Tag: healthy snack

No-Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake Bites

Recent food news tells us that this year’s pumpkin craze is at a lower rate compared to last few culinary cycles. Currently, industry is churning out a few thousand different products with fall-time limited production of myriad pumpkin-flavored yummies. From the most commonly accepted ones, including pumpkin-spiced coffees and cookies to the most bizarre examples, as well, to say that they abound is quite the understatement! A quick search on Google yielded some strange examples of wannabe delights: pumpkin-spiced pizza, pumpkin potato chips, and pumpkin pasta sauce.

However, pumpkin has competition in the fall flavor line-up this year! It seems maple syrup could be the next food to make a come-back. Maple syrup is nothing new: We have enjoyed it for years as part of our breakfast foods, and as a powerful sweetener in baking recipes. It has countless uses.

Of course, pumpkin and maple syrup team up well in innumerable recipes!

So, it seems like a good time to review the nutritional lore of maple syrup and why it is an ingredient worth exploring, not only for its uniquely sweet taste but also, because of its vast nutritional implications.

Just as a side note though, we aren’t dampening our enthusiasm for pumpkin. So, don’t get that impression. Pumpkin still has a lot to give, and we are willing to continue to explore the versatility of this nutrient-rich vegetable, here and beyond.

But today we are really talking about a pumpkin-maple syrup synergy. Maple syrup is a fantastic sweetener and can often be used instead of refined white sugar. Unlike sugar, maple syrup has a significant number of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that can contribute to meeting daily nutrient requirements. Pure maple syrup has on average in 4 tablespoons serving size, more than 100% of our daily intake of manganese, 37% of riboflavin, 18% of zinc, 7% of magnesium, 5% of calcium, and 5% of potassium.

Pure maple syrup is a single, natural product produced by the concentration of sap from the maple tree. It is a natural sweetener that contains no added sugar, coloring agents, artificial flavorings, preservatives or other additives. Its simplicity allows us to include it in our recipes without fear of artificial additives that you normally encounter in corn- based syrups, for example.

Therefore, when a little sweetness is called for, choosing how you achieve the perfect taste makes all the difference. When developing our recipes, we will often use honey, another powerful sweetener with a long list of benefits (See this blog post), but at times, the better recipe match is maple syrup. These No-Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake Bites combine ease of preparation with all the flavors of sumptuous autumn. The unique flavor of pecans in the crust blend and enhance the tones of pumpkin and maple in the cheesecake, delivering a clean and guilt-free dessert to enjoy anytime!

No-bake Pumpkin Cheesecake Bites

No Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake Bites

Crust

1 cup of pecan meal

1 cup of dates

Cheesecake

½ cup of Once Again Creamy Cashew Butter

4 of ounces of cream cheese (or cream cheese substitute if vegan)

½ cup of maple syrup

2 tablespoons of pumpkin spice

1 cup of pumpkin puree

Start by adding dates to a bowl with warm water for 5-15 minutes to soften. Then add them to food processor, and pulse until dates form a dough-like ball. Add in pecan meal, and pulse again. For the filling, in separate bowl, start with Once Again Cashew Butter; add in cream cheese, maple syrup, and pumpkin spice, and mix well. It is much easier to mix if the cream cheese is at room temperature.  To prepare the cheesecake bites, use one tablespoon of crust and press to form in a muffin pan. Then add filling up to the top of each muffin crust. Place the pan in the  freezer for 1 hour and then move it to the refrigerator for 30 minutes prior to serving. Store extras in freezer for up to 30 days.

High Protein Chocolate Mousse

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

High Protein Chocolate Mousse

High Protein Chocolate Mousse

½ cup of cottage cheese

2 tablespoons of Once Again Almond Butter

1 teaspoon of cacao powder

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

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

Peanut Butter Chocolate Quinoa Brittle

Earlier this year, several better health and living news outlets reported the scoop about a newly developed urine test that measures the healthiness of a person’s diet. It is a five-minute test that measures biological markers in urine created by the breakdown of foods such as red meats, chicken, fish, fruits, and vegetables. This allows for the evaluation of a persons’ intake of fat, sugar, fiber, and protein.  Although the technology is fantastic to have, one wonders about the usefulness of having such a hi-tech and newfangled test. After all, isn’t a person’s nutritional intake more easily tracked by using old-fashioned food diaries?

