Chia seeds are superfoods with a powerful combination of fiber and nutrients, but what makes them really special is their ability to absorb up to twelve times their own weight in water and produce a clear gel that makes an excellent thickener. With coconut milk, natural sweetner and chia seeds, kids can make a fun, delicious no-cook pudding. Add butterfly pea powder to the mix to turn the pudding blue, and then squeeze in some lemon juice to make it turn pink.
The Science Behind the Fun: Colorful pigments called anthocyanins give butterfly pea flower its blue color. When you mix it with an acids such as lemon juice, it turns purple or pink. The color change occurs because the acid changes their shape, causing them to reflect light differently.
- 5 tablespoons food-grade chia seeds
- 1 14-ounce can light coconut milk
- 2 tablespoon honey or maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla
- Tiny pinch kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon butterfly pea flour
- fresh lemon juice
- Fresh fruit or jam to mix into the pudding (optional)
Mix the chia seeds, coconut milk, honey, vanilla, salt and pea flower together. Stir until the seeds are evenly distributed and refrigerate overnight, stirring occassionally.
To make the color change, stir in some lemon juice and add more honey to taste. Top with fresh fruit or jam.
Store in refrigerator for up to three days.
Note: If you don’t like the seeds, blend the mixture before refrigerating. To make chocolate pudding, leave out the butterfly pea powder and add 1/4 cup cocoa powder to the mixture.
I grew up hearing the Chi Chi Chi Chi song on TV, but our family never actually purchased a Chi Pet, so I never realized the dream of sprouting green hair from a clay animal. Until now.
With the emergence of chi seeds as a new health fad, it’s easy to get your hands on some chi seeds (of the sprouting variety) with a click of the mouse, or a trip to the Co-op. Chia seeds are quick-growing members of the mint family called Salivia hispanica, hailing from Central and South America where they have served as a food source for humans for well over a thousand years. And although studies have shown that they probably won’t help you lose weight, they are chock full of protein, fiber, fatty acids and anti-oxidants.
When you give these tiny seeds the signals they need to sprout: water, light, warmth and air, they grow very fast, so you should see tiny white roots poking out in a few days, soon to be followed by a shoot and leaves.
Since most people don’t have any way to fire clay in their homes, I decided to keep it simple. These homemade chia pets are basically clay (or Play-Dough) animals formed around seed starter pellets (also available online.) Add a few pre-soaked chia seeds, wait a few days and Voila! Your homemade animal will be sprouting living green hair.
-2 Tbs chia (sprouting) seeds
-dirt or seed starter pellets
-clay or playdough
-a fork or toothpick
1. Soak 2 Tbs. chia seeds in 1/2 cup water overnight. The mixture will get slimy as it sits and water is trapped by tiny fibers on the seeds to form a gel-like substance.
2. The next day, soak your seed starter pellets per the instructions on the package.
3. Create a clay or Play-Dough animal big enough to hold the expanded pellet or some dirt inside, wherever you want the green sprouts to appear.
4. Put the dirt/seed starter pellet into to space you created and scratch the surface with a fork or toothpick.
5. Add 1/2 tsp or so of seeds to the dirt and use the fork or toothpick to mix them into the soil.
6. Wait for the seeds to grow, keeping the soil damp at all times. (You can speed growth by covering your chia pet with a plastic bag to hold in heat and moisture.) Watch for roots and leaves to emerge and draw or photograph them.
“No risk is more terrifying than that taken by the first root. A lucky root will eventually find water, but its first job is to anchor an embryo and forever end its mobile phase, however passive that motility was….it assesses the light and humidity of the moment, refers to its programming and quite literally takes the plunge.” -Hope Jahren “Lab Girl” (My favorite new book. Read it!)