my 3 fave ways to use chia seeds

chia seeds

In the past year, thanks to some of my favorite bloggers {I’m looking at you, Julie and Lindsay!} I’ve been introduced to a nutritional powerhouse: chia seeds! In just one tablespoon of chia seeds, you get six grams of fiber, three grams of protein, and 2.9 grams of Omega-3 fatty acids.

Here are three of my favorite, no-fuss ways to use chia seeds in my daily life:

1. Smoothies. Just sprinkle some chia seeds on top of your fruit and ice and blend away! A smoothie combo I’ve been loving lately is strawberry + banana + mango.

smoothie

2. Salads. I love adding a tablespoon of chia seeds on top of my favorite healthy chicken salad.

chicken salad lunch

3. Baked goods. Stir a spoonful of chia seeds into your muffin or bread batter — or hey, why not even try some in brownies, cookies or cakes? I just made a batch of chocolate-chip banana muffins with some chia seeds added in!

banana muffins

When the weather cools down a little, I know I’ll be switching out my breakfast smoothies for a warm bowl of oatmeal — another great dish to sprinkle chia seeds on! I’ve yet to try overnight oats but I’ve heard chia seeds are a crucial ingredient in helping the oat mixture thicken overnight. This and this are both on my “to try” list of recipes!

Have you ever tried chia seeds? If so, what are your favorite ways to use them?

Kitchen Tip Tuesdays: 3-ingredient banana cookies

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Hi everyone! Time for another Kitchen Tip Tuesdays post! {Here are links to my previous posts about making the most of oven time and reusing leftovers in new recipes.}

I have a quick recipe to share with you today — it’s an easy and delicious cookie that is also healthy for you! And it only has three ingredients {one of which is chocolate!} 🙂 That’s my kind of recipe!

This would make the perfect sweet dessert, kid-friendly snack, or grab-and-go breakfast. It’s also a great way to use up spotty bananas before they go bad.

banana cookies

All you need to make these babies are:

  • 2 bananas
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips {if desired; I used mini chocolate chips for mine}

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Mash bananas in a bowl. Add oatmeal and chocolate chips and stir until well combined.

banana dough

3. Plop dough onto a greased cookie sheet {I greased mine with coconut oil} and bake for 15-18 minutes.

Done and YUM! How easy is that?

banana cookies done

This recipe is also easily customizable to suit your tastes! You can add chopped nuts, raisins, peanut butter, coconut … whatever your taste buds desire!

What are some of your favorite grab-and-go recipes?

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if you enjoyed this post, you might also like:
peanut butter breakfast cookies
chocolate strawberry coconut cookies
2-ingredient pumpkin spice cookies

year of kindness challenge: week 13

year of kindness button

Hi everyone! Sorry I’m a day late posting this — yesterday’s Foodie Pen Pals reveal bumped things back a day. Hope your week is off to a good start!

Last week was very exciting around here, as the Year of Kindness Challenge was featured on the amazing blog Money-Saving Mom! What a true honor! Welcome and thank you to all our new subscribers! 🙂

The Week 12 Kindness Challenge was to deliver something sweet — coffee, cookies, baked goods, etc. — to your local fire station. I baked a pumpkin pie from scratch and delivered it to the local fire station with a handwritten thank-you note:

pumpkin pie

week 12 challenge

thank you note

My dad sent me this note about his act of kindness for the week:

“Instead of the fire station I gave some yummy Limonera gourmet lemon candy chews to a policeman and thanked him for his service. (I did it at my running park as they tend to come in and circle around now and then and I was ready!) I could tell the gesture made his day…”

And here are some wonderful kindness posts by my new blogger friend Pam:

Some good things happened in my world this week:

  • my absolutely wonderful and amazing friend Holly came to visit me
  • another friend surprised me with homemade cookies
  • I received a ton of sweet emails and congratulations about the Steinbeck Fellowship, which I am completely thrilled and beyond words excited to have been awarded for this upcoming school year — I’ll be moving to San Jose in August!!
  • I reconnected with a few good friends, who I will miss dearly after we graduate in May
  • Karen Russell, terrifically talented author of Swamplandia! and Vampires in the Lemon Grove, came to speak at Purdue and was so insightful, kind, generous and funny. I greatly admire her work and it was a real treat to meet her!

Now, on to this week’s kindness challenge: give someone flowers. This could be a friend, sibling, child, parent, neighbor, coworker, or even a stranger. They could be flowers from the store or from your own garden. You could give them in person or leave them for someone as an anonymous surprise. Spread the springtime AND the kindness this week!

As always, blog about your experiences and include your links in the comments section below, or feel free to send me an email at dallaswoodburn <AT> gmail <DOT> com.

Have a great week!
-Dallas

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year of kindness archives:
– week 1 challenge: donate items to those in need
– week 2 challenge: leave quarters & note at laundry machine
– week 3 challenge: write & send a kind handwritten note
– week 4 challenge: give hot chocolate to someone outside in the cold
– week 5 challenge: do something kind for a neighbor
– week 6 challenge: deliver valentines to a nursing home
– week 7 challenge: donate to a food pantry
– week 8 challenge: donate toiletries to a shelter
– week 9 challenge: post a kind note in a public place
– week 10 challenge: do something kind for a child
– week 11 challenge: thank someone in a genuine & meaningful way
week 12 challenge: deliver baked goods to a fire station

year of kindness challenge: week 12

year of kindness button

Hi, everyone! Hope your week is off to a good start.

