Tag: cashew butter

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.

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.

2-Steps Creamy Ice Cream

Let’s start with some great news: you don’t need an ice cream maker for this recipe! Ice cream makers are  fantastic kitchen gadgets to have allowing you to make several ice cream flavors right in the comfort of your own home. Although you may want to invest in one eventually, today you can still make this frozen treat without it. And you will not be disappointed either, since most people assume that unless you have an ice cream maker your homemade ice cream won’t be creamy and smooth as the store-bought variety.

Our recipe mimics the texture of artisanal ice cream by adding our Once Again Creamy Cashew Butter to the mix prior to freezing. Cashew butter has the ideal balance of natural sugars and fats that deliver the creaminess you expect from ice cream. The appeal of ice cream making at home is also in the fact that you can pick the ingredients and therefore avoid unnecessary additives and artificial ingredients added to the manufactured options of grocery store varieties.

Our base for this ice cream recipe consists of the following: frozen banana, adding the sweetness to our cream, avocado, which has high fat content and freezes well, and our Once Again Cashew Butter. To this combination at the appropriate ratio given below in the recipe, you can add your own twist of flavors. For example, you could add frozen berries instead of chocolate, or frozen mango and pineapple as well. We recently tried coconut flakes, pineapple and a splash of orange juice, which was another winning combination.

Here are a few tips for making this recipe. The better you mix the ingredients, the smoother the ice cream. Therefore, use a good high-speed blender or food processor for best results. Also, when pouring into a dish to take it to the freezer, choose a shallow one instead of the deeper kind. Something like a cake pan works well for bigger batches. The larger surface area allows the ice cream to freeze evenly avoiding ice crystal formation in the process.  Also, cover the cream with plastic wrap allowing it to touch the top of the ice cream,  as this prevents any air from coming into contact with the ice cream during freezing. Prior to serving, remove from freezer and let it stand for just a few minutes. Use an ice cream scoop that has been dipped in lukewarm water between servings. And remember to return reminder of ice cream to freezer as soon as possible to avoid melting and ice crystal formation. If you don’t eat it all in the first serving, you can store it in the freezer for up to one week. Another idea is to turn the ice cream into Popsicles! We are anxious to hear how you add your own flair to this recipe.  Please share it with us in the comments section!

2-Steps Creamy Ice Cream from Once Again Nut butter

Easy Creamy Ice Cream

1 cup vanilla flavored yogurt of your choice

2 frozen bananas

¼ cup of Once Again Creamy Cashew Butter

3 tablespoons of cacao powder

½ of a Hass avocado

Place all ingredients in a high-speed blender or food processor. Blend until smooth, and then pour mixture into a shallow container and freeze for 4 hours. Remove ice cream from freezer, and let it stand for 5 minutes. Then, scoop and serve!

Cashew Delights Sandwich Cookies

Whoever thought up the idea a sandwich cookie was a pure genius! A clever way to enjoy 2 cookies at once made better by a creamy filling. It is no surprise sandwich cookies are commonplace and abundant across the world. That’s right, it is not an exclusively American phenomenon. People in other countries may have different flavor combinations, but they too enjoy the double cookie held together by a delicious middle layer. For example, Australia’s favorite cookie is the Tim Tam, which consists of two malted cookies (or their preferred term: “biscuits”) separated by a light chocolate cream filling and coated in more chocolate. Brazil has a wedding day tradition to serve and enjoy a sandwich cookie called Bem Casado, which translates to “well married.” It’s two butter cookies with a dulce de leche filling, covered in powdered sugar.

