Peanut Butter Jelly Oatmeal Bars

Healthy baking substitutions have become a popular way to continue to enjoy some of our favorite treats without feeling guilty! Among a variety of popular ingredient substitutions, removing eggs and adding apple sauce is a commonly used trick for those watching total calorie and fat in their diet. Have you ever wondered why that works? Or perhaps if it always works?

Using eggs in a baking recipe usually serves two main purposes. One is to add moisture, the other is to develop a desired consistency. Both of these outcomes can be achieved with applesauce. There are a few rules, however. To ensure a successful baking experience. When a cake recipe has a leavening agent such as baking powder, the eggs will add the moisture needed as the cake rises while baking. Applesauce can function in the same way in these recipes, and you can substitute ¼ cup of it for each egg in the recipe. Also adjust the baking powder up by 25-30% more and bake for just a few minutes longer, checking the cake with a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake before removing it from the oven.

For cookie recipes, the more appropriate substitution is for 1/3 cup of applesauce per egg. In this case, you may also use a sweetened applesauce and decrease the amount of refined white sugar the recipe requires.  The ideal times to use this substitution is for when the recipe has another source of moisture and fat in the recipe. For example, a recipe that calls for oil and eggs is a perfect candidate for apple sauce substitution. If the only source of moisture is the eggs, consider starting out by just substituting half the amount of eggs for applesauce.

As you can see below, in the recipe for Baked Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars, there are no eggs, instead we used applesauce. However, notice the additional fat source in the recipe is peanut butter which allows for this substitution to yield a perfectly baked treat! It makes it possible for those following a vegan or more plant-based diet to bake without compromising when it comes to flavor. This recipe is a gluten-free (use gluten-free certified oats) and vegetarian with  a vegan option, if you use maple syrup instead of the honey.

These bars are not very sweet. They rely on the jelly or jam you choose to use as a topping. Alternatively, you could double up on the honey or vegan sweetener and increase the oat flour to ¾ cup, if you desire a sweeter desert version versus a less sugary breakfast bar.

Once Again Nut Butter’s variety of products helps you stay in control of what you eat by offering you no salt, and unsweetened varieties for each of our nut and seed butters. When baking, choose which one you prefer and adjust the other ingredients in your recipe accordingly! The difference between eating pre-packaged cookies and homemade cookies is quantum, amounting to the ability to choose quality ingredients and keep your recipes clean, that is, free of additives. Once Again Nut Butter products were designed with rare marketplace ideals in mind. Minimal, highest quality ingredients allow each nut or seed flavor to really shine through no matter how you use the butters!

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Peanut Butter Jelly Oatmeal Bars

2 cups of oats

½ cup of oat flour

½ teaspoon of baking powder

¼ cup of honey (or maple syrup, if vegan)

½ cup of unsweetened apple sauce (You may use sweetened apple sauce, if preferred.)

3 tablespoons of Once Again Peanut Butter

½ cup of milk of your choice

½ cup of strawberry preserves

In a large mixing bowl, combine oat flour, oats and baking powder. In a separate medium bowl, mix honey, applesauce, peanut butter and milk. Then combine wet ingredients into dry, mixing well. Pour into baking pan, about 7 by 11 inches in size, prepared with coconut oil non-stick spray. Lastly, spread the ½ cup of preserve or jam as a thin layer on top. Place in a preheated oven at 350 Fahrenheit for 30 minutes or until edges are lightly golden. Remove the baked result from the oven, and once cooled, cut it into bars or squares and store in an airtight container for up to 3 days. These bars are best stored in refrigerator.

Quinoa Cashew Bites

Quinoa is so much more than what it appears to be! Did you know that quinoa is not even a true grain even though it is usually lumped with grains in recipes and nutritional discussions? This funny word carries a powerful array of nutrients. Regardless of how you pronounce it, although correctly, it is “keen-wah,” today is a good time to learn more about this wonder and discover why you should be eating it more often.

