Month: March 2016

Corn Muffins with Peanut Butter

There are some traditional recipes that are perfect for taking  up a notch! I believe corn bread is one of them. But how can you make this Southern classic any better than it already is? After all, it’s sweet and savory, and when sliced and served warm with a little butter, it is pretty much perfect. But just when you think there is no way to improve that perfection, we throw in some peanut butter !

This experiment started off when a batch of warm corn muffins came out of the oven. After impatiently waiting 10 minutes to cool off a bit, slicing one up and going for the butter, I realized we were out of butter! No need to panic, Once Again Peanut Butter came to the rescue. The peanut butter melted a little when it touched the warm corn muffin, and just like that, the new and improved corn muffin recipe with a twist was ready!

So, if peanut butter tasted so amazing on top of the corn muffin, why not try it in the recipe too? I have a couple of corn bread and muffin recipes, so I chose the one that I can make more often. It is delicious, simple, and it doesn’t overdo on sugar and fat, allowing you to have two to three little muffins at a time. And yes, of course, you can use any muffin or cake pan you would like, but as usual, the mini-muffin makes a great portion size. They are also adequate for freezing. If you use the smaller size pan, the yield can be up to 30 mini-muffins, and if you are not planning on consuming them all in the next 48 hours, freeze some. You can later pop them in the microwave or oven for a few minutes before eating them. .

Since this simplified and leaner version of the classic corn muffin usually comes out a little dry in  the added peanut butter really helps hold in the moisture . Also, the addition of apple sauce instead of vegetable oil helps keep the recipe  lean. But you may also try using coconut oil instead of the apple sauce. Both swaps have worked in  this recipe.

Peanut Butter Corn Muffins -

Corn Muffins with a Peanut Butter Twist

1 ¼ cup flour (we prefer using whole wheat)

¾ cup corn meal

¼ cup sugar (you can substitute for honey as well, a little under ¼ cup)

2 tablespoons of baking powder

½ teaspoon of salt

1 cup milk (of your choice)

½ cup Once Again Creamy Peanut Butter

1 egg

¼ cup coconut oil or ¼ cup applesauce

Combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Mix well and set aside. In a separate bowl, mix milk, peanut butter (softened you may need to  heat it in a  small pot  using  low heat for 10 minutes, and  then add it to the mixture), oil or applesauce.  Lastly, add the beaten egg. Now combine  the dry mixture, blending it well into the wet mixture. Mix well, but take care not to over-mix.. Pour into mini-muffin pan or the pan of your choice and take it to an  oven, preheated to 400 degrees and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the pan you use. Check by inserting a toothpick.  If it comes out clean, then the muffins are done. Serve warm with butter or extra peanut butter. Freeze leftovers in an airtight container for up to 30 days.

Slow Cooker Thai Chicken

There are several cookbooks dedicated to slow cooker recipes;as a matter of fact, a quick search on the web yielded more than three thousand recipes for your crock pot. That is proof of American’s love for this kitchen gadget that promises to help save you time while cooking homemade meals for your family. I must admit I only tried a slow cooker for the very first time this year. I grew up in South America where they are not very popular; instead, I learned how to cook with a pressure cooker. These two have a lot in common in that they promise to facilitate, simplify and are great for all-in-one pot meals. The main difference between the two is the cooking time. A pressure cooker can cook a whole chicken in broth and spices within 25 minutes, while a slow cooker will take about three to four hours.

The slow cooker works perfectly on  days where the afternoons are filled with activities and appointments, you can place all your ingredient in the crockpot at lunch time, set the timer and have dinner ready by the time you come home later on. I fully understand why so many people eventually invest in more than one slow cooker. They really are very handy and entertaining for culinary creativity. . The recipes vary from your most common stews and soups to cheesecake! Since I am not expert on this cooking device, I am starting with  basics, and so far have been impressed with the results.

I was given  a 6-quart slow cooker, a basic model with a low and high mode only. It Has no timer and no options, so  now I am tempted to invest in, one with a timer and maybe a different size as well. Cooking stews and soups so far has been my favorite use of the pot; today I am sharing a modified Thai Chicken recipe.  With this one, you can throw all the ingredients at once in the pot, turn on for 3 to 4 hours and forget about it. My children aren’t huge fans of chicken, but when I added  Once Again Peanut Butter to it, they were  excited to try it, and that alone was a huge win in my house. The sauce for this recipe calls for peanut butter and soy sauce, which really delivered on flavor while keeping the chicken juicy and soft. To speed up my prep time the second time around making this recipe, I used a frozen blend of chopped onions, red peppers, green peppers, celery and parsley, which I added to the cooker while still frozen, and it worked wonderfully. We served it over sprouted brown rice but you can also use noodles when in a rush, since they take much less time to cook. You will have your meal on the table in 15 minutes or so after the slow cooker has done its job. Note this recipe doesn’t have any added salt or oils either! So, it’s perfect for those watching their sodium intake and managing their weight.