We are also fans of sandwich cookies here at Once Again Nut Butter! So, here we set off to create an easy recipe to make at home using wholesome ingredients. First, there are some basic rules when creating sandwich cookies. There must be two cookies that are flavorful enough to stand on their own. The cookies should be strong enough to hold a filling. When baked, these cookies must stay soft but not too mushy, to prevent them from   blending with the creamy middle.  A crispy cookie is harder to work with since it crumbles too easily when assembling the final product

Ideally, the filling is not sweeter than the cookie. It is creamy and could contain crunchy ingredients to add a surprise texture for that moment when you bite into it. There are several discussion boards on social media dedicated to arguing for those who like to separate the sandwich cookies, lick the middle and then enjoy the cookie versus those who prefer to bite into the total cookie.  Either way, it is important that   each component of the cookie be able to shine on its own. The cookie we created has a soft cashew butter cookie making the outer layers and a creamy- sweet, nutty filling. The amount of filling you add to each sandwich is entirely up to you. In our test kitchen, we had a bit of filling left over, and we weren’t short of volunteers ready to lick the bowl and also try it as a topping for ice cream or a spread for their toast.

The cashew cookie has a thinner batter, and we found it easier to pour about one tablespoon of it in regular- sized muffin tins to bake them rather than using a conventional cookie sheet. This helped ensure that they were evenly sized and baked. The filling will be rather thick. It allows you to stick both cookies together without having to worry about a the  middle spilling out. But if you would like, you may add a couple of tablespoons of warm water to your filling for a thinner texture. And perhaps you have a different idea for your filling? Share it with us in the comments, We are thinking that a little bit of cacao powder could take these delights up a notch— What do you think?

Cashew Sandwich Cookies on Once Again Nut Butter Blog

Cashew Delights Sandwich Cookies

Cookie

¾ cups of Once Again Nut Butter Cashew Butter

½ cup of coconut sugar (or brown sugar)

1 egg

Filling

½ cup of chopped nuts (Choose your favorite, or use a mix!)

5 oz of dates (Deglet, Noor or Medjool)

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

4-6 teaspoons of warm water

In a small bowl, beat the egg, and mix in the coconut sugar. Next, add the cashew butter and mix well. For evenly sized cookies, we recommend using a muffin tin to bake the cookies. Add about 1 tablespoon of batter to each muffin slot and tap the pan down on the counter to flatten the batter. Place in oven, at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10-12 minutes, or just until edges become golden. Remove cookies from oven and let them cool before removing them from the pan. They will be a bit soft when first removed from oven, but will harden and be crispier when cooled. The recipe will make about 18 cookies, or 9 sandwich cookies when assembled with the filling.

For the filling, add pitted dates and warm water to food processor until you achieve a homogeneous mixture of paste consistency. Add in chopped nuts and mix well in processor. Now add ½ to 1 tablespoon of filling to each cookie and top it with another cookie. Enjoy these amazing delights! Store in airtight container for up to 5 days. They will keep better in the refrigerator.

No Sugar Added Paleo Banana Bread


There is no shortage of banana bread recipes out there. There are recipes to fit every dietary restriction you can imagine: These include banana breads made without eggs, without milk, some without any grains, and the list goes on. But of course, they all have bananas! We developed a banana bread recipe you’ll certainly want to add to your repertoire. It is, in fact a paleo recipe since it does not contain flour or white sugar. But it is also a gluten-free recipe loaded with fiber, protein and healthy fats. Although the recipe includes just one banana, you can use two bananas and simply increase the coconut flour to 4 tablespoons for a larger loaf.

This banana bread is, however, more of a bread than a cake. Usually banana loaves tend to include quite a bit of sweetener, either sugar or honey, or at times sweeteners like stevia. This version only contains the sweetness of the banana and the natural sugars present in cashew butter. Due to the addition of cinnamon, the natural sugars are enhanced giving the overall creation a sweeter flavor. Since it also uses a low amount of coconut flour, but larger protein- rich ingredients such as eggs, flaxseeds, and cashew butter; this recipe makes a powerful option for a breakfast or post-work out snack. This bread is dense and filling, as well.

For a sweeter treat, cut a slice about ¼ inch thick, place it in your toaster, and spread it with your favorite jam or honey! Of course, these additions stray a bit from the paleo diet, one that   excludes sugar and honey.

So probably you are wondering just how much protein does this No Sugar Added Paleo Banana Bread contain?

We used a nutrition calculator to analyze this recipe. The results aren’t 100% accurate, but they give a good idea about the amount of protein in each batch. The full recipe adds up to 23 grams of protein and makes a small loaf made in a 6×3 inch pan. Each serving size of maybe ¼ of the loaf, contains 5.75 grams of protein! Not too bad for banana bread!