Whole grains are rich sources of fiber and many nutrients, but they often fall short on protein. Grains are considered incomplete proteins due to their lack of sufficient amounts of the amino acids lysine and isoleucine. Quinoa, which is not a grain, but a seed, has significantly greater amounts of both amino acids mentioned above, and is therefore a complete protein source, in fact, similar to animal protein sources. One cup of cooked quinoa delivers an average of eight grams of protein. This peculiar seed, a relative of beets, also contains significantly more fat. Fortunately, it is the healthier fat that enhances our immune systems and doesn’t damage our hearts. It’s no wonder that it has long been a star ingredient in many vegan and vegetarian recipes. It provides quality protein and fat for those on a plant-based diet.

Quinoa comes in a variety of colors, including red, white, and black. Although they don’t have a highly distinctive taste, the white variety seems to be the most popular. And here is some good news: Prepare it just as you would most grains. Calculate one cup of dry quinoa to two cups of water, and bring it to a boil, simmering for 15 to 20 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed. The result will be fluffy, translucent-like spheres, with small string-like attachments, which are parts of the seed hulls. Quinoa does absorb most of the liquid; therefore, it is easy to flavor by just adding spices and herbs to the water when cooking. For an interesting option, add a teabag of your favorite flavor to the boiling water, apple spice for example, for a sweet quinoa base that you can use for breakfast dishes or desserts.

Nowadays quinoa is available as a flour to use for baking, too. It is easy to incorporate this nutritious seed into our meals, and we have now an even easier and delicious way to enjoy it! Try our recipe for Quinoa Cashew Bites. Quinoa and cashews accent each other’s flavors perfectly in this recipe. These bite-sized snacks are handy for pre-workout snacks, after school snacks or mid-day pick-me-ups. Have fun making them in different molds for special occasions, too! How about trying heart-shaped silicone molds to make some sweet treats for your loved ones?

Quinoa Cashew Bites

Quinoa Cashew Bites

1 cup of toasted quinoa

½ cup of Once Again Cashew Butter

¼ cup of coconut oil

2 tablespoons of maple syrup

1 tablespoon of unsweetened coconut flakes

Start by adding quinoa to a dry skillet set over medium heat and shake it constantly until you start to hear small pops. Keep mixing quinoa until it is all popped. It takes only 3-4 minutes after the first few pops for the process to be complete. Then remove the popped quinoa from the heat. Let it cool before mixing it with the rest of the ingredients on our list. Mix all well and spoon the combination into molds to set in refrigerator for four hours.  Or place the bites in the freezer for one hour of quick-setting. Remove them from the molds and keep the bites in an airtight container in refrigerator for up to 7 days.

Spicy Peanut Noodles

Can the food you eat really impact how efficiently your body burns calories? It seems like every other month there is new hype about which foods can speed up your metabolism and help you burn those extra pounds. People respond with curiosity and willingness and try just about everything.  After all, who doesn’t want to eat and shed pounds at the same time?

To better understand how food affects metabolism, let’s review how it works. Metabolic rate refers to the number of calories burned by the body each day. This number comes from a mathematical equation that includes your resting metabolic rate, physical activity and the thermic effect of food. The resting metabolic rate is the largest component, unfortunately, we have very little if any control over this number. Physical activity makes up 30-50% of your rate, and we have complete control over that, as well as the thermic effect of foods (TEF). Although it only makes up 10% of your metabolic rate, what you choose to eat is completely up to you! Carbohydrates burn 5-10% of calories eaten, fat 0-5%, and protein 20-30%.

You may have heard that eating spicy foods can rev up your metabolism. This claim does indeed have some foundation. The belief is that eating spicy foods raises your body temperature which in turns means your body spends extra energy cooling itself, and therefore, increasing your metabolic rate. Numerous studies have confirmed that capsaicin, the compound in chili peppers which gives them all the heat, does indeed raise your metabolism. A 2011 study even found that taking a ¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper increased the calories burned in the following meal! But before you drown all your food in hot sauce, you should know that the increased calorie-burn only amounted to an average of 10 calories!

Interestingly, drinking cold water also gives you a metabolic boost! If you require a large glass of iced water after eating spicy foods, you are increasing your odds for achieving a speedier metabolism. Research suggests that those who consume 8 to 12 glasses of water per day burn more calories than people who only drink up to 4 glasses per day.

