Month: October 2016

Sunflower Seed Buttercups

Do you know what a vegan diet really is all about? Many people have some idea about what following a vegan diet excludes from their plates. However, most do not realize the depths and reasoning behind this way of life. We have over the years listened to many of our Once Again Nut Butter fans requests, and that is why you’ll find a vegan check mark on our Once Again nut butter jars. As a matter of fact, our products are also gluten free, certified kosher, non-GMO and several come in the USDA Organic options.

Vegans can be very much at home at Once Again. “Veganism is an ethical philosophy which begins with the idea that we should not use animals in any way and avoid, to the extent that is possible and practical, all forms of use.” This definition provided by Your Daily Vegan describes in a few words what living a vegan life is all about. It is not only about the food that is consumed, but also resources that are used for your daily activities. Veganism takes great dedication and effort. Excluding animal products from your diet such as meat, cheese, chicken, fish, eggs, butter, cream, milk and even honey, among other things, is only the first step. Vegans also avoid products derived from animals such as wool, silk scarves, leather shoes, bedding that contains goose down or duck feathers, ordinary soap (usually made of animal fat), many cosmetics, and so many other items you may have never realized contain animal products. Vegans pay close attention as well to animal rights: The products they purchase and food they eat must never be tested on  laboratory animals. They have great respect for life of all forms on  our planet.

Some of you may be wondering about the possible health implications of  such a lifestyle. Since vegan diets are based on grains, seeds, legumes, fruits, vegetables, mushrooms and nuts, it is, overall, filled with nutrients! Soybeans are used to create imitation “meats” such as tofu. Because soybeans are a complete protein, meaning they contain all essential amino acids for humans, the myth that vegans do not eat enough or good quality protein is not necessarily true. Veganism could potentially cause a deficiency in vitamins B12, D, zinc and calcium since  those nutrients are mostly abundant in animal sources rather than in plants. To address the issue, many vegan products such as tofu are now fortified with those nutrients to guarantee a better intake average of said vitamins and minerals. According to a recent article in February of 2016 from Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, veganism appears to provide health benefits, including a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity and heart disease.

Veganism is a complex form of the vegetarian diet with which we are more familiar.  Vegetarians also do avoid animal products such as red meat, chicken, pork but may sometimes include eggs, fish and other products made with animal derived ingredients, such as milk, for example. The vegetarian diet often includes honey, which is not always the case with  vegans. The case for honey is not so black-or-white  when it comes to defining if it is vegan- friendly. Honey is technically not vegan since it is produced by bees. However, bees are insects, and there has been  a discussion examining potentially negative environmental impacts of  honey harvesting. You may find it a bit odd that with our discussion about veganism we will include a recipe that calls for honey, in this case. We respect all choices of lifestyle, especially those who are so in tune with nature and preserving our environmental  resources. We do however also recognize the benefits of using honey as a sweetener (see post here on health benefits of honey we published earlier this year). Therefore, you may choose to make this recipe as is, or feel free to substitute maple syrup, which is a vegan- friendly ingredient.  Regardless of the route you choose, these Sunflower Seed Buttercups are going to dramatically change the way you look at seed butters! They are sweet treats that will deliver mouthwatering texture and taste, and they are easily made in just a few minutes, too.

And remember, honey is also paleo-diet friendly! That is another diet and lifestyle we will dig into in an upcoming blog. It is so much more than just eating raw meat. You’ll be surprised when you discover its origins and possibilities.

Sunflower Seed Cups by Once Again Nut Butter

Sunflower Seed Buttercups

½ cup of Once Again Sunflower Seed Butter, lightly sweetened

2 tablespoons of coconut oil

2 tablespoons of Killer Bee Honey

2 tablespoons of chocolate chips

1 tablespoon of roasted sunflower seeds

Mix Once Again Nut Butter Sunflower Seed Butter with coconut oil. Make sure the coconut oil is liquid at room temperature prior to mixing with sunflower seed butter. Now add honey and mix it well. Pour into molds and sprinkle with chocolate chips and roasted sunflower seeds. Take to freezer for 30 minutes, remove from mold and enjoy! Store leftovers in freezer. These treats melt fast when at room temperature.

Banana Upside Down Cake

Here we go again talking about bananas. You’re correct if  you’re thinking that we often include bananas in our recipes. We have several recipes that either feature bananas as the main ingredient right alongside one of our Once Again Nut Butter products. Or we have used bananas  as a sweetening ingredient. Bananas are so easy to add to almost any recipe because they provide natural sugar, increase moisture, add to texture and often reduce the overall caloric content of a recipe when replacing other ingredients. Therefore, bananas will continue to be a commonly seen item in our recipes, especially as they are a marvelous match for  our nut and seed butters when it comes to flavor boosting.

