Well, this winter in Southern California was pretty un-winterlike. Most days have been sunny skies with temperatures in the 70s and 80s. Where’s the rain and cold that typifies February? Hey, I’m not complaining – I much prefer this short-sleeve weather! Even though Punxatawny Phil saw his shadow and predicted 6 more weeks of winter, I’m prediciting spring to arrive right on time. I think it’s actually arriving a little early as I’ve spied the spring veggies asparagus and artichokes in the market! Woo hoo! Let’s get the spring cooking class calendar set so we can take advantage of all the spring bounty!
March – Thursday 3/20 – Transitioning from winter to spring – lightening up those comfort foods
April – Thursday 4/24 – Mexcian Made Nutritious and Delicioso!
May – Thursday 5/15 – Desserts that won’t ruin your waistline!
All classes start at 7 pm and run until 8:30-ish
Location: my house (address given out with rsvp)
RSVP by the Wednesday morning before the class
Bring you appetite and cooking and nutrition questions.
If you were able to join me during any one (or all) of the cooking classes this summer, then you learned many new recipes that were not only nutritious and delicious, but easy. And of course, who can forget the signature cocktail being featured at each cooking class?Alas, the summer Cooking Class series (June, July, August) has come to an end and it's time to put our focus on the foods of fall. September is always such a tricky month because it's still officially summer for most of the month and the weather reminds us of this. So September's recipes will still have a lighter feel to them. October and November's recipes will definitely have a warmer, heartier feel to them.
Bring your appetite, food and nutrition questions, and of course, a sense of humor. Get ready to eat, drink, learn, and laugh. Bring a friend or two and share the evening having fun!
Thursday, SEPTEMBER 12th – Summer's last hurrah!
Thursday, OCTOBER 10th – Chilis, Soups, and Stews
Thursday, NOVEMBER 14th – New Thanksgiving recipes!
Class Time: 7:00-8:30 pm
Location: my house (address given upon rsvp)
The Spring cooking classes were a great success, featuring easy-to-make, nutritious and delicious recipes. The focus is always on getting in more vegetables, highlighting lean proteins, picking the right kinds of grains, and spicing it all up with fresh herbs, warm spices, and a punch of flavor from some acid. And let’s not forget about the delicious beverages. April’s class featured a delcious and sweet green smoothie and May’s cinco de mayo class started off with some bold mango margarits and strawberry margaritas. All classes will now have a featured beverage!
Here’s the proposed schedule of classes for the summer. Normally I hold them the first Thursday of each month, but the first thursday in July is the 4th, so I’m pushing it off to the next week. Same goes with August, as there are five thursday’s that month, so the schedule makes more sense this way.
JUNE 6 – Brunch (Father’s day is coming…)
JULY 11 – Desserts featuring summer fruits
AUGUST 8 – Light and Fresh Summer Soups and Salads
Class starts at 7:00 pm
please rsvp by the day before (morning)
Come hungry and be prepared to eat, laugh, and learn!
Happy 2013! It’s time to get cooking again – nutritious, delicious, and easy recipes that will help you achieve your wellness goals. Check out the calendar for the beginning of the year. Classes will be held monthly in my home, the first Thursday of every month from 7:00-8:30 pm. Bring your sense of humor, an appetite, and any nutrition questions you have.
February 7th – Valentine’s Day Menu
March 14th – Cooking with spring veggies
April 4th – One-pot meals
May 2nd – Cinco de mayo party (a.k.a., great Mexican Food)
Please rsvp to me: ErinMacdonaldRD@aol.com
Cost of class: $25
Bring some friends and get ready to eat, laugh, learn, and have some fun!
You know the cute little Chia Pets that seem to pop up every year around the holiday time. Spread the seeds, water, and watch them grow “hair” over a few short weeks. The hair is actually the sprouts of the chia seed. Yes, they’re edible, though I’m not sure I’d want to eat the ones grown on one of those clay figurines.
Chia seeds are one of the hot, new superfoods out there. Actually, they’re not so new, but thousands of years old. They date back to pre-Colombian times when the Aztec and Mayans are reported to have used them for both nutritional and medicinal purposes. Known as the “running food” for their ability to promote endurance, Spanish folklore has it that Aztec messengers could survive a whole day of running on just a handful of seeds.
Chia seeds have a pretty impressive nutritional profile:
Omega 3: chia is a vegan source of Omega 3s in the form of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). 1 tbs. of chia has 2,282 mg of Omega 3 fatty acids.
Fiber: contains both soluble (cholesterol lowering) and insoluble (sweeps through the digestive system) fiber with 5 grams of fiber per 1 tbs.
Minerals: Chia is a good source of Magnesium (promotes muscle relaxation), Potassium (reduces blood pressure and bloating), Calcium (promotes bone health), Iron (carries oxygen to muscles), and Folate (cardiovascular health and important for women of child-bearing age)
Antioxidants: Both white and dark chia seeds score high in the ORAC scale (measures amount of antioxidants), including quercetin, which has been shown to aid in athletic performance and recovery. These high levels of antioxidants help prevent the chia seed from going rancid, allowing it to be shelf stable for up to 1 year when stored in an air-tight container.
Gluten free: great for people with Celiac disease or Gluten sensitivity
15 grams of chia seed (approx. 1 tbs.) has 60 calories, 5 grams fat, 6 grams fiber, 3 grams protein, and 107 mg Calcium
Although there are a limited number of studies that have been conducted using chia seeds, some of those have had promising results.
Blood sugar control – studies have shown that consumption of approximately 2 tbs. of chia seeds help to reduce the rise in blood sugar that occurs after a meal and also helps to promote a feeling of fullness for a longer period of time.
Blood pressure – studies show that participants who ate chia seeds, as compared to those who didn’t, exhibited lowered blood pressure, which can help to reduce risk of heart attack and stroke.
Anti-inflammatory – Chia ranks highly in its antioxidant score, more than blueberries which are known to be one of the most powerful foods in terms of antioxidants. These antioxidants act to help combat the inflammation in the body that contributes to elevated cholesterol, high blood sugar, high blood pressure, and arthritis.
Weight loss – because chia seeds help to promote satiety, you’ll likely eat less in the meals following, meaning you’ll likely take in fewer calories during the day, which can lead to weight loss.
Boosts athletic performance – Chia seeds are a great source of energy, as they contain carbs, protein, and healthy fats. Take it from the Aztecs who could run for an entire day after eating just a spoonful of chia seeds, these little beauties can power up your workout and help you recover as part of a post-exercise meal.
How to use Chia
Ok, now that you’re interested in trying chia, you’re not quite sure how to use it. The most basic way to incorporate chia into your diet is to toss it into oatmeal and yogurt or mix it into your pancake, waffle, and muffin batter. One tablespoon adds 60 calories of a pleasant crunch. The other two popular ways of using chia are to make the long-used beverage known as “chia fresca” or to make a chia gel, which helps with blood sugar control and promotes satiety.
Chia gel: Place 2 tbs. chia seeds into a mason jar and add 8 oz of water. Place the lid on the jar and shake well. Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to allow the gel to form. The gel can stay in the fridge for 2 weeks. Add the gel to your oatmeal or try adding 2 spoonfuls to mashed fruit as a “jam” to go on toast. it’s really good.
Chia Fresca: Place 1 tbs. chia seed in a mason jar and add 10 oz. of filtered water. Cover, shake, and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Then add the juice of 1-2 lemons or limes. I also like to add the juice of 1 orange. Cover and shake again before drinking. It’s very refreshing and will help to give you a boost in energy.