Sunday, January 22, 2012

Chocolate Cherry Overnight Oats

Lately I've been wondering how to get more chia seeds into my diet.

For those of you that are unfamiliar with these strange little seeds, yes, they are the seeds that grow the grassy "hair" on a Chia Pet from the 70s. But they are also an incredible source of omega-3 fatty acidseven more so than flax seeds. And it has another advantage over flax: chia is so rich in antioxidants that the seeds don't deteriorate and can be stored for long periods without becoming rancid. And, unlike flax, they do not have to be ground to make their nutrients available to the body. Chia seeds also provide fiber (25 grams give you 6.9 grams of fiber) as well as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, molybdenum, niacin, and zinc.

Another advantage: when added to water and allowed to sit for 30 minutes, chia forms a gel. Researchers suggest that this reaction also takes place in the stomach, slowing the process by which digestive enzymes break down carbohydrates and convert them into sugar.

Chia has a nutlike flavor. You can mix seeds in water and add lime or lemon juice and sugar to make a drink known in Mexico and Central America as "chia fresca." As with ground flax seeds, you can sprinkle ground or whole chia seeds on cereal, in yogurt or salads, eat them as a snack, or grind them and mix them with flour when making muffins or other baked goods.

I find them tasty and an interesting addition to my diet. I happen to really like the consistency of them in smoothies and puddings. For some people, it will take a little getting used to. For others, it might be love at first bite. And for some, you just might never become a chia lover. But if you have never tried these little buggers and you are up for some nutritional adventure, I highly recommend getting a bag of 'em.

Chia seeds are all the rage amongst a group of healthy bloggers. Somehow, a recipe for something called  Banana Soft Serve Vegan Overnight Oats emerged. I made my first parfait about a year and a half ago. It was love at first bite, but somehow I forgot all about it until I saw it again this weekend on Pinterest, just as I was pondering how to get more chia seed into my diet! Ka-Bam! There are tons of awesome recipes out there on the web for this done up with different flavors. It's so much fun to experiment with!

I made a chocolate cherry version but I'm already dreaming up my next one . . . peppermint patty.
VOO: looks strange, tastes good.

Chocolate Cherry Vegan Overnight Oats
serves 1

Printable Recipe

layer A:
1/3 cup regular oats (not steel cut)
1 Tbsp chia seeds
1 cup alternative milk, like almond or soy
1/4 scoop Amazing Grass Green Superfood Chocolate Drink Powder or a chocolate protein powder
1/2 tsp maple syrup
layer B:
1 large frozen banana or 1 1/2 small frozen bananas
1/2 cup frozen cherries
up to 1 Tbsp raw cacao powder or high quality cocoa powder (not dutch processed)
splash of alternative milk

In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients for layer A and refrigerate overnight or for 1 hour.

In the morning, prepare layer B by placing all of the ingredients into the canister of a high speed blender or the bowl of a food processor fitted with the S blade. If using the blender, blend the ingredients and tamp them down until the mixture is even and creamy. If using a food processor, process and stop to scrape down the sides often until the mixture is even and creamy.

Layer the overnight oats mixture with the banana soft serve and eat immediately.

Do you have chia seeds in your pantry? Have you ever made Vegan Overnight Oats?

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