it’s moving day!

Hi Folks!

The Muffin Myth is going to be moving to a new home later today. We’re just working to iron out a few details, and then I’ll flip the switch and poof! Moved!

Subscriptions should, hopefully, be moving with us. Email subscribers will continue to receive email notifications of new posts as before, however, WordPress.com followers will only see new posts in the Reader. If you’re a WordPress.com follower you will not receive email updates unless you subscribe to receive those on your the site, which you will be able do do once you arrive there.

If you’re an email subscriber and would like to unsubscribe, there should be an unsubscribe link at the end of the email that comes with this post. I’ll be sorry to see you go!

If you haven’t seen a new post by Friday, likely something has gone wrong with moving the subscriptions over. In that case, pop on to www.themuffinmyth.com (same url, it’s where you’ll always find me) where you’ll be able to resubscribe if necessary.

See you on the other side!

kamut and zucchini fritters

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kamut zucchini fritters // the muffin mythIt always takes me a bit of time to shake off my vacation. Or maybe it’s shimmying back into work life that takes a bit of effort. Whatever it is, it’s nice to be getting back into a bit of a routine.

Part of our routine, for now, is heading to the farmer’s market on Saturday mornings. The farmer’s market is in principle something I love, but in practice something that makes me want to scratch my eyes out. It’s just So. Damn. Crowded.

kamut zucchini fritters // the muffin myth

Still, it’s totally worth it. The produce is great quality, produced locally, and much of it is organic. I can find things I can’t find anywhere else or at any other time of year, like spaghetti squash, the best eggs, and zucchini the size of small infants.

I think that zucchini may be one of the most versatile foods there is. It bakes up into beautiful cupcakes or loaves. It’s great savory or sweet. Hello, zucchini fries! And I do love a good zucchini fritter.

kamut zucchini fritters // the muffin myth

I’m particularly fond of what’s happening with these here fritters. Loads (loads!) of zucchini is partnered up with chewy kernels of kamut for a fritter that is substantial without being heavy. The kamut takes the fritters from side dish to main affair, and topped with a dollop of saffron scented Greek yoghurt, I dare say they become a complete meal. A poached egg would certainly be welcome on the scene as well.

kamut zucchini fritters // the muffin myth

This recipe uses up a lot of zucchini and turns out a lot of fritters. It is easily halved if you’re so inclined, but also know that the fritters freeze and re-heat beautifully. I’ve got a good stash of them in my freezer now, separated by squares of parchment and just waiting for a busy day.

Nestled beside a green salad and topped with a bit of protein, these zucchini fritters make a great meal at any time of day. I hope you enjoy them.

kamut zucchini fritters // the muffin myth

Two years ago: Garlicky Kale Salad with Mustard Croutons 
Three years ago: Halloumi Sandwich

Kamut and Zucchini Fritters Recipe:

This recipe will take care of a beast of a zucchini – that one in the photos was just over 1kg. You can of course halve the batch if you’re working with less zucchini or want fewer fritters, but keep in mind they freeze beautifully. Don’t have kamut? Sub in another sturdy whole grain. Wheat berries, spelt berries, farro, and barley are all good options.

Makes about 20 fritters.

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1 very large or 2 medium zucchini (about 1kg / 2lbs)
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups cooked and cooled kamut
4 large eggs
4 green onions, chopped
1 Tbsp fresh thyme
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup whole wheat pastry, white whole wheat, or all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
salt and pepper
olive oil for frying

1 Tbsp boiling water
1 good pinch saffron threads (about 40 threads)
1 cup Greek yoghurt
salt to taste

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Shred the zucchini on a box grater and place in a large bowl. Toss with the salt, and let it sit for about 10 minutes. Place the zucchini in the center of a clean dish towel or cheese cloth, wrap tightly, then squeeze as much liquid from the zucchini as possible and discard. You should end up with about 2.5 – 3 cups of relatively dry shredded zucchini.

Return the zucchini to the bowl and mix in kamut, eggs, green onions, thyme, and crushed garlic. Add flour and baking powder and mix well. Season with salt and pepper.

