Month: August 2016

Cherry Bombs: Greens Energy Bites

Every once in a while, I have an aha moment in the kitchen, and something surprisingly creative emerges! These Cherry Bombs Energy Bites were something of  an accident. They are similar to the previously shared Chocolate Energy Bites recipe (here). I was separating out all my ingredients to make a batch of those since my supply was running low. I like to have a few in the freezer at all times; they are convenient snacks to grab before a long run or work out. When reaching for the chopped cashews can in the pantry, I accidentally grabbed the greens powder container instead. I looked at it, and that was when the light bulb above my head went on! What a great opportunity to add some greens to my diet in an unexpected way! It was then that I mixed   four tablespoons of greens powder into the whole batch since I did not want a strong greens flavor in these bites. But feel free to add more in if you are looking to maximize your greens intake. The results were fantastic!

We believe that you should eat greens  as much as possible in their natural raw state. But for those days when you just don’t have time to prepare a salad, or make a smoothie with fresh greens, turning to green powders is an effective  way to supplement your diet. Until I created these bites, the only way I had previously utilized my greens powder was in smoothies. I have seen some recipes that incorporate them into cookies or baked goods, but I had  never had the opportunity to try them . These energy bites are a well suited vessel for greens powder. They are sweet enough due to the naturally occurring sugar in dates,  covering any bitterness that you may taste from the  greens powder formula.

Another new addition to these energy bites are the chopped tart cherries. As mentioned a few posts ago, (see link here), tart cherries have incredible properties that benefit in muscle recovery and lower inflammation, when consumed post exercise. Their tart flavor added  a bright fruity touch in these super-chocolaty bites, as well. Moreover, you can use any of your favorite Once Again nut butters  instead of cashew butter. The chopped cashews and pecan meals required for this recipe are also easily swapped for other nut flavors you prefer or may have available in your kitchen. Since I always keep a supply of most nuts, I usually get to pick which one to use, but while at a friend’s  house, I decided to show her how to make this recipe when  all she had were  Brazil nuts. We used those instead of the cashews and the final results were delicious.. Just pulse the Brazil nuts a few times in  the food processor to break them up into smaller bits before adding them to the energy bites mixture.

It’s a delight to watch how children love these energy bites.  I sometimes pack a few  in my children’s lunch boxes, and inevitably they come back asking me to write out the recipe because they shared the bites  with a friend who now also wants to make them. That’s partly why I first made the video of the original energy bites recipe (see video here). It’s much easier to show people how to make them than  trying to write it all out. Do you add any fun twists to your energy bites at home? Share them with us in the comments’ section below!

Cherry Bombs Energy Bites

Cherry Bombs Energy Bites

16 ounces of dates

2 tablespoons of cacao powder, unsweetened

4 tablespoons of pecan meal

¼ cup chopped of cashews

¼ cup of chopped tart cherries

2 tablespoons of Once Again Creamy Cashew Butter

4 tablespoons of a greens powder of your choice

Start by adding dates to your food processor. Even though you can purchase dates without the pits, I always recommend checking each one by hand before adding them to the food processor. Pulse them several times until you achieve a ball-like consistency. Next add cashew butter, greens powder, pecan meal and cashews. Lastly, remove dough from food processor and mix in the tart cherries. You may use your hands to fold in the cherries, just make sure to wet your hands so the mixture doesn’t stick to them. Roll the mixture  into balls and keep them in the refrigerator for up  to 10 days. Or freeze them for up to 45 days. (They may last longer, but so far I have only savored  their flavor and consistency after having them stored for a maximum of 45 days.)

Tahini Caramel Chews

Discovering new foods is on top of my list of favorite things to do! And sometimes I  don’t have to travel far to do it. During  a regular trip to the Whole Foods, I wandered  over to the bakery counter to inquire about their honey whole wheat bread loaves . They are one of my favorite breads, and I just love to purchase them as soon as they come out of the oven, and then rush home and spread some peanut butter on a few slices that I devour quickly. While waiting several  minutes for the bread to bake, I found myself  looking through at  the delicious treats the market has  on display, when  one called halva caught my eye. The friendly girl at the counter offered to cut a little sample for me, and I was thrilled to try a brand new food. If you, like me, never heard of halva before, let me explain. I looked it up as soon as I got home to further understand these delicious treats. They are sweets, but more specifically, tahini- based confections of Arabic origins. Sugar and tahini are  the main ingredients;   however, there are variations depending on region where they are made or depending upon  what else is added to them. I investigated a little more deeply and found videos on how to make halva , and as you can imagine, soon I was ready to try making it   on my own.