These two facts are good enough reasons to make some Spicy Peanut Noodles for lunch today! However, if you need one more, how about the fact that they taste amazing! The nutty flavor and spicy red chili match in this sauce recipe give new life to plain noodles. No need for heavy cream sauces when enjoying noodles! Try this recipe with the addition of steamed edamame or tofu for a complete vegetarian meal.

Spicy Peanut Noodles by Once Again Nut Butter

Spicy Peanut Noodles

3 tablespoons of red chili sauce

¼ cup of Once Again Creamy Peanut Butter

1 teaspoon of sesame oil or extra virgin olive oil

¼ cup of liquid aminos (or soy sauce)

2-4 tablespoons of warm water

Cooked thin noodles of your choice. We recommend rice noodles or whole wheat noodles. Mix all ingredients for the sauce except for water in a container you can seal with a lid and shake well. Lastly, add in one tablespoon of water at a time until desired consistency. Pour the sauce over hot cooked noodles and serve!

2-Steps Creamy Ice Cream

Let’s start with some great news: you don’t need an ice cream maker for this recipe! Ice cream makers are  fantastic kitchen gadgets to have allowing you to make several ice cream flavors right in the comfort of your own home. Although you may want to invest in one eventually, today you can still make this frozen treat without it. And you will not be disappointed either, since most people assume that unless you have an ice cream maker your homemade ice cream won’t be creamy and smooth as the store-bought variety.

Our recipe mimics the texture of artisanal ice cream by adding our Once Again Creamy Cashew Butter to the mix prior to freezing. Cashew butter has the ideal balance of natural sugars and fats that deliver the creaminess you expect from ice cream. The appeal of ice cream making at home is also in the fact that you can pick the ingredients and therefore avoid unnecessary additives and artificial ingredients added to the manufactured options of grocery store varieties.

Our base for this ice cream recipe consists of the following: frozen banana, adding the sweetness to our cream, avocado, which has high fat content and freezes well, and our Once Again Cashew Butter. To this combination at the appropriate ratio given below in the recipe, you can add your own twist of flavors. For example, you could add frozen berries instead of chocolate, or frozen mango and pineapple as well. We recently tried coconut flakes, pineapple and a splash of orange juice, which was another winning combination.

Here are a few tips for making this recipe. The better you mix the ingredients, the smoother the ice cream. Therefore, use a good high-speed blender or food processor for best results. Also, when pouring into a dish to take it to the freezer, choose a shallow one instead of the deeper kind. Something like a cake pan works well for bigger batches. The larger surface area allows the ice cream to freeze evenly avoiding ice crystal formation in the process.  Also, cover the cream with plastic wrap allowing it to touch the top of the ice cream,  as this prevents any air from coming into contact with the ice cream during freezing. Prior to serving, remove from freezer and let it stand for just a few minutes. Use an ice cream scoop that has been dipped in lukewarm water between servings. And remember to return reminder of ice cream to freezer as soon as possible to avoid melting and ice crystal formation. If you don’t eat it all in the first serving, you can store it in the freezer for up to one week. Another idea is to turn the ice cream into Popsicles! We are anxious to hear how you add your own flair to this recipe.  Please share it with us in the comments section!

2-Steps Creamy Ice Cream from Once Again Nut butter

Easy Creamy Ice Cream

1 cup vanilla flavored yogurt of your choice

2 frozen bananas

¼ cup of Once Again Creamy Cashew Butter

3 tablespoons of cacao powder

½ of a Hass avocado

Place all ingredients in a high-speed blender or food processor. Blend until smooth, and then pour mixture into a shallow container and freeze for 4 hours. Remove ice cream from freezer, and let it stand for 5 minutes. Then, scoop and serve!

Tahini and Oats Breakfast Cookies

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day! Or is it? The idea of eating something in the early hours of the day has been a topic of discussion for years in the health and nutrition field. The simple definition of breakfast has been called into question. Is breakfast the first meal you have in the day regardless of what time it occurs? Or, alternatively, is a meal considered breakfast only if it is consumed before 11 am? Does it make a difference if a person is awake at 5am versus 8am?

These are all great questions, and unfortunately some without readily available answers. Here is what we do know however, and hopefully this information can help you decide how to change— or not change your current lifestyle.