There is another ingredient you can add to this recipe as well. We tried adding ½ cup of applesauce, and the banana bread was a bit sweeter but also heavier and took longer to bake. When trying to swap the eggs for flax-eggs for a vegan approach, the recipe failed. It took over one hour to bake and was mushy inside. But the best part of recipe creation is experimenting with ingredients until you get the perfect combination! Feel free to adapt this recipe and change up the ingredients to fit your needs, and then let us know what you’ve swapped and how it all turned out.

No Sugar Added Paleo Banana Bread

1 ripe banana

2 eggs

3 tablespoons of coconut flour

1 tablespoon of flaxseeds

¼ teaspoon of baking powder

½ teaspoon of cinnamon

1 tablespoon of Once Again Creamy Cashew Butter

In medium bowl, mash the banana and combine fruit with 2 eggs. Once well mixed, add the cashew butter and stir. Next, add coconut flour, flaxseeds, cinnamon and baking powder. Mix well using large spoon or hand mixer on low setting. Pour into small pan (6x3inches) and bake in a  preheated oven of 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 40 minutes, or until done. Store bread in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Chickpea Veggie Stew

Chickpeas or garbanzos, whichever name you prefer, it doesn’t matter! These tiny legumes are a power house of nutrients, fiber, and protein to add to your plate. Interestingly, this legume has been cultivated for a very long time. Remains of its cultivation have been found in the Middle East from 7,500 years ago. It is part of a legume family called Fabaceae, which includes peas and sweet peas.

Dried chickpeas are a tough legume that requires a lengthy amount of cooking to make it ready to consume. They are usually rapidly boiled for ten to 15  minutes and then simmered for two to three hours. To speed up the process, you can soak them for 12-24hrs prior to cooking and shorten the simmering time  down to 30 minutes. Most people skip this time-consuming procedure and buy the canned variety.  This is a fantastic  option to have, as long as you choose a brand that uses the minimum amount of salt needed for preservation. By the way, the  water that you discard from the can, or from your pot after cooking is called “aquafaba.” If you haven’t heard of it before, stay tuned, as we hope to experiment with this ingredient soon in our own recipes. It is a liquid which contains nutrients from the legumes cooked in it, and can even be used as an egg substitute in some recipes!

Chickpeas are also the main ingredient in hummus when combined with tahini and spices. There are many ways to enjoy chickpeas, including in soups, in salads, or as a main dish. They are well-known and regarded for their protein content. One cup of cooked chickpeas provides about 11 grams of protein, while delivering  just 210 calories. This plant protein comes packed with 10 grams of fiber, vitamin B6, iron, calcium and magnesium. With that many nutrients in play, chickpeas are ideal as a main dish any day!

Our recipe below takes this mild tasting legume and infuses it with rich, deep flavors to elevate this simple bean to entrée status. A thick and creamy sauce made up of ginger, olive oil, red peppers, onions and cashew butter complements the texture of garbanzos. Steamed carrots and yellow summer squash complete the dish forming a delicious vegetable stew. Serve it warm with a side of brown rice, or by itself as soup.

Cashew butter thickens this sauce without overpowering the taste of the spices and vegetables. Most nut butters work well as thickeners to sauces, but their flavor comes through in the result. At times, this is just what you want, but when you are looking for a thickener that doesn’t impact or clash with other ingredients, then cashew butter should be your first choice.

Let us know if you try this recipe and how you like it in the comments section below. Since it is a vegetable stew, the more veggies you add, the better. Feel free to add zucchini, eggplant, beets or whatever is in season at the time in your area.

