespoons chia seeds
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
2 garlic cloves
1 small handful thyme
2 small handfuls coriander
The juice from half a lemon

To get started making this recipe you will first need to preheat your oven to 180C. Next, soak your chia seeds in six tablespoons of water for 10 minutes. While the chia seeds are soaking you can begin to cook the lentils according the back of pack instructions.

Next, finely chop the mushrooms and fry with a tiny bit of tamari sauce over a medium heat until they begin to go soft. This should take between five and seven minutes. After this time you can remove the pan from the heat. You must then combine the cooked lentils, mushrooms, walnuts, chia seeds, nutritional yeast, garlic cloves, thyme, coriander and lemon juice in your food processor. Blitz all of these ingredients until a paste is formed and then roll this paste into golf ball sized balls.

Once all rolled, place the balls onto a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 10 minutes before turning the balls and baking for another 10 minutes. After this time is up you can remove from the oven and they are ready to eat! You can either enjoy them on their own or add to your favourite pasta dish!  They are especially delicious with courgetti spaghetti!

Chia Mushroom Mushrooms

Chestnut Chia Savory Pancakes with Peach Salsa

Pancakes are no longer just a meal for the morning! With this dish you can nourish your body at any time of the day with a combination of savory pancakes and sweet peaches. Peaches are at their freshest during the summer months but they are generally available all year round. This fruit is a rich source of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E as well as several complex B vitamins. Additionally, peaches are a delicious dose of potassium, calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, iron and zinc! Peaches will also provide you with a healthy portion of fiber, however, the majority of the fiber is in the skin so be sure to eat this too!

As you’ll be able to tell from several of my previous recipes, I LOVE chia seeds and the benefits they bring to the body are so incredible considering their tiny size! Check out this post to find out all about them! Then, when you’re ready to try these pancakes for yourself, find the following ingredients!

For the Pancakes:

2 and a 1/2 cups of chestnut flour
1/4 of a cup of chia seeds
3 tsp. of caraway seeds
1 and a 1/2 tsp. of ground turmeric
2 tsp. of sea salt
1 small red chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped
2 and a 1/2 cups of water
Coconut oil for frying

For the Peach Salsa:

4 ripe peaches, peeled, pitted and chopped
1 red chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped
1 green jalepeno chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped
3 Tbsp. of fresh lime juice
2 Tbsp. of olive oil
1 tsp. of coconut nectar/syrup or honey
Sea salt and pepper to taste
A handful of fresh coriander, chopped

savory_chia_pancakesAll you have to do to make the peach salsa is to add all the ingredients into a bowl and whisk together.

Then, to make the pancakes, take a large bowl and whisk all the ingredients together except the water. Next, slowly pour the water in, whisking as you go, until a batter is formed. Cover the batter and then let it sit for 30 minutes.

The next step is to heat an 8-inch skillet and melt the coconut oil until it covers the hot pan. After 30 minutes, whisk the batter again and pour about a 1/3 of a cup into the skillet. Cook the pancake for approximately two minutes until the edges start to turn brown. Then using a spatula, carefully flip the pancake over the other side and cook for another two minutes. It doesn’t need to be perfect! Add more oil before cooking each pancake. Once the pancakes are all cooked, serve immediately with the peach salsa.

Sweet Potato Soup with Chia & Linseed

You can’t beat a good soup and one packed with nutrients is even better. This creation combines wholesome sweet potato with healthy garlic and flavoursome onions. It is incredibly simple to prepare and can easily be done whilst you multi-task during a busy evening at home! The thyme is the secret weapon in this delicious soup and really brings a splash of extra flavour. Many people prefer to peel sweet potatoes before they use them in cooking but the skins are actually a fantastic source of nutrients such as fiber and potassium. So for this recipe I advise that you keep the skins on to get that extra dose of goodness into your meal! Add to that the amazing health benefits of chia seeds and linseeds  and you can’t go wrong. To make enough for two people, acquire the following ingredients.

IMG_1912Ingredients

Two medium sized sweet potatoes

One large onion

Five cloves of garlic, finely sliced

A bunch of thyme

Two carrots

Two cups of vegetable stock

Chia seeds

Linseeds

Salt and pepper to taste

Coconut oil

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So to start, slice your onion and cut your sweet potatoes into manageable chunks. Then fry the onions and garlic in coconut oil over a medium heat. After two or three minutes add the sweet potato in too. Leave this to heat for ten or so minutes, remembering to stir every now and then to prevent anything from burning.

