Chia & Flax Seeds Kefir “Pudding”

luluesque_chia-flax seeds kefir pudding

Kefir is a cultured milk product, rich in probiotics. It is a great yogurt substitute for the lactose intolerant. It tastes slightly tart and looks a lot like drinkable yogurt. You can make it at home or buy it in various flavors. I especially love the raspberry, which is what I’m using as the base for this pudding. SIMPLE, HEALTHY, and DELICIOUS! It’s my kind of recipe! 🙂 It’s great as a breakfast or mid-morning/day snack.

Chia Seeds

These tiny mottled seeds are so much fun! And anytime I say or hear the word “chia,” I’m automatically picturing a terra cotta critter with green “chia fur.” Chia seeds are from the Saliva Hispanica plants that have been cultivated since the Mayan and Aztec days. These tiny seeds pack a giant punch of protein, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids!

Flax Seeds

Flax seeds are another great source of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. However, unlike chia seeds, which can be eaten whole, flax seeds need to be ground in order for our bodies to digest and reap the health benefits. Left whole, they simply pass through. Both chia and flax seeds form a mucilaginous layer and expand when they are soaked in liquid. These seeds do go bad quickly, so it’s recommended you purchase these in small batches and refrigerate or freeze the remainder in airtight containers.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1-1/2 cups kefir ~ flavor of choice
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup fresh organic blueberries
  • 1/2 cup fresh organic strawberries ~ cut into small pieces
  • 1-2 teaspoon organic agave nectar, to taste  ~ optional

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Pour the kefir into a mason jar or container with a seal. Gently stir in the seeds.
  2. Cover the mix and allow it to set for about 1 hour or overnight.
  3. When ready to eat, add your fruit (fresh or dried) or oatmeal of choice. VOILA!

 

Cranberry-Lemon Muffins with Lemon Zest Glaze

luluesque_cranberry-lemon muffins

It is official. I am on a cranberry binge. In the past few weeks, I have made four (yes, 4!) batches of muffins, all containing cranberries. Although, in my defense, I have varied them a bit. 🙂

If you’re interested, here are a couple of the recent cranberry-related recipes:

INGREDIENTS: Yields 12 small muffins

  • 1 & 1/2 cups organic unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup organic lemon yogurt
  • 1 cup organic evaporated cane sugar
  • 3 organic eggs
  • 2 tablespoons grated organic lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon fresh organic lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon organic vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup organic vegetable oil & 1 tablespoon for greasing the tins
  • 2 cups fresh (or frozen) cranberries ~ rinsed

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the yogurt, sugar, eggs, lemon zest, lemon juice, vanilla, and oil.
  4. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.
  5. Gently fold in the cranberries.
  6. Grease your muffin tins with oil by using a silicone brush.
  7. Fill the muffin tins. 
  8. Bake 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffins comes out clean.
  9. Drizzle with Lemon Zest Glaze. Optional.

Citrus Zest Glaze

luluesque_citrus zest glazeIcing is one of those things you either love or love to hate. 😉 I suppose I’m the oddball that neither hates nor love it. I sometimes like it and sometimes dislike it, depending on how it’s made and what it’s enhancing.

The GREAT thing about this recipe is you can use lemon, lime (yes!), orange, grapefruit, tangelo, pomelo, or whatever heavenly citrus fruit you can get your culinary hands on!

TIP: Anytime you are using citrus juice, either in another recipe or your tea, and will not be using the zest, be sure to grate the zest before juicing the fruit. Zest freezes well in a tightly-sealed container.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 & 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons organic juice ~ citrus fruit of your choice
  • 1 tablespoon organic zest ~ citrus fruit of your choice

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Combine all the ingredients together until smooth.
  2. Drizzle over your pastry of choice.
  3. Allowing the glaze to harden is optional. I prefer my glaze to be thick, but not hard. 🙂

Fried Sweet Plantains

plantains-b

Plantains belong to the banana family and resemble large, sturdy bananas; however, they are quite different than their smaller cousins. You cannot eat plantains without cooking them. They are quite possibly the most versatile produce you may ever come across in terms of using it as a fruit or a vegetable. They also have a very lengthy shelf life, making it convenient to purchase ahead of time to keep until you are ready to cook.

Green plantains are treated much like a vegetable, a potato to be precise, because of its high starch and low sugar content. Plantains are very popular in Latin, Southern Asian, Western African and Caribbean cuisine, usually baked, fried, boiled, or steamed.

When ripened, you can treat the sweet plantains like a hearty dessert. I love pan frying ripe plantains and serving them with sunny-side-up eggs and fresh-squeezed orange juice! It’s the perfect breakfast.

It doesn’t matter what stage you purchase the plantains, but it’s best to have an idea how you want to cook it. If you need the plantains to be sweet, it will take about 3-5 days to turn this color (see image below). The blacker the skin turns, the sweeter the fruit inside, which is how I like my platanos. Perfection.

plantains-a

 INGREDIENTS:

  • 1-2 large plantains ~ let them ripen for about 3-7 days
  • cooking oil

PREPARATION:

  1. Using a sharp paring knife, cut off both ends. Remove the skin by making a long slit down the side, then peel away the skin.
  2. Slice the plantains about 1/2″ to 3/4″ thick. You can cut them lengthwise or into medallions like I did.
  3. Heat some cooking oil in a large pan.
  4. Lay the plantains flat in the pan, making sure they are not touching.
  5. Fry them on both sides until they are golden. Some folks prefer them almost charred. Enjoy! 🙂