I'm apparently in love with chia seeds at the moment as I currently have both black and white whole seeds in my fridge as well as a package of pre-ground chia! So there may be a few more chia recipes coming... and why the heck not, right?! They are tiny powerhouses of nutrients, a whole source of plant based protein and full of awesome omegas.
Although I have made chia jams in the past and the flavours have been fine I never really liked the texture of the whole seeds in the jams. I don't know why I never thought to use ground chia instead but now that I have a package to use it became so obvious!
Last night, I wanted to celebrate my first sale of Tonish Concepts wreaths (check them out on Instagram @tonishconceptsyyc - hopefully will figure out a website soon!) with a few new recipes. I remembered watching a YouTube video from French Guy Cooking (he's awesome and oh so Parisian adorable ;)) for different ways of using rice paper wrappers with one way being apple pie rolls. Brilliant! I had all the ingredients so figured I'd gave it a shot. While in the process of starting to prep the apples I got the idea of making a dipping sauce for the rolls and a chia jam seemed like a good idea!
The apple pie rolls didn't quite turn out as I had hoped (I think I needed to soak the rice papers a bit longer...) but that just means I get to try again! However, the jam turned out REALLY good... so needed to share right away.
But... how would I photograph the jam without making it look like a blob of unknown content? Make some bread to showcase the goodness of course! So this morning I made a quick loaf of Traditional Irish Soda Bread (thanks to Gemma Stafford over at Bigger Bolder Baking for sharing her Mom's recipe!). I used chilled coconut oil instead of butter and rye flour instead of whole wheat (it's what I had). I likely could've baked the loaf for a few more minutes as it is just the slightest bit doughy in the bottom quarter of the loaf but I suspect it's a necessary elevation adjustment (Calgary is over 1,000 m above sea-level and all...) but it turned out pretty great otherwise and was the perfect pairing for this chia jam :))
Mixed Fruit Chia Jam
2 cups mixed fruit (I used mostly frozen (thawed though) and added about a half a chopped Granny Smith apple as well)
1-2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp coconut oil
2-3 tbsp ground chia seeds
1 - In a skillet on medium heat add coconut oil and once melted add in mixed fruit. Stir the fruit and coconut oil together and once the mixture reaches a gentle simmer, reduce the heat to maintain the low simmer and start squishing a few of the fruit pieces to help make the mixture a bit more jammy (real word?) with the back of the spoon.
Note - My fruit mixture had whole strawberries. I removed them and quickly puréed them in the Magic Bullet (could just use a blender or simple mash them in the pan) so there weren't huge chunks of fruit in the final product.
2 - After about 2-3 minutes of gentle simmering add in a tablespoon of maple syrup and stir through fruit mixture. Now is the time to taste for sweetness. Everyone's fruit mix could be different so start with less added sweetener and adjust as needed.
3 - Turn off the heat and sprinkle two tablespoons of ground chia and stir in to the fruit mix. Depending on the liquid content of your fruit mix you may need to add the third tablespoon of ground chia. The mixture should start to thicken relatively quickly and will thicken even more as it cools. If it's still runny after cooling just add a bit more ground chia until it's the right consistency for you.
4 - Pour the fresh made jam in to a mason jar or reused jam/peanut butter glass jar. It's really great warm but wait until it's cooled a bit before adding a lid and refrigerating. Should keep for a week or so... however, fresh jam rarely lasts that long in my kitchen with a fresh loaf of bread. Haha!
It's that simple! Now you need to make some quick chia jam and share your pictures with me :) I'd love to see what fruit mix you use and what you use it on!
1 - It's delicious. Granted I will eat nearly anything. However, these little seeds are excellent vehicles of flavour since they themselves have no flavour so this allows for creative flavour combos... although, I usually lean towards the slightly sweet for the puddings.
2 - It's a portable and make-ahead friendly! A few tablespoons in a mason jar with some almond milk and any extra flavour add-ins and you are on your way to pudding goodness. I usually make a few jars on Sunday night and leave them in the fridge for quick morning breakfasts, a midday snack or a tasty dessert if any last until the end of the week.
3 - Nutrient dense super food! These little seeds have a lot packed in to their tiny packaging. High in protein, fiber, omega-3, iron, magnesium and plenty more. Top off with add-ins like fresh or dried fruits, nuts and seeds and you've got yourself a really great combination of energetic fuel!
