Month: November 2015

Eggplant Kibbeh: made with Once Again Tahini

Health professionals encourage a daily intake of fruits and vegetables of about 9 servings per day. That is equivalent  to about 2 cups of fruit and 2 ½ cups of vegetables per day. Of course those numbers are not a matter of   exact science. . These numbers are based on the specs for an average person who consumes about 2,000 calories per day. And that recommendation is based on achieving maximum benefits from nutrient-rich, fiber-filled, and antioxidant-potent diet. Therefore, feel free to adjust them to better fit your needs, but keep in mind that to avoid some major chronic diseases such as diabetes, gastrointestinal related cancers and heart conditions, nine servings per day seem to be the magical number!

Although most of us already knew the information related above, actually eating that many fruits and vegetables daily can be a challenge. But it is possible! Use some creativity to incorporate vegetables and fruits into meals and dishes that normally would not include them.   This can be the secret to achieving your goal. Think about it this way: You were already going to have some muffins as a snack or breakfast, but those don’t usually add to your daily quota of vegetables, until you make them with zucchini for example.

Another way to consistently meet those intake goals is to experiment with new fruits and vegetables you haven’t tried yet. Eating broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and spinach everyday can get boring pretty fast! So look outside of your normal fare for a new vegetable to incorporate weekly. Try  artichokes, kohlrabi, yucca, zucchini blossoms and dandelion greens. You may have to google those and shop at local fresh food markets to find some of them, but embrace these obstacles as an adventure and take the opportunity to learn while expanding the variety of vitamins and minerals you’ll be consuming.

Eggplant is a nutritionist favorite due to its combination of nutrients, fiber and antioxidant power, but there is just so much Baba Ghanoush (see our recipe here) and fried eggplant you can make  without growing tired of it. Making new recipes is another option for bringing your favorite vegetables back to the  dinner table.

This recipe for Eggplant Kibbeh is an option for Meatless Monday lunch, or you can make it any other day of the week when you are looking for alternative entrees that focus on fiber and plant-based protein. It is also suitable to be served as a side item instead of a simple grain like rice for example. Since this recipe has multiple steps including some techniques some of you may not be familiar with when preparing the eggplant, we put together this short video that you can watch, while making the recipe at the same time, if you like! You can customize it  by adding some of your preferred spices such as hot chili peppers, cumin and black pepper.

… Carolina

Eggplant Kibbeh made with Once Again Tahini - OnceAgainNutButterBlog.comEggplant Kibbeh

1 large eggplant (or 2 medium sized)

1 cup fine ground bulgur

4 garlic cloves

2 tablespoons Extra virgin olive oil

½ cup chopped onions

1 lime

2 tablespoons Once Again Tahini

½ cup chopped parsley (or 2 tablespoons dry parsley)

1 teaspoon paprika

Start by slicing the eggplant lengthwise, then score the flesh without cutting through the skin. Place it in a bowl filled with water and two tablespoons of vinegar for 15 minutes. Remove eggplant from water and pat it dry with paper towel. Brush it with the olive oil and add salt and pepper to taste. Place in pan lined with parchment paper, add the garlic cloves and take it to the oven preheated to 400F for 30 minutes until eggplant is soft. In the meantime, add bulgur (fine ground preferred, but can be coarse) to about 1 ½ cup of warm water. When eggplant out of oven, scoop the middle into a mixing bowl, add the roasted garlic, and all other ingredients. Mix well, then add to baking dish and take to oven for another 30-40 minutes at 450F or until golden brown. Let it cool for a few minutes before slicing to serve. Refrigerate leftovers and consume within 2-3 days. Serves up to 6 people.

Apricot and Tahini Power Bites

As the cooler weather approaches, running outside is an option again for those living in the hot southern states. Around mid-May all the way through mid-October, running outdoors is just out of the question with temperatures hovering in the upper 90s daily, not to mention the humidity, which poses another problem. But now, with cooler mornings and early evenings, you can spot me out for a jog at least two times weekly . It is a rewarding feeling to get some exercise done early in the morning, while also training for a long distance race I will be participating in, within a few months. But exercising early in the morning proves to be a challenge when it comes to having enough energy to complete my workouts.

There aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything we need to do, and often squeezing in a gym session is difficult and has to be accommodated at awkward times of the day. Taking a jog, going for a bike ride, or running at 6 am is an option, but what do you eat before you go? And if your answer is nothing, well, that may just be your limiting factor when trying to improve your performance. After a few weeks stuck at the same distance on my run, I took a second look at my routine. Due to the time crunch, I would drink a large glass of water, eat half a banana and take off running. The reason that doesn’t work is that after 8-10 hours fasting, your body requires some readily available energy to allow you to exercise.

Eating a large breakfast right before exercising is not ideal for most people, myself included. Between the timing, stomach upset, indigestion and practicality this is not always a first choice. But the good news is there is an easy compromise that will allow you to solve both issues at once! Eat a quick power bite that won’t weigh you down, but will provide a boost of energy to perform at your best. Energy bites have become quite popular lately, and we have a recipe for one here (link of past blog with energy bites) that is a good option since it is high in fiber as well. This second option we present below is a bit higher in natural sugars coming from the dates and apricots, while also possessing protein from cashews and the tahini.   The recipe  combines nutrients from nuts and seeds and is not overly sweet making it perfect for a pre-workout  snack any time of day!

The ratio of sugar to protein in these bites makes them also appropriate to consume after exercise to replenish and reduce the chance of inflammation in your muscles. They are easy to prepare, and you can make a big batch to place in the refrigerator and enjoy them for up to 7 days. Or make a double batch and freeze half, so you can have a stock ready for up to one month.