Line a baking sheet or wire rack (if you’re fritters are going directly into the freezer) with paper towels. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add enough olive oil to coat the bottom, and drop heaping tablespoons of the batter into the pan. Fry until golden on one side, about 3-5 minutes, then flip and cook on the other side for 2 minutes more. Remove fritters from frying pan and onto the prepared tray to drain on the paper towels.

If you want to cook all of the fritters before serving, keep the tray in the oven on low heat so that the fritters stay warm.

To make the saffron yoghurt, combine boiling water and a pinch of saffron threads in a small bowl. Let sit for about 10 minutes while the saffron steeps in the water. It should be vibrantly coloured and fragrant. Stir in the yoghurt, and season with salt to taste.

Serve hot zucchini fritters with a generous dollop of saffron yoghurt.

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Kamut is a high protein form of wheat. It is a good source of vitamin E, Thiamin, Riboflavin, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, pantothentic acid, copper and complex carbohydrates, and is often tolerable by those who are sensitive to other forms of wheat.

Zucchini is a starchy summer squash that not only provides a good amount of dietary fiber (2.5 grams per cup), but it also provides polysaccharide fibers like pectin that have special benefits for blood sugar regulation. Zucchini is a very strong source of key antioxidant nutrients, including the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin. Since the skin of this food is particularly antioxidant-rich, it’s worth leaving the skin intact. The fat in zucchini’s edible seeds includes omega-3s (alpha-linolenic acid), making it a heart healthy choice. Zucchini is a very good source of vitamin C, magnesium, dietary fiber, phosphorus, potassium, folate, vitamin B6, and vitamin K. Additionally, it has a notable amount of vitamin B1, omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, iron, and protein.

All text and photos © The Muffin Myth 2014

what’s good around the web + weekly meal plan

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meal plan August 25-29 // the muffin myth

I had a bit of a wonky week this week and ended up not sticking to my meal plan in the slightest. I had three lunches out! Takeout soup in lieu of salad night, and grilled cheese in lieu of omelet night. Who am I? What this means is I’ve got a good little stash of food in the freezer now. Plenty of kamut zucchini fritters, and a full batch of lentil loaf that I baked into individual portions. So there are some lucky repeats on the menu for next week. I’m also going to add some Hallelujah Bowls into the mix for extra veg (and that sauce!).

Also, the outdoor pool is closing for the season this weekend which means I’ll be back to swimming on my lunch hour next week. This means my morning meal has got to keep me satisfied all the way until 2pm when I eat lunch at my desk. I’ve planned for a lighter smoothie then a bit of a snack closer to lunch time, which will hopefully do the trick.

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1. Bad news for ramen lovers: instant noodles have been linked to heart risk.

2. 25 simple ways to eat better.

3. Obesity and cancer: adding more weight to the evidence.

4. Consumers find sugary drinks less appealing when there is a visual of sugar cube content. Interesting, but not surprising.

5. Are you in to fermented foods? Here are the top 5 fermented foods for beginners.

All text and photos © The Muffin Myth 2014

glorious garden gazpacho

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glorious garden gazpacho // the muffin myth

Is summer still summery where you are? If so, lucky you.

The seasons always change so quickly here, and it catches me off guard every time. Although summer still technically has another month to go, there is a bit of a nip in the air already.

The good news, though, is that the summer was mostly glorious hot. We missed a (by Swedish standards) bonkers heat wave, while we were back in BC, but we arrived back just in time for the Farmer’s market to get into swing, and boy oh boy, those tomatoes. 

glorious garden gazpacho // the muffin myth

If you’re a gardner, late August may have you seeing red. The little red and orange cherry tomatoes in the lead shot are from our tiny balcony garden, carefully tended by a friend while we were away.

Our farmer’s market had all kinds of tomatoes on offer, and we greedily brought home at least two of every kind; a Noah’s Ark of heirloom tomatoes. Gazpacho was the obvious thing to do.

glorious garden gazpacho // the muffin myth

Chop, blend, chill, serve. Gazpacho is the simplest thing. It’s quick, it’s easy, and it’s jammed full of straight up unadulterated raw food nutrition.

