Are you getting a little Shacky Wacky? That’s my new term for cabin fever and it seems like this particular time of year is when it’s at its peak. And from what I am experiencing myself, and what I am hearing from friends and family, this malady is hitting hard.
I often gaze outside, hoping for signs of a thaw, and a way to stop wincing every time I hear my furnace kick in. Sometimes I swear I hear a spring bird in the distance but I know it’s only my imagination playing tricks on me.
Already the numerous seed catalogs that have filled my mailbox over the last few weeks are dog eared. I spend large blocks of time pouring over them like a starving prisoner, trying to decide on this or that for the upcoming gardening season; doing anything to image green and growing things again.
Perhaps that’s why I was so enchanted with a gift I received for my birthday a few weeks ago. Knowing I’m a big fan of the show Duck Dynasty, a friend gave me, as a joke, a Chia Willie head. While most Chia seeds grow “fur” the seeds for this kit were to grow a beard on Willie, a prominent feature on most of the characters on this program.
I have to admit though, it’s been quite a few years since I grew a Chia thing. When I was a kid I actually purchased the first model to hit the market, but like most of these terra cotta planters it eventually made its way into a garage sale where, I believe, most Chia figures end up. Back in those days I didn’t really pay any attention to the Chia seeds as I applied them to the creature. But I was always amazed at how the “fur” grew into a fuzzy green bush and eventually covered the container.
However, my Willie head has drawn a little more curiosity. I mean these are seeds, capable of growing and producing something green. But I took it a step further than that and actually did some research on where these seeds come from. Quite frankly, I’m amazed.
Come to find out, these tiny specks are more than just the backbone of the cha-cha-cha Chia sculpture industry. They are also a super food.
Chia seeds are the offspring of Salvia Hispanica, a species of flowering herb belonging to the mint family. It is an annual plant native to central and southern Mexico and Guatemala. In fact, the little black and white seeds were once a staple of the Incan, Mayan and Aztec cultures, along with the Native Americans of the southwest.
The weird thing about these seeds is that when they are put into water they turn into a gelatinous consistency which is beneficial in a number of ways. For one, it makes it easier to smear the seeds on Chia pets, but they can also be a great diet aid. The seeds swell up in the stomach giving a feeling of fullness, cutting down on overeating.
In addition, the taste of Chia is very mild and the seeds easily combine with other foods like sauces, baked goods, puddings and smoothies and even the sprouts can dress up a bowl of greens.
Chia seeds are also super nutritious and are high in potassium, iron, calcium and have copious amounts of omega-3 and omega-6 which are essential fatty acids. Research also reveals they are used as an energy booster, something we all could use during this long and cold Shacky Wacky season.
I am proud to announce though, that my Chia Willie head is growing quite an interesting beard. Right now he is not quite to the full and bushy stage, but rather looking like he could use a trim. In fact, I’ve even toyed with the idea of incorporating some of his sprouts into my diet but I think I’m going to wait on that.
I just can’t seem to overcome the image of consuming beard hair no matter what its nutritional value.
Breakfast Chia Pudding
1 cup almond or coconut milk
3/4 cup fresh blueberries, blackberries or raspberries
2 Tbs. chia seeds
1 Tbs. honey to taste
Mix the chia seeds with the milk and let set until the mixture thickens. Add berries and honey until blended.