Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Chia-riffic

My workday breakfast is usually an egg between toasted bread slices to-go, followed by snacks (various pieces of fruit, granola bars, etc). But today I switched things up with a cherry chia shake and banana-oat breakfast bites (also containing chia). This was inspired partially by the fact that chia seeds were a topic of conversation during yesterday's video shoot at Melissa's, and partially by the fact that my almond milk was about to expire and I wanted to use it up!
I figured this shake would be great after my morning run since cherries are supposedly great for muscle recovery, and the chia seeds have protein to compensate for the fact that I wasn't eating my usual morning egg. The chia seeds also have fiber, calcium, omega 3's, and antioxidants (and they gave the shake great texture)!

Here are the ingredients. I didn't make exact measurements, but I can guess my mix was similar to the below:
-1 cup ice
-1/2 cup water
-1/2 cup almond milk (I used unsweetened vanilla Almond Breeze)
-1 cup frozen dark, sweet cherries
-1/2 tsp chia seeds
-1/4 tsp vanilla syrup (the shake really doesn't need the syrup because the cherries are sweet on their own) 
 
Blend it up! I like my smoothies a little chunky, so I just did a lot of pulsing as opposed to completely liquefying it.  I love the way the chia seeds absorb the liquid and plump up so you feel like you're drinking something substantial.
In my cup...

In my car..
If you think that I just drank a smoothie instead of drinking my usual black coffee, you're crazy! I totally double-fisted (but kept my hands on the wheel while my car was in motion).
Hey I've got a long, traffic-ful commute, so I had plenty of time to drink both.  And when I got to the office, I had another snack... a couple of these:
Full disclosure: I baked these Sunday night thinking they'd be like a healthy dessert, but in all honesty they really can't be labeled dessert food. They're totally breakfast bites.
 
The ingredient list for these is pretty simple:
-1.5 ripe bananas
-1 tbsp plus 1 tsp applesauce
-1 tsp chia seeds
-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
-1 cup whole rolled oats
-1/4 cup dried cranberries (or any other dried fruit)
Start with the bananas and mash them up with a fork in a big mixing bowl.
Add the applesauce, chia seeds and vanilla extract to the mashed bananas. Let it gel for a couple of minutes. (The chia seeds will soak up the moisture and expand).



Add the oats and cranz, let it gel a couple more minutes, then form into balls and place them on a non-stick baking sheet.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes (watch them for the last couple minutes- you may want to remove the tray at 18 or 19 minutes depending on how brown you want them).
The recipe should yield about 12 "bites" (again, I'm refraining from calling them "cookies" because that would be false advertising in my book).
And you get these little guys that are easy to eat on the go, and are not full of sugar like the "oatmeal squares" that you see packaged up at the grocery store. I made this recipe hoping for "cookies", and although they didn't satisfy my late night sweet tooth/cookie craving on Sunday, they did satisfy my need for a new kind of breakfast for the road this morning.

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