Tag: carolina jantac

Edible Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

A new food trend has taken over Instagram and Facebook feeds in the last few months, leaving many of us drooling over photos of delicious spoonsful of nothing less than cookie dough! That’s right! What was once deemed unsafe to be consumed raw, now comes in a variety of flavors, and the recipes are simple to follow.

Technically, the one ingredient that has made raw cookie dough a health risk to consume comes to us by the dozens, eggs! However, simply removing eggs from your average cookie recipe doesn’t quite do the trick. The FDA warns that plain white flour isn’t recommended for raw consumption either, due to possible contaminants. Many cookie recipes also call for some type of vegetable oil, which if consumed raw can have an awkward aftertaste and texture. Thus, a multi-level challenge emerges for us.

After briefly researching edible cookie dough recipes and some experimenting in our kitchen, we have come up with a knock-out recipe of our own. Perhaps the best part of the whole adventure was the experimenting! Each failed recipe became a reason to eat the rejects and start over again. When you are using ingredients such as whole grain oats, dark chocolate, and our Once Again nut and seed butters, eating up the failed attempts is a delicious job that needs to be taken care of, well, lickety-split!

As usual, we strive to include good sources of nutrients in all our recipes. Even our treats fit safely into a healthy lifestyle. That’s the goal, after all! This explains why we chose whole oat flour as our starch in this particular recipe. Due to the natural sweetness of peanuts, our Once Again Peanut Butter was the best match for this cookie dough. However, we have tried the recipe with Once Again Almond Butter, and it was just as amazing.
Pumpkin is in the air as we approach the fall season, so why not add pumpkin puree to this recipe as well as many others? Just one tablespoon of maple syrup sufficed to sweeten the whole batch. The dark chocolate is completely optional here, and you can be substitute coconut, dried fruits, or chopped nuts. However, in my opinion, the dark chocolate works phenomenally to balance the pumpkin and peanut butter flavors in this unique edible cookie dough. Did we mention that  it takes literally fewer than 5 minutes to make this? Watch our video, and whip up some for yourself, too!

Edible Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough 

Pumpkin Cookie Dough

2 tablespoons of pumpkin puree

2 tablespoons of Once Again Peanut Butter

1 tablespoon of maple syrup

¼ cup of oat flour

1 teaspoon of pumpkin spice

¼ cup of chopped dark chocolate

Start with the pumpkin puree, and mix in Once Again Peanut Butter. Once well blended, add in maple syrup, and then slowly mix in the oat flour. Add in pumpkin spice and dark chocolate chips, and mix well. Enjoy the result with a spoon, or roll it into cookie dough balls. Store in refrigerator for up to 5 days. Makes about 8 teaspoons of cookie dough.

Almond Puffs Cereal

When it comes to breakfast cereals, choosing a healthy option is easier said than done. It is obvious that Americans love cereal; one must simply stroll down to the nearest grocery store to notice entire aisles dedicated to cereals. Cereal is indeed a delicious way to start your day! However, if choosing the wrong kind, you could be compromising your nutritional goals in just one bowl before the day even starts properly. Nutritionists and health experts agree that when it comes to breakfast cereals, the most overdone ingredient is sugar. Most of options on the market have excessive sugar and lack substantial macronutrients needed to start your metabolic processes in the early hours of the day. Fiber and protein are often neglected to make room for ingredients such as high corn fructose syrup and white flour, which deliver a tasty treat instead of a nutrient-packed breakfast. There are exceptions, and thankfully you can find some phenomenal cereals nowadays. However, picking which one is right for you will require a process a bit like a treasure hunt.

You’ll need basic knowledge of how to read nutrition labels as well as how to decipher ingredient lists and be ready to spend a good 30 minutes flipping boxes around at the store shelves. The bright colors and big bold letters on the front of the boxes are catchy but hide the actual contents inside. Distinguishing between marketing and evidenced-based claims can be quite tricky.

We don’t want to discourage you from finding the perfect breakfast cereal for you and your family, but in the meantime, or occasionally, you could make your own at home! It is surprisingly simple, requiring only 6 ingredients and about 20 minutes in the oven.

You will need Once Again Creamy Almond Butter or your favorite Once Again Nut or Seed Butter, a little maple syrup and oat flour. In just one bowl you can mix all ingredients together and you are ready to roll. If you have little helpers hanging around the kitchen with you, let them handle the rolling out of the dough! They are experts in playing with modeling clay and dough after all. Creating long snakes that you can snip to make pillow-shaped cereal is a fun project for all.

