Tag Archives: chia seeds

Pumpkin Chia Kisses

10 Nov

I’m in total Thanksgiving mode and because usually is just Mom and me… I decided to make something sweet to end our lunch, but small and cute to sweeten our life without making it too sweet.

That’s how these little Pumpkin Kisses came about…  you could also call them mini-muffins, but the idea of naming them Kisses was too tempting to pass.  They have a pronounced pumpkin and spice flavor with a delicate hint of maple.  I enjoy the frosting to focus on the cheese to balance the sweetness of the little cake itself.

In this recipe I used chia seeds instead of the typical egg-replacer I usually use in my baking recipes.  I had been experimenting with these diminutive seeds and I believe the method I use for this mini muffins is spot on, allowing the seeds to gelatinize in the batter before baking make for spongy little cakes, perfect to enjoy as a dessert, a snack or even breakfast…  such is the life of the food blogger, mmmm!

I bake this recipe in my toaster oven because it’s usually just me testing these recipes and because I only have two small mini muffin pans.  Therefore, I bake this recipe in 2 batches.  The batter will remain perfectly fine while you wait for the first batch to bake.  But if you are a tad inpatient, you can certainly make this in a larger mini muffin pan and turn on your large oven…

Let me know how you enjoy these…

Pumpkin Chia Mini-muffins

PUMPKIN CHIA KISSES

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
½ cup brown sugar
1 ½ tsp baking powder
2 tsp chia seeds
2 tbs butter, melted
2/3 cups milk, I use 2%
1/3 cup fresh pumpkin, steamed and mashed
½ tsp vanilla powder
½ tsp ground cinnamon, plus more for garnish
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp freshly ground nutmeg

For the frosting:

½  packet or 4 oz of cream cheese          
4 tbs heavy cream
3 tbs maple syrup
1 tbs brown sugar, optional
  1. In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients – flour, sugar, baking powder and the chia seeds.  Whisk them well to make sure there are no lumps of flour or brown sugar in the mix.
  2. In a measuring cup measure and add the milk, melted butter and mashed pumpkin.  Mix it well to create a homogeneous mixture.
  3. Add it to the dry ingredients and whisk together until all ingredients are well incorporated.  Season mixture with salt, vanilla powder and spices.
  4. Rest the batter at room temperature on your kitchen counter for about 30 minutes.  This will allow the chia seeds to gelatinize inside the batter.
  5. Pre-heat oven to 350F.
  6. Butter the baking pan.  Pour the mixture using a 1tbs measure.  The batter may seem like a lot, but they rise nicely and they will not stick together.
  7. Bake in oven for 10 minutes until the cake has risen and it’s golden on top.  After 10 minutes have elapsed, turn the oven off but do not take the mini muffins out.  Not even open the oven door!! Wait about 20 additional minutes for the mini cakes to complete cooking with the residual heat already in the oven.  The muffins will be a total of 30 minutes in the oven.
  8. Take the mini muffins out of the oven and rest it on a cooling rack so they cool completely.  While the first batch cools, bake the second batch using the same method.
  9. While the mini-muffins rest, prepare the frosting – mixing in a large bowl the cream cheese, heavy cream and maple syrup using an electric hand mixer.  It’s possible the frosting might be a tad soft,  so I place in the fridge while the “kisses”  cool completely.
  10. With an offset spatula, spread the frosting over the kisses and decorate with a light sprinkle of grown cinnamon using a very fine sieve.

Pumpkin Chia mini-muffin

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Are we eating Chia Seeds the right way???

13 Nov

I have mentioned to you how I boost my morning smoothies adding a bunch of super powerful foods, like chia.  But I must admit I usually just add the dry chia seeds right into the smoothie when I make it in the mornings.  However, this method of adding chia seeds to my morning smoothie might not be the best way to work the goodness of chia into my daily routine.

Are u eating chia seeds the right way

My friend Cristina, who trains for marathons alongside me, lost a lot of weight training for the Chicago Marathon.  I haven’t seen her in while and when I complimented her on her new figure she credited chia seeds.  I told her I also had chia seeds in my smoothies, but I could not credit any weight loss to it.

