Cooking and Recipes

Coconut and Vanilla Chia Seed Pudding (low sugar recipe)

Chia seeds are, in the world of food trends, pretty huge at the moment and it’s easy to see why. In terms of nutrition they’re quite a little power-house, containing more Omega-3 than salmon, pound for pound. The seeds come from a plant which is related to mint (although they don’t taste minty) and are high in fibre, protein and calcium amongst other things, and eating them has been proven to aid weight-loss. Some of us in the MTW house are a little iffy when it comes to dairy, which can make getting enough calcium hard, so adding chia will really help.

Chia Seeds

Getting seeds into your diet can be quite tricky if you don’t know how to prepare them, but luckily with chia seeds it’s really easy to make them into a pudding which uses just a few ingredients and is amazingly good for you. As you’ll know if you’ve gone through some of my slow cooker posts, we try to limit our sugar here in the Mum’s the Word house and instead opt for erythritol, which is actually a sugar alcohol which contains NO calories and none of the nasties of something like aspartame, and is zero-GI, making it completely safe for use by diabetics. If you also need Omega 3 supplements, this is our recommended site.

I’ve played around with a few chia seed pudding recipes, adapting as I go, and have ended up with something we all love…even Chuck likes it!!

Here’s how we make OUR chia seed pudding:

Coconut and Vanilla Chia Seed Pudding (low sugar recipe)
Recipe Type: Dessert
Cuisine: Healthy
Author: Jayne Crammond
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 5x100ml portions
A delicious pudding made from chia seeds and just a few other ingredients.
Ingredients
  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • 1/2 a cup of chia seeds
  • 1 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1/2 a cup of erythritol
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • Shaved coconut (optional)
Instructions
  1. Place all of the ingredients in a blender
  2. Blend for 1-2 minutes until all of the ingredients are combined
  3. Pour into ramekins or individual serving bowls
  4. Top with a little shaved coconut (if you like it)
  5. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours
Serving size: 100ml Calories: 226 Fat: 19g Saturated fat: 13g Carbohydrates: 16g Sugar: 0.1g Sodium: 0 Fiber: 12g Protein: 4g

The thing that we love about this pudding is that it’s sweet enough to feel like a real treat for dessert, but not so sweet that it would feel overwhelming as a breakfast. A small 100ml portion is also incredibly filling and feels like a really nice alternative to porridge, especially if it’s a hot day and you don’t want to go off in the morning laden with a belly-full of hot oats!

chai seed pudding

Obviously, the flavour is very coconutty, which is great if you’re a fan of coconut, but not ideal if you aren’t, however you can also flavour it with other things. Husband uses protein powder as a supplement after weight-lifting and I’m thinking of adding a scoop of either chocolate or banana next time we make it (or maybe BOTH!) to see how it affects the flavour. I think people also add raw cacao powder to the mixture too, but I’ve not tried that yet.

Do let me know what you think if you give this a try, or if you have any alternative recipes for things to do with chia!

Music

The Importance of Music

Music is something which is hugely important in the Mum’s the Word house. Husband and I are both avid listeners of all types of music and it has marked so many important occasions. When we met, one of the things that we realised we had in common was a massively eclectic taste in music which, surprisingly, overlapped in so many places. When we discovered that our favourite song was one and the same, something just clicked and felt completely…right.

I can never get my head around those people who say “I’m not really into music”. There are some songs which seem to speak to my soul on such a deep level that I can’t imagine not being moved by music. I suppose I’m quite an emotional person (in both a good and a bad way!) and on any given day a song can make me smile, cry or change my mood completely. There are some songs which almost reach out and make me sob involuntarily.

Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the last year or so, you can’t help but have noticed that many wonderful musicians have been taken from us, quite unexpectedly in some cases. Lemmy, David Bowie, Prince, Natalie Cole, John Bradbury, Glenn Frey to name just a few. For both Husband and I, the music of these amazing artists has been hugely important to us and although we didn’t know them as people, the loss of them as artists has been quite rough.

When you love an artist, especially ones who’ve been around your whole life, I think you kind of have this image of immortality in your head, thinking somehow that they’ll always be around and that you’ll get the chance one day to see them in concert. We’d both have LOVED to see David Bowie or Price or any of the others (although we were both lucky enough to see Motorhead in concert back in 2006, so that’s a small consolation). I know it’s quite naive to think that these people will be around forever; many were in their late sixties and certainly didn’t live very…clean…lives, but it still feels as though we’ve been robbed.

As a result, Husband and I have made a silent pact with one another to try to get to as many gigs as we can from now on. Last year, we saw Bad Religion, a band we both love, and it was amazing timing as they played in London on our wedding anniversary, so we got to have a night out together seeing a band who’s music means a lot to us. We’ve also got tickets to see Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys in September, which is a real ‘Bucket List’ item for us both as we’ve both loved The Beach Boys since we were tiny (when I was little, I collected vinyl records that I’d buy every Saturday from the second hand record shop at the end of my road and a Best of The Beach Boys was one of my prized possessions!).