The best time to eat is within 60 minutes of waking up. Your blood sugar is naturally low when you wake up, assuming you have had at least seven to eight hours of sleep. Therefore, eating within 60 minutes of getting up can help prevent a complete blood sugar crash. If you ignore this, and just wait until three to four hours after waking up, close to lunch time, you are at high risk of overeating to compensate for the lack of energy because you are feeling post- blood sugar lows. Timing is important after all, but you may not need to sit down and have a complete meal to prevent a crash. Simply consuming 100 to 150 calories of balanced carbohydrates and protein may do the trick.

However, if you do have time to sit down and have a more complete meal in the early hours of the day, you may reap some benefits. Data from combined studies all suggest that individuals who eat a meal in the first hour after waking up are less likely to be overweight since they are better able to control their meal choices for the remainder of the day.

Have you ever gone grocery shopping when you are extremely hungry? You walk out of the grocery store with double the amount of food you realistically need, including a few items you just couldn’t resist — things that you normally would not purchase. The same concept applies to when you skip that first caloric intake of the day. You operate on a brain influenced by lack of fuel. Our brain uses glucose, a form of sugar, as energy fuel. When you don’t have readily available energy, your reaction may be delayed, your ability to think clearly is impaired, and you are at higher risk for making impulsive decisions.

Beyond just helping your weight management strategies by curbing your appetite for the duration of the day, eating breakfast also jumpstarts your metabolism. Eating sets in motion numerous biological processes related to digesting and storing food. These metabolic pathways result in increased energy expenditure, also known as diet induced thermogenesis (DIT).  The combination of adequate energy levels post- breakfast and a metabolically active system are positive points leading us to conclude that eating breakfast is indeed a very good idea! This still leaves the question, is it really the “most important meal” of the day?

That is a question that only you can answer! And your answer depends upon   your current priorities. If you are in pursuit of a weight loss goal, then yes, this first meal could be the missing link ready to set you on a path to success. However, what you eat for breakfast is likely the more important component.

To fuel our brain, as mentioned above, readily available energy in the form of sugar is necessary. Including fruits and whole grains takes care of that portion. Also, to meet your daily requirement for protein, it is important to consume about 20 percent of your daily protein goal in the morning. Lastly, healthy fats should also have a presence in your first caloric intake for the day. This is not only due to their value as a satiety tool, but also because they contain essential fatty acids along with other nutrients integral to your health.

Many Americans have time constraints as their main obstacle when it comes to adhering to a healthy breakfast routine. That is where the food industry has thrived in marketing on-the-go breakfast foods such as granola bars, pocket sandwiches and morning energy drinks. A cheaper and often healthier option is to make your own on-the-go items when you have time, and store them for the week. Well then, our Tahini and Oats Breakfast Cookie gives you a reason to get up in the morning! The combination of all the health benefits associated with oats’ high fiber content, the plant protein and healthy fats found in almonds and tahini (sesame seed paste), the touch of sweetness from the honey which contains anti-inflammatory properties, covers most of your needs to jump- start your busy day.

They are also convenient for those who get their daily exercise early in the morning. By condensing nutrients and calories into small bite sizes, you can consume something before your workout and avoid common GI- related side effects associated with eating right before aerobic activities. Feel free to tweak the recipe to better fit your needs. Consider perhaps the addition of flax seeds for an even higher content of omegas, fiber and protein, or the substitution of stevia instead of the honey for a lower sugar content. Stay in control of what you eat by selecting the very best ingredients every time you bake. You can count and rely on our nut and seed butters since they (except for lightly sweetened options, just look at the labels) only contain one ingredient!

Tahini and Oats Breakfast Cookie by Once Again Nut Butter

 

Tahini and Oats Breakfast Cookie

1/3 cup of Once Again Tahini

1 cup of quick oats

1/3 cup of chopped almonds

1/3 cup of maple syrup or honey

1/3 cup dark chocolate chips or dried cranberries (You can use both!)

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

In medium sized bowl combine tahini and maple syrup (or honey) well. Add in oats, almonds, and cinnamon. Lastly, stir in chocolate chips or dried cranberries. You may also use both, 1/3 cup of each works well. On baking sheet, drop 1 tablespoon of batter for each cookie, and using a fork flatten them to bake evenly. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown on edges. Remove from oven and let it cook for a few minutes before serving. Store in airtight container for 4 days at room temperature, or in refrigerator for up to 7 days.