Because it isn’t cooked, I implore you to use the very best ingredients you can get your hands on. Ripe, in-season tomatoes are a must. If you’ve got a special olive you reserved for special occasions, call it in to action. We also had fresh garlic, cucumber, and peppers from the market, all of which went in.

glorious garden gazpacho // the muffin myth

Many of the gazpacho recipes I referred to when I was coming up with this one called for the cucumber to be peeled. Although I’m sure you’d get a more vibrant tomato colour if you did, I chose to leave the peel on my cucumber as so many valuable nutrients are in that layer.

If the colour is important to you, chose the ripest, reddest tomatoes you can find, peel your cucumber, and use a red pepper instead of green or yellow.

glorious garden gazpacho // the muffin myth

To strain or not to strain also seemed to be an issue of frequent debate. Again, I chose not to because it would mean straining out valuable fiber and with it important nutrients. But the texture is up to you as well. If you want a velvety smooth gazpacho, by all means run it through a strainer before serving. If chunky is more your style, roughly pulse instead of blending your soup.

glorious garden gazpacho // the muffin myth

Two years ago: White Bean Purée 

Glorious Garden Gazpacho Recipe:

Giving this soup a good chill in the fridge before serving is key to developing the flavours. An hour is good, overnight is fine too. You may first taste it and think it not garlicky enough. I recommend you wait a bit and taste again as the garlic flavour needs a bit of time to bloom.

Serves 4 as a main, more as an appetizer

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6-7 very ripe medium-sized tomatoes
1/2 a long English cucumber, peeled if you like
1 red, yellow, or green pepper
2-3 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
1/4 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
1 cup cold water
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

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Rinse all of the produce and cut into chunks. Place in the jar of a blender with the smashed garlic, olive oil, water, and vinegar. Pulse a few times to combine, then run for about 2 minutes until very smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer the soup to a bowl or glass jar, and refrigerate for at least one hour. When you’re ready to serve, pour into bowls or small glasses. Drizzle a bit of good olive oil over the top, and serve.

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Tomato toe-mah-toe. However you like to say it, there’s no doubt that the sweet summer fruits are juicy little bombs of nutrition. Tomatoes are known for their antioxidant content, notably lycopene – good for your prostates, fellas! Eating tomatoes can reduce the risk of prostate cancer. Other antioxidants include vitamin C, and beta carotene. As far as phytonutrients go, tomatoes are top of the charts. They contain flavonoids, carotenoids, and glycosides to name just a few. Eating tomatoes has been shown to be beneficial for the profile of fats in our bloodstream. Specifically, tomato intake has been linked to reduced total cholesterol, reduced LDL cholesterol, and reduced triglyceride levels. This makes our hearts happy! Tomatoes are also an excellent source of vitamin K, copper, potassium, manganese, dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin B6, folate, niacin, vitamin E, and phosphorus.

All text and photos © The Muffin Myth 2014

how to make perfect crepes

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(Photo by Rikki Snyder)

Is there anything better than crepes? I think of crepes as the little black dress of the food world. They’re great all fancied up with exotic toppings and they’re equally great topped with nothing but a bit of butter, eaten on a Thursday night on your couch while wearing yoga pants and watching Grey’s Anatomy.

Crepes can be a bit intimidating even for an experienced cook, so I’ve teamed up with Oh My Veggies photographer Rikki Snyder to put together a how to tutorial for making perfect crepes. We’ve broken it down step by step to make crepe making a cinch!

And since I’m BFF’s with my freezer, you just know there’s gonna be instructions for bulk prepping and freezing your crepes so you’ve got them on the ready any old time. Hop on over to Oh My Veggies and check it out!

All text and photos © The Muffin Myth 2014

 

peaches and cream muffins

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peaches and cream muffins // the muffin myth

I don’t know about you guys, but I am clinging to this summer like my life depends on it. This time of year seems fleeting and fragile, and I want to hold on to it for as long as possible.