I will continue to experiment recipes with my slow cooker, but would love some advice, suggestions and tips for you all out there. Please comment on this blog and I will start working on some new creations combining my new favorite kitchen gadget and our amazing Once Again Nut Butters!

Slow Cooker Thai Chicken -

Slow Cooker Thai Chicken

2 boneless chicken breasts (about 1 lb.)

½ cup chopped green peppers

½ cup chopped red peppers

½ cup chopped onions

¼ cup chopped celery

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

½ cup vegetable broth

¼ cup Once Again Creamy Peanut Butter

1 tablespoon of lime juice

2 tablespoons of soy sauce (or liquid aminos)

¼ tablespoon of cumin

Place chicken on the bottom of the slow cooker, and then add  chopped peppers, onions, celery and parsley. In separate bowl, using a whisk, mix together  the vegetable broth, soy, peanut butter, lime juice and cumin. Add sauce to slow cooker and set on low for 3-4 hours. At around the 3-hour mark,  remove the chicken, shred it with a fork and return it to the slow cooker for another 30 to 60 minutes.

Everyday Sweet Potato Casserole: Made with healthier ingredients, so it’s better for you!

Holiday meals often include some of our favorite dishes, but unfortunately we must restrain ourselves , having those only on special occasions. They are usually labor intensive, high in calories and challenging to fit into a regular day’s menu. Well, some exceptions needed to be made, and that was the case with  sweet potato casserole. A traditional holiday recipe for sweet potatoes includes generous amounts of brown sugar, heavy cream, and almost always end with a pecan and marshmallow topping that makes this casserole more fitting of a dessert table than dinner!

Sweet potatoes are a better source of fiber than white potatoes, but what makes them a nutrient- rich tuber is their deep orange color. That characteristic color (at least here in North America, because a fun fact is that the more common variety of sweet potato in South America, for example, is purple!) is the source of sweet potatoes’ vitamin A content. This powerful antioxidant (carotenoids) has anti-aging properties, aids cancer prevention and helps protect good eyesight. Just one large sweet potato contains more than 100% of the daily recommended intake for Vitamin A according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. They are high in vitamin B5, B6, thiamin, niacin and riboflavin. These are all good reasons for us to enjoy sweet potato casseroles all year round!

Let’s not allow the nutrients in sweet potatoes be overshadowed by the heaping amount of sugar that the holiday casserole recipes are famous for. Instead, by swapping brown sugar for Once Again Killer Bee Honey, you’ll need a lesser amount ls to sweeten the recipe and add the benefits of honey, such as its immune- boosting qualities. There is also no need to add heavy cream; instead, using a hand mixer or blender, the trick is to puree the sweet potatoes while still warm to achieve  creaminess. You won’t miss the marshmallows when you top your casserole with pecans, cinnamon, and just a little brown sugar (optional).

Simple changes make this a casserole fit for any day! Add this recipe to your collection to serve with grilled salmon and a side of broccoli, for example. It also goes well with baked chicken and a spinach salad, there are just so many choices!

Sweet Potato Casserole -

Everyday Sweet Potato Casserole

3 lbs. of sweet potatoes

1 large egg

1 teaspoon of salt

1/3 cup of Once Again Killer Bee Honey

1 teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon ginger

1/3 cup of chopped pecans

½ teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon of brown sugar (optional)

Wash and peel potatoes, and then chop them into cubes and steam until soft. Place them in a bowl, and while still warm, puree,  using a hand mixer or blender. You may add a couple of tablespoons of water if needed, but when pureed while still warm, you will most likely not need any additional water. Now add a beaten egg, honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, salt and mix well. Place in bake- safe dish — 8×8 works well. The topping is the mixture of the pecans, sugar and brown sugar. Sprinkle on top of the sweet potato and bake, covered in foil, in a  an  oven preheated at 350F for about 45 minutes. Serve warm!