I think along the way Sophia and Karina may have been introduced to one those quirky pseudo-pets Sea Monkeys–those strange little hatching somethings come to life after being packaged in suspended animation. But I don’t believe they yet know the joys of owning a Chia Pet! I know our children had them. And at least here in the United States we can still repeat the commercial catchphrase, “Ch-ch-ch-chia!”
Those little chia seeds are better eaten for their health benefits than inhabiting terra-cotta pots! The Chia Seed is a nutritional powerhouse, high in antioxidants, magnesium, calcium…I could keep going, but you get the point! I should mention that it is a valuable source of Alpha-Linolenic Acid, an Omega-3 essential fatty acid that helps support cardiovascular function. High in protein, it is fiber-rich also, supporting the digestive system and may contribute to lowering cholesterol levels…that’s a lot of benefit to be found in little seeds. And unlike flax seeds, they don’t need to be ground to make the nutrients available to the body.
Chia Seeds are a whole grain once used by Aztecs as a main energy source. There are many ways to incorporate this energy-boosting food into the diet–the easiest being just toss them into yogurt or sprinkle them on cereal. But they are also easily incorporated into baking. They don’t have a lot of taste so they don’t compete with other flavors!
Tonight I thought I’d take some of that overgrown zucchini I showed you a week ago, shred it, and make a healthy (well, healthier) version of zucchini muffins!
The addition of applesauce instead of so much oil makes these a much lighter version of the original recipe.
Zucchini-Applesauce-Chia Muffins (12 good-sized muffins)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups of zucchini, grated and squeezed of excess liquid
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup natural unsweetened applesauce
2 cups unbleached bread flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4-1/2 cup chia seeds (depends on how bold you want to be-I usually add even more)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (I don’t add nuts because the little girls don’t like nuts in their muffins…even though Sophia claims that cashews are her favorite peanut!)
Heat oven to 350 degrees F and prepare a 12-cup muffin tin in whatever method you prefer.
Combine the sugar, egg, vanilla, and stir in zucchini, oil and applesauce. In another bowl combine all the dry ingredients, including the chia seeds. Add the flour mixture to the zucchini mixture…stir by hand or use the mixer…makes little difference.
Add to the muffin cups and bake until a nice golden brown–about 25 minutes. Let them rest for about five and they are good to go! They are very moist, and they make a nutritious muffin.
I hope you’ll have a chance to try them! They are really good…and if you have zucchini (courgettes) in your garden, let one or two get a little larger before you pick them and you’ll have one of those mega-squash that are just perfect for shredding and using in baked goods. I hope you’ll join me in getting familiar with Chia Seeds.
I may be in the market for a Chia Pet soon, too. Nan and Papa’s house may need one!