Month: May 2016

Springtime Pineapple Cake

We are back with another blog focused on giving some of our favorite foods a make-over! Today we are tackling “pineapple cake.”  You may wonder why; it is a bit of an odd choice for a make-over recipe. However, it was a fan request! We thank you, Susan from Florida, for sending in the note: “I am a huge cake fan; I often bake cakes according to season. During the winter I make spice cake; in the fall, I make pumpkin; summertime  calls for citrus, and in the spring, I make pineapple cake. Since spring is upon us, can you help me with a cake recipe that is better for me and my family?”

We are with you on this one, Susan: As fellow cake-lovers we too must find better ways to bake cakes without all the added sugar and empty calories. The beauty of a spring cake is that you can vary it with  lots of fruits such as bananas, pineapples, peaches and berries, for example. The addition of fruit to your cake batter helps hold moisture without the need for extra butter and oil. Of course, fruit  also adds sweetness to the cake, allowing you to decrease the amount of sugar in the recipe.

Moreover, this is a good opportunity to also add protein, vitamins and minerals to your recipe. Most cakes have minimal amounts of nutrients, which makes them a poor candidate for a snack or breakfast food. To save cakes from falling entirely in the treats’ category, add some protein, and watch them graduate them into mini-meal status. But how do you do that without compromising taste? Once Again Nut Butter is the solution, of course! Not only does it add nutrients, including fiber but it also adds amazing flavor.

Since this is a spring cake, the obvious choice to enhance it was Once Again Sunflower Seed Butter (Have you seen the label? The flowers are just perfect for spring).  Once Again Sunflower Seed Butter tastes like a handful of roasted sunflower seeds! You can choose the lightly sweetened variety (which is what we used  for this cake), or the salt and sugar- free variety, if you like..  Once Again  has both to offer. As a matter of fact, if you are a sunflower seed butter fan, make sure that you check stores for the squeeze packs of Once Again Sunflower Seed Butter, which are now available. They are so practical to toss into your purse for a snack, and they are perfect lunch box item for kids of all ages.

But now, let’s zoom in on another ingredient used in cakes that we can certainly find a healthier choice for: the oil. Most cake recipes will ask for vegetable or canola oil. But what if you could instead bake with coconut oil and reap the benefits of its abundant medium chain triglycerides, including lauric acid? Among its many benefits are MCTs (medium chain triglycerides) that help increase blood HDL levels–  that’s the good kind of cholesterol. Actually, coconut oil is a fitting match for cake. Its properties are adequate for baking, and it doesn’t add a coconut flavor to the cake as one would expect. Although we wouldn’t be opposed to that outcome, if it did!

Lastly, let’s talk sugar. Cake without sugar is pretty much bread. Therefore, we know there needs to be some added sugar,but  to make this recipe diabetic-friendly there is an option for using a stevia “sugar” baking mix. The key is that we are increasing the nutrients in the cake while lowering its “empty-calories,” attractive qualities that enable you to  enjoy it more than every once in a while.  Enjoy the cake and keep sending us comments with more ideas for recipe make-overs!

Springtime Pineapple Cake on www.onceagainnutbutterblog.com

Springtime Pineapple Cake

3 cups of whole wheat flour

2 cups of sugar (or ¾ cup stevia sugar baking mix)

1 teaspoon of baking soda

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

3 eggs

3 mashed bananas

1 can (14 ounces ) of crushed pineapple (do not drain)

¼ cup of coconut oil

½ cup of Once Again Sunflower Seed Butter

1 ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract

1 cup of chopped toasted pecans

Add sugar, eggs and bananas to mixer and beat using a low setting. Add coconut oil (at room temperature), sunflower seed butter, and vanilla, next and in that order. In separate bowl, mix flour, cinnamon and baking soda. Now combine the dry mixture by adding it slowly to the mixing bowl and beat  at a low setting. Make sure to beat until the mixture is well blended. Using a spoon, mix in crushed pineapple and pecans.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a bundt cake pan with non-stick spray and pour mixture into it. Bake for approximately one hour and ten minutes.  Allow the cake  to cool for at least one hour before serving. Serve with pineapple ice cream or spread some extra Once Again Sunflower Seed Butter on top of the cake or on each slice!

Creamy Carrot Soup

The simplicity of a single- ingredient- focused soup is what makes it popular and ideal to highlight some powerful herbs and spices. Carrots, all on their own, have a sweet earthy taste that is  brought to the surface when cooked. When combined with maple syrup and slivered almonds, they help create  a side dish worthy of a holiday meal. Carrots are used in juice blends matching the flavors of vanilla or cinnamon very well. However, when combined with ginger and turmeric, carrots are elevated to gourmet soup status. The best part is that this soup is  very simple to make at home. And beyond this obvious convenience, this creamy soup will not need any cream at all!

Why carrots you ask? Carrots are best known for their beta-carotene content, which is what gives them their  orange color. They also  other phytonutrients, including alpha-carotene and lutein. They are also an excellent source of vitamin A, a very good source of biotin, vitamin K, fiber, potassium, vitamin B6 and vitamin C. And that’s not all– they are also a good source of manganese, niacin, folate, copper and vitamin E.  Think you have  the idea? They are nutrient powerhouses!