We have a post that goes into detail about the nutritional content of bananas if you are interested in learning more (link here). To summarize,   bananas are not only high in potassium, but they also contain fiber, vitamin B6 and vitamin C. Bananas when mashed can be added to cake, cookies and bread recipes. When diced, they can be used as toppings, frozen treats and so much more. This recipe we’re sharing today uses bananas in both ways, mashed in the cake batter as well as sliced up for a beautifully delicious topping. The more common version of this cake is the Pineapple Upside Down Cake, where pineapple is paired with cherries and a yellow cake batter. Since bananas and cashew butter make such a delightful pairing in taste and texture, this modification seemed like a must-be-done  approach to this old famous cake style. This is a  banana upside down cake, made with plenty of mashed bananas in the batter which also includes Once Again Organic Cashew Butter, and it is topped with sliced bananas.  A  touch of sweetness comes from coconut sugar or honey! The only place sweetener is included is in the topping (or bottom of the cake ); there is no need to add sugar  to the batter as the mashed bananas are sweet enough on their own. If you prefer a sweeter tasting cake, make sure to select over-ripened bananas.

Do not be afraid of trying this recipe due to the fancier look of an upside down cake. The cake turns quite nicely, and there isn’t a rule saying you must turn it upside down, either! If you prefer, just leave it right on the pan and serve it warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for an extra special touch.

Banana Upside Down Cake by Once Again Nut Butter

Banana Upside Down Cake

For upside down topping:

4 tablespoons of coconut oil

½ cup coconut sugar (optional) or ½ cup honey

2 bananas, sliced

For cake batter:

1 ½ cup of mashed bananas (about 3 bananas)

3 eggs

1/3 cup of Once Again Cashew Butter

3 tablespoons of coconut oil

½ cup of whole wheat flour

1 Teaspoon of cinnamon

¾ teaspoon of baking soda

¾ teaspoon of baking powder

Start with a 9 inches round pan lightly sprayed, using non-stick cooking spray. Mix coconut oil and honey (or sugar) and spread on bottom of pan. Then layer the slices of bananas.

For the batter, mix mashed bananas with cashew butter, first. Once well-mixed, add coconut oil at room temperature, and eggs. Mix well by hand or use or a mixer at low speed. In separate bowl, mix flour, cinnamon, baking powder and baking soda. Next,  add the dry ingredients into the wet mixture. Mix well at a  low speed, or by hand until you achieve cake batter consistency. Pour batter over sliced bananas on pan and bake in an oven pre-heated  at  350 degrees Fahrenheit for 40 minutes. Remove from oven, and let it cool for at least 30 minutes before turning the cake. For best results, and easier turning of the cake, use a springform pan.

Chocolate Tahini Cups

The hashtag “hump day” as it refers to Wednesdays has been around for some time now, and it continues to be quite popular, yes, weekly. Many take  to social media to express their struggle with getting through that middle day of the week. It is far enough from the weekend so that you’re no longer refreshed, and unfortunately it remains still two days away from the next upcoming weekend when you can hopefully catch up on  some of that rest again. People choose different small ways to make their Wednesdays a bit easier. Perhaps a short walk during their lunch breaks which may include a fancy coffee. Exercise can help, too: a quick jump in the pool to refresh  mind and body during summer weeks, or a yoga session. The most common way to release stress and lighten the burden of the dreaded Wednesday is with a sweet treat and a glass of wine (or beer, or any other adult beverage that helps one relax at the end of the day).

Yet, should that one sweet treat mid-week, necessary to help you survive the day, ruin the entire week of healthy eating and exercise? Absolutely not! So here enters our chocolate tahini cups that will extinguish  that need for a sugar pick-me-up, ironically without any white sugar at all!

The recipe for Chocolate Tahini Cups includes ingredients targeted to specifically fulfill your needs during  those slavishly long Wednesdays. The coconut oil in this recipe plays its  part by satiating your untimely hunger after dinner, honey provides natural sugar; cacao powder, of course, is a nutritional must and tahini delivers a creamy texture and earthy taste while delivering the protein. But who has time to make treats on a busy day in the middle of a work week? Well, these only take 5 minutes to prepare, and since they are kept in the freezer, they can be made over the weekend and stored for those “emergency” times when you simply must have something sweet!

We all rely on tricks and sometimes “crutches” to get us through stressful times, but shouldn’t those edible  refuges from the daily “grind” not also fit into  our overall goals for health? They can, and they should! Feel free to make this recipe your own by altering a few ingredients. For example, if you are vegan, substitute maple syrup for honey.  For those trying to increase their probiotic intake, add a dollop of Greek- style yogurt to the top of each cup before freezing these treats.  Instead of chocolate chips, you may stir  in chopped dried sour cherries for a sweet-and-sour taste surprise . Make these cups gourmet by adding a sprinkle of kosher salt on top before freezing them. Go wherever  your creativity takes you.  We would love to see what you come up with, so please share your inspirations on our Instagram, Twitter or Facebook account, and tag us including the hashtag  #humpdaytreats.


Chocolate Tahini Cups

½ cup of Once Again Nut Butter Tahini, unsweetened and salt free

2 tablespoons of coconut oil

2 tablespoons of Once Again Killer Bee Honey

2 tablespoons of unsweetened cacao powder

Chocolate chips, optional

Mix Once Again Tahini with coconut oil. Make sure the coconut oil is liquid at room temperature prior to mixing with Tahini. Now add honey and cacao powder and mix all ingredients  well. Pour into molds and sprinkle with chocolate chips (optional).  Freeze for 30 minutes, then remove these treats from the mold and enjoy! Store leftovers  in freeze.  These treats melt fast when at room temperature. So keep them frosty cold!