Cashew Delights Sandwich Cookies

Whoever thought up the idea a sandwich cookie was a pure genius! A clever way to enjoy 2 cookies at once made better by a creamy filling. It is no surprise sandwich cookies are commonplace and abundant across the world. That’s right, it is not an exclusively American phenomenon. People in other countries may have different flavor combinations, but they too enjoy the double cookie held together by a delicious middle layer. For example, Australia’s favorite cookie is the Tim Tam, which consists of two malted cookies (or their preferred term: “biscuits”) separated by a light chocolate cream filling and coated in more chocolate. Brazil has a wedding day tradition to serve and enjoy a sandwich cookie called Bem Casado, which translates to “well married.” It’s two butter cookies with a dulce de leche filling, covered in powdered sugar.

We are also fans of sandwich cookies here at Once Again Nut Butter! So, here we set off to create an easy recipe to make at home using wholesome ingredients. First, there are some basic rules when creating sandwich cookies. There must be two cookies that are flavorful enough to stand on their own. The cookies should be strong enough to hold a filling. When baked, these cookies must stay soft but not too mushy, to prevent them from   blending with the creamy middle.  A crispy cookie is harder to work with since it crumbles too easily when assembling the final product

Ideally, the filling is not sweeter than the cookie. It is creamy and could contain crunchy ingredients to add a surprise texture for that moment when you bite into it. There are several discussion boards on social media dedicated to arguing for those who like to separate the sandwich cookies, lick the middle and then enjoy the cookie versus those who prefer to bite into the total cookie.  Either way, it is important that   each component of the cookie be able to shine on its own. The cookie we created has a soft cashew butter cookie making the outer layers and a creamy- sweet, nutty filling. The amount of filling you add to each sandwich is entirely up to you. In our test kitchen, we had a bit of filling left over, and we weren’t short of volunteers ready to lick the bowl and also try it as a topping for ice cream or a spread for their toast.

The cashew cookie has a thinner batter, and we found it easier to pour about one tablespoon of it in regular- sized muffin tins to bake them rather than using a conventional cookie sheet. This helped ensure that they were evenly sized and baked. The filling will be rather thick. It allows you to stick both cookies together without having to worry about a the  middle spilling out. But if you would like, you may add a couple of tablespoons of warm water to your filling for a thinner texture. And perhaps you have a different idea for your filling? Share it with us in the comments, We are thinking that a little bit of cacao powder could take these delights up a notch— What do you think?

Cashew Sandwich Cookies on Once Again Nut Butter Blog

Cashew Delights Sandwich Cookies

Cookie

¾ cups of Once Again Nut Butter Cashew Butter

½ cup of coconut sugar (or brown sugar)

1 egg

Filling

½ cup of chopped nuts (Choose your favorite, or use a mix!)

5 oz of dates (Deglet, Noor or Medjool)

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

4-6 teaspoons of warm water

In a small bowl, beat the egg, and mix in the coconut sugar. Next, add the cashew butter and mix well. For evenly sized cookies, we recommend using a muffin tin to bake the cookies. Add about 1 tablespoon of batter to each muffin slot and tap the pan down on the counter to flatten the batter. Place in oven, at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10-12 minutes, or just until edges become golden. Remove cookies from oven and let them cool before removing them from the pan. They will be a bit soft when first removed from oven, but will harden and be crispier when cooled. The recipe will make about 18 cookies, or 9 sandwich cookies when assembled with the filling.

For the filling, add pitted dates and warm water to food processor until you achieve a homogeneous mixture of paste consistency. Add in chopped nuts and mix well in processor. Now add ½ to 1 tablespoon of filling to each cookie and top it with another cookie. Enjoy these amazing delights! Store in airtight container for up to 5 days. They will keep better in the refrigerator.