Unfortunately, it is easy to overshadow all that goodness by adding large amounts of some “not so stellar” ingredients when making creamy carrot soup. Buttermilk, butter and cream are not by any means “villains” (we don’t like to categorize foods in such a way). But they can add a heaping amount of calories and saturated fats to recipes and our diets, which can be counteractive to those trying to stay on a determined eating plan. Therefore, there is a much better ingredient that will deliver that same creaminess to your soup without completely changing the nutrient profile of it . As a matter of fact, my solution  will add a boost of some nutrients such as protein. Just a couple of tablespoons of Once Again Creamy Cashew Butter works wonders in this recipe.  We have tried other Once Again Nut Butters as thickeners for  soup and experienced tasty results as well! Tahini is a popular addition for soups. For this creamy carrot soup, the best match is  Once Again Creamy Cashew butter. It seems that  the cashews and carrots enhance the earthy sweet flavors they both share.

A warm bowl of creamy soup can be your comfort dinner on a cold day.  Although I hope this is not only a trend, I truly appreciate the way we are embracing also enjoying warm soups for breakfast! Talk about a fantastic way to start your day with a nice serving of veggies! So when you make your next batch of creamy carrot soup, besides having the best aroma in your kitchen (ginger and carrot are phenomenally fragrant), remember to save some for your next morning breakfast!

 Creamy Carrot Soup from Once Again Nut Butter

Creamy Carrot Soup

1 pound  peeled and chopped carrots

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 chopped garlic cloves

¼ teaspoon ginger

1 teaspoon turmeric

2 ½ cups vegetable broth

2 tablespoons Once Again Nut Butter Creamy Cashew butter

Juice of 1 lime

To a medium sized pot, add the olive oil, garlic, ginger and turmeric. Heat for a few minutes before adding in carrots. Let carrots be fully coated with olive oil and spice mixture before adding in the vegetable broth. Once added, cook for about 20 minutes or until the carrots are tender. Lastly, add in cashew butter and lime juice. Cook for another two to three minutes and remove from heat. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup into a creamy mixture. Serve hot and a dollop of sour cream, if you like, for a flavorful garnish.

Apple Pie Gluten-Free Mini Muffins

We love getting feedback from our fans! And this recipe goes to all our fans who shared, pinned and tried our Peanut Butter and Banana Blender muffins (click here for recipe). This is another one of those quick and easy recipes that you can make on the spot when you crave a baked treat. As always though, I carefully selected each ingredient to result in a bite-sized muffin that you can enjoy without worries about overwhelming sugar or additives. My goal is to present healthy recipes that taste good and don’t require special culinary skills. That explains why often you’ll notice a whole cup of fruit or vegetable added to recipes. It also points to why blender muffins works so well by keeping it simple, not to mention the easy clean up! And who doesn’t like that? You can clean up everything you used to make the recipe while the muffins are  baking; when it’s done, you can sit and relax with a cup of tea and a fresh baked mini-muffin.

One of the comments on the last blender muffin recipe was asking if we can   make one without using bananas. Believe me, I can sympathize with this fan. I have a daughter who used to love bananas when suddenly one day she announced at breakfast that would no longer eat them. This determined young lady wasn’t kidding! It has been about 9 months, and she has yet to eat a banana or anything made with bananas. Perhaps the overripe banana she ate at lunch a while back didn’t sit well with her, and she developed this aversion to one of our staple fruits. Either way, I’m letting this one go and choosing my battles. She eats all other fruits well and is by no means a picky eater. This did however, create a challenge for me in the kitchen. So for my daughter, and those out there who are not big fans of bananas, this recipe is for you as well!

Here are a  few last words about this recipe before we get to making it. You will notice that this recipe  does not have any flour, oats or any grains. It is therefore naturally gluten-free. It also does not use any added oil; the fat content to make these muffins soft and moist comes from the peanut butter and egg only. Feel free to use a “flax egg” instead to keep the recipe vegan as well (see “how to make a flax egg”  here). Combining an animal sourced protein from the egg and plant- sourced from the peanut butter also give you a wider range of amino acids, among other nutrients. This  is also a diabetic- friendly recipe. The carbohydrate sources are from the honey and apples only. You may always omit the honey and make these into little bread bites rather than muffins.

Keep your comments coming so we can continue to create better recipes for you! Thank you for sharing your ideas and opinions with us!

Once Again Apple Mini Muffins recipe on www.onceagainnutbutterblog.com

Apple Pie Gluten- Free Mini Muffins

½ cup unsweetened apple sauce

½ cup Once Again Creamy Peanut Butter

1 egg

3 tablespoons Killer Bee Honey

¼ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon ginger

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup diced apple

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. In a blender, add all ingredients with the exception of the diced apples. Blend on low for a few minutes until well mixed. Remove from blender and add diced apples. Pour into mini-muffin pan and bake for about 10 to 15 minutes. Makes 12 mini-muffins.  Serve warm or save in a plastic sealed container to keep fresh   for up to 3 days.