I've jumped on the chia seed bandwagon. A few weeks ago I bought a jar of chia seeds at Whole Foods, and recently I started adding a teaspoon to my breakfast (oatmeal, yoghurt, whatever) and sometimes a teaspoon to my evening snack yoghurt. You can do the internet research to explore the health benefits of chia seed; one benefit is that it is higher in Omega 3 fatty acids than flax seed. Of course it is also mentioned in Born to Run as a superfood which may enhance athletic performance.
I haven't yet tried soaking the seeds in water or making the energy drink described in Born to Run, but I was interested in finding a use other than just stirring it into stuff. A quick internet recipe search found me this recipe for Pumpkin-Chia Seed Muffins, courtesy of Dr. Oz.
I tried it out last week and I thought it was quite good! I made a couple changes to the recipe. I used two tablespoons of chia seeds instead of one, and I used the agave for sweetening and reduced the amount by a couple of tablespoons. I chose agave because it is lower in calories (when you take into account that you use less), but I do think that the maple syrup sounds appealing for flavor!
I decided to make mini-muffins, but only had enough tins and liners for three dozen. The remaining batter made four regular muffins. I suspect that you could make about four dozen mini-muffins or 18 regular small muffins with this recipe. The approximate calorie count (as I made it) is (very roughly) 50 calories per mini muffin and about 150 calories per small regular muffin.
Here's the recipe, with some minor changes by me.
6/29 chia update: Last night I decided to try soaking the chia seeds in water. I mixed one teaspoon of chia with three tablespoons (= nine teaspoons) of water and let it sit for at least a couple hours. (One batch I did for last night's yoghurt and one I kept overnight for breakfast, when I mixed it with cottage cheese to put on waffles, with berries and sliced banana.) The seeds and water eventually turn into a gel-like mixture, but there is still a little crunch of seed in each little gel-ball. Mixed into stuff it is barely noticeable, although it does thin the consistency of the cottage cheese and yoghurt a little. I will probably do this from now on for mixing, but leave the seeds unsoaked if using in baking.
Pumpkin-Chia Seed Muffins
2 tablespoons chia seeds
1 ½ cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 can organic pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
¼ cup high-quality extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup pure maple syrup or ½ cup agave nectar or a combination of the two (I used agave minus a tablespoon or two)
1 tablespoon vanilla
½ cup chopped walnuts (optional, but recommended)
Pre-heat oven to 350°. Mix dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, mix all wet ingredients. Fold the dry ingredients and nuts into the wet ingredients and mix just until incorporated. Spoon into paper-lined muffin tins. Bake for 25–30 minutes (less for small muffins) or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a muffin comes out clean. Store completely cooled muffins in sealable plastic bags in freezer.