Not a big breakfast cereal person? Don’t dismiss this recipe so quickly! These Almond Puffs are perfect for snacking too. Just fill up an air tight container and pack it along with you for the day — when hunger strikes, you can munch on it for a satisfyingly and crunchy, nutrient-filled snack that won’t compromise your health goals for the day.

 Almond Puffs Cereal by Once Again Nut Butter

Almond Puffs Cereal

1 egg

½ cup of Once Again Creamy Almond Butter

¼ cup of maple syrup

1 cup of oat flour

1 teaspoon of baking powder

½ teaspoon of vanilla extract

Whisk egg, and then mix it into the almond butter. Add in maple syrup and slowly blend in flour. Mix in baking powder and vanilla extract. Roll out dough into long rope and cut ½ inch pieces with a dinner knife. This type of knife will create little pillow shapes versus cylinders. Place them on a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat, or sprayed with non-stick spray and bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Turn them halfway to bake evenly. Store in airtight container for up to one week. Serve with the milk of your choice!

Lemon Cashew Bars

Summertime and ice-cold lemonade go together like hot dogs on 4th of July! As we enter warm season, our taste buds gravitate toward citrus and berries, barbecues, and frozen treats. At the same time, lemons become a more frequent addition to our dishes during these sultry months of the year. Perhaps our bodies just know how much we need the extra fluid, electrolytes and vitamin C, which are all present in citrus.  This may explain our cravings for such tangy-sweet flavors.

You can substitute lemons for limes and vice versa, as your imagination commands. They are both very acidic but have pleasantly different tastes and aromas. As a matter of fact, most people can discern the distinct scents of lemon or lime while blindfolded. Fragrance aside, lemons have a slightly higher content of vitamin C when compared to limes.

When using these jewels of nutrition as ingredients in recipes they behave alike but provide distinct flavor results. For example, when looking to boost a sweet tang, lemons may work best; however, if the objective is to dull down a bit the sugar in a recipe,  limes will be a better fit.

Our Lemon Cashew Bars recipe was originally created with lemons, but recently tested using limes instead, and the results were just as delicious! The Lemon Cashew Bars are slightly less sweet- tasting than the ones prepared with limes when nothing else was modified. These bars are so easy to make, allowing you to stock up your refrigerator all summer long. That way you won’t be caught without a healthy snack anytime during your busiest days, and they can also be conveniently and neatly away for a picnic or car trip. You may find similar bars on grocery store shelves, but don’t be if surprised your homemade versions taste so much better! The secret is in the citrus zest, and of course, the top-quality ingredients you use at home. Just 4 ingredients, a food processor and your refrigerator— that’s all you’ll need! Let us know which homemade version you prefer, the lime or lemon? We are ready to experiment with orange and grapefruit as well. What do you think?

Lemon Cashew Bars

Lemon Cashew Bars

¾ cup of dates

2 tablespoons of lemon juice

Zest of one lemon

½ cup of Once Again Cashew Butter

½ cup of raw cashews

Using a food processor, start by combining the dates and lemon juice. Pulse until you achieve a homogeneous mixture. Then add the cashew butter and cashews. Lastly, add in the lemon zest. Place mixture in a baking pan about 4 x 8 inches in diameter, lined with parchment paper. Set in refrigerator for 4 hours, or for just 1 hour in freezer. Cut into bars and store in airtight container in refrigerator for up to 10 days.

High Protein Chocolate Mousse

If you told me a few months back that I would be dedicating a whole blog to cottage cheese, I would have had a hard time believing you.  However, our readers keep coming back for our healthy recipes, while remaining in constant search of delicious ways to meet their diverse nutritional needs.

Now let’s talk about our passion, that is, bringing you the best combinations of ingredients to meet all of your dietary requirements while also giving you recipes that taste great, of course. Although many of you may be vegan or vegetarian, we also want to bring options to those who aren’t. This is what led me to further explore the possibilities of cottage cheese.