Next, take the bunch of thyme and finely chop it. It is more than likely that the thyme won’t get totally broken down during the blending process so the better you chop it now, the less time you will have to spend sieving later! You can also take this opportunity to chop the carrots.

sweet_potato_soup_chia_linseed_the_flexi_foodie3If your ten minutes has passed then you can move the garlic, onion and sweet potato into a large pot with two cups of water and two cups of vegetable stock. Add in the carrots and boil the pot for a further ten minutes, then reduce the heat to simmer. Leave it on a low heat for twenty minutes to really soften the sweet potato up before removing from the heat, chucking in the thyme and blitzing with the blender.

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Once you’ve got as fine a soup as you can manage, leave on a low heat for ten to fifteen minutes before passing through your sieve. Then simply serve into two bowls, garnish with chia seeds and linseeds before you enjoy!

Radish Avocado Salad with Chia Tahini Dressing

I’m always looking for quick, easy salads that I can just chop up and whip together and this is one of them.   But lately I’ve been reading about the MANY benefits of radishes and wanted to incorporate them into something yummy and thus this recipe was born.  I get it, radishes aren’t the tastiest of all veggies out there, but combined with a killer dressing or dip, you’re getting a delicious treat with SOOOOOOO many benefits!

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So let’s talk radishes! First of all, they’re kind of pretty to look at and the health benefits are unbelievable……Radishes are a serious Super Hero Food that come in a little package.  Researchers at India’s Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University found that radishes induce apoptosis – meaning they kill cancer cells. Compounds called isothiocyanates and anthocyanins are found in abundance in radishes and have been proven effective in the fight against cancer in several studies.  If you have chronic bronchial flare-ups, sinus infections or asthma, radishes can act as a natural decongestant.  They’ve been shown to lower cholesterol, manage diabetes and regulate blood pressure and blood sugar levels.  The water and fiber content make radishes surprisingly filling, and the lack of calories (19 calories per cup!) puts them at the top of the “best diet” foods. The surprising number of nutrients found in these small vegetables means you aren’t skimping on nutrition while cutting back on fats, sugars and carbs.  So, let’s eat this Super Hero food, like now!

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so if you’re anything like me…. I always wanted to make them work in a recipe but it’s sort of hard, right?  Well, not anymore.  Here is a quick and delicious recipe to whip up for lunch or even for a dinner party!

Serves 3-4

2 cups radishes, diced

1 cup red pepper, diced

large handful of black olives

large handful of coriander, chopped

1 small avocado, diced

1/2 red onion, thinly sliced

1 spring onion, chopped

Chia Tahini dressing

2 tablespoons chia seeds

2 tablespoons tahini

1/2 tablespoon cumin seeds

juice of 1 lemon

1 tablespoons fresh parsley

1/2 teaspoon tamari

1 tablespoon agave or honey

pinch of himalayan sea salt

pinch of chill powder

fresh coriander and spring onions for garnish

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In a large pretty bowl add all the ingredients for the salad.  Blend all the dressing ingredients in a food processor until smooth.  The dressing will be quite thick but when you mix it through the salad it will become thinner.  Toss until well combined and garnish with the coriander and spring onion.  Enjoy!

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Now this is what I call a truly Super Food, Super Hero Salad!  If you like this blog post then why not LIKE my Facebook page or check out my website at www.juliemontagu.com for more healthy lifestyle tips!

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Rose Chocolate Truffles

Let’s face it, the reality is that 3 out of my 4 kids are boys.  And boys are like dogs: they need to be walked at least three times a day!  2 of my boys are WAY into their sports – from rugby to football to cricket and then there’s our frosting on the cake, Nestor, who is 6 and the baby of the family.  When asked what he wants to be when he’s older…. he proudly replies:  ‘David Attenborough.’  So, in order to keep up with these active sportsmen and an explorer-to-be, I’ve got to fuel them with some REAL energy, some REAL foods, some NON-chemical, NON-pacakged, NON-processed foods.  So the gist of the recipe was created for my boys…. but then I do have ONE girl and I needed to include something a bit girlie, right?  And that’s where the Rose Water came in and so in all fairness, these power truffles are 3/4 boys and 1/4 girl.  I think I managed to please everyone in the family with this one……. now that’s a first!

