Tag: fiber foods

Avocado Shake: What happens when you combine avocado with Once Again!

Avocado Shake: What happens when you combine avocado with Once Again!

Americans’ love affair with the avocado may have started off with  guacamole, but it has evolved into much more than just adoring it as a dip for chips! Nowadays, you can find avocados as an ingredient in appetizers, entrees and desserts. But should you be invested in a long- term relationship with avocados for your health?

Yes! Joking aside, avocados are a powerhouse of nutrition. In just one serving (100 grams or 3.5 oz), here are the top nutrients and percentages of your RDA’s:

  • Vitamin K: 26%Avocado and Almond popscile
  • Folate: 20%
  • Vitamin C: 17%
  • Potassium: 14%
  • Vitamin B5: 14%
  • Vitamin B6: 13%
  • Vitamin E: 10%

All that in just 160 calories! Avocados have scared some away because of their  high fat content, but that should not stop you from enjoying them. The fat in avocados is mostly monounsaturated fatty acids, mainly oleic acid, which is beneficial for reducing inflammation, among providing other benefits .  Avocados are naturally cholesterol-l free and also contain small amounts of magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, zinc, phosphorus, and vitamins A, B1, B2 and B3! And don’t forget fiber too; in just one serving, there are 7 grams of it!

This combination of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory components is what makes the avocado a super fruit able to combat cancers, lower cholesterol, boost heart health and help with weight loss. Avocados also aid in the absorption of fat- soluble vitamins such as vitamin A, K, D and E; therefore, enjoying avocados mixed with Once Again Nut Butters is a win-win!

Go ahead and slice them up, and add them to your sandwiches and wraps! Smash them and use them  as a spread instead of mayo. Since avocados are high in fat, they are also perfect for baking, adding to smoothies, making ice cream and so much more!

Looking for an avocado recipe to add to your menu? This one is so simple that you can make it in the morning faster than toast.

Avocado and Lamond Butter shakeAvocado Shake

Serves 1

  • ½ Hass avocado
  • ¾ cup chilled coconut milk (or other milk of your choice)
  • 2 tbsps. Once Again Almond Butter
  • 1 packet of stevia (optional)
    Blend together and enjoy! Use the other half of the avocado to make a second batch to freeze in popsicle molds for a late afternoon snack.

~Carolina

Eat for Glowing Skin!

Tired of spending money on creams for your skin and really never getting the glow that the girl on the picture in front of the tube is showing off? Well, the missing link may actually be in your diet. What you eat will directly impact your skin’s health. In general, we are all too familiar with the knowledge that two nights of pizza and chips in a row will lead to some pimples and oily skin. Often we associate the negative effects of what we eat with negative outcomes on our skin. There is another side to this story –that’s the good news. Eating antioxidant rich foods, foods high in vitamin E, selenium and collagen, on a regular basis, will give you radiant and younger looking skin.

Here are the top 8 foods you can eat every day for healthier skin:

  1. Once Again Sunflower Seed Butter: Loaded with vitamin E, sunflower seeds keep your skin young by protecting its top layers from the sun. It is rich and high in essential fatty acids, and just a little goes a long way! Eat 2 tablespoons per day, and even apply it topically to treat extremely dry body parts such as lips and heels. Check recipe below!
  2. Kidney Beans: They’re high in zinc; studies have shown a correlation between blemishes and low zinc levels. Kidney beans goes along with zinc’s healing properties. Just 4 ounces will do the trick; eat them daily for best results. The good news is that beans are also good for just about every other part of your body, too!
  3. Pineapple: Or any other tropical fruit such as papaya, kiwi, guava, are all rich in Vitamin C. This powerful antioxidant helps protect your skin form the damages of sun rays and its damaging free radicals. Vitamin C also aids in the body’s production of collagen, a protein that keeps your skin firm and elastic.
  4. Once Again Almond Butter: Almonds are a great source for vitamin E, which nourishes your skin and protects it against free radicals as well. Besides being delicious, it is also super- versatile and easy to eat daily!
  5. Carrots: These veggies are high in beta carotene, which is an antioxidant that is converted to vitamin A in your body. Vitamin A aids in skin tissue repair while also offering protection from damaging sun rays. Eat them raw or cooked! When cooked, they have even more beta-carotene.
  6. Salmon: or herring, mackerel, sardines, anchovies, and rainbow trout all have omega 3 fatty acids, fortifiers for skin cell membranes, and again, protectors from sun damage. (Do I sound like a broken record here with the sun damage…? Well, that’s your skin’s number one enemy!) They also fight inflammation, help keep toxins out, and reduce the risk of cancer! Avoid frying your fish though: try them grilled or baked.
  7. Extra Virgin Olive Oil: This wonder oil is rich in antioxidants like polyphenols, and phytosterols. It is good when applied topically, helping prevent premature aging, and it doesn’t clog pores. It is great as an exfoliant too!  When you add it to your daily intake, it helps restore skin smoothness and protect against the ravages of UV light. As a bonus, its monounsaturated fat and unsaturated fat composition are known to promote cardiovascular health.
  8. Water: Skin depends on moisture to stay flexible. Just mild dehydration can lead to dry, tired and grayish-toned The trick is to drink water routinely, throughout the day! When you work indoors, you may forget about water since you are not sweating, so always carry a bottle of water, or try infused water with fruit for some flavor!

The best part of this list is that all of the foods in it will not only help your skin but different systems in your body, as well, such as the cardiovascular system, nervous system and digestive tract. So eat them up and enjoy the experience! They are easy to incorporate on a daily basis, too!

20150527_201510561_iOSSunny Carrot Shake

2 tbs. Once Again Sunflower Seed Butter
½ Cup shaved fresh carrots
1 tbs. honey
½ tsp. ginger powder
¾ cup chilled almond milk
½ cup crushed ice
Place all ingredients in blender and mix. Enjoy chilled!

Grab and Go: Oatmeal Cups

Grab and Go: Oatmeal Cups

A few months ago I shared a recipe for “Oatmeal in a Jar” which is still a family favorite! It is easy to make and each family member can personalize it to their taste preferences. Even better it’s the fact that you prepare it ahead of time so in the morning it is a “grab and go” type to breakfast.

These “Oatmeal Cups” follow those same concepts with a new twist. There are a few versions of baked oatmeal cups and most recipes have ingredients that I don’t usually keep in my pantry. Also they seem to be larger recipes making 24-30 cups at a time, which is a bit much for my family of 4! Even though you can freeze these, I still think they taste best when fresh and consumed within 2-3 days.

The recipes I’ve seen before also didn’t include my favorite ingredient to mix with oats: Once Again Nut Butters! Once Again Nut Butter adds the protein boost that oats lack. Also, by adding Once Again Nut Butter you can eliminate the sugar in most recipes since they are naturally sweet.

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You can use any Once Again Nut Butter you prefer, even crunchy! The applesauce adds and holds moisture; you can use pumpkin puree instead as well. Whisk them together with a wire whisk. In a separate bowl add about 2 cups of rolled oats (for gluten free recipe make sure your oats are gluten free certified) and the trick to turn these into baking cups instead of stovetop oatmeal is to add 1 tsp of baking powder and ½ tsp salt.Inspired and determined I went to the kitchen and started to mix up a batch of regular oatmeal for cooking in the stovetop. First ingredient is a 1 cup of milk, which you can use any milk your family prefers. (I made up a batch with almond milk, and one with regular whole milk as well). I added ½ cup of Once Again Almond butter and ½ cup of unsweetened applesauce.

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When I picked up the baking powder from the pantry I realized the “good by” date was November 2014. Ops! I had all the ingredients ready to go and wasn’t sure if I should use the expired baking powder.

My husband is more of a sweet tooth so he drizzled his with some honey and enjoyed it with a hot cup of coffee the next morning.  These Oatmeal cups also made it to the kids’ lunch boxes!Quick call to my mom solved the problem! In case you didn’t know: you can boil ¼ cup of water then add ½ tsp baking powder, if it foams right away then the baking powder is still good! If you don’t get a quick foam but only a small sizzle, then your baking powder is no longer good for baking. Better test than have a whole batch of gooey oatmeal cups!

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Next, add the milk mixture with the oats and mix well. You can use baking cups, silicone cups or just lightly spray your muffin pan before pouring the mixture until about ¾ full. The toppings is where you can each personalize it with your favorite ingredients. The first batch I added cinnamon and chopped apples to all of them. The second batch had vanilla and then the kids helped with the toppings: strawberries, raspberries, chopped nuts and dark chocolate chips.

Did I mention they are nutritiously powerful little bites since they pack fiber, protein and brain boosting fats all in one delicious cup? Top it with some berries and add some chia seeds for extra antioxidants, protein and omega-3s.

20150104_201740000_iOSAlmond Butter Oatmeal Cups

1 cup milk
½ cup Once Again Nut Butter: Almond Butter
½ cup applesauce unsweetened
2 cups rolled oats
½ tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
Toppings: chocolate chips, chopped strawberries, raspberries, chopped nuts.
Optional: 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp vanilla

Mix oats with baking powder and salt and set aside, in separate bowl whisk together well the milk, Once Again Nut Butter and applesauce. Add in the oats mixture and mix well. Fill up ¾ full each muffin, will make about 9. Add toppings and use a spoon to push them into the mixture. Bake at 375F for about 20 minutes. Eat them warm or store in airtight container for 2-3 days.

Breakfast Pumpkin Cookie: Can you have cookies for breakfast?

One of my favorite things about the holidays is that eating cookies for breakfast is not only accepted but encouraged! Cookies are one of my favorite things to make and eat, I particularly like the cookies that are high in fiber and protein because they are perfect candidates for “breakfast cookies” that you can eat any day and not just on holidays!

My kids are usually a bit shocked when instead of their oatmeal and bowl of fruit I present them with a plate of cookies and warm milk for breakfast.  Best part is that these Breakfast Pumpkin cookies are filled with oats, (#glutenfree) pumpkin and almond butter, so they are delicious and nutritious.

This recipe includes ¾ cup of pumpkin puree, since it is season for pumpkin and nutmeg. But you can actually make them with other fruit purees for some variation. I have tried it with bananas, dates and even a mix of zucchini and banana. Keep the measure at about ¾-1 cup and if you happen to be using a fruit puree that has more water than pumpkin, add some extra oats to compensate.

Here is the recipe and share with us in the comments belwo how do you feel about having cookies for breakfast?

Breakfast Pumpkin Cookie

1 cup oat flour20141117_201702646_iOS
1 ½ cup oats
¼ tsp baking soda
1 tsp pumpkin spice
¼ tsp salt
¾ cup 100% Pumpkin Puree
¼ cup Once Again Almond Butter
¼ cup Maple Syrup or Honey
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F. You can purchase the oat flour, or just make your own by adding about 1 ½ cup of oats into the food processor until you achieve a coarse flour. Then add the baking soda, pumpkin spice and salt to the flour mix. Next add the pumpkin, Once Again Almond Butter, maple syrup, vanilla extract and mix well. Lastly add the oats and mix. Using a “cookie scoop” drop dollops onto a greased cookie sheet (or one lined with a silicone baking sheet) then flatten the cookies and take to oven for 15 minutes or until golden.

Makes about 24 cookies with a ½ tsp scoop.

… have a happy Thanksgiving,

 Carolina

Roasted Cauliflower: Plus 6 Other Ways to Use Once Again Organic Tahini

I have recently shared some recipes that included Tahini as an ingredient. My family really enjoyed taste testing the recipes as I worked on them, and I have made some of the recipes a few times already for second trials. I was so inspired with my new found love for Tahini that I went a little overboard and stocked my pantry with a few jars. Which lead me to further explore how else I can use this delicious sesame seed butter. I turned to my trusted friend “the internet” for some answers.

I’ll go through some of the ideas I found, and which ones I have tried so far. Through my research I confirmed that tahini can serve as a replacement or alternative to most nut and other seed butters in recipes. Since tahini has a consistency similar to that of peanut butter, it is very versatile.  It does not have the sweetness of nut butters and can be more easily used in entrees and soups. So here are a few suggestions, and since we love new ideas and challenges, share yours if you have one to add to this list!

  • Simple but often overlooked: Just spread it on crackers or toast! My kids approved and enjoyed tahini paired with fruit jam as a sandwich. It can be used instead of mayo on a turkey and cheese sandwich, a veggie wrap, falafels or on a chicken Panini.
  • As a dip of course! When tahini is mixed with a little lemon juice and herbs it becomes a great dip for raw veggies, pita chips or any other chip. It is also perfect to drizzle over roasted veggies. (see recipe below)
  • As a salad dressing. In addition to the lemon juice and tahini add a few teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil, some salt, a little garlic or ginger and you’ll have a thick and creamy salad dressing that is far more nutritious than cream based dressings. It is perfect for Greek Salads, but will also go well with any salad combination. Here is one I have tried at home and thought it was a winning combo: ½ cup tahini, ½ cup olive oil, 2 tsp apple cider vinegar, 2 tsp lemon juice and 2 tsp of ginger. Mix in blender and save left overs in refrigerator.
  • Thicken your soups. I tried this one too! Instead of heavy cream on my broccoli and cheese soup recipe, I added a few tablespoons of tahini and achieved the same thickness with less dairy. If you are trying to cook without any animal product, but have been missing creamy soups, this may just be your answer! Start by adding one tablespoon at a time until you achieve the creaminess you prefer.
  • Tahini is most commonly used in hummus recipes. Traditional hummus calls for garbanzo beans, but this is not the only way to make hummus. I was adventurous to try all different kinds of hummus lately. The tahini and olive oil should be used in the same proportion as usual, but you can vary the legume/vegetable variety in your recipe to make a brand new hummus. So far I experimented with edamame, pinto beans, eggplant, lima beans and white beans.
  • Use it in cookies and cakes recipes in place of nut butter. I have not tried this one yet! I found several recipes online suggesting you can substitute one to one on any recipe that calls for a nut butter.

As you can imagine I will have no trouble going through my stash of Once Again Organic Tahini, and will probably be stocking my pantry on a regular basis! Have fun discovering your family’s favorite way to enjoy tahini!

… get creative and have fun,

 Carolina

 

Roasted Cauliflower with Tahini  cauliflower tahini

1 head of cauliflower
2 Tbsp Tahini
1 Tbsp Lemon juice
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic
4 tsp extra virgin olive oil

Wash and cut your cauliflower, then toss it in 2 tsp of extra virgin olive oil, place in oven (400F) and roast for about 15 minutes, or until tender. Once out of the oven, while still warm toss it in the mixture of Tahini, lemon juice, salt, garlic and left over olive oil. Ready to eat!

Baba Ganoush: Don’t underestimate the Eggplant! 5 easy ways to enjoy this summer vegetable.

Baba Ganoush: Don’t underestimate the Eggplant! 5 easy ways to enjoy this summer vegetable.

Surprise, it’s actually a fruit! Although we mostly know it as the purple strange looking, pear shaped vegetable, eggplants can vary from any shade of black to almost white! When picking eggplant at the store look for the ones with the length of a cucumber and the circumference of an apple or pear. The larger ones tend to have more seeds and be a bit bitter. They can’t be consumed raw because it contains a toxin, solamine, which can cause gastrointestinal problems when uncooked. They also don’t need to be stored in the refrigerator, they are a summer “vegetable” after all.

eggplantEggplants are a phenomenal source of fiber as well as several phytonutrients. They contain an impressive array of many minerals and vitamins including folate, potassium, manganese, vitamins C, K, B6, niacin, thiamin, phosphorus, copper and magnesium. The whole plant can be used, the leaves and roots are juiced or even boiled in some cultures to relieve stomach troubles and inflammation. Their dark purple skin is where you’ll find their most powerful antioxidants. These antioxidants are crucial for reducing free radicals in the body and protecting cell membranes from damage, which explains eggplants protective qualities against heart disease and cancer.

Even though they are relatively easy to grow in America, even in your own backyards, people aren’t enjoying as much eggplants as they could! A big reason is the lack of recipes or familiarity with the strange looking vegetable. So here are 5 ways to enjoy eggplant that will make you run to store and start adding them to your menu: (or go get some seeds! They are so much fun to grow and beautiful too!)

Grilled: This is your easiest way to enjoy eggplants. Just wash it well and slice it medium thick, brush both sides with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle some salt and pepper. Grill 7-9 minutes on each side.  Try it as a topping for your turkey burgers, or forget the buns and use the eggplant instead!

Baked: No time to go outdoors, no worries. Just turn up your oven to about 450F, wash your eggplant well, prick with a fork a few times around, place in baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. You may also slice it up first, brush with olive oil and sprinkle some salt, pepper and garlic. They make great “noodles” for a vegetable lasagna!

Boiled: Wash eggplant well, you may peel or leave the skin on. Cut it up into chunks and place in pot with about twice as much water as eggplant. Bring it to a boil then lower to simmer and cook for about 10 minutes or until eggplant soft. This method is great for adding the chucks to a dip or for serving it as a side dish. Just season with olive oil and fresh herbs.

Pan seared: Wash eggplant and slice it making about 0.5 inch thick slices. Then drizzle a pan with olive oil, turn to medium heat and pan sear your eggplant until soft and golden brown on both sides. They are a great side item to a summer barbecue, or make a great appetizer too! After cooked just place them in a paper towel to reduce the moisture, sprinkle some cheese and serve them on a multigrain cracker.

Pureed: You can be as creative as you’d like to be here. After roasting it in the oven at 450F for about 20 minutes the center is soft and can be scooped out with a spoon. That soft center is the perfect dip ingredient when added to a food processor. A traditional Mediterranean dip called: Baba Ganoush is simple to make and has a delightful earthy taste that goes so well with pita chips. Check out the recipe below.

