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Featuring delicious recipes made healthier and reviews to give you some new ideas.

Chia Goodness Review

Posted by Ann | Posted in Reviews | Posted on 11-06-2009

Apple Almond Cinnamon Chia Goodness

A while back, I saw a product called Chia Goodnessat the store and knowing all the potential health benefits of chia, I had to buy it.  Quoting the Chia Goodness package,  “Lactose free, chia contains more than five times the calcium of milk.  It is a good source of fiber, and contains no gluten.  With lots of essential fatty acids, trace minerals and protein, it is an all-around superfood.”   For all you flax nuts out there, chia has more Omega 3’s than flax!  If you add ground flaxseed into your stuff, why don’t you try chia next time instead?

This company, Ruth’s Hemp Foods, knows their health stuff which is obvious by reading the simple ingredients in this product (I purchased the apple almond cinnamon variety): Chia (salvia hispanica), buckwheat, hulled hemp seeds, dehydrated apples, almonds, raisins, organic cane sugar, cinnamon, celtic sea salt.  Everything is obviously well thought out to deliver the best possible flavor without sacrificing nutrition.  Well…there is added sugar, but trust me, if you’re going to eat this on its own it needs more sugar.  The first time I tried it, I just mixed 2TB of Chia Goodness with 4TB hot water.  To be honest, I would never eat this product alone again.  It tasted a little fishy, probably due to the chia and the omega-3 benefits?  Not sure….but not tasty this way.  The texture is a tad bit gummy with bits if chia sticking in your teeth sometimes.  I had to add some agave nectar to finish the bowl. 

Since then, I’ve added this to my yogurt and oatmeal, and it’s MUCH better!  It just gives a mild apple cinnamon flavor with a slight crunch- not as crunchy as granola (they’ll still stick in your teeth).  If you want your yogurt crunchy with granola, you can still add the Chia Goodness for a nutritional punch…or you can just add your plain old Chia or Salba seeds if you’ve got them.  However, if you don’t want that extra crunch or calories from the granola, this is a great nutritional option for you to just get some flavor along with the nutrition.  Here’s a handy dandy online pamphlet for you to read if you’re interested in reading more about it and the health benefits.

All in all, if you are interested in your health and something easy to add to your yogurt, this is a great product for you to buy.  If you’re more interested in just flavor, I’m not so sure this is for you.  If you still want the health benefits but want some awesome food…just put ground chia or Salba in your recipes you know you like.  May I suggest my Salba Fudgy Caramel Brownies? :)

Fudgy Gluten-Free Caramel Brownies

Posted by Ann | Posted in All Recipes, Ann's Favorites, Cookie and Bar Recipes | Posted on 19-05-2009

Photo by Roland A. Manarin

My mother-in-law makes the best caramel brownies with the caramel sandwiched between two layers of brownie.  Everyone requests them for any type of special occasion and she graciously makes them every single time.  I’ve made them before but they are time-consuming and not at all healthy, so I usually just chow on hers when she makes them!  This past weekend, she made them for my brother-in-law before he goes away for the summer.  As I ravenously munched on one…I realized, I can make this healthy and organic!  Well…healthier anyway.  The original ingredients are: a German chocolate cake mix, a stick of butter, 50 caramels (or a pound), 2/3rds cup evaporated milk, and 1 cup of chocolate chips. 

As I said, the original recipe is delicious but full of processed foods with hydrogenated fats and who knows what else.  For starters, I decided to add some Salba(or chia seeds) to mine to kick up the nutrition.  I borrowed the caramel recipe, consisting of organic honey and organic cream, from 101cookbooks.  I think it tastes better than any store-bought caramels anyway!  This version is dark-chocolatey but sweetened up with the caramel layer, it’s ooey, gooey, and delicious!  If you could see me right now, I’m dancing all over the place.  This is a little time-consuming and messy, but well worth it if you’re able to come up with the time.  I think I’m in caramel brownie heaven.

Ingredients:

  • 15-16 oz bag of bitter-sweet chocolate chips.  I used Ghiradelli 60%
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 tsp stevia
  • 5 Tb ground Salba or Chia seeds, I grind mine in the coffee grinder, but buying them pre-ground would’ve been less messy
  • 1/2 cup of firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 Tb vanilla
  • 1/2 cup almond flour, packed
  • 1/4 cup brown rice flour (or, instead of almond and brown rice, use 3/4 cup of whatever flour/flour mix you like…using coconut flour you’ll have to add lots more eggs.)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup heavy cream (for caramel)
  • 1 cup honey (for caramel)
  • 1/2 tsp salt (for caramel)

Method:

  • Click here for instructions on how to make the caramel.   …make caramel.  The caramel cools while you’re putting together the brownie ingredients so you may not need to put it over ice.  I did not.  I let mine get to 230 degrees and took it off the heat -I didn’t want the caramel to harden quite as much as if it were to be on an apple.  If you want less caramel, you can just use whatever ratio you prefer (3/4 cup cream to 3/4 cup honey, 1/2 cup to 1/2 cup)
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease 9×13″ pan
  • In a saucepan, melt butter and chocolate chips over medium, remove from heat when melted.  Add Salba, brown sugar, stevia, salt, vanilla and applesauce.
  • mix together brown rice flour, almond flour and baking soda 
  • Make sure the chocolate mixture is not too warm, then add eggs, easiest to use a fork or a whisk to get them incorporated
  • Add flour mixture, stir well
  • Pour half of the brownie mixture into pan.  To be on the cautious side, pour a little less than half.  Put in the oven and bake 6-7 minutes
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool a couple of minutes
  • Pour caramel mixture into the pan, spread it around to cover bottom brownie layer completely
  • Slowly piece together pieces of the brownie batter and flatten it and put on top of the caramel.  It’s more like a spoonful at a time, slowly making sure that all of the caramel is as covered as you can get it.  I was able to cover up all of the caramel 
  • Put in oven and cook another 18-20 minutes
  • Allow to cool completely, if you’re impatient like me, I put mine in the fridge to cool off.  These are too good to wait for!

If you don’t have Chia seeds or Salba, I think you can probably just omit it.  Here are a few resources if you’d like to read more about the health benefits.  Just hover over the word:  Salba brand, some chia info,  this one quotes Oprah’s Dr. Oz…of course, they’re touting their product, and here’s a not-so-biased information set.

…A note on the chocolate.  As we all know by now, dark chocolate is better for you than milk chocolate.  I find the darkest chocolate too bitter, I can comfortably go up to 63% where I think it tastes the best, but much more darkness and my enjoyment factor is gone.  If you can go darker, do it in this recipe!  If you don’t like it at all, just use milk  chocolate chips or semi-sweet, which are sweeter than 63% or bittersweet.  I had a good time one day about 8 years ago buying all kinds of percentages of fancy chocolate and having my own little taste test.  If you’re not sure what you like best, try that out!

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