Try This: Chia


Chia seeds are suddenly the hip and happening thing: in energy bars, cereals, juices, oatmeal, puddings, pasta. You name it, it’s probably being chia-ed.

But all I can think of is the Obama Chia Head that Matt gave Sistie for Christmas a few years back.

Move over acai and pomegranates, the chia seed is being touted as the next big “superfood” because it’s so high in protein and fiber, as well as Omega-3 fatty acids (even more than flax seeds).

Chia is being credited with everything from reducing the symptoms of autoimmune disorders to lowering cholesterol to losing weight (that last claim will probably propel it into the mainstream at lightning speed). All those benefits, by the way, have yet to be proven… but the amount of nutrition in the seeds is legitimate.

Chia Seeds

My cutting edge foodie friend LK saw this one coming a while ago. She puts chia in her smoothies and eats it raw on her salads. She also bakes it into pretty much everything. Last year for my birthday, she gave me a bag of Rancho Gordo Chia Seeds that’s still sitting in my pantry (I’ll use it now, I promise). That’s another good thing about chia, it’s so rich in antioxidants, it doesn’t go rancid quickly.

What does chia taste like? Its delicate flavor makes it an ideal food additive… all the superfood benefits with a neutral flavor. Sounds pretty good, eh?

Now, if I can just get the image of that Obama Chia Head out of my mind…

Mamma Chia Blackberry Hibiscus Juice






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Extra Helpings: Asparagus


Gary asks: “How do I pick out the best asparagus? Sometimes I’m lucky, but most of the time the asparagus I buy are dry and woody.”

Happy First Day of Spring! Vivid green fresh asparagus, with its subtle grassy taste, has always reminded me of the promise of the coming season…. like a big bouquet of flowers (which is exactly how you should treat it).

The stalks should be smooth, firm and straight, not dry and fibrous. Look for tips that are closed, pointed, compact and bright green (a little purple in the tips is okay). The greener the asparagus, the more tender it will be.

When you get the asparagus home, cut off the elastic band and trim a little off the bottom. Wrap the freshly cut stalks in a wet paper towel. Slide the asparagus into an unsealed plastic bag. You can also store asparagus in an inch of water in a jar or vase in the fridge after trimming them.

If you are lucky enough to find white asparagus, buy ’em. White asparagus is actually green asparagus that is grown underneath a cover of soil or hay so the sun can’t green it. Store white asparagus in a paper bag in the fridge because light makes the color change. Don’t forget to peel the stalks (this is optional with green asparagus). Treat purple asparagus as you would green asparagus. Some say purple asparagus are sweeter.

Try to buy asparagus that is the same size so it will cook up evenly. When you’re ready to prepare it, bend the cut end gently until it breaks off (this is the tough, inedible part). Mama loves to grill or oven-roast them with a little olive oil.

Asparagus is packed with antioxidants: Vitamin C and beta-carotene (most of the nutrients are found in the tips). It’s also low in calories (if you don’t dip them in butter or smother them in hollandaise sauce!).

And remember: it’s okay to eat asparagus with your fingers (if it isn’t in a sauce)!



I’m Christina Chavez

I was a TV journalist for many years, but with a house full of kids I decided to come off the road, go to culinary school and follow my passion for cooking. Mama’s High Strung is all about food… everything from creative recipe ideas to some really cool kitchen gadgets and cooking tips. I live in Chicago, but I love to travel and write about my food discoveries! You can reach me by email: