Tag: easy recipe

Tahini Dipping Sauce

Compared to a typical American diet, the plant-based approach to meal planning is higher in unsaturated fats, fiber, usually has better nutrient-density and contains more vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. It is no surprise many people are interested in modifying their lifestyle to follow a plant-based eating pattern!

Perhaps the reasons approach to eating is growing in popularity is that it doesn’t mean going vegan or vegetarian, eliminating any macronutrient or even prohibiting certain foods. Plant-based eating includes fruits and vegetables, whole grains, a variety of protein-rich foods such as beans, peas, nuts, seeds and soy. Dairy products, seafood, lean meats, eggs and poultry are also on the menu, but are not the focus. Animal- sourced protein becomes complementary to your meals instead of the dominant choice. It is also encouraged to minimize the use of additives such as salt and sugar to enhance flavor and to rely on herbs and spices.

Plant- based diets are helpful in reducing risk for chronic disease, but it does require some effort to look for some variation to your routine menus. It is not an all-or-nothing proposition, to get started you can simply choose a meal you eat routinely and substitute the plant protein for the animal-based one. For example, if tacos are on your menu, choose two different types of beans for the filling and skip the meat. As an alternative for meat-based lasagna, use vegetables only!

As previously discussed on a previous blog, the clear majority of people are overeating protein. Therefore, when changing to plant-based eating, they won’t suffer any side effects from perhaps a bit lower protein intake. Interestingly, plant-based eating often matches the same amount of daily protein intake. Beans, nuts, peas and other legumes are rich in protein and can easily make up for the lack of animal foods. As a bonus, these foods offer more than just protein. They have a much wider variety of nutrients and fiber, something you can find in animal foods. The recommended fiber intake is 38 grams for men and 25 grams for women, with all fiber counting to achieve daily goals.

If you are also moving towards plant-based eating, we have a fantastic sauce for you! This tahini dipping sauce can be used in many ways. For example, it can serve as a topping to roasted vegetables, as a dip for raw veggies and when thinned, and it can be used as salad dressing. Plant-based ingredients can deliver flavorful sauces that include an array of culinary textures and nutrients.

Tahini Dipping Sauce

½ cup Once Again Tahini

¼ teaspoon of salt

¼ teaspoon of garlic powder

Warm water

In small bowl add tahini, salt, and garlic and mix well. Next, slowly add one tablespoon at a time of warm water to the mixture until the desired thickness is obtained. Suggestions:  3 tablespoons of water for a dip, or 5 tablespoons of water to use as a sauce for entrees.

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!

Cinnamon Crackers

Ever wonder why some people crave sweets while others don’t care for them  as much? Some of the explanations can be found in our DNA! The chances of you having a sweet tooth for life may have started as early as your life in the womb. Studies show that our ability to taste begins when we are still a fetus. Amniotic fluid can transfer flavors, and these very first exposures can stick with you after birth. Some people are born very sensitive to sugar, while others are sensitive to salty, sour, or bitter tastes and foods.

Our taste buds perceive four basic tastes: sweet, salty, sour and bitter. You have about 10,000 taste buds! Each one connected to a sensory neuron that relays information about a flavor to the brain. Every person has different taste buds. Genetics isn’t completely responsible for your preferences though, In the early years of your life, your experiences play an important part in determining if you’ll have a sweet tooth. For example, if you were constantly rewarded with candy as a toddler for good behavior, your brain made the emotional connection of pleasure and satisfaction with your  sugar intake. Perhaps this knowledge gives us  an opportunity  to change the next generation? I’ll leave it to you to think about that possibility!

If you are one that struggles with a high affinity for sugar and would like to better curb those cravings, then cinnamon could be your answer. Although not likely to resolve sugar urges completely, cinnamon has the power to decrease some of your sugar cravings. As a matter of fact, a tablespoon of peanut butter can also help fight against a lust for sugar.

Cinnamon, a common spice you probably have in your pantry, has many health benefits most aren’t aware of. It has anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties, and it is an excellent source of fiber and trace minerals such manganese, and it’s a good source of calcium. This combination is important and can be helpful for prevention of several health conditions.