We’ve also got tickets to see The Cure when they tour at the end of November, which is another really exciting thing for us – The Cure are one of those bands who we’d both wanted to see for such a long time but they don’t tour hugely often and when they do, the tickets are like hens teeth, so getting hold if tickets for this tour was a bit of a dream come true.

It may sound morbid, effectively ticking our favourite bands off of a list to make sure we see them before any key members die, but I like to think it’s more of a pragmatic nod to the fact that even the biggest stars are only human and we need to make an effort to absorb their art while they’re still around. Live music is such a wonderful experience and having more of those experiences together can only be a good thing.

Are you still reeling from all of the sad losses of this past year? Has it inspired you to watch more live music? Who’s on YOUR gig bucket list? I’d love you to leave me a comment below. Also, if you know of any amazing gigs coming up, do let me know!

Relaxation

Go Green with PG Tips

I don’t know about you, but I love a nice cup of tea, and I’m a big fan of different types of tea too, so when PG Tips asked me to write about their new Green Tea and the enormous monkey floating on the Thames to promote it, I thought “hey, why not?”. They’ve conducted a survey which has shown some surprising results about stress and relaxation, which you can read about after this video:

The survey was conducted with over 2000 people and 7 in ten of them described feeling stressed and overworked, with a distinct lack of ‘me time’ in their day to day life. Although I’m not out there in the workplace, this is something I can really identify with; even during ‘downtime’, there’s usually a kid attached to me or the feeling that I should be doing something more productive than just sitting down and it can leave you feeling pretty frazzled.

Having said that, we’re luckier than some given the fact that we’re surrounded by green space where we are, as the report shows that this can be massively beneficial:

Highlighted among the untapped properties of the colour green are the benefits of proximity to open spaces; numerous studies have reported the impact of so-called ‘eco-therapy’, with numerous studies reporting improved feelings of positivity and wellbeing as a result of spending time outdoors.

But the green paper report reveals it isn’t only the ‘green outdoors’ that has this affect; our primal association with the colour extends to many forms, with workplaces citing improved productivity among workers when the walls are painted green. In fact, even consuming ‘green’ food and drink – from leafy vegetables to green tea – has also been shown to produce feelings of energy and invigoration simply by association.

This fresh perspective on the ‘power of green’ could hold the key to maximizing our ‘me-time’ to boost feelings of positivity and reinvigoration; further insights reveal that even when people do manage a five minute break at work, it’s rarely beneficial – just one in five said they feel refreshed after stopping.

I completely agree with these findings, as I know how much I love the feeling of getting out into the open. Walking the dog in the massive open fields behind our house often gives me the feeling that I can breathe again after a long, stressful day – now I’m thinking that maybe I should be taking my travel mug full of PG Tips Green Tea to really maximise the effect!

What do you think? Does being in the outdoors help you to unwind? Are you a fan of a nice, warm cuppa to aid your relaxation? Leave me a comment below.

Fitness

Be a Fitness Superhero

Fitness SuperheroJust recently, I’ve been thinking about ways to get myself back to a healthier mindset, after spectacularly failing with my healthy eating and gym kick at the end of last year, so when protein powder shop Discount Supplements asked if I’d like to take their Fitness Superhero quiz, I thought it would be really interesting. You see, the quiz is designed to tell you where your strengths lie when it comes to slogging it out at the gym to help you to attack your fitness in a way that will work for you. Here’s the quiz, if you’d like to have a go:

According to my results, I’m ‘Melanie Marvel’, which tells me the following:
Melanie Marvel is one of the most powerful super heroes out there and her health and fitness routine is reflective of that.

Not only is she tough physically but she has a huge amount of mental fortitude to draw upon whenever she wants to – which stems from her extreme training and noble Greek heritage.

Melanie Marvel’s Top 3 Exercises:

• Mixed martial arts

• Intense gymnastics & acrobatic drills

• Fencing

I’m not sure I’m quite cut out for intense gymnastics, but I love the idea of trying my hand at mixed martial arts! Sausage is a huge fan of Ronda Rousey, not least of all because she’s a huge Pokemon nerd too, and I could think of far worse people for her to look up to than an Olympic medal-winning athlete!

One thing that I think I’d actually be quite good as is weight-lifting. I’m pretty physically strong for a 5’4″ woman and I reckon I could do really well at lifting weights. People often don’t realise that weight lifting is amazing for your cardiovascular health as well, which works well for me as my bust means I’m absolutely not cut out for running any great distance! Read more at Monica’s Health Magazine.

Have you taken the test? Do the results surprise you? Are you already working out to a similar regime to what the test suggests are are you on a completely different track? I’d love to hear what you think, please do leave me a comment below.