Chicken and Fruit Salad

spring berries atop lettuce and grilled chicken

Although I don’t follow everything Dr. Joel Fuhrman says, I do love his advice to try to eat G-Bombs daily. This stands for Greens, beans, onions, mushrooms, berries and seeds and nuts.
My lunch salad today hit several of these notes and I just couldn’t resist taking a picture of it. (A change from brownies, right?)

First, I always grill extra chicken breasts when I make them so we can add it cold to our lunch salads.

Love berries

I used romaine lettuce and spinach for the greens. Then I piled on carrots, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries and raw pecans. With just a bit of fat free dressing. It was delightful!

It’s spring in Iowa and soon we’ll be hunting for blueberries at a farm near by, instead of the grocery store. Then the other fruits follow along in turn and life is so sweet.

Enjoy your spring!

chicken and fruit salad

Chia Blueberry Muggin – Muffin in a Mug

After a month of nonstop holiday baking, cooking (and, naturally, eating), I’m trying to wean myself off sugar. After only a few days of so-so success, I feel as if I should be sainted. Yikes. I’ve heard sugar is as addictive as hard drugs and I believe it.
So while I was experimenting in the kitchen with a no sugar brownie recipe (which was nothing to blog about!) I heard on the news that there is a recipe contest using chia seeds.

big as the tip of a pencil


My ears perked up. Chia Seeds! You know, those cute little black dots that look like poppy seeds. They actually sport a variety of subtle shades of brown, grey and black and are the size of the top of a pencil.

I do enjoy using chia seeds and happen to have a couple of bags of them on hand. My mind raced with all the fun things I could make. Everyone seems to love the simplicity and variety of the Muggin – or Muffin in a Mug. So Voila! A Chia Blueberry Muggin.
The most popular item on my blog is the Cinnamon Muffin in a Mug. So I know the simplicity of a muggin is an easy way to get a ton of nutrition in a tasty package.

chia seed varieties

The contest rules say that you need to use 2 Tablespoons of chia seeds in each recipe. To make this even more nourishing, I used blueberries and walnuts; both superfoods. Add the oatmeal and this includes FOUR superfoods!

If you don’t know much about the chia seeds, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to know they contain all kinds of omega-3 fatty acids. Not that I really know what that is or why anything called a “fatty acid” would be a healthy addition to a diet. It’s a mystery, but I’ll accept it on faith.

Chia seeds also absorb moisture in our stomachs, so they expand and help us stay full longer. There’s tons more information about this superfood in dozens of websites. This one seems to lay out the facts simply about chia nutrition.

I made a few versions before the master taste tester, my hubby Ken, tried a bite and his eyes lit up. “This is really good,” he said sounding like Dr. Oz who says that after trying every culinary item presented to him. I do hope Dr. Oz likes them because the contest prize is a trip to New York to present the item to the great Oz himself. And this is a prize winning recipe. Try it and see if your taste buds don’t cheer!

Be careful not to “over bake” this. The chia seeds will expand with moisture, so I took it out of the microwave when it was just set up in the middle and still a bit gooey on the bottom when I flipped it onto a plate. That was perfect.

Note: For those who follow my blog and have a container of “Muggin Mix,” yes, you may use the mix. Just delete the flour, oats and baking powder from the ingredients below and use 3 TBS + ½ tsp of Muggin Mix.

Gluten Free option – swap out the flour for quick oats.
Dairy Free option – swap out the yogurt for applesauce or oil.

Chia Blueberry Muggin – or Muffin in a Mug
Ingredients
1 egg
2 TBS plain yogurt
1 TBS honey
½ tsp almond extract
2 TBS chia seeds

2 TBS flour
1 TBS quick oats
½ tsp baking powder

4 TBS blueberries (fresh or frozen)
2 TBS chopped walnuts

Directions
Whisk the egg in a large coffee mug that will hold at least 12 – 16 ounces.
Add yogurt, honey, almond extract and chia seeds and mix well.
Stir in the dry ingredients until well blended.
Carefully fold in the blueberries and walnuts.
Put in microwave for about 1 ½ – 2 minutes. Don’t over bake.
Tip out onto a plate and enjoy.