Peaches are one of my favourite summer fruits. I believe their lusciousness and fragility warrants only eating them when they are in season and perfectly ripe, and so at this time of year I eat as many as I can. The Italian peaches available here pale in comparison to the juicy Oakanagan orbs I grew up with, but they’ll do with no other choice nearby.

peaches and cream muffins // the muffin myth

These muffins were part of a brunch spread I made for a dear friend’s wedding earlier this summer. Made with a combination of three flours, the muffin base is sturdy and nutty, yet surprisingly delicate. Sour cream provides a bit of tang, and a touch light brown muscovado sugar sweetens the mixture just so. It’s not often I find myself licking muffin batter out of the bowl, but there it was.

peaches and cream muffins // the muffin myth

Peaches appear twice. First, they’re finely diced and stirred into the batter where they mellow into little pockets of peachiness once baked. Then, they’re thinly sliced and draped across the top of each unbaked muffin, the red and yellow crescent moon caramelizing ever so slightly as they bake.

I’d highly recommend you make a batch of these while the season’s peaches are still available. And since muffins freeze so well, you could be enjoying peaches and cream muffins weeks beyond the last fresh peach.

peaches and cream muffins // the muffin myth

Two years ago: Carrot and Quinoa Salad
Three years ago: Crispy Skillet Tofu (yum!!!)
Four years ago: Wheatberry Salad with Eggplant

Peaches and Cream Muffins Recipes:

If peaches aren’t handy, I’m sure these muffins would be amazing with other summer fruit. Blackberries especially come to mind. To make oat flour simply whirl rolled oats in a food processor or high-speed blender until a sandy-fine  flour is formed.

Makes 10 muffins. Adapted from Good to the Grain.

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2 ripe peaches, one diced, one thinly sliced
1 cup oat flour (see headnotes)
1/2 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup light brown muscovado sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
6 Tbsps (90g) butter, melted
3/4 cup whole milk
1/2 cup sour cream
1 egg, lightly beaten

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Preheat oven to 180°C / 350°F. Line 10 muffin cups with muffin cases, or grease the tins.

Prepare the peaches. Slice each in half and twist to remove from the stone. Dice one peach into small (about 1cm) dice. The other, thinly slice. Set aside.

Sift oat flour, all purpose flour, whole wheat pastry flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together into a medium bowl.

In a small bowl combine melted butter, milk, sour cream, and the egg and whisk well to combine. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and mix until just barely combined. Fold in the diced peach.

Spoon the batter evenly into 10 muffin cases, and top each with one or two thin slices of peach.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, rotating the pan once. The muffins should be slightly puffed and golden on top, and a toothpick inserted towards the center should come out clean. Remove the muffins to a wire rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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Power to the peach! Peaches are native to China, spread to the rest of the world along the Silk Road, and are in the rose family along with nectarines, plums, and almonds. Fresh peaches are low in calories and rich in dietary fiber, especially if you consume the fuzzy skin. They contain a moderate amount of the antioxidant vitamin C, vitamin A, and beta carotene. There is some evidence that eating fruits rich in vitamin A may be protective against some cancers. Peaches also contain flavonoid polyphenolic antioxidants which are protective against free radicals and reactive oxygen species.

All text and photos © The Muffin Myth 2014

what’s good around the web + weekly meal plan

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meal plan August 18-22 // the muffin myth

It’s back to meal planning this week! Because we landed back in Stockholm early Wednesday morning and I went pretty much directly to the office I relied on some take out salads and a couple of freezer meals this week. But I’m back in business! I’m hoping to snag some big zucchinis from the farmer’s market this weekend and experiment with some zucchini fritters. I’m also going to start stocking the freezer and think it’s high time I made this lentil loaf again.

On to the links! This week just so happens to be the 100th edition of What’s Good Around The Web! That means we’ve read 500 food, nutrition, and health articles together so far. Amazing! Accordingly, I tried to find extra interesting articles for your reading pleasure. Enjoy!

MM_Web_Icon_FINAL1. Food as therapy. Long, but great read.

