Month: December 2015

Pumpkin Almond Bundt Cake

Pumpkin Almond Bundt Cake

I have a confession to make: I have a few too many Bundt cake pans! There, it’s out and the universe now, and I feel better already. Maybe it is because of the excitement of filling the pan with the batter and waiting to see the beautiful cake come out the oven: It reminds me a little bit of playing with modeling clay in kindergarten. Using molds and cookie cutters are really just bakes’ ways to express their inner child- like spirit, after all. I truly enjoy the creative process that goes into baking, sometimes more than eating the baked good…, well not really the cake is the best part!

When creating recipes for Bundt cake pans, I look for ingredients that can shine by themselves but also tell a story when a part of my cake.  This may sound unusual, but remember I mentioned the creative process before.  When you make cakes in such beautiful shapes, they  become the center of your table, and therefore, must come with a story. For example, a family recipe for vanilla cake, when mixed up and baked in a fancy Bundt cake pan, gains new life as a family tradition, something to be celebrated, pictured and shared. In our interconnected world that we live in today, with social media as a part of most of our lives, we take pictures of our food and share it with those near and far with a few words that make up the story of each  cake.

When all things go “pumpkin”- flavored by mid- October, it is time to bake a pumpkin Bundt Cake, and what better ingredient to join your story than Once Again Almond Butter?  Besides adding flavor, moisture and depth to your cake, it brings a story of its own. Almond butters complement pumpkin so effortlessly in baked goods. The savory nature of the pumpkin meshes well with the nut butter, and they bring out the best in  each other.  Add a little nutmeg and honey, and you’ve achieved Bundt cake heaven. The recipe below is my original — I have made it again, and increased the honey up to 1 cup, and added ½ cup coconut oil which made it sweeter and fluffier, but, nevertheless, I still go back to my original recipe. It is not as sweet as a standard cake, but that is what I love about it. I usually dust a little powdered sugar on it and slice it thick, with  the finishing touch being  apricot jam or apple butter. Served with a nice cup of hot tea, this cake is my headline for the day. My social media post would look something like this: “Enjoying a slice of Bundt heaven made with almond butter goodness slathered in apricot jam while sipping my tea— #blessed!”

… bake and share your stories,

Carolina

Pumpkin Almond Butter Bundt Cake - www.OnceAgainNutButterBlog.comPumpkin Almond Bundt Cake

4 eggs

1 cup pumpkin puree

½ cup Killer Bee Honey

1/3 cup Once Again Creamy Almond Butter

3 cups whole wheat flour (or white flour)

1 ½ teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon nutmeg

¼ teaspoon salt

1 cup milk

Whisk eggs together until frothy, and then add pumpkin and almond butter. Mix well, while in separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Mix dry ingredients  into egg mixture and finally, add the milk.  You can add a little more milk if the mixture is too thick.  Pour batter slowly into the Bundt cake pan, and place it in  a preheated oven to 350 degrees. B for 60 minutes, and check with a toothpick for readiness.  When the toothpick comes out clean, the cake is done.

Pumpkin Almond Butter Bundt Cake2- www.OnceAgainNutButterBlog.com

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Stuffed Dried Apricots

    Looking to increase your fiber intake but not really looking forward to bulky fiber powders, tablets or eating a ton of grains? Well, besides increasing your fruit and vegetables daily servings, you can also count on dried fruit to deliver a nice dose of fiber. The best part is that they are delicious, and you can make dried fruit  a dessert!

Prunes are first on the list: Many people rely on a prune a day for a healthy digestive system.  Dried apricots are also an excellent source of fiber, and they are especially rich in the soluble type . Soluble fiber dissolves and binds to fatty acids when consumed, and this  leads to an excretion of those fats. Therefore, soluble fibers have the ability to reduce high LDL and total cholesterol .

However, there is more to apricots than just fiber —they have more potassium than fresh apricots, and they are a good source of antioxidants. Among the potent antioxidant phytonutrients, dried apricots are particularly high in carotenoids. This combination of nutrients makes apricots efficient fighters against  inflammation; they are also  great for eyesight and  fight heart disease.

Plain dried apricots are not very popular as a snack, but when diced and mixed with nuts for a trail mix they add a much needed sweet and tangy punch to the equation. Another great way to enjoy them is with a little Once Again Sunflower Seed Butter. What a match made in heaven that is!  They not only taste great —  dried apricots provide a veritable panorama of health benefits. They complement each other in nutrients and together bring vitamin E, unsaturated fat and magnesium to your daily routine.

These snacks are easy to prepare —just slice dried apricots lengthwise and add a dollop of sunflower seed butter; sprinkle some coconut, and they are ready to go. They make a beautiful arrangement on a plate for a dessert table, or they work as an appetizer, too.

Stuffed Apricots with Sunflower Seed Butter - www.OnceAgainNutButterBlog.comDried Apricots filled with Sunflower Seed Butter

6-10 Dried apricots

1 teaspoon of Once Again Sunflower Seed Butter

Unsweetened shredded coconut

Slice each apricot lengthwise opening it up. Add a teaspoon of sunflower seed butter and sprinkle with coconut. And they are ready to serve!

Pumpkin and Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars

Pumpkin Oatmeal Bars - www.onceagainnutbutterblog.comI’ll be the first to admit that a bowl of old- fashioned oatmeal is hard to beat, but who has time to prepare it on a daily basis? Thus, the birth of the oatmeal ! How incredible that you can enjoy the benefits of oats and  get the warmth and all the flavor of a bowl of  oatmeal in a bar that is easy to take with you on the go?