A sadly forgotten ingredient in my kitchen was recently brought back into to the light when on a grocery trip I spotted it on sale. Upon picking up the small container of cottage cheese, I analyzed the label and was reminded of how much protein cottage cheese has packed into such small caloric content. One cup of low fat cottage cheese has 28 grams of protein and just 163 calories. It is also crammed with many nutrients like B vitamins, calcium, phosphorus, and selenium. But the highlight of this this nutritional powerhouse’s profile is the fact that over 70% of cottage cheese’s calories derive from protein. That makes these humble curds an excellent source of protein, and a convenient food choice for athletes, people on the move, and those requiring a bit of extra protein each day.

Perhaps the last time you had cottage cheese was at your school cafeteria when it was served with a side of some sort of soggy fruit.  Bleck! If you then designated cottage cheese as a food you would rather not eat, think again! Cottage cheese can be transformed and used as an ingredient in an array of decidedly different, delicious ways. It can be added to smoothies just as a protein supplement would be. And as a bonus, cottage cheese has a velvet-like consistency when blended that can achieve the creaminess that you are looking for in your drinks. Plain cottage cheese has a very mild flavor, unlike that of most cheeses; therefore, it can easily absorb the flavors that it is paired with.

It also can be blended and added to soups as a thickener to build extra protein content in the recipe. You can use it in place of Feta or blue cheese in your salads, add it to pancake batter, your favorite lasagna recipe, or even splurge some through your granola in the morning.

For some time, cottage cheese has been a popular choice amongst those looking to build muscle mass due to its high casein content. Casein accounts for 80% of the protein in cottage cheese, and it is a slowly absorbed protein. This allows for better muscle building, as well as prolonged absorption of the amino acid leucine, which also increases muscle building capacity.

Potentially the only thing missing from low fat cottage cheese is a healthy dose of monounsaturated fatty acids and omegas found in almond butter, for example! To fill this gap, we have created a perfectly delicious solution. Blending almond butter with cottage cheese to create a chocolate mousse will change the way you’ll think about night- time snacking.  Since its protein is so slowly absorbed, cottage cheese is effective in preventing muscle breakdown that may occur at night. Therefore, a serving of our High Protein Chocolate Mousse is just what you may need before you embark upon a night of restful sleep.

The creaminess of the cottage cheese, enhanced by the richness of the almond butter, is matched with the depth of cacao powder to make this chocolate mousse irresistible! Feel free to top it with some fresh fruit and drizzle on a little extra almond butter for some genuine crowning glory.

High Protein Chocolate Mousse

High Protein Chocolate Mousse

½ cup of cottage cheese

2 tablespoons of Once Again Almond Butter

1 teaspoon of cacao powder

1 packet of stevia (or 1 tablespoon of honey or coconut sugar)

Add all ingredients to blender and pulse until smooth. Place in refrigerator to set for 30 minutes and enjoy! The total protein for this one-portion serving is about 17 grams.

Quinoa Cashew Bites

Quinoa is so much more than what it appears to be! Did you know that quinoa is not even a true grain even though it is usually lumped with grains in recipes and nutritional discussions? This funny word carries a powerful array of nutrients. Regardless of how you pronounce it, although correctly, it is “keen-wah,” today is a good time to learn more about this wonder and discover why you should be eating it more often.

Whole grains are rich sources of fiber and many nutrients, but they often fall short on protein. Grains are considered incomplete proteins due to their lack of sufficient amounts of the amino acids lysine and isoleucine. Quinoa, which is not a grain, but a seed, has significantly greater amounts of both amino acids mentioned above, and is therefore a complete protein source, in fact, similar to animal protein sources. One cup of cooked quinoa delivers an average of eight grams of protein. This peculiar seed, a relative of beets, also contains significantly more fat. Fortunately, it is the healthier fat that enhances our immune systems and doesn’t damage our hearts. It’s no wonder that it has long been a star ingredient in many vegan and vegetarian recipes. It provides quality protein and fat for those on a plant-based diet.

Quinoa comes in a variety of colors, including red, white, and black. Although they don’t have a highly distinctive taste, the white variety seems to be the most popular. And here is some good news: Prepare it just as you would most grains. Calculate one cup of dry quinoa to two cups of water, and bring it to a boil, simmering for 15 to 20 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed. The result will be fluffy, translucent-like spheres, with small string-like attachments, which are parts of the seed hulls. Quinoa does absorb most of the liquid; therefore, it is easy to flavor by just adding spices and herbs to the water when cooking. For an interesting option, add a teabag of your favorite flavor to the boiling water, apple spice for example, for a sweet quinoa base that you can use for breakfast dishes or desserts.