4 - They make an excellent egg replacer for baking! Just combine 1 tablespoon of ground chia seeds with 3 tablespoons of water, let sit for 5-10 minutes and you now have an egg replacer for cakes, cookies, muffins, pancakes, or sweet breads! Sometimes I combine ground chia and flax seeds for an ultra nutrient dense egg replacer for baking too.
5 - They can be used to make a jams that do not require commercially produced pectin and the ridiculous amount of sugar needed to make the pectin work. Just berries of your choosing, a bit of sweetner (I like maple syrup or local honey) and chia seeds! Here's one of my favourite recipes from Oh She Glows :)
This is how I make my chia puddings:
Chocolate Chia Pudding
4 tbsp chia seeds
1 tbsp raw cacao powder (or cocoa powder)
1 tsp camu camu*
1 tsp non-gmo soy lecithin**
1/4 tsp vanilla powder (or vanilla extract)
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of Himalayan salt (or sea salt)
1/2 cup almond milk (or any milk you prefer)
1 tbsp maple syrup (honey or agave works too)
Toppings: sliced fruits, chopped nuts, seeds, coconut flakes, etc.
1 - Combine first six ingredients in a straight sided mason jar. Screw on lid and give it a good shake to mix all the dry ingredients together.
2 - Add milk and sweetener, replace lid and shake well.
3 - Remove lid and using a spoon or small spatula scrape down the sides of the jar to ensure everything is on the liquid.
4 - Replace lid again and let sit for 30 minutes or place in fridge and use within 5 days.
5 - When ready to eat just remove lid and place whatever toppings you'd like on top, mix and chow down. Or pour in to a bowl for added pretty presentation points ;)
*Camu camu is totally optional. I've recently been adding this to my chia puddings for additional vitamin C and antioxidants. Found it at The Light Cellar here in Calgary.
**Non-GMO soy lecithin is also totally optional. However, adding a lecithin add-in is something you may want to consider as a neurotransmitter it aids in memory retention (among many other benefits)! Another great find from The Light Cellar here in Calgary.
Do you include chia seeds in your daily/weekly diet routine? How about baking with it? If you haven't tried it before do you think you may give it a shot? Let me know in the comments or send me a direct message if you have any questions! Enjoy :)
Going out for breakfast/brunch is really popular in Calgary and I'm definitely on board with the trend.
This past Sunday I ended up at Roni's Kitchen - a new Middle Eastern fusion breakfast/brunch pop-up that uses the Koi restaurant space solely on weekends between 9:00 am to 2:00 pm for filling patron's appetites with an all vegetarian/vegan menu that amazed our group of five friends.
I started off with a Cardamom Mud Coffee - which I was told was a traditional-style of coffee as it had murky coffee grounds which settled on the bottom of the small mason jar cup (making it "muddy") and it was flavoured with deliciously fragrant cardamom. It was a tad more bitter than I prefer so added a bit of sugar and really enjoyed it.
First from the menu - the Full-on Hummus appetizer we shared! When the dish arrived it definitely was not what I expected but something slightly different and totally delicious. With cucumber and pita to dip and scoop the hummus with we all got in to it pretty quickly and had to order more pita for the large amount of hummus served. The dip was unlike any that I'd had before where I've been use to a thicker paste consistency this was more soupy and had some whole chickpeas as well as mushrooms and small bunches of parsley as a topper that quickly was mixed in throughout. Nonetheless - it was amazing and I would certainly order it again.
For my main - I ordered the Burekas and chose the vegan option filling of almond-feta, eggplant, mint & za'tar. Also, chose the quinoa salad as the side. Un-fricken-believable. The presentation was beautiful (although my photos aren't the best at showing this... weird morning angle lighting and all) and the additional sides of house-made pickles, tahini and Schug (a Yemeni hot sauce! Whoa.) really sets this place apart from the rest of the great breakfast places this city has to offer.
Lastly, and of course, we had to have dessert... it was brunch after all and chose the feature popsicle (!) of the weekend - Apricot Nectarine. I didn't get a picture as they were again house-made and had no preservatives to slow the melting process on a warm late-Sunday morning. The only thing I would critique about these would be that the popsicle sticks be a bit longer or just not frozen in to the mixture so deeply leaving maybe an inch to hold on to while enjoying this treat which made it a bit awkward. That's the only thing I could possibly complain about... and I'd still order these again.