Lack of time is another reason so many find themselves at the drive through line of a coffee place on their way to work. And at this time of the year, it is hard not to order from the seasonal menu and indulge in a pumpkin spiced coffee drink of some sort. Unfortunately, those come with a nice side of over-the-top calories, way too much sugar and saturated fat. No worries though, we have you covered for all your pumpkin cravings and your need for a fast breakfast, too. These pumpkin oatmeal bars will meet  both demands. Prepare them ahead of time, and you will have enough for breakfast for the whole week. The recipe below makes about 16 bars, depending on how you cut them. And  there here are a few details to note about this recipe. You can customize it by using whichever  milk you prefer. I have tried them with cow’s milk, almond milk and coconut milk. All three varieties worked well in the recipe. I have also tried it out with flax “eggs” for a vegan option, and the results were equally fantastic.

Per request, I added coconut flakes and chocolate chips to one of my batches for my kids. Just when I thought this recipe couldn’t get any better, it did.  I should really listen to my kids more often! The combination of coconut and chocolate with pumpkin was perfect. Also notice the recipe does not call for any sugar, honey or maple syrup. You can certainly add that for a sweeter bar, but if you are eating them warm at home, then just top it with your choice of honey or maple before serving. If you are adding a sweetener to the recipe, start with ½ cup of sugar or ¾ cup honey or maple and add more to taste.

Not convinced about  how easy they are to make? Watch this video and make  them  along with us!


Pumpkin Oatmeal Bars

Makes about 16

3 cups of quick oats

½ cup pumpkin puree

1 cup milk of your choice

2 eggs

2 teaspoon baking soda

¾ teaspoon salt

½ cup Once Again Peanut Butter

2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Mix pumpkin puree with milk, then add peanut butter and eggs. In separate bowl, mix oats, baking soda, salt and pumpkin pie spice. Now mix it into the pumpkin,  and combine  all ingredients well. Pour into a 9×13 inch pan and take it to a 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes, until the top is golden. Serve  bars  with maple syrup or honey for breakfast or an anytime snack! Save left overs in sealed container in refrigerator for up to three days.

Almond Wild Blueberry Muffins

People say the best presents come in small boxes, and I must agree! There are numerous examples that support this, including diamond earrings, pearl necklaces, ruby rings and just about any jewelry. Mother Nature has also packaged some of her best gifts in small boxes when you think about it. A sunflower seed is full of vitamins, minerals, protein, fiber and fatty acids all combined in just one single tiny capsule. In fact, the same is true for most nuts and seeds, despite their not- so- intimidating size, they are packed with a tremendous punch of nutrition, which explains why to benefit from their  power, all you need is a serving size of 1 to 2 ounces at a time.  Once Again Nut Butters helps by grinding some of our favorite nuts and seeds and turning them into butters allowing  you to  use one or two tablespoons at time. Thankfully when it comes to nutrients, variety is key, so you are encouraged to  vary  your choices by having a couple tablespoons from each of your favorite Once Again Nut Butters per day! Start the day with almond butter for breakfast; add peanut butter to your snack time fruit, and end your day with some tahini, for example.

When speaking about “itty bitty” sizes, one of fruits that tops my list is wild blueberries. Just like regular blueberries, they are rich in a range of natural oxidants. But wild blueberries are especially high in anthocyanin, a flavonoid with potent antioxidant capacity. The deep blue color of these tiny berries comes from anthocyanin, and are responsible for landing wild blueberries one of the top spots on the ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) scale. USDA research found that one cup serving of wild blueberries has more total antioxidant capacity than 20 other fruits and veggies, including cranberries, strawberries, plums, raspberries and even cultivated blueberries. Wild blueberries are twice as powerful as regular blueberries when it comes to their  capacity to neutralize free radicals and help prevent cell damage. Their high antioxidant content also protects against inflammation, brain aging and other degenerative diseases.

So let’s put some of these miniature gifts from nature to good use by combining them in another one of my favorite “small boxes with the best presents” example:  mini-muffins! They are bite- sized baked goodness that allow you to portion control while still indulging in a treat. And if I haven’t said it enough, mini-muffins are the solution for busy moms and working adults since you can make a big batch and freeze them to enjoy throughout the week.

These almond and wild blueberry mini-muffins also call for yogurt, which in combination with the Once Again Almond Butter holds all the moisture and softness within without needing any butter or oil! You have the option of sweetening them with honey only and omitting the sugar, or using  a little bit of both. When making them for breakfast, I would recommend using just ¼ cup honey, but when baking them for an afternoon tea time, or to bring to a party as a treat, then double up on the honey or use the ¼ cup honey and ¼ cup sugar. They do work out well in large muffin tins, too.. And if you are feeling extra generous, top them off with about ½ tablespoon of pure Once Again Creamy Almond Butter for a beautifully delicious finish.

… enjoy the small gifts from nature,

Carolina

Almond Wild Blueberry Muffins -www.onceagainnutbutterblog.com

Almond and Blueberry Muffin

Makes 24 mini muffins or 12 large muffins

¼ cup Killer Bee honey

¼ cup sugar (optional)

6 oz. plain Greek-style yogurt

1 egg

¾ cup almond milk

½ cup Once Again Almond Butter

1 ¾ cup whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

1 cup wild blueberries (frozen or fresh)

Start by mixing all dry ingredients together in separate bowl and set the mixture aside. In separate bowl, start with almond butter and honey, and then mix well, then adding the yogurt and egg. Once well mixed, add in the dry ingredients and lastly, fold in the wild blueberries. Do not overmix.. Take it to an  oven preheated to  425 degrees for about 20-25 minutes or until you can insert a toothpick and it comes out  clean. Wait until the muffins are   cool to serve.  You may freeze and save them for up to 3 months.