Nowadays quinoa is available as a flour to use for baking, too. It is easy to incorporate this nutritious seed into our meals, and we have now an even easier and delicious way to enjoy it! Try our recipe for Quinoa Cashew Bites. Quinoa and cashews accent each other’s flavors perfectly in this recipe. These bite-sized snacks are handy for pre-workout snacks, after school snacks or mid-day pick-me-ups. Have fun making them in different molds for special occasions, too! How about trying heart-shaped silicone molds to make some sweet treats for your loved ones?

Quinoa Cashew Bites

Quinoa Cashew Bites

1 cup of toasted quinoa

½ cup of Once Again Cashew Butter

¼ cup of coconut oil

2 tablespoons of maple syrup

1 tablespoon of unsweetened coconut flakes

Start by adding quinoa to a dry skillet set over medium heat and shake it constantly until you start to hear small pops. Keep mixing quinoa until it is all popped. It takes only 3-4 minutes after the first few pops for the process to be complete. Then remove the popped quinoa from the heat. Let it cool before mixing it with the rest of the ingredients on our list. Mix all well and spoon the combination into molds to set in refrigerator for four hours.  Or place the bites in the freezer for one hour of quick-setting. Remove them from the molds and keep the bites in an airtight container in refrigerator for up to 7 days.

Spicy Peanut Noodles

Can the food you eat really impact how efficiently your body burns calories? It seems like every other month there is new hype about which foods can speed up your metabolism and help you burn those extra pounds. People respond with curiosity and willingness and try just about everything.  After all, who doesn’t want to eat and shed pounds at the same time?

To better understand how food affects metabolism, let’s review how it works. Metabolic rate refers to the number of calories burned by the body each day. This number comes from a mathematical equation that includes your resting metabolic rate, physical activity and the thermic effect of food. The resting metabolic rate is the largest component, unfortunately, we have very little if any control over this number. Physical activity makes up 30-50% of your rate, and we have complete control over that, as well as the thermic effect of foods (TEF). Although it only makes up 10% of your metabolic rate, what you choose to eat is completely up to you! Carbohydrates burn 5-10% of calories eaten, fat 0-5%, and protein 20-30%.

You may have heard that eating spicy foods can rev up your metabolism. This claim does indeed have some foundation. The belief is that eating spicy foods raises your body temperature which in turns means your body spends extra energy cooling itself, and therefore, increasing your metabolic rate. Numerous studies have confirmed that capsaicin, the compound in chili peppers which gives them all the heat, does indeed raise your metabolism. A 2011 study even found that taking a ¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper increased the calories burned in the following meal! But before you drown all your food in hot sauce, you should know that the increased calorie-burn only amounted to an average of 10 calories!

Interestingly, drinking cold water also gives you a metabolic boost! If you require a large glass of iced water after eating spicy foods, you are increasing your odds for achieving a speedier metabolism. Research suggests that those who consume 8 to 12 glasses of water per day burn more calories than people who only drink up to 4 glasses per day.

These two facts are good enough reasons to make some Spicy Peanut Noodles for lunch today! However, if you need one more, how about the fact that they taste amazing! The nutty flavor and spicy red chili match in this sauce recipe give new life to plain noodles. No need for heavy cream sauces when enjoying noodles! Try this recipe with the addition of steamed edamame or tofu for a complete vegetarian meal.

Spicy Peanut Noodles by Once Again Nut Butter

Spicy Peanut Noodles

3 tablespoons of red chili sauce

¼ cup of Once Again Creamy Peanut Butter

1 teaspoon of sesame oil or extra virgin olive oil

¼ cup of liquid aminos (or soy sauce)

2-4 tablespoons of warm water

Cooked thin noodles of your choice. We recommend rice noodles or whole wheat noodles. Mix all ingredients for the sauce except for water in a container you can seal with a lid and shake well. Lastly, add in one tablespoon of water at a time until desired consistency. Pour the sauce over hot cooked noodles and serve!

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.

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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!

