Sunday, October 31, 2010

Pumpkin Chia-Seed Muffins

I read an article about Chia Seeds and decided to find a recipe that I could use them in.  Since muffins are one of my specialties and since pumpkin is one of my favorite ingredients, this particular recipe caught my eye.  It is unbelievably moist and very tasty.  But before I share this recipe I want to share some information about Chia seeds.  ( )

7 Good Reasons To Start Eating Chia Seeds

1. Help weight loss. Chia seeds are popular for weight loss. They reduce food cravings by preventing some of the food that you eat from getting absorbed into your system. This blockage of calorie absorption makes them a great diet helper.

2. Feel fuller faster: They can also help your diet by making you feel full. This is because they absorb 10 times their weight in water, forming a bulky gel.

3. Hydration for athletes: They are also great for athletes because the "chia gel" can hydrate the body.

4. Reduce your blood pressure: There's evidence to suggest they can reduce blood pressure.

5. Omega-3: They are the richest plant source of Omega-3 (the vital fats that protect against inflammation—such as arthritis—and heart disease). In fact, they contain more Omega-3 than salmon!

6. Benefits for diabetes: Because chia seeds slow down how fast our bodies convert carbohydrates into simple sugars, studies indicate they can control blood sugar. This leads scientists to believe chia seeds may have great benefits for diabetics.

7. They are easier to digest than flax seeds, and don't need to be ground up.

Pumpkin Chia-Seed Muffins (from Hy-Vee Healthy Bites)

1 tbsp chia seeds, ground
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 (16 oz) can pumpkin
2 eggs
1/4 cup canola oil
1 cup maple syrup
1 tbsp vanilla
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, combine ground chia seeds, flours, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt.

In a medium bowl, combine pumpkin, eggs, oil, syrup and vanilla.  Stir pumpkin mixture into chia-seed mixture until combined; stir in nuts.

Spoon batter into paper-lined or greased muffin tins.  Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center of muffin comes out clean.  Remove and place on wire rack to cool.

Nutrition per serving:  200 calories, 32 g carbo., 5 g protein, 6 g fat, 1 g sat. fat, 3 g fiber, 35 mg cholo., 330 mg sodium

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Chicken Salad (with grapes and nuts)

My family loves chicken salad!  I oftentimes make it chunky (as in the following recipe) and sometimes I grind it up, depending on how I feel.  This chunky chicken salad has grapes and nuts in it.  I really like the various textures and flavors mixed together.  The original recipe called for walnuts but I like to use slivered almonds.  (Mostly because I always have plenty on hand.)  One shortcut that can be taken is to buy a rotisserie chicken.

Chicken Salad

4 cups of chicken, cut in bite-sized pieces (a pair of scissors works well), cooked and chilled
1/2 cup (or more) chopped onion or green onion
1/2 cup (or more) chopped celery
1/2 cup (or more) chopped walnuts (or pecans or slivered almonds)

1 cup (or more) seedless grapes, halved (scissors will do this quickly)
1 cup mayonaise
1 tablespoon dillweed
Optional - 1/2 to 1 tsp curry powder (start with lesser amount and add to taste) - I've not tried this

In a mixing bowl stir together the chicken, onion, celery, nuts and grapes.

In a smaller bowl, blend together the mayonaise and seasonings. When you are happy with the combination of flavors, stir gently into the chicken mixture.

Yield: enough filling for about 8 sandwiches

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Sloppy Joes

I've been making this particular recipe for sloppy joes for several years now.  After serving it the first time it was apparent that it was very well liked and thereby designated a "keeper" recipe.

Sloppy Joes
(Better Homes & Gardens, Biggest Book of Slow Cooker Recipes)

2-1/2 pounds ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-1/4 cups catsup
1 medium green sweet pepper, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/3 cup water
3 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons prepared mustard
3 tablespoons vinegar
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon chili powder
16 to 20 hamburger buns, split and toasted

In a large skillet cook ground beef, onion and garlic until meat is brown and onion is tender.  Drain off fat.

In a 3-1/2- to 4-quart slow cooker combine catsup, sweet pepper, celery, water, brown sugar, mustard, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and chili powder.  Stir in meat mixture.

Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 6 to 8 hours or high heat setting for 3 to 4 hours.  Spoon onto toasted buns.

Nutrition facts per serving: 298 calories,  12 g total fat (4 g sat. fat), 44 mg chol., 579 mg sodium, 31 g carbo., 2 g fiber, 17 g protein.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Pineapple Strawberry Punch

This punch is absolutely delicious!  Every time I make it people rave!  It is easy to make with ingredients that are easy to get.

Pineapple Strawberry Punch

Ready in 15 minutes or less

2 pkgs (10 oz each) frozen sweetened sliced strawberries, thawed

1 can (46 oz) pineapple juice, chilled
4 cups lemon-lime soda, chilled

In a food processor or blender, puree the strawberries.  Pour into a large punch bowl.  Stir in the pineapple juice and soda.  Serve immediately.  Yield: 12 servings (3 quarts)

Nutritional Analysis:  One 1-cup serving (prepared with sugar free soda) equals 99 calories, trace fat (trace saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 9 mg sodium, 25 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 1 g protein.  Diabetic Exchange:  1-1/2 fruit.

Make ahead trick - for each of the events that I made this punch for I had three batches ready to go.  That way once the party started it was very easy to make each additional batch.  The soda and pineapple juice were already in correct portions, so the sliced strawberries were the only thing I had to have ready.  I needed 30 oz of frozen sweetened sliced strawberries - thawed.  I put them in the blender and pureed them.  I divided the mixture between three containers.  Then as each batch was made I simply got one strawberry container, 1 pineapple juice and 1 lemon-lime pop out and mixed together!  So easy and so good!