The perfect breakfast – or dessert. High in protein, fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, whatever they are! Three superfoods cha cha together using ch-ch-ch-chia seeds.

The most popular item on my blog is the Cinnamon Muffin in a Mug. Please give it a test drive.
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Banana Almond Chocolate Chip Cake-in-a-Cup – GF

I’m going nuts. Or should I say bananas? The political ads have bombarded us with fear and loathing for months -years really. But the last six months have been a steady diet of jabs and punches. If you believe all the attack ads you are left to wonder if only crazy people run for public office.

It’s nuts! Bananas! No wonder I’ve been playing with nuts and bananas in my kitchen for an escape from the insanity. That’s my excuse at any rate and I do hope you enjoy this latest cake-in-a-cup.

Banana Almond Chocolate Chip Cake-in-a-Cup is my offering for my friends who need gluten free and who crave a baked dessert. I”ve tasted some of the GF items on the supermarket shelves that were dry and tasteless. I promise this one is moist and fabulous.
And even if you don’t need gluten free, you have my permission to make and enjoy this latest offering from my “Single Serving” collection.

Ingredients
2 TBS slivered almonds (I used honey glazed)
1 egg
1 TBS honey
2 TBS plain or vanilla yogurt
2 TBS almond meal (or almond flour)
1 TBS oats (quick or old fashioned)
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/4 tsp baking powder
2 TBS dark chocolate chips

Directions
Use a glass cup or mug that will hold at least 12 – 16 oz.
Add the nuts to the cup.
Mix the rest of the ingredient in a separate bowl.
Use a fork to mash the bananas into the rest of the ingredients.
Add the chocolate chips last when everything is well blended.
Pour the batter over the nuts before you “bake.”
Bake in a microwave oven 2 – 3 minutes depending on your microwave.
Turn the cake out onto a plate and let it cool for a minute or two before you devour it…if you can.

Enjoy responsibly.
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Pineapple Upside Down Cake-in-a-Cup

Growing up in the 1950′s and ’60′s we ate cake as if it was health food. And judging from the old cookbooks of the time, everyone was indulging. Sure there were pancakes, coffee cakes, muffins, and cupcakes to go around.

But we punctuated every occasion with a proper cake: devil’s food, angel food, carrot, oatmeal-cinnamon, caramel apple, German chocolate and pineapple upside-down cake.
As the third of eight girls, I did a ton of the baking and I loved making this cake. You melted brown sugar and butter in the bottom of a 9 x 13 cake pan and then placed rings of canned pineapple. The actual cake batter went on top. After it was baked, you tipped it over onto a large platter to show off the succulent pineapple all warm and gooey from the brown sugar.

moist


I recently decided to see if I could create a single serving of this nostalgic dessert. With one exception – I added coconut. My sister Cecelia (#4) didn’t like coconut, so I only added it to baked goods when I was mad at her. But since this is a single serving, I didn’t need to worry that she might drop in and complain about my choices.

coconut is a great addition

delicious

I made several versions of the cake and the one we liked best mimiced the old format of having the pineapple and coconut on the bottom. “Try it…you’ll like it!”

Ingredients for Pineapple Upside Down Cake-in-a-Cup – with coconut
1 tsp butter
3 TBS brown sugar – total
1 TBS coconut
3 TBS canned pineapple tidbits
1 egg
2 TBS yogurt
1/2 tsp vanilla
3 TBS flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
dash salt

Directions
Use a large glass mug that holds 12 – 16 ounces
Put the butter, 1 TBS brown sugar, pineapple and coconut in the bottom of the cup.
In a separate bowl, whisk the rest of the ingredients together with a fork until blended.
Pour the batter into the cup.
Microwave 2 minutes or until done.
Invert onto a plate and admire your work.

Note: If you want to skip a few ingredients, use 3 TBS of your Muggin Mix instead of the flour, salt and baking powder. Using the mix will add more fiber and may put this into the “health food” category.

Also note, this is part of the Single Servings Collection. Here are a few more recipes to try:
Chocolate cake in a cup

Caramel apple cake in a cup

Cinnamon Muggin