Double Chocolate Fudge Popsciles

Do you know the difference between cacao and cocoa powder? Not many people actually do, so don’t worry if you’re not sure of the difference — or if you’ve used the two interchangeably thinking they mean the same thing. Once I started to explore ingredients towards the end of my nutrition training, that was  when I first learned what makes cacao different from cocoa powder. It’s all chocolate in the end, but it has to do with how the cacao beans are processed and  become the powder we purchase on   store shelves that matters.

So, why are we talking about cacao or cocoa powder in  a nut butter blog ? Well, we strive to bring you recipes with wholesome ingredients that not only taste amazing, but also provide you with optimum  nutrition. Therefore, knowing how to distinguish between those two powders will help you make better-informed ingredient choices based upon your health goals.

The process of making chocolate starts with cacao beans. Cacao is a plant native to the tropical regions of Central and South America. They produce a fruit called the cacao pod which houses 20 to 60 seeds, usually called cacao beans; they are embedded within a white pulp. The fruit, once ripened, is harvested and opened to remove the pulp with seeds. The pulp is placed in a bin and covered for fermentation to occur. During fermentation the pulp is converted into alcohol by the yeasts present in the air and  heat. The beans are mixed several times during the process to increase oxygenation, which turns the alcohol into lactic and acetic acids. This process slowly changes the beans, converting them from having a bitter flavor to having more of the complex flavors that we know collectively as “chocolate.”

Cacao powder is made by cold-pressing raw cacao beans, which allows some living enzymes in the cacao to remain active; however, this process removes the fat from the beans (We are talking about cacao butter, the substance used to make chocolate bars). Cocoa powder, on the other hand, is made when the cacao beans are roasted at a high temperature and  then ground into fine powder. This also removes  fat, as well as the living enzymes.  Although cocoa powder may seem nutritionally inferior to cacao powder, they are both great sources of antioxidants, and cocoa powder is cheaper. Cacao powder contains more fiber and calories than cocoa powder since more of the nutrients from the whole bean remain  intact. Cacao is an excellent source of monounsaturated fats, vitamins, minerals, fiber and a small amount of protein as well. When choosing to buy cocoa powder, stay away from cocoa mixes since those contain added sugar. Both powders are a rich source of fiber and antioxidants, so you can’t go wrong!

Now that you know the difference between the two powders, let’s add cacao powder  to a healthy treat –shall we? Once Again Sunflower Seed Butter is the perfect flavor match for cacao powder. Their combination provides a creamy texture and rich flavor that makes this Double Chocolate Fudge Popsicle better than any other version out there! And here are some tips for making the recipe successfully: First, make sure you combine the sunflower seed butter and cacao powder well before adding other ingredients. Also, using a well ripened avocado is important to achieve the smooth texture of a fudgelike popsicle. And finally , make several batches because these treats will go quickly!

Double Fudge Popsciles

Double Chocolate Fudge Popsicle

1 tablespoon of Once Again Sunflower Butter

2 tablespoons of unsweetened cacao powder

1 cup of milk of your choice (use whole fat milk for creamier result)

½ of one avocado

Chocolate chips

Start with Once Again Sunflower Seed butter and mix in cacao powder. Once well mixed, add it to a blender and slowly add avocado and milk. You will  have a thick mixture, Pour it into molds, filling each  up only up halfway. Add a few chocolate chips to each, and then add the rest of the mixture, filling up the rest of each mold. Makes about 3 popsicles, depending on size of your mold.

All Your Seeds

Are seeds really good for you? Over  the past few years, we have really turned our attention to seeds and all the nutrients they each contain. More so than ever, we are all using seeds routinely, sometimes as an ingredient, sometimes as a topping and other times as substitute for various  components of a recipe. Perhaps the best part of this “seed revolution” is that we are discovering new ways to enjoy them and add them to our diets.

Given this trend, this seems like a great opportunity to review some of the most commonly used seeds and how they can each add to your good health! Besides their protein and fiber contents, seeds also have vitamins and minerals. And of course, in true Once Again fashion, we will give you a recipe to use all these seeds at once. Let’s begin with sunflower seeds. Once Again Nut Butter has two options of Sunflower Seed Butter for you to choose from, one that contains organic sunflower seeds, organic sugar cane and Salt, and another with organically grown, roasted sunflower seeds that are milled smooth with organic sunflower oil…and that’s it! Either one will have all the nutrients and benefits of sunflower seeds.