Whatever goals you have in mind when it comes to physical conditioning, don’t forget what an important part what you eat plays in the end game. Nourish your body with nutrients, good quality carbohydrates, protein and good fats, so that you reach your maximum potential, always striving  for more!

Power Bites made with Tahini - OnceAgainNutButterBlog.comApricot and Tahini Power Bites

1 cup pitted dates

1 cup dried apricots, unsweetened

½ cup Once Again Tahini

½ cup coconut flakes, unsweetened

½ cup chopped cashews

Add dates and apricots to food processor and pulse until they are mixed well and form  a ball. Then add the tahini and coconut flakes. Then ,  in a bowl, mix in the chopped cashews by hand.  Roll them into small sized balls, and finally, roll them in extra coconut flakes and enjoy! Keep them refrigerated for up to 6 days. They can be frozen for up to 30 days. Makes 15-18 pieces.

Tahini Power Bites see full recipe on Once Again Nut Butter Blog

Power Bites made with Tahini -

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

In honor of National Peanut Butter Lovers Month we are sharing another recipe that will make you fall in love with Peanut Butter all over again…. you’re welcome!

Dark chocolate peanut butter cupsDark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

1/2 cup coconut oil

1/4 cup cacao powder

2 teaspoons fine ground stevia (or 2 tablespoons sugar)

1/4 cup Once Again Peanut Butter

1/4 cup coconut oil

Mix 1/2 cup of coconut oil with cacao powder, then add in the stevia or sugar.  Pour into mini muffin pan, filling up to 1/3 third of each cup. Then take it to freezer for 5 minutes. Now mix peanut butter with 1/4 cup coconut oil. Fill another 1/3 of each cup and take it back to freezer for 5 minutes. Lastly top each cup with the rest of the chocolate mixture and freeze for another 15 minutes. It’s ready to enjoy! Keep it in freezer since it will melt fast at room temperature. You may also use dark chocolate chips, melt and use it as the bottom and top layer for an even easier option!

Watch video here:


Peanut Butter and Jelly Sushi Roll

In honor of National Peanut Butter Lovers Month we are sharing this recipe that will make you fall in love with Peanut Butter all over again…. you’re welcome!PB and Jelly Sushi roll - check for recipe
Peanut Butter and Jelly Sushi Roll:

  • 1 slice of whole grain bread
  • 1 tablespoon jelly or jam
  • 2 tablespoon Once Again Peanut Butter
  • 1 tablespoon of unsweetened coconut flakes

Using a rolling pin flatten your slice of bread, then spread peanut butter and jelly. Roll lengthwise to shape similar to a sushi roll, cut and dip into coconut.

Watch it here and see how simple and fun this treat is to put together, kids of all ages can help and enjoy it in their lunch boxes too!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies: Grain Free!

Grain Free chocolate fudgy brownieDid you know that you can turn dinner leftovers into desert? It’s true when it comes to mashed sweet  potatoes. You can make mouth-watering fudgy brownies completely grain-free by using mashed sweet potatoes instead! This idea was introduced to me at a party when someone brought their version of grain-free brownies, and they were made with black beans. This of course was inspiration for me to try my own version of  black bean chocolate brownie recipe, but stay tuned for that  one. I’m working on it, but unfortunately so far lots of batches have been made and not one made the cut just yet. In the midst of my trials, I noticed some leftover mashed sweet  potatoes in my refrigerator that were just asking to be part of the desert fun!

Sweet potatoes are  definitely more nutrient-rich than white flour; therefore, a brownie recipe that takes out the flour and adds  mashed sweet potatoes is a healthier option any day! Sweet potatoes are a great source of vitamin A and C; they are rich in fiber and also contain antioxidants, anti-inflammatory nutrients and even blood-sugar-regulating nutrients. Also, it is helpful to add some fat to your sweet potatoes to enjoy the full benefits of their  beta-carotene. Research has found that fat significantly increases our uptake of beta-carotene from sweet potatoes, and that is great news for all because there is nothing better than baked sweet potato sliced open and served with a dollop of almond butter! If you haven’t tried that before, please do and come back to let us know what you think. But how exactly do you turn sweet potatoes into brownies you ask?

Start with either leftover  mashed sweet potato, or bake some sweet potatoes for this recipe. You can also boil them instead, you will need 1 ½ cups of it which is about 2 medium sized sweet potatoes. This brownie is not going to be overly sweet, so it is appropriate to add a frosting or just top it with extra Once Again Peanut Butter. When you first remove them from the oven, they will be extra moist, but allow them  to cool a bit before slicing for better results. You can store them in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 days, and this  is one of those deserts that just gets better with time. They are unlikely to last in my house past the 24 hour mark, but I hear they are fantastic the next day topped with vanilla ice cream.

Grain Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge BrownieGrain- Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies

Serves 10 people

1 ½ cup mashed sweet potatoes

1 cup Once Again Peanut Butter

2 eggs

¼ cup Killer Bee Honey

4 tablespoons cacao powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 tablespoons coconut oil

grainfree chocolate brownieMix sweet potatoes and peanut butter in a large bowl; once well mixed, add in the honey and eggs. In separate small bowl mix coconut oil and cacao powder, and then add to the potato mixture. Finally, add the baking soda. Preheat oven to 375 degrees  and bake for 30-45 minutes, or until you can insert a toothpick and it comes out clean. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3  days.