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Strawberry Chia Seed Jam

I was at a friend's 40th birthday dinner last night, and as the waiter went around the table taking orders, it seemed like everyone had some form of dietary restriction or food intolerance. As she ate slice after slice of bread, the lady next to me claimed to be gluten free. It was really good bread, but I have to doubt she woke up this morning with achy joints or whatever indignity gluten bestows on her body. Jeff is lactose intolerant, which I can tell you is not a victimless crime. I don't eat sugar, but I'm a sucker for a sheet cake, and last night's birthday cake - with my friend's face painted in frosting - fell squarely into my weakness. When you cut sugar from your diet, one bite feels (I imagine) like snorting a line of coke before bringing you crashing down minutes later. It was a 1980's flashback.

As we gracefully age, it seems that we add some new ache or ick to the soundtrack of our lives. We are sick of being tired and tired of being sick. I try really hard to take care of myself, but for decades that was not the case. The effects of years of late night wine-filled dinners and way too much stress cannot really be reversed. And whileI used to find myself discussing art and great travel destinations, now it's my health that is the dinner party conversation du jour.

The farmers markets are ripe with glorious spring produce plucked from local farms. Strawberries are particularly gorgeous right now. I keep seeing this recipe on healthy food blogs, so I loaded up on local strawberries, grabbed some chia seeds and went for it. Outside of chia pets, chia seeds hadn't been on my radar for decades. In the past few years they've come back strong as a smoothie ingredient. And then at Chanukah, my brother-in-law and I made vegan latkes that replaced chia seeds for the eggs. This recipe replaces chia seeds for pectin to emulsify the jam.

I dedicate my Strawberry Chia Seed Jam to my sugar free, gluten free, lactose intolerant pals who are out there fighting the good fight. May you slather it on gluten free bread, and say - hey, that's my jam!

Strawberry Chia Seed Jam

2 C Strawberries, hulled and chopped

2 T Chia Seeds

1T honey

1/2 lemon squeezed

In a sauce pan over medium low heat, cook down the strawberries for 10 minutes. Take off the heat and add chia seeds. Stir to combine. Add honey and lemon to taste. I truly thought I could pull this off without sweetener, but it was pretty tart, and then honey helped. Keep stirring until the mixture takes form and looks like a jam. With a handheld immersion blender blend half of the mixture and stir to combine. Pour into a mason jar. Let cool.

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