Unfortunately, people tend to underestimate their caloric intake and usually inaccurately record the true picture of their diets. Since food records are an integral part of weight management, tools used by health workers when helping their patients, this test could aid in filling in the information gap of some lingering questions. Often an individual struggling to follow a plan needs an incentive. Some speculate that the perceived threat of their physicians finding out about their “slip ups” and “cheat days” may be enough to keep clients on track.

Regardless of how you feel about invasive data being used to track a person’s adhesion to a prescribed plan, we believe healthy eating must be made easier and much more exciting to ensure life-long, healthy eating habits. Often, such eating is associated with confronting flavorless foods, dull ingredients, and absolutely no desserts. But why not broaden the definition of dessert, in particular, to include more than just high-sugar, empty-calorie treats? When a post- meal bite includes ingredients such as chia seeds, flax seeds, quinoa, oats, and peanut butter, there is no risk of falling into a chasm of empty calories. These ingredients are filled with nutrients including fiber, vitamins, minerals, protein and healthy fats. They may complete the meal by delivering the reminders of one’s needed daily recommended micronutrient intake, while also satisfying a sweet-tooth.

Whatever plan you are currently following, or healthy habits you have adapted into your routine, go ahead and enjoy this  Peanut Butter Chocolate Quinoa Brittle occasionally, without any worries about  the uncomfortable possibility of having to “explain yourself” after a urine test!

Peanut Butter Quinoa Brittle from Once Again Nut Butter Blog

Peanut Butter Chocolate Quinoa Brittle

4 tablespoons of coconut oil

½ cup of quinoa (uncooked)

¼ cup of whole oats

2 tablespoons of chopped peanuts

2 tablespoons of flax seeds

1 tablespoon of chia seeds

1 ½ tablespoons of honey  (Maple syrup can be a  vegan substitution)

2 tablespoons of Once Again Creamy Peanut Butter

¾ cup of dark chocolate chips

In a medium bowl, add 2 tablespoons of coconut oil, 1 ½ tablespoons of honey, and 2 tablespoons of peanut butter, and stir well. Now add the dry ingredients in any order you choose (except for the chocolate). Mix well and spread on a baking sheet using a flat spatula. The mixture should be about ¼ inch thick. Place in pre-heated oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes, or until edges are slightly golden. Remove from oven and let it cool. In small bowl, melt the chocolate chips, and combine the other 2 tablespoons of coconut oil. Pour over brittle mixture, and spread it out in a thin layer. Let it cool and set until it hardens. To speed up the process, place the brittle in refrigerator for 15 minutes. Finally, using your hands, break the brittle into pieces and enjoy! Any leftovers  must be stored in the  refrigerator.

Peanut-Butter-Oatmeal-Cranberry Cookie

Every few months it is a good idea for you to check how your fiber intake is going by totaling  your daily intake. The food industry is extremely focused on protein these days (It has been for a while, and the trend doesn’t seem to be slowing down). This means that advertisement and packaging are highlighting protein content more than ever. Even cereal boxes have added bright and bold letters to the front of their boxes to call your attention to how much protein they offer up in a serving. Unfortunately, this drives us to also tune into  protein intake and sometimes forget other nutrients that may be even more important.

Protein is crucial. We recently broke down the importance of appropriate protein intake that we invite you to read up on here: (insert link). However, protein takes a back seat to importance in longevity and overall health when it comes to fiber. At one point in time, fiber was the hot topic. Everyone talked about it and there were even snack bars hitting the market with the word  “fiber” in the brand name! Along the way, we forgot that eating enough fiber is a life-long daily ritual that we  must maintain. It is important to us  as  children,  adults, and even more as we  age.

Fiber is what keeps your digestive system working properly. Eating enough fiber each day is also one of the few ways to decrease your risk for chronic heart disease, Type 2 diabetes , colon cancer; it also helps you maintain a healthy body weight, among other health benefits.

Americans, in general, eat enough protein: Even those following a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle generally meet  their protein goals. However, people are not getting enough  fiber. As a matter of fact, in a survey of 2,000 Americans, over 95% of graduate school-educated participants and health care providers weren’t even aware of their daily recommended fiber intake. The Institute of Medicine recommends 38 grams for men 50 years of age and younger, and 30 grams for men over 50 years old. Women 50 years old and younger should get 25 grams, and those older than 50 should get 21 grams. Keep in mind these levels represent  minimum requirements. Shockingly, The Institute of Medicine reports that on average Americans are getting barely 50 percent of their daily fiber requirements. .