Last week’s kindness challenge was to thank someone in a genuine and meaningful way. I wrote three thank-you notes to friends, and I also tried to be extra-aware of the many small kindnesses and smiles that people give me in everyday life. For every “Thank you!” I said, I tried to fill my words with genuine warmth and gratitude. And, whaddaya know? Just that simple awareness made me feel more grateful.

This past week’s challenge also got me thinking about the various people in the community who are there, keeping me safe in the event of an emergency … which inspired this week’s act of kindness: The Week 12 Kindness Challenge is to deliver something sweet — coffee, cookies, baked goods, etc. — to your local fire station. 

As always, blog about your experiences and include your links in the comments section below, or feel free to send me an email at dallaswoodburn <AT> gmail <DOT> com.

-Dallas

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year of kindness archives:
– week 1 challenge: donate items to those in need
– week 2 challenge: leave quarters & note at laundry machine
– week 3 challenge: write & send a kind handwritten note
– week 4 challenge: give hot chocolate to someone outside in the cold
– week 5 challenge: do something kind for a neighbor
– week 6 challenge: deliver valentines to a nursing home
– week 7 challenge: donate to a food pantry
– week 8 challenge: donate toiletries to a shelter
– week 9 challenge: post a kind note in a public place
– week 10 challenge: do something kind for a child
week 11 challenge: thank someone in a genuine & meaningful way

saturday upsides: special delivery to the nursing home

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Happy Saturday, everyone! So we all survived the end of the world … hooray! There’s an upside right there. 😉

Another upside: today is my brother’s 23rd birthday! Happy birthday, Greg!!

happy bday gb

We are going out to brunch, per our special sibling tradition, and we’ll be going out to dinner as a family. I’m excited to celebrate the birthday of my amazing brother! My first-ever memory is when he was born. I was two-and-a-half years old and I just remember standing in the living room of our old house, telling my mom to “Call Daddy, call Daddy!” My dad was at work and my mom was home with what she thought was the flu {it was two weeks before her expected due date} when her water broke … my dad rushed home and we just barely made it to the hospital in time! My family always jokes that I almost delivered my brother that day!

do good feel good

My final upside for this lovely Saturday is based on the idea “Do good, feel good.” There’s nothing like those warm-fuzzies you get when you feel like you did something nice for someone else — I find it especially powerful during the holiday season. It means so much to feel like I could make someone’s holiday a little brighter!

I’ve been thinking a lot lately of my friend Jewell, who passed away two years ago in February. She was an incredibly sweet and compassionate person and I used to visit her at the local nursing home, where we shared many meals and long conversations. Here we are about a year before she died:

me and jewell

And here she is wearing a scarf I made her for Christmas:

jewell

I used to enjoy making Jewell homemade Christmas gifts and cards, and last Christmas {the first once since her death} I really missed her. This year, I had an idea: I could still give a gift to Jewell by doing something kind for others in her memory.

So I whipped up a batch of sweet treats {my butterscotch pudding cookies & holiday white chocolate pretzels!} and spent an hour making homemade cards. I used crayons, stamps, stickers, and markers to make my own designs, and I also “upcycled” some Christmas cards we’d received in previous years by cutting off the front picture and gluing it to a new piece of cardstock to make a new card.

more cards

more cards 2

I made sixteen cards in total. Then I packed up some treats on a plate, gathered all my cards together, and headed out to the nursing home for a Yuletide delivery!

special delivery!

I could feel Jewell’s warm spirit with me as I delivered the cards and cookies to the nursing home residents. They were so happy and waved and hugged me and said, “Thank you!” and “Merry Christmas!” I hope Jewell was looking down and smiling.

Want to do a similar project in your town? Here are some examples of notes I wrote in the cards:

  • Hope your holiday season is filled with joy and peace! Love, a friend
  • Someone is thinking of you this holiday season and sending warm wishes your way!
  • Merry Christmas! Have a wonderful season filled with warm memories, hope and love!

Now I’m off to finish wrapping Greg’s birthday gifts! 🙂 Have a fantastic day!

chocolate spice zucchini muffins

As you have probably figured out by now, I love baking. I haven’t met many baked goods that I don’t like! {I have an especially hard time staying away from the bakery items at Starbucks … I always go in planning to just get a healthy green tea, but the pumpkin bread and/or maple scones love to call my name!}

That said, I do love baking things myself because I love taking a delicious recipe and tweaking it to make it healthier, while hopefully still retaining the deliciousness level.

Which is why when I came across this recipe for chocolate zucchini muffins, I was super excited to try it out. Anytime you can figure out a way to sneak some veggies into a chocolate fix seems like a win to me!

These turned out chocolatey, moist and I liked the hints of cinnamon and spice. They’re pretty healthy as far as muffins go. You could probably add some frosting to these too if you wanted to make some uber-healthy cupcakes!

chocolate spice zucchini muffins

– 3 egg whites
– 1/2 cup sugar {I used 1/4 cup white sugar & 1/4 cup brown sugar}
– 1/2 cup no sugar added applesauce
– 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
– 1 cup grated zucchini
– 1 & 1/2 cups flour
– 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
– 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
– 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
– 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
– optional: mini-chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease or line a muffin tin with paper liners.

2. In a large bowl beat the egg whites. Beat in the sugar and applesauce. Add the cocoa, vanilla, zucchini and stir well.

3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.

4. Pour the flour mixture into the zucchini mixture and stir until just moist.

5. Pour batter into prepared muffin tins, filling them about 3/4 of the way full.

6. Optional: For a topping use any, all or a combination of the following: brown sugar, chopped nuts and mini chocolate chips. Sprinkle tops of muffins just prior to baking.

7. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool on a wire rack. Store loosely covered.

-Time: 40-45 minutes {including bake time}
-Cost: about $3