Let’s consider sunflower Seeds: A popular snack at baseball fields across the county, these tiny seeds pack more than just a satisfying crunch. They are rich in vitamin E and folate. Just a quarter  cup of sunflower seeds supplies over 60% of your daily needs of vitamin E. This combination makes them powerful in promoting cardiovascular health. Vitamin E also neutralizes free radicals as an antioxidant protecting your brain and other cells in your body. They also support healthy cholesterol levels  with high amounts of phytosterols. Sunflower seeds have magnesium which is required by our muscles and skeletal system to maintain proper function. Magnesium has an important role in your maintaining a good mood too. It has a calming effect and has been used in anti-depressant therapies with good results. Finally, let’s highlight the selenium content in sunflower seeds. . This essential nutrient has critical role in thyroid hormone metabolism and has been noted for its ability to encourage DNA repair in damaged cells.

Flaxseeds: They are made up of 18% protein and 42% fat. And that is the good news! The fat in flaxseeds is mostly polyunsaturated fatty acids, such as omega-6 fatty acid and omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).  They are one of the richest dietary sources of omega-3 fatty acids. ALA is an essential fatty acid, which means our body cannot produce it on its own. The fat composition of flaxseeds is what makes them significant fighters in reducing  the risk of various chronic diseases.  They are also a good source of thiamine (vitamin B1), copper, molybdenum, magnesium and phosphorus. One of the most talked about characteristics of flaxseeds is their fiber content. Two tablespoons of flaxseeds contain about 6 grams of fiber, of which 20-40% is soluble and 60-80%  insoluble, including cellulose and lignin. Lignins  are also known as phytoestrogens, which have been linked with benefits for cardiovascular health, metabolic syndrome stabilization and fighting several types of hormone-sensitive cancers.

Chia Seeds: These are fairly new to the scene but quickly gaining popularity. The fact that you don’t need to grind them is a plus! They have a high concentration of plant-based omega-3 fatty acid ALA, Something that I  mentioned above in the flaxseed discussion: They are powerful in lowering triglycerides, supporting healthy cholesterol levels, lowering blood pressure, depressing inflammatory activity and  promoting heart health.  In addition, chia seeds also have a number of phytochemicals such as myricetin, quercetin and kaempferol, each with its own unique benefits. These phytochemicals are known for their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.  Two tablespoons of chia seeds can provide 18% of your daily recommended value for calcium, 35% of phosphorus, 24% of magnesium, and 50% of manganese. Chia seeds provide another great choice to maintain heart, bone and overall health!

Sesame Seeds:  Sadly most people were introduced to sesame seeds on top of a hamburger bun. Hopefully we can separate the two and continue to include sesame seeds in our diet beyond just as sprinkle topping to buns. Are those tiny seeds worth our attention? Absolutely! You may have tried our tahini before, which is nothing more than ground sesame seeds. As a matter of fact, in one jar of tahini there are about 177,000 sesame seeds! They are rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acids, such as oleic acid. Oleic acids help lower LDL and increase HDL, helping prevent coronary artery diseases. They are also a good source of protein. In 100 grams of seeds, there are 18 grams of protein. These little seeds also pack a variety of phenolic anti-oxidants, which help decrease the harmful effects of free radicals in our body. Sesame seeds also contain folic acid (25% of recommended daily intake in just 100 grams of seeds), niacin, thiamin, vitamin B6 and riboflavin. As far as essential minerals, sesame seeds are surprisingly rich in calcium, iron, manganese, zinc, magnesium, selenium and copper, given  their small size!

Did you know quinoa is actually a seed, too ? Even though most people think of quinoa as a whole grain, it is actually a seed harvested from a plant called goosefoot; but I’ll leave that history for another post!

Although the reasons I’ve noted here are enough to make you look at seeds with a different perspective, the following recipe  will make you fall in love with seeds all over again. Or at the very least, you’ll have a great recipe for a snack, breakfast, post-workout  recovery, fiber- boost or any number of goals you’re trying to achieve with your diet. I suppose seeds aren’t just for birds after all! We should be taking notes  about  them and eating more seeds overall, too! Watch the video to see how easy this recipe  is to prepare.