Fiber can only be found in plants. Animal products have no fiber at all! This sounds obvious, but many people fail to grasp this simple fact.. Once you connect the dots the answer is quite simple: Eat more plants! That is the only and most efficient way to ensure an adequate daily fiber intake.  Simply put, increase your intake of whole grains, legumes, nuts, fruits and vegetables!

If you aren’t sure how much you are eating each day, it is a good idea to keep a food journal for three  consecutive days. Then go back and using a credible app or website For example: Calorie King, the American Heart Association, the American Diabetes Association. Look up the fiber content of your recorded food and do the math. Are you reaching your daily goals on a consistent basis? If not, then make some changes right away. Remember to swap refined carbohydrates for whole grains, which means, get rid of the white bread and pasta and substitute for quinoa, oats, amaranth or other fiber rich complex carbohydrates. Add more fruits and vegetables throughout your day. Make them your go-to choices for snacks. Take several small steps at a time; try to increase intake only 5 grams of fiber every few days, while also increasing your water intake. Allow your digestive system to adjust, and it will perform better in the long run. Then sit back and enjoy the benefits of a fiber- rich diet!

Our recipe here  is for cookies. How can that be a part of our “eat more fiber” blog today? Well, I strongly believe in no missed opportunities when it comes to the food we  eat. Cookies are a delicious treat that makes their way into our diets every now and again. When they do, it is best if they are homemade with ingredients that will add to your nutrient intake versus set you back on your health goals. These Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies have no refined white flour. They are made simply with oat flour and whole oats. They also have cranberries and peanut butter which contain fiber as well. You can use regular eggs or the flax-eggs (For each egg, combine 1 tablespoon of ground flax seed -measure after grinding- with 3 tablespoons of water. Stir well, and place in the fridge to set for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, the result should be a sticky egg-like substitute which also contributes to your fiber goals. Remember the animal egg has no fiber ! Let us know if you liked this recipe in the comments section below. Also, if you make these cookies share a picture with us on our Instagram, Facebook or Twitter with the #onceagainnutbutter and tag us.

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cranberry cookie from Once Again Nut Butter

Peanut Butter Oatmeal with Cranberries Cookie

1 cup of whole oats

¾ cup of oat flour

¾ teaspoon of baking soda

¾ teaspoon of baking powder

1 cup of Once Again Nut Butter Organic Crunchy Peanut Butter

¼ cup of coconut oil

¼ cup Once Again Nut Butter Killer Bee Honey (maple syrup for vegan)

2 flax-eggs or conventional chicken eggs, lightly beaten

½ cup of dried cranberries

Combine oat flour, baking soda and baking powder. Set aside.  In a separate bowl, mix in eggs (at room temperature), coconut oil and honey. Lastly, add in peanut butter and mix well. Combine dry mixture with wet ingredients and mix well, adding in cranberries into the dough. If mixture is too dry to roll into small balls, add a teaspoon or two of water to mixture. Flatten each ball on cookie sheet and take it to preheated oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are golden. Remove from pan and let it cool completely before serving and or storing it in airtight container for up to 5 days. Note, if you are watching your sugar intake, eliminate the honey, no substitution needed. We tried the recipe without it and it works perfectly!  It’s just a bit less sweet, but still delicious!

#nowhitesugar #norefinedsugar #vegan #glutenfree

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.

Frozen Peanut Butter Bark

We are breaking all traditions with this recipe! Peppermint bark is a chocolate treat generally made up of peppermint candy pieces captured in white chocolate on top of  a bed of dark chocolate. We usually find it  in  stores during  the second half of the year as we near holiday season. There have been many twists on this recipe over the years, and quite a few of them include peanut butter. However, this one has just about one thing in common with the original bark,  well,  maybe two. There is chocolate in this version, and the last step of the recipe is similar since you break it apart to form large pieces of bark.

Perhaps the most dramatic difference between the original and this recipe is that this one sets in the freezer  and remains there to deliver a frozen bark that will certainly find a place in your recipe box right along  with your  other bark recipes. The best twist in this recipe is the fact that you can make it so very quickly. It takes just a few minutes to mix up the ingredients, spread it thin on parchment paper and place  it to the freezer. A few minutes later, just break it up and enjoy! Maybe you’ll be pleased to know this version of bark is much lower in calories than the chocolate version, so you can enjoy several pieces at a time. It makes a great snack too, so you don’t have to just limit it to dessert.