2. Coconut water changes its claims. Hrm.

3. What are your thoughts on stevia? Sweet salvation: can stevia be food producers’ Holy Grail?

4. Good news for legume lovers: Beans, peas, chickpeas, lentils increase fullness and could help manage weight.

5. Did you know that forty percent of Americans born between 2000 and 2011 will develop diabetes? This is double the risk of those born a decade earlier.

All text and photos © The Muffin Myth 2014

simple summer pasta

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simple summer pasta // the muffin mythThe theme of my summer has been all about keeping things simple. Not overcommitting myself, taking pleasure in the little things, and maximizing my relaxing. Though I told my office that I was happy to work remotely should the need arise, it didn’t, and I am thankful for that. And though I brought my camera along with me to the Pacific Northwest with a list of ideas for the blog, I didn’t pick it up once.

I slept, I read, I cooked, I swam, I hiked, I boated, I waterskied, and I married off my baby sister. It was a very, very good three weeks.

simple summer pasta // the muffin myth

The meals are definitely one of my favourite parts of being at my family home. My mother has a great ocean-side garden and the meals often revolve around whatever is ripe. There is a revolving door of friends and family stopping through for dinner, and the house has been built to accommodate big crowds. I think we feasted 20-40 people on multiple occasions this summer.

Simplicity is key when you’re feeding a crowd, but I think also a key component of any summer meal. This pasta fits the bill perfectly.

simple summer pasta // the muffin myth

The produce is uncooked, which means this is a one-pot meal. In-season cherry tomatoes and spinach are tossed with torn leaves of basil, salty black olives, and slivers of punchy garlic. Hot whole-wheat rotini is poured over the top, wilting the greens just so.

Served warm, preferably eaten outside, it is a perfect summer evening meal. The leftovers pack well for picnicking, or for packed lunches if you, like me, are heading back to work this week. Enjoy.

simple summer pasta // the muffin myth

Two years ago: Peach Salsa
Four years ago: Muslimix Spice Muffins

Simple Summer Pasta Recipe:

This simple summer pasta comes together quickly. You can put the water on for the pasta and start chopping your veg, and by the time the pasta is cooked you’ll be ready to go.

Serves 4-6. Adapted from Jamie Oliver

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400g whole wheat rotini
250g baby spinach leaves (about 4 cups packed)
500g (one pint) cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
150g (1/2 cup) pitted Kalamata olives, halved
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced or crushed
1 bunch (1/2 cup packed leaves) fresh basil leaves, torn
2 Tbsp fresh oregano, de-stemmed and roughly chopped
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
6 Tbsp good quality extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper

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Put a large pot of water on high heat. When it has come to a rolling boil, salt generously and place the pasta in to cook until al dente – about 10-15 minutes depending on your pasta.

While the pasta is cooking, prep everything else. Wash the spinach leaves and place into a large bowl. Add halved cherry tomatoes, then scrunch with your hands to break down a bit. Now add torn basil, oregano, crushed garlic, and red wine vinegar, and olive oil.

When the pasta has finished cooking, drain, and immediately add the hot pasta to the waiting vegetables. Toss well to combine, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

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Tomato toe-mah-toe. However you like to say it, there’s no doubt that the sweet summer fruits are juicy little bombs of nutrition. Tomatoes are known for their antioxidant content, notably lycopene – good for your prostates, fellas! Eating tomatoes can reduce the risk of prostate cancer. Other antioxidants include vitamin C, and beta carotene. As far as phytonutrients go, tomatoes are top of the charts. They contain flavonoids, carotenoids, and glycosides to name just a few. Eating tomatoes has been shown to be beneficial for the profile of fats in our bloodstream. Specifically, tomato intake has been linked to reduced total cholesterol, reduced LDL cholesterol, and reduced triglyceride levels. This makes our hearts happy! Tomatoes are also an excellent source of vitamin K, copper, potassium, manganese, dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin B6, folate, niacin, vitamin E, and phosphorus.

All text and photos © The Muffin Myth 2014

what’s good around the web!