All Your Seeds by Once Again Nut Butter

All Your Seeds

¼ cup of Once Again Sunflower Seed Butter, lightly salted
¼ cup of dried apricots
¼ cup of raisins
¼ cup of ground flaxseeds
¼ cup of unsweetened coconut
¼ cup of sunflower seeds, roasted
2 tablespoons of chia seeds
¼ cup of Once Again Killer Bee Honey
½ cup of coconut oil
¼ cup uncooked quinoa (or cooked)
1 ¾ cups of oats (pulsed to flour in food processor)
¼ teaspoon of baking soda

Start by pulsing oats in food processor until you obtain a flour-like consistency. Then add in apricots, raisins, flaxseeds, coconut, sunflower seeds, chia seeds and quinoa. Pulse a few times until the apricots are rendered in small, chopped bits. Lastly, add coconut oil, honey, Once Again Sunflower Seed Butter and baking soda. Pulse a few times until you obtain an even mixture. Add a spoonful to a mini-muffin tin sprayed with oil or buttered . Place in an oven preheated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown around the edges. Wait until the bites cool before removing them from the muffin pan. Store them in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Thumbprint Peanut Butter Cookies with Chocolate Chips

Thumbprint cookies have been around for a long time! Although there is some controversy as to exactly when they were first created however, there are records of them from the early 19th century. History is also not clear about whom to credit for this cookie’s creation either the Polish, Swedish or possibly the Jewish people of Eastern Europe. Regardless of their  exact origin, these cookies are to this day a favorite in our American bakeries and cookbooks.

I like to imagine that perhaps they came about by accident. A mother somewhere in Europe had just set out a pan of cookies ready to go in the oven, and in the meantime her children, while she wasn’t looking, wanted to check if the cookies were ready and one by one stuck his or her thumb into the cookies! To cover up their mistake the child  added some jam to each little “thumb-hole”. The mother saw the kids around the cookie pan and told them to scatter, quickly taking the pan to the oven without noticing what the kids had done. And just like that: the thumbprint cookie was born. !

Obviously there is no record of how it came about, but it’s fun to think about the possibilities. That brings me to why these are perfect cookies to bake with little fingers around. If you have kids around looking for something to do, this recipe is your answer to a fun and delicious activity to keep them busy. Children’s smaller- sized thumbs make the perfect indentations into these cookies for you to add a few chocolate chips. In case you don’t have little fingers around, just make the cookies bigger and use your own thumb of course. Another option is to use the back of a ½ teaspoon measuring spoon —  this tool will make the  perfect size.

Here are a few other notes about this particular thumbprint cookie recipe. The original is similar to a sugar cookie; this one, on the other hand, is a peanut butter cookie. Instead of vegetable oil, we used coconut oil. A few of our blogs have touched on  why we use coconut oil in baking (see here), but if you are not convinced yet, this is a good recipe to try. It is important to use the egg at room temperature when mixing it with coconut oil. The oil is liquid only at room temperature; when mixed into a cold liquid such as cold milk or eggs, it will solidify. This makes it very difficult to turn this mixture into a cookie dough. Lastly, we made this recipe two different ways: One using regular sugar, and once using sugar substitute (stevia was our choice). Both methods turned out fantastic! We noticed that with the sugar substitute, you need a little more time in the oven, so if choosing this method just carefully watch your cookies while they are in the oven. .

Don’t feel like you have to fill them with chocolate chips either! The choice is completely yours! You can choose jam, chopped nuts, dried fruits, or even an extra tiny dollop of peanut butter. Share with us what you decided to fill your cookies with and post in the comments’ section below. We can’t wait to hear about your version of this old- time, traditional cookie.

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Thumbprint Peanut Butter Cookies with Chocolate Chips

1 cup of whole wheat flour
¾ teaspoon of baking powder
½ tablespoon of coconut oil
1 egg at room temperature
¼ cup + 1 tablespoon of Once Again Crunchy Peanut Butter
½ cup of sugar or equivalent in sugar substitute
1 teaspoon of vanilla
½ cup milk of your choice
Whisk egg at room temperature and add peanut butter, coconut oil, vanilla and sugar. Mix well, and then slowly add in wheat flour mixed with baking powder. Finally, add  milk as needed to form dough. You may need a little more than a ½ cup for a smooth dough. Roll about 1 tablespoon of dough at a time into small rounds. Using the back of a ¼ teaspoon create small wells in each cookie, or just use your thumb! Then fill each with chocolate chips or your favorite jam. Bake them in  an oven preheated  to 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 12-20 minutes. Store cookies  in airtight container for up to 4 days.