Actually, one of my main complaints of adding chia seeds to my morning  smoothies was that they got stuck on my teeth sometimes and if I didn’t brush my teeth right away, in a matter of hours I could feel little pieces of gelatinous seeds stuck to my teeth (thank goodness I mostly work from home!!!!!!).  Not fun or pretty at all!!!!

She told me her secret was to soak chia seeds overnight in some water and then in the morning, add the juice of ¼ lemon and eat those chia seeds on an empty stomach.    Really???

Chia seeds with Lemon Juice

I have been doing it for a few weeks now and I must say that I really like it…  before I go to bed I place 1 tbs of chia seeds in a small bowl with some water.  I never measure the water…  but I swirl it a bit to make sure all the seeds are wet.  I leave the bowl on the kitchen counter until the morning, when I just squirt the juice of ¼ lemon and I eat the gelatinized chia seeds with a spoon.  I do this especially before I run in the mornings.  I then, after I return from running,  have a full breakfast and I add other stuff to my morning smoothie – like maca, goji powder, ground flaxseeds, etc. 

I have not noticed that much weight loss…  but in other trainings for ½ marathons I have gained some weight, and this time around I haven’t and my skinny jeans fit the same way.  Before, when I was training, my skinny jeans would not go over my hips, for some reason…  so something is indeed working.

Have you been also eating chia the wrong way?

Recap of our 3rd KarmaFree Cooking Class

6 May

Last month we celebrated our 3rd KarmaFree Cooking Class.  The theme was Breakfast in Bed for Mom…

KarmaFree Cooking's Vegetarian Class

We were honored to be featured in El Nuevo Día, Puerto Rico’s largest newspaper.  The turnout was great – many people who do not consider themselves vegetarian yet wanting to learn about a more natural and meat-free lifestyle.  To me that reads SUCCESS because that’s exactly the goal of KarmaFree Cooking…  teaching people that a vegetarian lifestyle is doable and delicious.

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I want to share a recap of the recipes shared at the class.  Some are new, some are KarmaFree classics and some are updates on favorites of all of us.

Clase de Cocina KFC #3

 Tofu Scramble with Tomatoes, Peppers and Baby Spinach

Double Mustard Roasted Potatoes

Tofu Scramble and Potatoes 1

Papaya Mango Fruit Salad

Papaya Mango Fruit Cup   KFC

Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Yogurt Frosting

carrot-cupcakes

Fruit Smoothie featuring Fresh Baby Spinach

We also talked about how to best combine fruits for your fruit salads and juices

If you live in Puerto Rico, hope you can join us for our next KarmaFree Cooking class.  If you are not so lucky to live in Puerto Rico, rest assured we’ll be sharing the recipes here on the blog.  But doing it in person, as part of our group and then tasting the results of your labor is a whole different experience.

KarmaFree Cooking 3rd Class

Thanks a lot to Angie and my mom who always help and thanks a bunch to the class attendants who always make giving these courses a whole lotta fun.

Making the most of that morning smoothie…

8 Nov

Since last year, I’ve been training for ½ marathons… This weekend I will run my 4th half-marathon – the Run Like a Diva Half Marathon in San Juan, PR.

Half Marathon Collage

Training for a running event is exciting… and might seem kinda challenging for a vegetarian. People talk soooooo much about the importance of proteins when you’re training for a sporting event. And always, people concentrate on animal-based proteins. That’s all they know!!! I already mentioned a few ideas on the snacks I usually have when I am training to make sure I have the energy, stamina and recover as quickly as possible to continue my training successfully.

Smoothies Mix Ins 2

Something I have learned is to add certain boosters to my morning fruit smoothies… mix-ins that will provide me with protein, energy, strengthen my immune system and keep me injury-free. Some have become fads, some not so much, but I want to share them with all of you and a little of what they can provide:

  •  Maca – Maca is a plant that grows in the Peruvian Andes Mountains. It has been cultivated as a vegetable for the last 3,000 years and most Peruvians consume the root as a boiled or roasted vegetable in soups, just like we eat potatoes or taro root. I use maca in powder form.