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wedding

Happy Friday everyone! Paul and I are celebrating five years of marriage today…. what a five years it’s been. Truthfully, not a boring moment. When we said our vows we knew that we’d be moving overseas, though we didn’t yet know we’d end up in Sweden. We promised to work through things anywhere, anyhow, and I’m proud of us for keeping that promise. Moving to a new country, with a new language, without a support system was certainly a test of the early years of our marriage, and I truly believe it is because we made those promises in front of friends and family who love and support us that we are still together today. I can’t wait to see what adventure the next five years might bring!

We’re in the final days of our vacation in the Pacific Northwest and will be making our way back to Stockholm early next week. This means I need to get my head back into meal planning mode! We’ll be arriving home early Wednesday morning to an empty fridge, and heading into the office almost immediately, so I’ll be relying on a few freezer meals I’ve got stashed away, buying a couple of salads, and planning a proper meal plan for the following week. Now on to the links!

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1. Seeking a saner food system. Good read.

2. Advice from a vegan cardiologist. Food for thought.

3. What’s the best bedtime snack? Dr. Andrew Weil weighs in.

4. Are multivitamins worth it? Answers from the Harvard School of Public Health

5. Why are trans fats bad for you? The science explained.

All text and photos © The Muffin Myth 2014

chia fresca

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chia fresca // the muffin myth

Friends, can we talk about poop?

Not everyone’s favourite topic, but an important one in nutrition. The reality is, what goes in must come out, and for some of us that’s a struggle. I’ve had a number of people complain to me about this issue, and for many, after a quick chat about their dietary habits, it becomes clear that hydration is at the root of the problem.

The thing is, if you add extra fiber to your diet, which you should, you also need to add extra hydration to help your system process the fiber. Extra fiber without extra hydration ends up having the reverse of the intended effect, which results in an unhappy digestive tract.

chia fresca // the muffin myth

The Chia Fresca is simply a drink with chia seeds stirred in, left to sit while the chia seeds soak up some liquid, and then guzzled down. Because chia seeds hold up to 10x their weight in water, the little fiber bombs enter your system already hydrated. This means that rather than absorbing liquid from your digestive tract, the Chia Fresca provides liquid. This not only helps with hydration, which is great for athletes pre or post workout, or any of us on a hot day, but it can also help get things moving, if you get my drift (and I know you do).

But don’t think of this wonder drink as something just for when you’re feeling plugged up! I particularly like drinking a Chia Fresca if I’m fasting (a topic for another time) as the hydrated little seeds provide a sense of satiety. It’s wonderful on a hot day, before a long run, or just at any old time if you’re trying to get more chia into your diet.

And just what’s so great about chia? Read on for more info!

chia fresca // the muffin myth

One year ago: Mexican Black Bean Skillet
Two years ago: Raspberry Cornbread 

Chia Fresca Recipe:

Consider this recipe a jumping off point. I keep it simple with water and a squeeze of lime for my Chia Fresca, but you don’t have to stop there. Try using coconut water instead of plain old tap water. Want it a bit sweet? Stir in a teaspoon of honey or maple syrup. Don’t like lime? Try lemon, grapefruit, crushed up strawberries, or whatever else you’ve got on hand.

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1-2 cups cold water
1 Tbsp chia seeds
1 wedge of lime

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In a large glass combine the water, chia, and a squeeze of lime juice. Stir well to avoid clumps, and set aside for 10-15 minutes. You will have to stir again as the chia seeds will settle with time. When the seeds are well hydrated (they should look sort of like a tomato seed with the jelly layer around it), give the glass a final stir, and drink immediately.

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Ch-ch-ch-chia! Chia seeds are a concentrated source of the omega-3 fatty acid, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), are rich in dietary fiber. They are an excellent source of essential minerals such as phosphorous, manganese, calcium, sodium and potassium. Due to the exceptional water-absorption properites of chia, it can help prolong hydration and help the body retain electrolytes at times such as during exertion. Whole, water-soaked chia seeds are easily digested, and their nutrients can be quickly absorbed by the body. Once soaked, chia seeds bulk up, then work like a cleaning crew in our digestive systems. As they move through the intestinal tract, they help to dislodge and eliminate accumulated waste in the intestines. Many people find their stools also become more regular once they eat chia.

All text and photos © The Muffin Myth 2014

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