Our frozen peanut butter bark features  yogurt as its  main ingredient. You can keep  this recipe extra lean by using no fat or low-fat Greek Style yogurt, or you can have a more satiating snack by making it with whole fat yogurt. The texture will be thicker and smoother with the full fat version as well, but the taste is only slightly different.

Sometimes breaking the rules just makes all the sense, and the results are better than one can imagine! With  our version of bark, you’ll get a healthy dose of plant protein from the peanut butter, combined with the protein from yogurt.

If you don’t feel quite daring enough to leave all traditions behind, just adapt this recipe a bit. Instead of the almond butter drizzle, add in the crushed peppermint candy pieces to  the mixture as well as  the  topping. Just make sure the peppermint is nearly crushed due to the time it will spend in the freezer to harden. As with all our recipe creations, we love to hear what you’ll do with it next! Share your creations with us on any social media  platform of your choice, or in the comments below.

Frozen Peanut Butter Bark by Once Again Nut Butter Blog

Frozen Peanut Butter Bark

 1 cup of plain yogurt (or vanilla)

2 tablespoons of Once Again Crunchy Peanut Butter

1 squeeze pack of Once Again Almond Butter (or a tablespoon from the jar)

1 tablespoon of chocolate chips

Mix yogurt with peanut butter, then spread  it on parchment paper until you achieve about a quarter-inch thickness. Drizzle the almond butter over  the mixture  and sprinkle with  chocolate chips. Place  it in  the freezer for 45 minutes, and then break  apart  with your hands and place pieces in airtight container. Store in the  freezer.  This bark  melts quickly when left at room temperature. Enjoy!

No-Grain Pumpkin Blondie

We value our social media connection with our fans very much! It is where we have the privilege to get to know you and learn a little bit about your likes and dislikes. Recently, we noticed a trend of several people tagging pictures and using the hashtag “paleo diet.” Many of our recipes already fit into the paleo diet standards, but we wanted to build one  that especially follows the paleo way of living.

That required us to look more deeply the paleo diet. Let us clarify that we don’t believe this diet to be a good option for all people but understand some have chosen it and garnered  great results. We encourage each one of you to do your own research and determine if it is something that fits your health goals. In addition, it is always a good idea to discuss this diet with your doctors who know your medical history and may have individualized recommendations for you.

The paleo diet, nicknamed the caveman diet, attempts to mimic our ancient ancestor’s way of eating. The diet avoids foods that come from modern agriculture, such as wheat, dairy, legumes and rely instead on meals full of meat, nuts and vegetables. The concept became popular when Dr. Loren Cordain published a book, The Paleo Diet in 2001. The idea is to eliminate foods that may contain possible irritants to our gastrointestinal tract. There isn’t scientific research (that we know of at this point) that credits this diet for any health advantages over a balanced way of eating. However, as we stated before, we know it may work for some people. And as  long as they are monitored by their doctors regularly, and there are no adverse  effects, then going paleo  is a personal choice. Either way, we love to contribute with delicious recipes that will fit into paleo  plans!

The paleo diet excludes legumes, and since peanut is technically a legume, peanut butter is not included in their list of foods allowed. However, we have encountered some people who follow modified paleo diets that do include peanut butter. The other products we offer, including cashew, almond, tahini and sunflower seed butter are all paleo- friendly products.

Regardless of your food restrictions or dietary plans, this recipe is fantastic and worth a try! It is rich in protein, fiber and low in refined sugar. They make perfect treats for  before or after workout  fuel, and works really well as a weekend, treat too!

Paleo Pumpkin Blondie by Once Again Nut Butter

No-Grain Pumpkin Blondies – Paleo Friendly!

¼ cup of Once Again Organic Cashew Butter
½ cup of Once Again American Classic Creamy Peanut Butter (for paleo – just use 1 whole cup of Cashew Butter and exclude the Peanut Butter. Or use Almond butter instead!)
¼ cup of maple syrup
¾ cup of pumpkin puree
2 tablespoons of pecan flour
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 teaspoon of pumpkin spice
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and spray an 8×8 inches baking pan with non-stick spray. In medium bowl, mix in cashew butter, peanut butter, pumpkin puree, vanilla extract and maple syrup. In separate bowl mix pecan flour pumpkin spice, cinnamon and baking soda. Mix in dry mixture and combine just until all ingredients form a homogenous dough. Place in baking pan and bake for 30 minutes, or until edges are golden. Insert toothpick in center to test for readiness  to remove blondies from oven. Let cool and slice to serve. Store in airtight container for up to five days.