It is a great idea to add a tablespoon of cinnamon to your fruit, or other high starch foods such as cereals and breads. The  addition of cinnamon can help lessen the impact of the sugar in your blood . Cinnamon slows the rate at which the stomach empties after a meal, therefore reducing the rapid rise in blood sugars after consuming  food. It also helps those with Type 2 Diabetes improve their ability to respond to insulin, and hopefully decrease their need for medication by normalizing their blood sugar levels on their own.

However, there is much more to learn about cinnamon. The scientific community is not done researching the health benefits of the many spices and herbs we have available for our culinary creations. That is something to look forward to and embrace: a whole new way to taste foods beyond just sugary or salty options!

Our recipe today is a great example of how to use cinnamon to enhance the natural sugar flavor of  foods. Cinnamon crackers are fantastic to snack on or to enjoy as a desert. The recipe uses coconut sugar and pecan flour to also reduce the carbohydrate in the final product, making it a more diabetic-diet friendly food. It naturally contains a bit more protein and healthy fat than your average cinnamon cracker. Enjoy it with a cup of hot tea for a relaxing experience that could replace a high sugar desert in your daily nutritional routine.

Cinnamon Crackers made with Once Again Sunflower Seed Butter

Cinnamon Crackers

½ cup Once Again Sunflower Seed Butter, lightly sweetened

3 tablespoons of sugar or coconut sugar

1 tablespoon of coconut oil

2 tablespoons of pecan flour

1 egg (at room temperature)

2 teaspoon of cinnamon

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Topping:

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

½ teaspoon sugar (optional) or use coconut sugar.

In medium bowl, mix sunflower seed butter with sugar, coconut oil and egg. Add in pecan flour, cinnamon and vanilla. The mixture will be the texture of a soft cookie dough. Spread it over  a cookie sheet, pre-sprayed with non-stick spray. Using a spatula, spread out the mixture thinly without causing any holes. Sprinkle sugar and cinnamon mixture on top of it.  The mixture should cover an area of about 10×12 inches. You may also use parchment paper instead to line the sheet. Bake for 45-50 minutes at 275 degrees Fahrenheit. Take out of oven and allow it to cool completely before scoring and cracking into pieces. Store in airtight container for up to seven  days.

Just Peanut Butter Bread

What happens when you add peanut butter as a key  ingredient in bread making? Well, you get a bread that is higher in protein and other nutrients, making it your best bet for PB & J sandwich.  best  There is absolutely nothing wrong with a classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich made with  traditional white bread. But we believe in no missed opportunities when it comes to getting  all your macro and micronutrients from food. When you add a whole cup of peanut butter to your  recipe, it results in a bread infused with extra fiber, amino acids, B-vitamins, folic acid, and good fats, among others nutrients.

Peanut butter and other nut butters are a popular source of  plant protein. Many people boost their daily protein intake by adding a few tablespoons of their favorite nut and seed butters. We often follow discussion boards and conversations where the quality of the protein found in plants comes into question. Some examples of the discussions we found include the following: Is it as good as animal protein in quality? Can we  substitute eggs, beef, chicken protein? And will you need more than just plant- based food to get all the amino acids our body requires?

Protein continues to be a hot topic today, but unfortunately there is still a lot of misinformation and confusion about it. Let’s look at some evidence based information regarding protein and better understand what we should look for to meet our needs in this blog.

Your body needs protein to build muscle tissue, reconstruct it and keep it healthy. Protein is also required for skin and bone health. These body structures  are made up of amino acids; these are the building blocks of muscle tissue growth and repair.  There are two types of amino acids: first essential amino acids –these come from food you eat. Your body can not produce them on its own. And then there are  nonessential amino acids –these are made naturally by your body from the protein we eat.

Complete proteins are made up of all essential amino acids while incomplete proteins lack at least one of the essential amino acids. Some examples of complete protein include meats, eggs, dairy, soy nuts, quinoa. They are a valuable source of protein for our muscles, but most complete protein comes with some “baggage.”  Let us explain, although meat for example has fantastic quality complete protein, it does also pack saturated fats. Soy nuts and quinoa, for example, are plant- based complete proteins, but you do have to eat a larger quantity to achieve the daily recommended intake.

Incomplete proteins include vegetables, many grains, and most beans and legumes, for example peanuts, almonds, black beans, peas and rice. Just because they are incomplete doesn’t make them inferior to complete proteins, however.. When you combine incomplete protein sources you may achieve a full set of essential amino acids just as you would find in complete proteins. These are known as complementary proteins. For example: rice and beans, spinach salad with almonds, hummus with pitas, whole grain noodles with peanut butter sauce.

There is plenty of controversy about whether  you should eat all plant based or animal based protein. So far the research doesn’t discredit either sources or opinions. There are valid points on both sides. Eating a balanced diet containing complementary plant proteins will fulfill all your needs just as an animal sourced protein diet would. In the end, your choice to eat an all plant based protein diet versus animal or vice versa, has more to do with the other nutrients found in both and your health goals.

But let’s get back  to where we started: Just Peanut Butter Bread! The only reason the word just is in the title is to emphasize peanut butter as the dominant flavor and aroma in this bread. You  choose to add some jelly, more peanut butter, or make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with it. You’ll never regret adding a little more plant protein to your diet in the form of nut butters!

Just Peanut Butter Bread by Once Again Nut Butter

Just Peanut Butter Bread

1 cup of milk of your choice

2 eggs or flax eggs

2/3 cups sugar or sugar substitute such as stevia equivalent

1 cup Once Again Organic American Classic Creamy Peanut Butter

1 tablespoon of baking powder

1 ¾ cup of white whole wheat flour

Mix milk, beaten eggs and peanut butter well. Add sugar and mix again. Finally,  add in flour and baking powder. Mix just until all ingredients are well blended. Pour into 9×5  baking pan, sprayed with non-stick oil and take it to preheated oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 45-50 minutes. Serve with your favorite jelly and more peanut butter, of course! Store in an airtight container for up to five  days, or freeze for up to 60 days.

Just Peanut Butter Bread by Once Again Nut Butter blog

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.

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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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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Chocolate and Peanut Butter Chia Pudding

Did you ever wonder how people  first had the idea of eating chia seeds? Did they decide that instead of adding water and setting their chia seed pet next to the window they would add the seeds to smoothie?  Okay, it probably didn’t happen that way. But it is interesting that we were all so familiar with chia seeds but not as an edible  ingredient. To think the rich source of nutrients was simply a way to grow hair on funny clay vases for most of the 1980s!

Perhaps after flaxseeds paved the way, we were all more open minded to eating seeds on a regular basis. Chia seeds have become  a phenomenal addition to our diets. They are a source of protein, healthy fats, dietary fiber, minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. They have a high concentration of the plant-based omega-3 fatty acid (alpha-linolenic acid, ALA), making their ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 very good. Just two tablespoons of chia seeds will provide 10 grams of fiber, 18% of your daily recommended calcium, 35% of phosphorus, 24% magnesium and 50% manganese. Not bad for a tiny seed, right?

If you’ve never had chia seeds before, adding a tablespoon to your smoothie is a great way to introduce you to this seed. It doesn’t have much flavor on its own, but the seeds add texture. These mini- seeds absorb liquid pretty fast and become hydrogel capsules. You can compare them somewhat to the texture of tapioca pudding. Since they don’t have much flavor of their own, any liquid you add chia seeds to  will soak up the liquid’s  flavor. . Chia seed puddings are deliciously versatile ways to add nutrients to your breakfast or snack time. Of course we mixed the seeds  with peanut butter and its best match  chocolate. Set  them overnight in the refrigerator so that they have enough time to expand to their maximum capacity, and the results are deliciously refreshing!

A few other ways to enjoy chia seeds are as toppings to your salads, added to smoothies, soups or added to bread dough when baking. You can even use it to make your own jelly. Since they have this gel forming capacity you can skip the pectin usually added to make jams, and just add chia seeds instead. Combine fruit puree, stevia or sugar and chia seeds, blend well and let it rest in the refrigerator overnight.