The light and spongy texture of halva reminded me of a sweet, called Torrone, commonly enjoyed by those among  my Italian background. Torrone is a confection typically made of honey, sugar and egg whites with toasted almonds mixed in. They are traditionally consumed during the Christmas season in Italy. I have made Torrone before at home, and it wasn’t an easy task. The results were never close to the original but also yielded a treat that everyone was happy to help consume and critique, while offering  suggestions on how to make the next batch. I found that making halva was a similar experience. After a few attempts, I waved the white flag and declared I was an expert at making Tahini Caramel Chews (that’s what my children called them) instead of halva.

This was one of those times where a failed recipe attempt ended up being  a whole new creation  altogether . Although I didn’t set out to make chewy caramel- like candies, they are delicious and a much healthier alternative to store- bought caramels, actually. The simplicity of it all may  catch one  off guard, however. There are just two ingredients: honey and tahini. But the secret is in the cooking. Apparently to achieve the spongy consistency of Halva you have to stir continuously and stop  at just the right time. I never achieved that point — either I overcooked it or stopped short of the final, perfect temperature. Either way, my results were chewy and not spongy  and light like  the original halva. I am curious to find out if someone reading this post has made halva at home before and has some tips for me. If so, please add your helpful hints to  the comments below. I have not given up and will be trying to make them again for sure!

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Tahini Caramel Chews

½ cup of Once Again Killer Bee Honey

½ cup of Once Again Tahini

Add honey to a saucepan over medium heat. Once the honey starts to boil, wait another 3-5 minutes, mixing constantly. Then add in the tahini. Mix well over medium heat for another 2 minutes or so. Then immediately remove from heat and place in a silicone mold. You may also use a baking dish lined with parchment paper. Let the mixture  cool for 2 hours before trying one! They are very chewy, just like old fashioned caramels. This recipe, however, is not recommended for young children.

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Quick Banana Bread

Not enough time to bake  bread from scratch? Think again! This Quick Banana Bread recipe is perfect for those last minute decisions when you decide to bake when really don’t have the time. To keep the recipe  leaner, we use Greek yogurt and no added refined sugar. The sweetness will come from the natural sugar in the honey and bananas. For that reason,  using overripe bananas will make a sweeter bread. Also, the natural sugars present in Once Again Peanut Butter enhance the flavors derived from the bananas and honey.  Additionally, you can choose to use a flax-egg to keep this bread vegan ,if preferred.

Bread has become a bit of a bad word for  those who are watching their weight. As a registered dietitian, when I see clients who  are searching for help about  how to better manage their health, often one of their first questions  is if they will have to give up bread. Thankfully, I put all their fears to rest when I shout it out: Absolutely not! It’s all about balance. Bread is only a problem when you overeat it. As a matter of fact, the same could be said for most foods. There are no evil foods, or must never eat items, only better-for-you choices. Perhaps bread got its bad rap due to how delicious it is and how easily  one can eat half a loaf in one sitting.  However, there are ways to have your bread and eat it too!

When you choose whole wheat flour among other better-for-you ingredients to bake your bread, the fiber content increases. Also, the bread will have a more balanced ratio of carbohydrates to fats (The added Once Again Peanut Butter helps with that). Both those qualities result in a more satisfying slice of bread, a  slice of bread that will make you feel satisfied  with one or two pieces without running the risk of having to eat the entire loaf. The added protein from Greek yogurt, eggs and peanut butter work well to provide a better nutrient- rich bread. The eggs also help in this regard since you don’t normally find them in a bread. But that is the exact reason this Quick Banana Bread is one step closer to helping us free bread from its bad name on the street.

 

Feel like you can take this up a notch? Try adding chopped nuts and raisins to this loaf for a more decadent bread . Serve with apple butter and a hot cup of tea for an  afternoon reward at the end of a busy week!