Lemon Tahini Dressing

Every year millions of people participate in biometric screenings. They do this either by choice or they may be mandated to do so by their physicians — or they are required to do this for work.  These screenings are meant to flag any individuals who may be at risk for two of the most common chronic diseases in our country: heart disease and diabetes.  One of the numbers often measured during biometric screenings are one’s total cholesterol, including a breakdown of LDL and HDL. Most people recognize those as the “bad cholesterol” and the “good cholesterol”numbers. Those two values allow the medical team conducting the screens to give advice to individuals based on their risk for heart disease based on lifestyle and more importantly what they eat can impact their health.

People either celebrate their high HDL number, or leave with a set of foods they should include in their daily intake to boost their HDL values. However, a recent study found that just looking at your HDL high numbers and resting assured that you’re protected from heart disease may not be that simple. HDL cholesterol is credited with protecting against heart disease because these lipoproteins help eliminate the excess cholesterol from the bloodstream. Therefore, looking at how well they function is just as important as looking at the quantity of HDL present in your bloodstream.

Previously, small-scale trials have shown that consumption of antioxidant-rich foods (virgin olive oil, tomatoes, berries, for example.) improved HDL function in humans. Recently, researchers selected 296 people at high risk of cardiovascular disease and assigned them to either a Mediterranean diet with an additional 4 tablespoons of virgin olive oil per day, a Mediterranean diet with an extra serving of nuts, or a healthy control diet group which included plenty of fruits and vegetables and restricted processed foods (1).  Interestingly, only the control group saw reduced total and LDL cholesterol levels. None of the groups noted a significant HDL increase either. But, the group consuming extra virgin olive oil had significantly improved function of their HDL when compared to others.

These improved functions included increased reverse cholesterol transport, the process where HDL removes cholesterol plaque in the arteries and transports it to the liver for elimination or production of hormones. Also, witnessed were increased antioxidant protection, vasodilator capacity, and anti-inflammatory properties.

Studies looking at how simple diet modifications can impact overall health are abundant nowadays, and scientists have just started this journey toward optimal nutritional awareness! They are eager to continue investigating food properties and how we can improve quality of life and longevity. We have recently touched on the plant-based eating approach in a previous blog: Finding substitutes for your dips and sauces that replace ingredients with ones that include potential health benefits is just what we had in mind when creating this Lemon Tahini Dressing. It is a completely plant-based dressing that combines the plant-protein rich tahini, with 6 grams of protein per 2 tablespoons of Once Again Tahini, with heart healthy extra virgin olive oil. The touch of garlic and lemon are essential for flavor, and boosting your immunity as well!

We hope you’ll enjoy this dressing with your favorite salad combo, as well as a sauce for roasted vegetables, as a spread for your wraps or as a dressing for your grain bowls. Whichever way you choose to enjoy it, you’ll be adding to your quality of life with each bite.

Lemon Tahini Dressing

2 tablespoons of Once Again Nut Butter Tahini

1 lemon

1 teaspoon of garlic paste

¼ teaspoon of salt

2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

2-3 tablespoons of warm water

In a small jar, (Here’s a tip: Use your empty Once Again Nut Butter jars! This is a great way to recycle them) add tahini, the juice of 1 lemon, plus the zest of that lemon, 1 teaspoon of garlic paste (or 1 garlic clove smashed), salt, and olive oil.  Replace lid,  and shake the mixture well. Now add 2-3 tablespoons of warm water until desired thickness for your dressing is achieved. We suggest no more than 4 tablespoons of warm water so that the flavor of the dressing is not diluted. You should store leftover dressing in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

  1. Álvaro Hernáez, Olga Castañer, Roberto Elosua, Xavier Pintó, Ramón Estruch, Jordi Salas-Salvadó, Dolores Corella, Fernando Arós, Lluis Serra-Majem, Miquel Fiol, Manuel Ortega-Calvo, Emilio Ros, Miguel Ángel Martínez-González, Rafael de la Torre, M. Carmen López-Sabater, Montserrat Fitó. Mediterranean Diet Improves High-Density Lipoprotein Function in High-Cardiovascular-Risk Individuals. Clinical Perspective. Circulation, 2017; 135 (7): 633 DOI: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.116.023712

No Sugar Added Paleo Banana Bread


There is no shortage of banana bread recipes out there. There are recipes to fit every dietary restriction you can imagine: These include banana breads made without eggs, without milk, some without any grains, and the list goes on. But of course, they all have bananas! We developed a banana bread recipe you’ll certainly want to add to your repertoire. It is, in fact a paleo recipe since it does not contain flour or white sugar. But it is also a gluten-free recipe loaded with fiber, protein and healthy fats. Although the recipe includes just one banana, you can use two bananas and simply increase the coconut flour to 4 tablespoons for a larger loaf.