ImageGrab yourself these cool ingredients: For 16 truffles (4 for each child if you have 4 kids!)

20 dates, de-stoned

2 Tbsp. coconut butter or oil

2 Tbsp. cacao powder

3/4 tsp. carob powder

2 tsp. lucuma

2 Tbsp. chia seeds

and the final ingredient:  1 tsp. rose water (so amazing)

You will also need Goji Berry powder, Blueberry powder and ground almonds for dusting.  The flowers in the photos are optional, but highly recommended if you have a girl!

ImageTake all ingredients and either blend in your high speed blender or simply just use your food processor to create a gorgeous paste.  Scrape out as much paste as you can into a bowl and use about a heaped teaspoon per truffle – roll in your hands to create a lovely, round ball.

ImageNext, roll those amazing truffles in some goji berry powder, blueberry powder or ground almonds.

ImageAnd Voila!  Takes no time at all to appease everyone in the family, including yourself!  If you’re having a dinner party, these are great incredibly healthy ‘after-dinner’ treats with some fresh mint tea!  These deliciOSO treats have NO refined sugar.  I used my favourite sugar replacement…. Dates…. instead.  Here are my FOUR top facts about amazing dates.

  1. Dates are free from cholesterol and contain very low fat and are also rich in vitamins and minerals.
  1. They are a rich source of protein, dietary fiber and rich in vitamin B1, B2, B3 and B5 along with vitamin A1 and C.
  1. Dates help improve the digestive system as it contains soluble and insoluble fibers and different kinds of amino acids.
  1. Dates are great energy boosters as they contain natural sugars like glucose, sucrose and fructose.

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Chia Porridge with Spicy Pineapple Topping

If you tried my Chocolate Chai Chai Pudding then you’ll already know how easy it is to include chia seeds in a delicious dish. Packed with nutrients and full of goodness, chia seeds are a fantastic addition to your morning meal and will give you the boost you may need to get going! Porridge is an amazing choice for breakfast, for so many reasons, and will help you feel fuller throughout the day. If you like to experiment with different toppings for your porridge and are ready to try something a little bit different, then my Chia Porridge with Spicy Pineapple Topping is just what you’re looking for!

chia-porridge-with-spicy-pineapple-topping-grassrootsandgrains (4)To make a bowl for yourself, you’ll need the following ingredients:

2/3 of a cup of porridge oats
1 cup of milk of your choice (I like hazelnut, almond, oat) or water
A dash of freshly squeezed lemon juice (½ a tsp.)
2 tbsp. of chia seeds

chia-porridge-with-spicy-pineapple-topping-grassrootsandgrains (3)Then for the pineapple topping you’ll need:

1/3 of a pineapple (1 pound)
The zest of 1/2 a lime
1/2 a vanilla pod, scraped
1 star anise
2 cardamom pods, crushed in a mortar and pestle
A pinch of Himalayan sea salt (optional)
1/4 of a tsp. of ground ginger
1/4 of a tsp. of ground cinnamon
1 tbsp. of raw honey

chia-porridge-with-spicy-pineapple-topping-grassrootsandgrains (2)To make this dish for breakfast, you have to prepare it the night before! But don’t worry, it’s not a long process and it means you simply have to serve yourself in the morning – no fuss!

chia-porridge-with-spicy-pineapple-topping-grassrootsandgrains (10)So to begin, take your porridge oats, milk, chia seeds and combine together in a jar or a bowl with the dash of lime. Place in the fridge and leave overnight.

chia-porridge-with-spicy-pineapple-topping-grassrootsandgrains (6)Next you can turn your attention to creating the spicy pineapple topping. Begin by cutting your pineapple into chunks which you can then place in a large jar or container.

chia-porridge-with-spicy-pineapple-topping-grassrootsandgrains (5)Then, using your pestle and mortar, crush the whole spices and leave to one side.

chia-porridge-with-spicy-pineapple-topping-grassrootsandgrains (8)Next, add the remaining ingredients into the same container and mash together with the pineapple with a large spoon. This will release the juices of the pineapple but be sure to leave a few good chunks intact! You can then add in the crushed spices from your pestle and mortar.

chia-porridge-with-spicy-pineapple-topping-grassrootsandgrains (7)Cover your container with an airtight lid and then place in the fridge, alongside your porridge, to marinate. This only has to be left for an hour so you can make it fresh before your meal or do it the night before with the porridge. The pineapple mix will last for approximately one week, so totally up to you!