… have fun with summer vegetables,

Carolina

baba ganoushBaba Ganoush

1 eggplant
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp garlic paste
1/5 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 Tbsp Once Again Nut Butter Organic Tahini
1 Tbsp Lemon Juice

Wash eggplant well, prick with fork and place in 450F oven to bake for about 20 minutes. Slice it in half and scoop out the center with a spoon. Allow it to cool and place it in food processor until you have a smooth puree. Now add the salt, garlic, lemon juice and mix well. The last ingredient to add is the Tahini which gives it the perfect texture and flavor. Enjoy it fresh or place in refrigerator to store. Perfect as dip for pita chips, or try a dollop on top of a Greek burger!

Funny fact about eggplants: ancient Mediterranean people nicknamed it “mad apple” believing that eating eggplant every day for one month would lead to insanity.

My top 5 Fiber rich foods you should be eating

There is a reason fiber supplements are popular and sell so well: people understand how important it is to get enough fiber! In the last decade the medical community have done a great job emphasizing how beneficial it is to have a fiber rich diet, but Americans are still not consuming nearly as much as recommended. A large number of people resorted to supplements instead of foods likely because fiber rich foods sounded boring, hard to come by and or impossible to include in their diet. All of which are not true!

Fiber comes in two forms: soluble and insoluble.  Which gives you an idea on how they function, the body can’t absorb either, therefore the soluble fiber attracts water and forms a gel which slows down digestion and in turn helps you feel full aiding in controlling weight. It also helps lower cholesterol by interfering with its absorption and help control diabetes as well. The insoluble fiber are the gut friendly because it acts as a bulking agent preventing constipation. It passes through the GI tract relatively intact and speeds up the passage of food. You need to consume both, and it is not that difficult to find them, it is just a matter of making a few fiber rich foods a part of your daily routine.

Fiber rich foods include whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds. But here are my top 5 choices of fiber rich foods, because they taste great and are so easy to include in your diet. These are also very versatile, so you don’t have to eat them the same way every day and grow bored with your fiber rich diet.

Pinto Beans – (about 5.7g/0.5cup)

013e3812d8799ffd57e9c5bf26e812f8af9860fd26They are so easy to add to soups or just serve it with a side of brown rice. I like to also puree pinto beans and add a bulking ingredient to meat loafs, creamy soups, and even in baked goods! Try to eat them daily and when you get tired of pinto beans, try navy, kidney or lentils! Use canned or cook your own in big batches and freeze.

Dates – (about 13.4 grams in 1 cup)

They make great snacks and fancy appetizers if you take the time to stuff them with fancy ingredients! But I use them in many different ways. I have the dried ones chopped in small pieces so I can easily add to cereals and yogurts in the morning. I also keep a small jar with puree dates (make it yourself by just placing them in warm water and use the food processor) to add to baked goods, homemade granola bars, and use it instead of jelly!

Peas – (about 8g per cup)

Puree peas is one of the first vegetables we introduce to babies, toddlers enjoy working on their fine motor skills by eating them whole and we should never forget our love for peas! They can be perfect as a side dish by itself, or added to soups and stews. They go very well as a salad topping and if you toast them they can be a crunchy snack too.

Nuts and Nut Butters – (varies, check the labels for exact numbers)

american pbMy favorite excuse to eat peanut butter and fruit spread (remember that date paste I talked about! Or just mash up a banana) is that I am working on meeting my daily fiber requirements! They are so easy to add to baking goods, sauces and good enough to eat with a spoon!

Wheat Bran – (about 27g per cup)

Recycle your empty Parmesan cheese container and fill up with wheat bran. Then, when you are cooking soups, stews, stir fry, or just about anything, sprinkle some wheat bran. It is a powerful source of fiber but people are often intimated by how to use it and the fact that it doesn’t taste very good all on its own (don’t try to eat a bowl full at once either!). But if you just sprinkle it on top of your yogurt, cereals or smoothies, at the end of the day you probably added up to at least a few tablespoons!

Hopefully this inspired you to try some fiber rich foods and build your own top 5 favorites! It will be cheaper than buying a supplement and as you can see by the ideas I shared above it really isn’t that difficult to eat fiber rich foods. You probably already eat some, so just adding a couple more will get you to that recommended range (men: 38 grams/day men over 50: 30 grams/day; women 25 grams/day, women over 50: 21 grams/day). And always remember to drink plenty of fluids when consuming a fiber rich diet. Without liquids, a high fiber diet can have the “cork” effect, … sorry about the visual but when you have an abundance of bulking agents for your stool and no liquids to help it move through; well, you get the picture.

… give peas (and other fiber rich foods) a chance,

Carolina