This banana bread is, however, more of a bread than a cake. Usually banana loaves tend to include quite a bit of sweetener, either sugar or honey, or at times sweeteners like stevia. This version only contains the sweetness of the banana and the natural sugars present in cashew butter. Due to the addition of cinnamon, the natural sugars are enhanced giving the overall creation a sweeter flavor. Since it also uses a low amount of coconut flour, but larger protein- rich ingredients such as eggs, flaxseeds, and cashew butter; this recipe makes a powerful option for a breakfast or post-work out snack. This bread is dense and filling, as well.

For a sweeter treat, cut a slice about ¼ inch thick, place it in your toaster, and spread it with your favorite jam or honey! Of course, these additions stray a bit from the paleo diet, one that   excludes sugar and honey.

So probably you are wondering just how much protein does this No Sugar Added Paleo Banana Bread contain?

We used a nutrition calculator to analyze this recipe. The results aren’t 100% accurate, but they give a good idea about the amount of protein in each batch. The full recipe adds up to 23 grams of protein and makes a small loaf made in a 6×3 inch pan. Each serving size of maybe ¼ of the loaf, contains 5.75 grams of protein! Not too bad for banana bread!

There is another ingredient you can add to this recipe as well. We tried adding ½ cup of applesauce, and the banana bread was a bit sweeter but also heavier and took longer to bake. When trying to swap the eggs for flax-eggs for a vegan approach, the recipe failed. It took over one hour to bake and was mushy inside. But the best part of recipe creation is experimenting with ingredients until you get the perfect combination! Feel free to adapt this recipe and change up the ingredients to fit your needs, and then let us know what you’ve swapped and how it all turned out.

No Sugar Added Paleo Banana Bread

1 ripe banana

2 eggs

3 tablespoons of coconut flour

1 tablespoon of flaxseeds

¼ teaspoon of baking powder

½ teaspoon of cinnamon

1 tablespoon of Once Again Creamy Cashew Butter

In medium bowl, mash the banana and combine fruit with 2 eggs. Once well mixed, add the cashew butter and stir. Next, add coconut flour, flaxseeds, cinnamon and baking powder. Mix well using large spoon or hand mixer on low setting. Pour into small pan (6x3inches) and bake in a  preheated oven of 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 40 minutes, or until done. Store bread in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Tahini Dipping Sauce

Compared to a typical American diet, the plant-based approach to meal planning is higher in unsaturated fats, fiber, usually has better nutrient-density and contains more vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. It is no surprise many people are interested in modifying their lifestyle to follow a plant-based eating pattern!

Perhaps the reasons approach to eating is growing in popularity is that it doesn’t mean going vegan or vegetarian, eliminating any macronutrient or even prohibiting certain foods. Plant-based eating includes fruits and vegetables, whole grains, a variety of protein-rich foods such as beans, peas, nuts, seeds and soy. Dairy products, seafood, lean meats, eggs and poultry are also on the menu, but are not the focus. Animal- sourced protein becomes complementary to your meals instead of the dominant choice. It is also encouraged to minimize the use of additives such as salt and sugar to enhance flavor and to rely on herbs and spices.

Plant- based diets are helpful in reducing risk for chronic disease, but it does require some effort to look for some variation to your routine menus. It is not an all-or-nothing proposition, to get started you can simply choose a meal you eat routinely and substitute the plant protein for the animal-based one. For example, if tacos are on your menu, choose two different types of beans for the filling and skip the meat. As an alternative for meat-based lasagna, use vegetables only!

As previously discussed on a previous blog, the clear majority of people are overeating protein. Therefore, when changing to plant-based eating, they won’t suffer any side effects from perhaps a bit lower protein intake. Interestingly, plant-based eating often matches the same amount of daily protein intake. Beans, nuts, peas and other legumes are rich in protein and can easily make up for the lack of animal foods. As a bonus, these foods offer more than just protein. They have a much wider variety of nutrients and fiber, something you can find in animal foods. The recommended fiber intake is 38 grams for men and 25 grams for women, with all fiber counting to achieve daily goals.