Seriously - if you like a variety of Middle Eastern food, going out for weekend brunch and trying something deliciously different get yourself and your friends to Roni's Kitchen as soon as you can. I suspect this may become a very popular place due to it's great menu, super friendly staff and excellent location. Can't wait to visit again and try more of the menu!
I've been jonesing for some Malaysian Laksa soup for months. The first time I tried this delicious concoction was in Vancouver last September at the Banana Leaf on Denman. For some reason it took me until last night to start my informal tour of Malaysian/Indosian restaurants in Calgary in search of the best laksa in Calgary! Turning to Zomato (formerly Urbanspoon) I found that there was a handful of local restaurants that fit the bill and the closest to me was Indonesian Kitchen on 17th Avenue SE (aka International Avenue). I read the mixed reviews and figured it was worth giving it a shot.
Ordering take-out I asked for laksa and was told that they don't have it on the menu (the Zomato listing needs to be updated...) but the young lady at the front of house said it shouldn't be a problem and would ask the kitchen if it could be made. Less than 30 seconds later another lady comes out from the kitchen asking if I liked laksa with seafood! This gets me all sorts of excited, I say yes and additionally ordered vegetable egg rolls, cassava fries and a pineapple juice. Yes - I was really hungry. Then, after just a few minutes the pineapple juice arrived and it was so fresh and delicious! I perused through the small grocery-style store front and was excited to find lots of sabal spice pastes and sauces. I will definitely be back to stock up on these!
When the order was nearly done the lady from the kitchen came out with a sample of some spiced pulled beef which was amazing as well as a sample of the laksa soup she had whipped up for me! It was not the same as I'd had in Vancouver but nonetheless amazingly tasty! She was worried that it was too spicy for me but it was completely on point and the heat would surely make whatever cold virus is currently going around my work office beat it out of my immune system!
As we got chatting I learn that the lady from the kitchen, Kartini, is not only a wizard in the kitchen but also holds cooking classes in the restaurant and just opened new location downtown near the Harry Hays building (you can bet that I'll be checking out this place soon too)! She offers yet another pre-dinner snack, cassava coated peanuts, while explaining which spice pastes to use for a variety of Indonesian dishes as well as mentioning that there is a food tour on International Avenue! However, there's a wait list for the package so I'm thinking I'll just have to create my own ;)
Finally after offering thanks and much gratitude for her knowledge and special laksa creation I head home to Netflix (High Fidelity!) and proceeded to stuff my belly to the max. I am so impressed with this little gem that I will certainly be back along with a restocking of much needed spice pastes!!
According to a new article from CBC, when we look at the numbers, dollars spent on cycling/pedestrian infrastructure is money well spent for the results received. More people with more choices to choose from on how they get around seems like a great idea, in my opinion, in city planning and distribution of transportation budget funds. Results such as healthier community members, connecting green spaces for families and kids to play and art to be displayed welcoming residents and visitors alike to get outside and enjoy this amazing city. Smart, right?
Well, not everyone sees it this way. Point being - there is a local special interest group called Common Sense Calgary where the group's leader, Stephanie Kusie, is quoted as saying, in relation to cycling/pedestrian infrastructure funding/planning:
"I especially find it frustrating" she writes "that much of city planning seems to focus around an infrastructure and lifestyle that is an exception and not the norm in Calgary."
Umm... yes, I do understand that as a motor vehicle owner/user, who likely drives more often than using any other mode of transportation available to her, seeing headlines indicating more infrastructure and City dollars being allocated to anything other that roads and bridges for cars and trucks would likely be a bit "frustrating". However, does she also understand that we live in an amazingly diverse and exciting city that is only made better by making way for transportation alternatives that should not only not be called "alternatives" but also are the exact means to make the roads more user friendly for the motorized vehicle users?
Also, when did walking, running or riding a bike become "not the norm"? Why do we even have to have a "bike culture"? Is it not common sense that by linking communities with pathways and cycling/pedestrian bridges we will actually bring the city closer together as a community?
Motor vehicles are absolutely necessary in a city with such sprawl such as Calgary and by helping its citizens have choices in how they get around by allocating just 6% of the City's 10-year planned transportation budget is smart on too many accounts to argue - of course, this is in my opinion.
We are so very lucky in Calgary to have many transportation choices including an excellent and expanding pathway network. By continuing to allocate transportation budget funds to entice Calgarians outside of their homes and vehicles to enjoy their neighbourhoods and surrounding communities we can continue growing as an awesome city.