Chickpea and Veggie Stew on Once Again Nut Butter Blog, gluten free and vegan

Chickpea Veggie Stew

¼ cup of chopped onions

2 tablespoons of fresh minced garlic

½ cup chopped red peppers

½ cup sliced carrots

2 medium sized summer squash, diced

2 cups (or 1 can) of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

½ teaspoon of dried ginger

4 tablespoons of Once Again Nut Butter Creamy Cashew Butter

1 ¼ cups of vegetable broth

1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil

First, steam carrots and summer squash for about 10 minutes, until soft. In separate medium sauce pan, add olive oil, garlic, ginger, onions and peppers. Let it sizzle for a few minutes until the onion is starting to brown. Then add in broth and cashew butter and bring everything  to a boil and then remove from stove top heat. Using a had processor or blender, blend mixture until smooth. Return the mixture to the  stovetop set at medium heat ,and add in squash, carrots and chickpeas. Cook for about 10 minutes and serve warm! It’s optional to serve this stew with brown rice or noodles!

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

Why do we of any side effects one can experience from opium in its pure form.   Poppy seeds do however have a unique nutty aromatic flavor that eat poppy seeds? Poppy seeds, although derived from the same plant that also yields  dangerous opium compounds, are worry-free, in terms of consumption.  Ancient Egyptians and Arabs appreciated these seeds long ago. Nowadays most poppy seeds come from Turkey, France, and Eastern Europe. Thankfully, poppy seeds have stayed  around.  They are known for their flavor complexities.  They  contain antioxidant properties and some important nutrients as well.

Poppy seeds are rich in oleic and linoleic acids; their husks are a good source of fiber, and they are an excellent source of B-complex vitamins, including thiamin and folic acid. They also contain a good amount of iron, copper, calcium, potassium, manganese, zinc and magnesium.

However, we can’t ignore that these  tiny seeds come from the same plant that yields a dangerous drug. Are any of those chemicals perhaps also found in the seeds? As a matter of fact, poppy seeds do contain a very small level of opium alkaloids, such as morphine, thebaine, codeine and papaverine. No need to panic though – these tiny levels of opium alkaloids are one of the reasons poppy seeds are perfect to consume when trying to manage stress and anxiety. In the amounts found in the seeds, these opium alkaloids, when consumed, soothe  nervous irritability, acting as painkillers.

Although lemon poppy seed muffins are nothing new to the bakery scene, I had never ventured out to make my own at home. There are a few things I found to be very important regarding this task. First if you are looking for a fresh, strong lemon flavor, it is imperative that you use fresh lemon juice and lemon zest as opposed to bottled lemon juice . There is no real replacement for lemon zest. Also, the poppy seeds should be the very last ingredient added to the mixture. To keep them lower in overall calories and added sugar, I used a stevia sugar baking mix. You may also use coconut sugar, regular sugar, or for an even lower calorie and lower  carbohydrate  version, just skip the sugar all together. No adjustments are necessary for  the rest of the recipe! It works just as it is. Once Again Cashew Butter added all the moisture and texture required for a perfect muffin without adding extra sugar or trans fats. The only flavor that comes through in this muffin is the bright, sparkling lemon — cashew butter is added only to increase the protein content  and to boost  good fats.

This muffin is perfect with a cup of calming chamomile tea  at the end of a busy week! The powers of poppy seeds, combined with cashew butter’s natural levels of magnesium, coupled with its calming properties makes it a nice way to relax and enjoy a healthy snack!

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins from Once Again Nut Butter

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

2 cups of  oat flour (If you grind your own, make sure that it is finely ground.)

½ cup of coconut sugar (or a stevia baking mix equivalent)

1 tablespoon of  baking powder

¼ cup of poppy seeds

¾ cup of milk of your choice

2 tablespoons of lemon juice

2-3 tablespoons of lemon zest

1 whole egg

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

6 tablespoons of Once Again Cashew Butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Start by combining cashew butter, sugar, and egg, mixing until soft. Add  lemon juice, vanilla and milk. In separate bowl, mix oat flour, poppy seeds and baking powder,  and then  combine the dry mixture with wet ingredients. Finally add in the lemon zest. Mix well and pour into either a loaf pan or muffin pan. Bake until a toothpick can be inserted and removed clean,about 25 minutes for large muffin pan. Store in an airtight container for up  to five  days.

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.)

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.

