Lemon Chia Seed Blueberry Bread {dairy-free}

I made this delicious quick bread last Sunday during nap time, and it was gobbled up before work on Monday.  The chia seeds are a nice swap for butter and the typical poppy seeds.  The almond yogurt replaces the need for milk or sour cream, and the blueberries and lemon complement each other perfectly.  

Be sure to mix the 1 tablespoon of chia seeds with 1/2 cup of water in advance – at least 2 hours.  This gives the seeds time to do their magic and gel.  If you prefer to mix them in advance, just cover and store in the fridge.

The fresh blueberries and lemon flavor create a nice balance of sweet and tart.  I like to keep dried lemon peel around – I never know when I’ll need it and I am not always great about keeping fresh lemons in the house, as much as I adore lemons.

The batter is a lovely golden color.

This bread shapes nicely and looks no different than bread made with dairy.  You will, however, noticed that the bread is slightly denser and moister than quick bread made with dairy.  Do not under bake this bread – be sure to check with a knife or toothpick, even if your timer has run out.  Enjoy!

Lemon Chia Seed Blueberry Bread – makes 1 loaf

1. At least 2 hours prior to baking, combine 1/2 cup water with 1 tablespoon chia seeds.  Allow to stand at room temperature.  If preparing the day before, cover and place in refrigerator.

2. Grease with margarine, and lightly flour a loaf pan.  Preheat oven to 325º.  In a medium bowl combine: 1-1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour, 1/4 teaspoon baking powder, and 1/8 teaspoon baking soda and set aside.

3. In a medium mixing bowl or with mixing stand, beat together 1 cup sugar, prepared chia seed mixture, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, zest of 1 lemon OR 2 teaspoons dried lemon peel, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla.  Add in 3 eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.  Scrape bowl frequently.  Alternately add flour mixture and 6 oz of almond yogurt to the chia mixture, beating on low speed after each addition, just till combined.  Scrape sides frequently.  Fold in 1 cup of fresh blueberries.  Pour batter into prepared pan.

4. Bake in a 325º oven for 60 to 75 minutes or until a knife or toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.  Cool on rack for 10 minutes.  Remove from pan and cool completely before slicing.

Banana Berry Breakfast Smoothie

I made one of these bad boys on Saturday morning – it was the perfect addition to my usual toast and peanut butter for breakfast.  The berry and banana flavors mixed with oats made it taste like a blueberry muffin in a cup.  

I’ve been using the single serving cups that came with our Ninja – they are too easy.  You just throw your ingredients into the cup, attach the blade, stick on the blender, blend for a perfect single serving, then remove and add the drinking lid.  When done, throw it in the dishwasher!
The three of us headed over to the Des Moines Art Center on Saturday morning for a 2-4 year olds art class.  It was snowing and we needed to get out of the house.  Greta loved the different methods of painting – brushes attached to long sticks, cars rolled in paint, tempera sticks, and stamping methods.  Of course, mommy was collecting ideas for her classroom as well.  

After the art center, we made a quick stop at La Mie Bakery for pastries, bread, and coffee.  Eric let me run in and pick out pastries…can you tell?  So much for the healthy smoothie and toast I had for breakfast earlier in the day.  

Banana Berry Breakfast Smoothie – makes 1 serving 
1. In a blender combine: 1 banana, 1 tablespoon chia seeds, 1/4 cup rolled oats, 1/4 cup frozen blueberries, 2-3 ice cubes, and 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk.  
2.  Blend until smooth.  Serve immediately.  

{butter-free} Chewy Chia Brownies

I made these delectable treats yesterday afternoon – I had been reading about using chia seeds as a replacement in baking for butter due to their ability to gel.  I had never baked with chia seeds before and was, admittedly, a little nervous.  However, the results were pleasantly chewy and most of a 9×13″ pan of brownies are gone.

 

In order to use chia seeds as a butter or gluten replacement, they must be mixed with water.  It is only then that these little super seeds begin their gelling magic.

These lovely little seeds are from South America and were part of ancient Aztecs and Mayans diets.  They can be eaten as they are, sprinkled on oatmeal or in yogurt, added to smoothies, and used in baking.  They have are high in Omega-3 and fiber.  They are best kept in the refrigerator or freezer, once opened.  1 tablespoon of these little guys has 60 calories, 40 from fat, 5g of fiber, 2, 282 mg of Omega-3, 6% daily recommended calcium, and 4% daily recommended iron.  (Source: Bob’s Red Mill, chia seed label)

Now, let’s compare the 1/2 cup of butter needed to make brownies, which has 814 calories, 92.06 g of fat, 244 mg cholesterol, and 3% daily recommended calcium. (Source: Fatsecret, USDA calorie counter)

Not bad, not bad, little seed.

I simply soaked my chia seeds in water for an hour before using, and then combined them with the liquid ingredients.  My next steps are to try grinding the seeds before soaking to make a more even texture.  There is a little crunch to these brownies, which did not bother me one bit, I likened it to small nut pieces.

I opted for whole wheat pastry flour.  I have been using this as a swap for white all-purpose flour quite a bit lately and have been liking the results.  Next time I make these brownies they will be gluten-free.  I am sure the chia seeds will work wonders in gluten-free flour.
Note: I made a large batch, but the recipe below can easily be reduced by half to make a smaller batch, just simply use an 8×8″ or 9×9″ pan instead.
Butter-Free Chewy Chia Browniesadapted Better Homes & Gardens
1. In a small bowl combine: 1 cup water and 2 tablespoons chia seeds.  Allow to soak for 1-2 hours before using.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9×12″ glass pan with margarine.  Set aside.  In a large mixing bowl combine: 1-1/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 2 cups sugar, and 4 tablespoons dark unsweetened cocoa powder.
3.  In a medium mixing bowl combine: 4 eggs, 2 teaspoons vanilla, and the chia seed and water mixture.
4. Make a well in the dry ingredients.  Pour in liquid ingredients, combine just till moistened.  Pour batter into prepared pan.  Bake in 350 degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes or till knife inserted in center comes out clean.