Pineapples are low in calories but contain high amounts of essential minerals and vitamins. Also, there is no saturated fat or cholesterol in the flesh, so it is great for restoring the natural balance of your body. Pineapples are a great source of bromelain which is an enzyme that aids digestion by breaking down protein. Bromelain has anti-clotting, anti-inflammatory and ant-cancer properties and getting a generous amount of it into your diet will help your body keep things like arthritis at bay.

chia-porridge-with-spicy-pineapple-topping-grassrootsandgrainsCardamom pods have many health promoting properties and have a high antioxidant count as well as containing many essential oils for the body. It is also a fantastic source of calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron and manganese, making it great for overall heart health as well as your blood pressure.

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Chia Seeds – A Cool Superfood!

Chia seeds may not be a health food that you are already familiar with, however if you are looking to give your body a boost – it is something you should become acquainted with! Much research has been done to discover the incredible health benefits of chia seeds and the advantages of eating them are many and varied.

It has been suggested that these seeds can make you feel fuller for longer which in turn helps with weight management and weight loss. When they enter your body they are thought to absorb ten times their own weight in water. This assists in creating the feeling of being full which should prevent you from snacking between meals!

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Athletes are among the many people realising the potential of chia seeds as they hydrate the body, something which is obviously particularly useful during sports. There is also strong evidence to suggest that they will reduce your blood pressure and slow down the speed at which your body converts carbohydrates into sugars. This reduction in carb conversion time is particularly beneficial for sufferers of diabetes as it aids the control of blood sugar. The Omega-3 content of chia seeds is also something to get excited about as it is the richest plant source of this fatty acid, containing even more than a portion of salmon! As you may well already know, Omega-3 is an essential fat that protects the body against inflammations and is also great for the brain and heart.

As well as being packed full of Omega-3, chia seeds are also high in protein and dietary fibre as well as being gluten free! The protein count is especially impressive as it contains all eight essential amino acids. These seeds also boast an amazingly high amount of antioxidants, calcium, vitamin C, iron and potassium! All of these components combined make it a fantastic food for promoting healthy skin, hair, nails as well as everything on the inside! chia seeds a cool superfood! grassrootsandgrains2

To make the most of the remarkable benefits of eating chia seeds, you should aim to include approximately 15g (roughly one tablespoon) in your diet every day. However, due to the high fibre content, you must also remember to drink plenty of water. There are countless ways to incorporate the seeds into your meals, the easiest being to simply sprinkle them on top of whatever you are eating. There is no need to cook the seeds before you eat them and they will dramatically improve the nutritional value of any dish, be it cereal, soup, salad or anything else! If you’ve got more of a sweet-tooth, but still want to enjoy the benefits of chia seeds, then why not try the recipe below for my Chocolate Chai Chai Pudding!

To make this treat for four you’ll need to shop for the following ingredients:

• 1/4 cup of chia seedschia seeds a cool superfood! grassrootsandgrains4
• 1 cup of unsweetened almond (or coconut) milk
• 5 pitted Medjool dates
• 1/2 a vanilla pod
• 1/2 a teaspoon of cacao powder
• 1/2 a teaspoon of cinnamon
• 1/8 of a teaspoon of cloves
• 1/8 of a teaspoon of nutmeg
• 1/8 of a teaspoon of ground ginger

All you need to do is combine all of the ingredients, except for the chia seeds, in a high-speed food processor and blitz until completely smooth. Next, pour your concoction into a bowl and stir in the seeds before separating into serving dishes and placing in the fridge  for several hours whilst it becomes thick.

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chia seeds a cool superfood! grassrootsandgrains6Once ready you can top with a couple of blueberries and tuck into this tasty treat with absolutely zero guilt, knowing that you’re body is as thankful for every spoonful as you are!

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