Chocolate Energy Bars/Bites Recipe

What’s the difference between a candy treat and a power-packed  energy snack? It’s a difficult line to draw. Both options are high in sugar, but the quality of ingredients may be the deciding factor. This recipe brushes pretty close between the lines of being an energy snack and/ or  a  candy treat. No need to panic though, it works as both extremely well. But let’s back up a little  and explore  why I developed this recipe and have shared it multiple times already before I was even able to post it! The second I made it, and I snapped  picture of it for Instagram, requests came flooding in for the recipe. Not only my fellow runner friends wanted this magical energy treat but also my friends from our moms’  group. They just had to have this “cleaner and better version” of “candy” that they could offer to their kids.

I have been looking for a quick energy drop that is so easy to digest that one could eat it before going out on a job or an endurance workout . I have some energy bites that I have shared on this blog before, and I still make them often as well. But I wanted one that didn’t have any grains this time for the sake of variety, as well as  having a differently sourced form of  energy. Our body requires energy to run, but how we ingest that energy creates  different  routes  for our body to process it. Carbohydrates and sugar provide this quick energy that our body can burn through while we exercise and or run. It is up to us to find just the right ones for our bodies that result in the best performance. That’s right! This is not a one answer fits all puzzle. Some athletes, for example, rely on a tablespoon  of  honey right before a 5 mile run in order to achieve better running times,  while conversely others prefer a banana with peanut butter.. In the end, they all contain about the same amount of carbohydrates, but how your body digests each and breaks the food  down to “usable energy” remains  a bit different. Therefore, finding the ones that work for you is a matter of trying and keeping track of  performance.

These energy bites are made up mainly of dates. Dates have a high sugar content, making them   a   energy booster. They are also rich in potassium and fiber. In just one cup of chopped dates, you’ll find a combined 12 grams of soluble and insoluble fiber, as well as around 415 calories and 3.6 grams of protein. By adding the pecan meal (which can be substituted for any other nut finely ground up into a powder consistency) and cashew butter, the flavor and nutrients are enhanced as well. And since chocolate is my friend always, I added some cacao powder and chocolate chips, which are completely optional. Instead you can add vanilla extract and chopped dry cherries for a new flavor..

The other super fans of these bars or drops —  it all depends on how you choose to prepare them — are kids! Our goal is, of course,  to decrease the amount of  processed sugar in children’s diets. The unfortunate numbers for childhood chronic diseases are  related to their overwhelming intake of sugar, which  is still much higher than desired in our country. These treats, on the other hand, provide a satisfying sweet flavor with added benefits. The nutrients found in these energy drops are not present in the vast majority of candy marketed to children. Although they may contain the same grams of sugar, these will provide vitamins and minerals, fiber, protein and no added artificial preservatives. It is what I like to call a “clean candy.1’ This way we still understand they are high sugar and not something you’d want to provide as a daily afternoon snack, allowing  your child to pop five or six at a time into their mouths. But instead of gum, candy coated chocolate, hard sugar candy,, these are without a doubt a better choice for your kids!

Not sure you can make them at home? Grab the ingredients and watch the video below, so we can make them together!

Energy Bites from Once Again Nut Butter Blog, Carolina Jantac, MS, RD LD

Chocolate Energy Bars/Drops

 1 pound of dates

½ cup pecan meal (ground pecan to a fine powder consistency)

1 tablespoon cacao powder

1 tablespoon Once Again Nut Butter Cashew butter

½ cup dark chocolate chips

Add half of the dates to food processor and pulse on high until the mixture forms into a ball, and then add in the other half of the dates and pulse again. Now add pecan meal and cacao powder to the food processor and pulse until well mixed. Last, add the cashew butter and chocolate chips. The mixture will be very sticky. By slightly dampening your hands with water, it  will be  much easier to work with this “dough.”  Place it on  parchment paper, and place another piece of parchment paper on top of it. Roll it out using a rolling pin until it reaches desired thickness. One half inch of dough  makes a great sized bar. Then cut and place bars in lined pan to set in refrigerator for 15 minutes. You may also roll them into bites. Store in refrigerator for up to 10 days or freeze for up to 30 days. This recipe makes about 18 bars.

Estimated calories: 110 per bar when making 18 bars total.

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