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Maca is used for anemia, to increase stamina and athletic performance, to improve memory and fertility. When I learned about this fertility fact I was not too excited, but… oh well, the other benefits outweigh that minor detail. It’s also used for osteoporosis, depression, leukemia, HIV/ AIDS, tuberculosis, erectile dysfunction, to arouse sexual desire and to boost the immune system. When used in conjunction with a good workout regime you will notice an increase in muscle mass.

Maca is rich in Vitamins B, C and E. It provides calcium, zinc, iron, magnesium, phosphorous and many fatty and amino acids. If you are pregnant or lactating you should avoid taking maca. There are no known side effects of maca but like any other supplement it should not be taken in large amounts. I usually add a tablespoon of maca powder to my morning smoothie. It has a peculiar taste… kinda like butterscotch, but mixed in with your favorite smoothie the flavor blends very well.

  • Chia Seeds – Yep… these are the same ones… Chi-chi-chi-chia!!! If you were around in the 80s, you might recognize and even be hearing the jingle in your head right now. They became infamous via the Chia Pets of the past, but nowadays chia is becoming better known as a great health supplement and food.

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Chia seeds are relatives to the mint plant and they’re native to Mexico and Guatemala, suggesting they were a very important food crop for the Aztecs. Chia seeds are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, manganese, phosphorous, and protein. They are known to help with controlling Type-2 diabetes, fight belly fat, making teeth and bones stronger, improving blood pressure and increasing levels of healthy cholesterol.

I add a tablespoon of chia seeds in my morning smoothies. But I prefer to plan a little in advance… I add the chia seeds to my Magic Bullet mug with a splash of juice. Wait about 15 minutes for the seeds to bloom and form a gelatinous coating. Afterwards, add the rest of your smoothie ingredients. The seeds will bloom… and they’ll either bloom in the mug or around your teeth if you get some of them stuck when you drink your smoothie. So I prefer to bloom before I blend.

 

  • Goji Berries – Berries are good for you… they’re considered like the “fountain of youth” by many. Blueberries, cranberries, strawberries, , cherries, açai berries… they’re all filled with powerful antioxidants. But what’s so special about the goji berry?
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Photo courtesy of http://www.gojigrow.com/

Goji Berries are a bright orange-red and come from China, where they’ve been eaten for generations in the hopes of living longer. People have enjoyed goji berries raw, cooked or dried to treat many common health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure and age-related eye problems. It’s also known to benefit mental well-being, promote calmness, athletic performance, happiness, and improve quality of sleep and feelings of good health. Goji berries are rich in Vitamin A.

I also add a tablespoon of Goji berry powder to my morning smoothies.

  • Hemp – You’re thinking it…   so let’s address the pink elephant in the middle of the room.   Hemp seeds come from the same hemp plant renowned for its durable fiber and also it’s a variety of Cannabis, the plant grown for marijuana. This particular variety contains extremely low levels, or none at all, of THC, which is what’s considered a drug in most countries and what give people that “high”. Something very similar to the amount of opium found in poppy seeds. It is not possible to use industrial hemp as a drug.

Hemp is considered one of the world’s most nutritious plants. Hemp contains all of the essential amino acids, essential fatty acids, magnesium, iron, potassium and fiber. It also contains Vitamin E and antioxidants.

Hemp can be consumed in many packaged products nowadays – hemp milk, ground hemp flour, hemp oil, hemp ice cream and hemp protein powder. I add these hemp hearts in my smoothies too.

I hope that you can appreciate you can supplement your training diet by simply adding a few scoops of these add-ons to your morning smoothies. No need to depend on the eggs or other animal-based protein sources to build muscle and to strengthen physically. I have noticed how I perform better during training and even recover better afterwards when I add these powerful add-ons to my diet.

What has been your experience?? Do you like any of these supplements?? Tell me your story…

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