Why you need to start making your own Strawberry Chia Jam at home

If you haven’t tried making your own jams before than you need to start. It is easier than you think, much more flavoursome and this recipe contains no added refined sugar so making it much better for you.

I’m an advocate of sugar free foods that is added refined sugars and only like to use natural sweeteners in small amounts where necessary. When making this strawberry chia jam I just let the juicy overripe strawberries be the star of the show. Adding some pure honey as a natural sweetener, though the real sweetness evolves when the strawberries are gently boiled and start to break down and soften.

Like most homemade products the quality starts from the produce. Look out for some good quality, ripe strawberries from your local fruit shop or farmers market usually on sale or quick sell stand are ideal. Adding chia seeds means you don’t need pectin which is the thickening agent used in most jams. Chia seeds absorb liquid when left to set and the added bonus is they are little balls of goodness. Chia seeds are full of protein, minerals and fibre they can be found in the health food isle in the supermarket or health food store.

Make sure to have sterilised jars handy to fill, let the jam set in the fridge until cool for a few hours at least and you will have juicy flavoursome fruit jam ready for your morning toast, afternoon scones or children’s sandwiches.

Homemade Strawberry Chia Jam

  • Servings: makes 2 large jars
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Recipe from Donna Hay

Ingredients

800g ripe strawberries, hulled and halved

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/3 cup water

1/2 cup maple syrup, honey or rice malt syrup

2 vanilla beans, split and seeds scraped

1 tablespoon white chia seeds

Directions

  1. Place the strawberries, lemon juice, water, maple syrup and vanilla beans and seeds in a medium saucepan over high heat.
  2. Cook for 15mins, stirring occasionally until strawberries are soft.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in chia seeds. Transfer to sterilised Jars and refrigerate until cool.

Baking Is My Happy Place 

Its been  a challenging few days so I did what I do best and confined myself in my kitchen and did some baking.

Cooking/baking is my therapy, it is the best way to distract myself from things that might be challenging  me in my life. It clears my mind of negative thoughts and lets me focus on the job at hand. If only for that moment it takes me  to a creative place where I only think of food and how is makes me feel. And the best thing is I get to eat it at the end and share it with the rest of the family. Everyone has their bad days and cooking is my happy place, my pick me up. We should all find what it is that is your positive outlet  and embrace it because only you have the strength and the power to rise above your worries and keep on going.

I didn’t have the focus to be creative today so I flicked through my old faithful Fresh & Light magazines to get some inspiration and found one of Donna Hays’ healthy muffin recipes. They are a little sweet and a little savoury, perfect for an afternoon pick me up without delving for the chocolate!

Recipe adapted from Donna Hays Fresh & Light Magazine issue 5

Carrot, Chia & Ricotta Muffins

  • Servings: 12
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Ingredients

1 1/2 cups wholemeal spelt flour or wholemeal flour

3 tsp baking power

1 cup LSA meal (mix of linseed, sunflower seeds and almonds ground to a meal) or plain linseed meal

1/4 cup white chia seeds plus extra for topping

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/3 cup rice malt syrup or honey

1/2 cup of coconut or rapadura sugar

3/4 cup grapeseed oil or light olive oil

1 cup buttermilk

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup sultanas

3 carrots grated

1 egg

1 cup fresh ricotta

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 180’C
  2. Place flour, baking powder, meal, chia seeds, cinnamon, rice malt syrup, coconut sugar, oil, milk, vanilla, sultanas, carrot and egg in a large bowl and mix all ingredients until well combined
  3. Add the ricotta and gently fold through
  4. Spoon mixture into non stick 12x hole muffin tin or lined with paper cases, sprinkle with extra chia seeds
  5. Bake in the oven for 30 mins or until tested with a skewer comes out clean.
  6. Turning onto a wire rack to cool

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Blood Orange, Almond & Chia Mini Cakes

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To finish off the last of the blood oranges I had excess of (read previous post to understand the mishap)  I decided to make my orange and almond cake but mini versions. I added black chia seeds to this recipe instead of poppy seeds for extra nutrition, we all know how wonderful chia seeds are for us but you can leave them out if you like.

The blood oranges made a nice change from the normal oranges in this recipe, these little cakes  are also gluten-free and refined sugar-free just sweetened with rice malt syrup and the sweetness of the blood oranges . You can make this as one large cake just extend the cooking time to 1 hour. I did sprinkle some icing sugar for photo purposes but you can totally leave that part out to make them completely refined sugar-free.

Served them with some natural yoghurt to top things off,  a delectable little guilt free treat indeed which can also be popped in the freezer to save for a later date. A must try for any dessert lover which is trying to cut out refined sugar and is gluten intolerant.

Blood Orange, Almond & Chia Seed Cakes

A gluten and refined sugar-free cake that perfect for afternoon tea or a guilt free dessert

Ingredients

3 blood oranges

3 eggs

1/3 cup rice malt syrup

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp baking powder

2 cup almond meal (ground almonds)

1 tb black chia seeds

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 160’C
  2. In a small saucepan place 2 whole blood oranges skin on and fill with water to cover
  3. Boil for 1 hour till soft. Drain and set aside to cool
  4. Process oranges in a food processor till smooth
  5. Add eggs, rice malt or sweetener of choice, vanilla, baking power, and almond meal process till all combined, stir through chia seeds
  6. Peel and slice one blood orange and place in the bottom of the cake tins
  7. Pour evenly into individual greased  baking tins or a 20cm  round greased cake tin
  8. Bake in the oven for 30-35mins or 1 hour for whole cake
  9. Leave in the tins for 10mins to cool slightly before turning onto a wire rack fruit side up
  10. Serve with natural yoghurt

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Chia Seeds, Tiny Balls Of Goodness

Chia Seeds are amongst the most nutritious foods on the planet, here are some reasons why you should be eating these tiny balls of goodness.

+ They are Gluten Free

+ Contain high amounts of fibre, protein, tons of antioxidants and my favourite omega3 fatty acids which assists in healthy brain development great for kids

+ Can lower the risks of heart disease

+ Maintains healthy bones

+ Improves exercise performance

+ Makes you feel fuller for longer, an excellent breakfast food

This recipe is so easy takes all of 5 mins to prepare, leave it in the fridge overnight and you have breakfast ready for the morning.

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Raspberry Chia Breakfast Pudding

  • Difficulty: easy peasy
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A easy prepared superfood breakfast or snack that the whole family can enjoy. You can add which ever fruit you like also can add to your favourite muesli or granola

Ingredients

1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries mashed slightly with a fork

2 cups natural greek yoghurt

1/4 cup white chia seeds

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 tbs rice malt syrup

extra raspberries and blueberries to top

Directions

In a medium bowl add all ingredients and mix to combine, cover and refrigerate overnight. Serve with extra fruit or muesli

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