If you are also moving towards plant-based eating, we have a fantastic sauce for you! This tahini dipping sauce can be used in many ways. For example, it can serve as a topping to roasted vegetables, as a dip for raw veggies and when thinned, and it can be used as salad dressing. Plant-based ingredients can deliver flavorful sauces that include an array of culinary textures and nutrients.

Tahini Dipping Sauce

½ cup Once Again Tahini

¼ teaspoon of salt

¼ teaspoon of garlic powder

Warm water

In small bowl add tahini, salt, and garlic and mix well. Next, slowly add one tablespoon at a time of warm water to the mixture until the desired thickness is obtained. Suggestions:  3 tablespoons of water for a dip, or 5 tablespoons of water to use as a sauce for entrees.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Quinoa Brittle

Earlier this year, several better health and living news outlets reported the scoop about a newly developed urine test that measures the healthiness of a person’s diet. It is a five-minute test that measures biological markers in urine created by the breakdown of foods such as red meats, chicken, fish, fruits, and vegetables. This allows for the evaluation of a persons’ intake of fat, sugar, fiber, and protein.  Although the technology is fantastic to have, one wonders about the usefulness of having such a hi-tech and newfangled test. After all, isn’t a person’s nutritional intake more easily tracked by using old-fashioned food diaries?

Unfortunately, people tend to underestimate their caloric intake and usually inaccurately record the true picture of their diets. Since food records are an integral part of weight management, tools used by health workers when helping their patients, this test could aid in filling in the information gap of some lingering questions. Often an individual struggling to follow a plan needs an incentive. Some speculate that the perceived threat of their physicians finding out about their “slip ups” and “cheat days” may be enough to keep clients on track.

Regardless of how you feel about invasive data being used to track a person’s adhesion to a prescribed plan, we believe healthy eating must be made easier and much more exciting to ensure life-long, healthy eating habits. Often, such eating is associated with confronting flavorless foods, dull ingredients, and absolutely no desserts. But why not broaden the definition of dessert, in particular, to include more than just high-sugar, empty-calorie treats? When a post- meal bite includes ingredients such as chia seeds, flax seeds, quinoa, oats, and peanut butter, there is no risk of falling into a chasm of empty calories. These ingredients are filled with nutrients including fiber, vitamins, minerals, protein and healthy fats. They may complete the meal by delivering the reminders of one’s needed daily recommended micronutrient intake, while also satisfying a sweet-tooth.

Whatever plan you are currently following, or healthy habits you have adapted into your routine, go ahead and enjoy this  Peanut Butter Chocolate Quinoa Brittle occasionally, without any worries about  the uncomfortable possibility of having to “explain yourself” after a urine test!

Peanut Butter Quinoa Brittle from Once Again Nut Butter Blog

Peanut Butter Chocolate Quinoa Brittle

4 tablespoons of coconut oil

½ cup of quinoa (uncooked)

¼ cup of whole oats

2 tablespoons of chopped peanuts

2 tablespoons of flax seeds

1 tablespoon of chia seeds

1 ½ tablespoons of honey  (Maple syrup can be a  vegan substitution)

2 tablespoons of Once Again Creamy Peanut Butter

¾ cup of dark chocolate chips

In a medium bowl, add 2 tablespoons of coconut oil, 1 ½ tablespoons of honey, and 2 tablespoons of peanut butter, and stir well. Now add the dry ingredients in any order you choose (except for the chocolate). Mix well and spread on a baking sheet using a flat spatula. The mixture should be about ¼ inch thick. Place in pre-heated oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes, or until edges are slightly golden. Remove from oven and let it cool. In small bowl, melt the chocolate chips, and combine the other 2 tablespoons of coconut oil. Pour over brittle mixture, and spread it out in a thin layer. Let it cool and set until it hardens. To speed up the process, place the brittle in refrigerator for 15 minutes. Finally, using your hands, break the brittle into pieces and enjoy! Any leftovers  must be stored in the  refrigerator.