Monthly Archives: September 2015

Chia Seeds

Most of us are very motivated to live healthier lifestyles these days and rightfully so.  With problems such as obesity, diabetes, cancer and allergies on the rise, it would be foolish not to.  We are also very quick to jump on the band wagon when some new “super food” comes along.  It’s easy to do when all we hear and read is how our food is poisoning us and making us sick.  That being said we need to “KNOW OUR SUPER FOODS!”

Today’s topic is chia seeds.  When I was growing up, they were only good for growing pets at Christmas time (Come on now, we all remember the commercials).  So when the internet and airways became abuzz with how good these tiny seeds were for you, I got interested.  I read that they were high in protein and fiber and, because I’m always looking  for new sources of plant based protein for Matthew, I was eager to try them.  There were no instructions on the bag so I just tossed some in to a batch of Matthew’s oatmeal.  When his oatmeal became extremely thick, I decided to research them further.  I found out that they absorb about 27 times their weight in water!

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Dry chia seeds
After 5 minutes
After 15 minutes

So what’s the big deal?  If the seeds aren’t soaked first, people like Mathew could end up with a blockage because the chia seeds adsorbed the water out of their digestive tract.  So, before you add any new food to your diet, research, research, research!  If you have health problems, talk with you doctor.

Want to know more about chia seeds?  Check out this link:

http://www.webmd.com/diet/20141021/use-chia-seeds-with-caution-researcher-warns

Hummus

Hummus

2 cups cooked chick peas (according to the package)
¼ -½ cup bean liquid
1/3 cup tahini (see recipe)
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup of lemon juice or a 2oz peeled section of lemon
2-3 cloves of garlic
1-3 tsp garlic salt

Hummus prep

1. Place all ingredients into the Vitamix container in the order listed and secure lid.
2. Select Variable 1.
3. Turn machine on and quickly increase speed to Variable 10, then to High.
4. Blend for 1 minute using the tamper to press the ingredients into the blades (if necessary).

Food Tip: Hummus is an Arabic word meaning chickpeas or garbanzo beans. The complete name of the prepared spread in Arabic is hummus bi tahini. So can you make hummus without tahini? Yes but, in my opinion, the flavor is lacking. Tahini is roasted sesame seeds that are blended to the consistency of creamy peanut butter. Eaten by itself, it has a rich nutty flavor. If you buy it in the jar it tends to have a bitter aftertaste. Blended with the chick peas it gives life and body to the spread. Traditionally, hummus is the consistency of yogurt but add the liquid to make it as thin or thick as you desire. Serve with fresh veggies, pita chips or as a spread for a pita sandwich or wrap.
Time Tip: 2 cups of sesame seeds makes about 1 cup of tahini. Make it in advance and keep it the refrigerator for future fresh batches. Another time saving technique is to make 3 batches (1 pound of dry beans cooked). Blend each batch individually and freeze them in various size plastic containers. After they are frozen, pop them out into a large Ziploc Freezer bags and store in the freezer for up to 6 months. That way you can defrost as little or as much as you need. Amazingly, it tastes as if it were just made after it’s been defrosted and warmed up a bit.
Money Tip: Buying dry beans is always less expensive (and tastes better) than canned beans. Making your own tahini in your Vitamix is way less expensive (and also tastes better) than buying it in a jar. Last but not least, freezing your hummus not only saves time but money. You only defrost what you plan to use in the next 3-4 days so there is none to throw away.

Tahini

Tahini

2 ½ cups of raw sesame seeds
1-2 tablespoons olive oil

Tahini prep

Toasted sesame seeds: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place sesame seeds on a cookie sheet and bake for 5-10 minutes stirring often. Cool for 15 minutes.

Toasted sesame seeds

1. Place sesame seeds into the Vitamix container and secure lid.
2. Select variable 1.
3. T urn machine on and quickly increase speed to Variable10, then high.
4. Blend for 1 minute using the tamper to press the mixture into the blades.
5. Remove the lid plug and add olive oil 1 tablespoon at a time until the mixture is smooth and has the consistency of a thick liquid.

Food Tip: Be sure not to overcook the seeds because the tahini will taste burnt. They will not be brown when they are done. You will barely see a color change.

Time Tip: Use foil on your cookie sheet. Once the seeds are cooled you can lift the sides of the foil and form a tube. Lift the foil and pour directly into the Vitamix container. I have tried pouring the seeds into the container directly from the cookie sheet only to have lots of them all over my counter. Using a spoon takes a long time because the seeds are so small and smooth.

Money Tip: Sesame seeds bought in bulk costs about $1/lb. One 16oz jar of tahini can cost anywhere from $6 to $12!

Hirschsprung’s Disease

Because this blog is a recipe blog as well as  an informative blog, I will often use links to pass on information.  Because of content, some information has no place in the context of my recipes.  This is such a link. It will explain the disease so you can get a better picture of what struggles I have balancing Matthew’s diet.  Matthew’s condition was surgically corrected at 8 months old.  The surgeon was quick to tell me that he is unable to tell the quality and the quantity of the remaining nerve cells in Matt’s colon so future problems could arise. And arise they did. When I post about the green smoothie I now use in his feeding pump, I will reference this link in “Did You Know?”:

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hirschsprungs-disease/basics/symptoms/con-20027602

I’m Back!

It’s been very busy here at the Barton home lately.  Shortly after starting this blog we found out that Matthew needed major hip surgery.  I was a bit overwhelmed by the news because the x-rays from the prior visit with the orthopedic surgeon looked great.  On top of all the digestive tract problems, Matt also suffers from bilateral hip displaysia.  That means that both of his hips dislocate.  Because of their loose ligaments, kids with Down Syndrome are prone to it.  We found out when he was 4 and he wore a brace for 8 years hoping it would correct the problem without surgery.

The brace did work on the right but his left hip continued to dislocate.  So, at the end of December, Matt had his surgery.  Unfortunately he was back in the hospital 1 week later with an infection in his hip because of his weak immune system.  Now after 3 months in 3 different casts

GE
Cast #1
GE
Cast #2
GE
Cast #3

and 2 months in a new brace, he is walking on his own without the help of the brace or walker!

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Walker and New Brace

Now if that weren’t enough, 3 months before the surgery, he began having major problems related to his Hirschsprung’s disease. In my next post, I will talk about what happened and share my green smoothie recipe that worked where Mira lax failed. Stay tuned!