This Chocolate and Peanut Butter Chia Seed pudding recipe was created as dessert for a “girl’s night” dinner with my friends. They couldn’t believe how beautiful the puddings  looked layered on the glass dishes. Some were a bit reluctant to try it when I mentioned the ingredients, but after one spoonful,  and they were sold! It’s sweet enough, but not overpowering, so you can add some chocolate chips on top  for a flourish . My children were ecstatic to see there were leftovers, since they are big fans of this pudding. Try your own version of chia seed pudding with your favorite Once Again Nut Butter, and let your family and friends rave about the tasty results.

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chia Pudding

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Chia Pudding

½ cup of chia seeds
2 cups of milk (of your preference)
2 tablespoons of Once Again Peanut Butter (Creamy or Crunchy)
1 tablespoon of cacao powder, unsweetened
Divide milk into two separate jars. Add half of the chia seeds to each jar. Then add peanut butter to one jar, and cacao powder to the other. Close jars and shake them for about three minutes. Place in refrigerator overnight. Next morning, layer them up or just enjoy them right out of the jar! Topping suggestions: walnuts, chocolate chips, coconut flakes or granola!

Peanut Butter Waffles

The waffle, is a cousin to the pancake, and perhaps the long lost  brother of the croissant? Maybe not, but who knew how much fun waffles can be? I received a waffle iron for my wedding, about 9 years ago! And I am sorry to say it was still in the box until recently. Somehow the waffle iron’s box remained  in the back of a  cabinet and forgotten until last month when I watched an old episode of “Good Eats.” If you aren’t familiar with it, it was a show hosted by chef Alton Brown on the Food Network, and my absolute  favorite program .

In the episode I watched, Chef Alton Brown gave a detailed explanation of what makes a waffle different from a pancake (It’s all about the amount of baking soda and baking powder, by the way). And Brown also proceeded to guide viewers on how to purchase a good waffle iron . To my surprise, he recommended the simpler models, with no frills or extra settings. A plain steel or iron waffle iron is really all you need.

After watching the show, I could not go to sleep until I found my waffle iron! I knew it was somewhere, so after turning half of my kitchen upside down, I finally found it tucked into a corner of the under the sink cabinet, still in the box!

The good news was that the model I had was pretty much what Chef Alton Brown recommended on his show. Despite the late hour, I just had to try it out! It’s a good thing that I had a recipe handy and someone willing to eat waffles with me at ten o’clock at night (See, that’s why I married him).

The plain waffle recipes are great, but nothing is quite complete in my book without nut butter. The only question was which Once Again Nut Butter was I going to begin with. Peanut butter seemed to be the obvious choice. Adding nut butters to breakfast recipes such as waffles makes them much more suited for a healthy breakfast. They provide a better ratio of carbohydrate to  protein once you add the nut butter, as well as a wider array of vitamins and minerals. Top your waffle with fruit and you have a complete breakfast! I also used oat flour to add extra protein and keep the recipe  gluten-free, but you can swap that out for regular flour or whole wheat flour.  Additionally, you can substitute any milk of your choice for the coconut milk. . Lastly, although I haven’t tried this recipe with a flax-egg instead of  eggs, I am fairly certain it will work.

The fun doesn’t end there! Notice how the batter for the waffle doesn’t have any added sugar. This is intentional so that you can top it with maple syrup and extra Once Again Nut Butter of your choice. Whatever your choice of toppings, a waffle is an easy and nutritious (when made with the right ingredients) any time of the day for a meal or snack.

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Peanut Butter Waffle – Gluten-Free

1 ¼ cup oat flour

4 teaspoons of baking powder

1 2/3 cup of  coconut milk

2 eggs

2 tablespoons of Once Again Creamy Peanut Butter

Add milk, eggs and peanut butter to mixer and combine at low speed. Then slowly add in the oatmeal flour and baking powder. Mix until well blended. Pour about 1/3 cup of mixture onto  the waffle iron . Amounts may have to be adjusted depending on the size of your waffle iron  – and then cook them until crispy- golden. Enjoy your waffle warm with 100% maple syrup, or Once Again Killer Bee Honey.