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.


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!


it’s my jam

Not really.  It’s Joy Bauer’s Cherry-Chia Jam!


For our 30-day ‘No-Added-Sugar’ Challenge, jams and jellies are all OUT because they’re loaded with sugar.  Bummer.  Neither Andrew nor I are big PB&J eaters (not because they aren’t delicious, they’re just not the healthiest choices and we tend to gravitate to leftovers for lunches), but I do like jam on bread or atop oatmeal, etc.

However, when I saw this recipe come across Facebook, I knew I had to try it.  I actually have a friend who joined in the challenge who was really going to miss his daily PB&J sandwich, so I was hoping this would be a winner.

Verdict: Success!

The result was a fresh, fruity gel that was perfect on a slice of toasted Ezekiel bread this morning, and I think it would be even better with some nut butter!  My chia seeds didn’t change their texture very much (I expected them to swell and become translucent, like chia puddings), but they achieved the gel-like consistency the jam needed.

For this batch, I used mostly frozen cherries with a few frozen strawberry and blueberry stragglers and fresh pineapple.  I was able to mash it all pretty well, so I didn’t remove any chunks of pineapple like Joy instructs in the recipe. I can imagine this jam with other fruits, like strawberries or apricots.  It was so easy to make, I may start adding this into the rotation as we finish off the jams and jellies we already have at home.

Also, while searching for Joy’s link, I came across this site with a VERY similar recipe. Jessica and Stacie are Registered Dietitians and expound on the health benefits of chia seeds in their post. Be sure to check out their site!

*Note: This is one of those items that flirts with the line between no sugar and ‘added sugar’ since it’s high in NATURAL sugar–basically the very sweet pineapple is contributing natural sugar to the flavor.  My no-added-sugar banana bread is also guilty of this, although it’s not very sweet. On the one hand, sugar is sugar is sugar; on the other, it’s natural sugar and doesn’t tend to be as sweet, so it helps to decrease a person’s dependence on sugar.