Banana Quick Bread

Quick Peanut Butter Banana Bread

1 ½ cup of whole wheat flour

1 ½ teaspoon of baking soda

2 eggs

2 bananas

½ cup of Greek yogurt, unflavored or vanilla

¼ cup of Once Again Killer Bee Honey

¼ cup of Once Again Peanut Butter (smooth or crunchy)

Mash bananas with a fork; then add peanut butter and mix well. Add in eggs, yogurt and honey, and mix all ingredients  well, again. You may use a mixer on low speed, if you prefer.. Finally, add in flour and baking soda, combining  it to form a smooth dough. Place it in a 9×6 loaf pan, or 2 smaller 4.5×3 pans, which have been sprayed with oil or buttered. . Bake in  a preheated oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 40 minutes or until golden on top and around the edges. Test with a toothpick to check for readiness. Store wrapped in foil for up to 4 days.

Double Chocolate Sunflower Cookies

I was recently introduced to two brand new words. And they have become my favorite words in the English language of course! For  purposes of transparency, I have not double checked to see if these words are indeed recognized as part of the American language at this point. Also, they were not invented by me. I wish I were this clever since I have been looking for the correct term to describe exactly  two situations. So without further ado, the words are: Snackcident and Runchies.

Snackcident is defined as accidentally eating an entire bag of cookies at once. Many of us can identify with this phenomenon. It is not quite time for dinner yet, but far enough from lunch that you start to feel the need to eat something. Thankfully we have all grown to embrace the snack as part of our routines. Snacks are supposed to be small portion of food that can hold you over until the next meal. You set forth with the best of intentions and grab a bag of your favorite go-to snack food and portion it  out.  Then you go back for just a couple more, and just one more, and the next thing you know: Snackcident. The entire bag is gone and you feel a bit awkward trying to explain it to yourself just how that happened.

Runchies is a runner’s inability to satisfy hunger after a long run. You can have many variations of  this term by just replacing the word run with workout , biking, swimming or any other exercise that requires a substantial amount of refueling for recovery. You’ve worked hard and left nothing behind, after a brief period of rest you are ready to fuel. Unfortunately, you’ve already eaten a sandwich, a salad and three bananas, and nothing seems to do the trick. It’s not unusual to experience  a peak in appetite a few hours after a strenuous physical activity. This term seems to describe it best, and that’s why it was tweeted several times around multiple boards a few months ago when it caught my attention.

It is a good thing that my passion for nutrition and food in general has joined forces with the best ingredients to take care of both those new terms with Once Again Nut Butter. Nut and seed butters are rich in healthy fats which signal satiety when consumed; therefore, helping you feel full sooner than foods low in fats. Nut and seed butters are also good sources of protein and fiber, both nutrients known to refuel and help with recovery. Our blog contains a large collection of recipes that will help you prevent Snackcidents and also cure the Runchies!

Here is one more recipe to add that is perfect for both situations. These Double Chocolate Sunflower Cookies have only ½ cup of sugar, and by the way, you can use stevia substitute for an even lower calorie count and sugar content. They have one egg, but you can use a flax egg instead  to keep this recipe vegetarian. They are so chocolatey and rich that you’ll be satisfied with two cookies instead of having to eat an entire batch, thus preventing any potential snackcidents. Their protein content combined with fiber and fat from the Once Again Sunflower Seed butter has all it takes to cure your runchies fast!

Make yourself a couple of batches and test out the recipe. Let us know what foods you go to when you are looking for a snack, or when you need to refuel fast in the comments’ section below.

Double Chocolate Sunflower Cookies by Once Again Nut Butter Blog

Double Chocolate Sunflower Cookies

1 cup of Once Again Sunflower Seed Butter – Lightly Sweetened

¼ cup of unsweetened cacao powder

½ cup sugar

2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

1 teaspoon of baking powder

1 egg

½ cup of dark chocolate chips

Combine Once Again Sunflower Seed Butter with cacao powder and mix well. Slowly add in sugar, baking powder, vanilla and whisked egg. Then fold in the chocolate chips. Using a small cookie scoop, place cookies on a  baking sheet. They won’t flatten much in the oven, so you may want to press each one down using a fork or your fingers.  Bake them in an oven preheated to  350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20 minutes. This recipe makes about 22 cookies. Store them in airtight container for up to 4 days.

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