chia is a wonderful thing

I’m obsessed with making chia seed pudding.  (I know, I’m a little late to the party.)

It is seriously perhaps the easiest treat to whip up, and it’s packed with nutrition.

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I got started on the chia kick when I had a delicious chia seed pudding with blueberries from Kornerstone Cafe and Juice Bar, here in East Aurora. Ever since, I’ve been making them in pint jars and having one every few days.

I typically buy unsweetened vanilla almond/cashew milk, in which case I add 1 T of maple syrup to 6 ounces milk.  Recently, the co-op was out of the unsweetened variety, so I bought the original version (which has sugar) and omitted the maple syrup.  While the bag of chia seeds claims you only need 2 T of seeds to 6 ounces water, I found it didn’t gel enough.  I increased it to 3 T seeds to 6 ounces liquid and it turned out perfectly. (I also found other sources online who use the 3:6 ratio.)

One thing I did find was that MY chia seed pudding didn’t seem to ‘gel’ quite like the commercial varieties (those I’ve seen in stores, cafes, etc..).  Yes, my pudding gelled well and had the right consistency.  However, the seeds didn’t ever seem to swell or get as translucent as others I’ve seen.  This was especially true when I made the chia cherry jam.  Not a complaint, simply an observation.

I think what I love the most is that I’m having a really nutritious treat when I’m eating chia seed pudding.  For one serving, I’m getting approximately 240 calories (180 in seeds, 60 in almond milk), 9-12 grams protein, 15 grams fiber and 7.5 grams omega-3 fatty acids. That’s a great mid-afternoon snack!

 

siggi’s recipe contest: blueberry lemon cheesecakes

I’ve been eating siggi’s yogurt for awhile now, since it’s one of the few with very little added sugar and high in protein.  Most of the time I use plain and add my own fruit or granola, but their flavored yogurts are delicious!  I LOVE the orange & ginger flavor the best, and their pumpkin during the fall.  So good!

Siggi’s is Icelandic-style yogurt, called ‘skyr.’  They use a whopping FOUR times the amount of milk for each cup of yogurt, which their gives it a very thick texture and more protein.

When I found out siggi’s was holding a recipe contest for dietitians, you can bet I was super excited and couldn’t wait to enter.  I even had to fudge a little on my ‘no-added-sugar’ challenge since the recipe is due April 30.

I really wanted to make something unique (i.e. not a smoothie) with the yogurt, and was waffling between a baked item (like a muffin) and an Indian-inspired yogurt dressing for chicken when Andrew gave me the idea for cheesecake.  (Not sure why–he doesn’t even like cheesecake!)  Because siggi’s values real, simple ingredients and limiting added sugar, I attempted to make a simple (i.e. no bake), healthier (enter the yogurt) cheesecake without a lot of added sugar.  It’s just sweet enough to feel like dessert, yet tangy and light enough to be kind to your waistline.

Anyway, after a huge fail for the first version, I hit a home run with my second go-around.  A big THANK YOU to the Nyes, who served as my taste-testers!

Please note this recipe uses a variation of the cherry-chia jam I posted recently, so be sure to make the jam before you want to make and assemble the cheesecakes!

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Individual Blueberry Lemon Cheesecakes

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 30 minutes plus 3 hours
  • Difficulty: easy
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Blueberry Jam:

1 C frozen blueberries, thawed

½ C pineapple juice

1 T chia seeds

Heat blueberries and pineapple juice over low heat and use a potato masher to crush fruit. Simmer 5-10 minutes. Mix in chia seeds and pour into a glass jar. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.

Crust:

¾ C pretzel ‘crumbs’

3 T butter, melted

1 T sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

Mix crumbs, butter, sugar and cinnamon together. Immediately add 3 T of crust to each ramekin and tamp down.

*For a crisper crust, bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. (Note: If using glass jelly jars, bake in a water bath to prevent glass from cracking.)

Filling:

4 oz siggi’s plain yogurt

4 oz cream cheese, softened

2 T honey

1 package unflavored gelatin

1 C boiling water

3 T lemon juice

zest of ¼ lemon

Empty gelatin packet into a glass measuring cup, pour in 1 cup boiling water and stir until gelatin has dissolved completely. Let stand 5 minutes. Mix yogurt, cream cheese, honey, lemon juice and zest in a large bowl with a hand mixer or in a food processer until well combined. Pour in ½ cup of the gelatin and mix until smooth.

To assemble:

  1. Cool crusts in ramekins/jars if pre-baking.
  2. Spoon 2 T of blueberry jam onto each crust and spread to cover completely.
  3. Ladle approximately ½ cup cream cheese mixture into each ramekin/jar and refrigerate 3 hours to set. Top with additional jam or blueberries as desired.

Disclaimer: siggi’s does not know who I am, nor am I being sponsored or reimbursed for this post.

#cookingwithsiggis #contest