Peanut Butter Carrot Cupcakes

Once Again Nut Butter manufactures  many products, as you know. Here is a fun fact: if you turn the jar around and read the label, at the upper corner, beside the nutrition facts, there is a little square that states which employee’s favorite that particular nut or seed butter is. For example, on the tahini jar, you’ll find that it is Matt’s (from shipping) favorite. I am relieved that I was never asked which one is my favorite. That would be quite difficult to answer, much like asking me which child do I love more! Perhaps, I exaggerate  a bit. But the truth is, when it comes to nut and seed butters, I seem to fluctuate between favorites throughout the year. Currently, my favorite has been good old, plain peanut butter, Once Again Organic Creamy Peanut Butter, to be more specific.

Almonds, cashews and Brazil nuts have gotten a lot of attention lately for their nutritive values, and that spotlight is well deserved, of course. However, that is no reason to forget about peanuts. This seemed like a great opportunity to highlight some reasons why you should have a jar of Once Again Peanut Butter in your pantry at all times, no matter what your particular favorite nut butter is at any particular  time. You may already be aware of the value of this super-popular nut,   since peanuts and peanut butter represent two thirds  of nut consumption in the United States.

Research has shown peanuts can prolong life, reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer and promote healthy weights in adults and children. Peanuts are a powerful, tiny food all on their own; therefore peanut butter needs no other ingredient other than peanuts themselves ! Once Again Nut Butter has a variety of peanut butters to offer, all with peanuts as the first ingredient, of course. As a matter of fact, you will find peanuts to be the only ingredient in our Organic Creamy or Crunchy Peanut Butter, as well as the Old Fashioned Natural Creamy or Crunchy Peanut Butter. There is a version with added salt for those who prefer it, and the American Classic line, which is the first certified organic peanut butter that doesn’t separate. Our American Classic is a stabilized peanut butter that requires little to no stirring. We do not use any hydrogenated oils, so you will get the texture you crave without harmful food additives. The ingredients in the American Classic line include dry roasted blanched organic peanuts, organic palm fruit oil from responsibly planned orchards, organic sugar cane and salt.  Choices abound.

So, what is it about peanuts that make them so good for us? Well, they are high in protein to start off. They contain more than 7 grams of plant protein per ounce, which is more than any other nut, and they contain at least as much protein as any animal source. One ounce of peanuts or two tablespoons of peanut butter contain 15% of the recommended daily value for protein making them a great protein staple for any plant-based diet. They also contain high amounts of important nutrients such as vitamin E, potassium and magnesium. Folate, zinc and vitamin B6 are also present in peanuts. Digging a little deeper into peanut nutrition, we find some other qualities to highlight. For example, we find arginine, an amino acid which helps reduce blood pressure.. Resveratrol has long been touted as an anti-aging compound, and it is also present in peanuts. Phytosterols block the formation of cholesterol in the body, and polyphenols, which work as antioxidants to help prevent damage in the body that can lead to heart disease and cancer, both are found in peanuts, as well.

The USDA underscores  peanuts and peanut butter as a “Smart Snack” on its nutritional lists for schools. . The lists also include popcorn, granola and fruit cups, among others.  However, peanuts are the only one on those lists with “zero empty calories.” Not only do they provide a good source of protein, they also contain high amounts of healthy, monounsaturated fat. It is actually this combination of nutrients that helps kids and adults feel satisfied, get a boost of energy and still maintain stable blood sugar levels.

Peanut butter is not just my favorite, as a matter of fact, The Peanut Institute states that 90% of American households have one or more jars of peanut butter in their pantry. So if you are among the majority, go  and grab your jar and have a spoon already! After reading this post, I would imagine  that you are craving some peanut butter. Better yet, let’s make something with peanut butter, something beyond the traditional and delicious peanut butter and jelly sandwich. How about a Peanut Butter Carrot Cupcake?

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Peanut Butter Carrot Cupcakes

2 cups of oat flour

½ cup  of sugar

1 tablespoon of baking powder

1 cup of milk or milk substitute

1 cup of grated carrots

1 egg

1 teaspoon of vanilla

½ cup of Once Again Peanut Butter

To make your own oat flour, simply add whole oats to the food processor and pulse until you achieve a powdered mixture. Add the 2 cups of oat flour to a mixing bowl with baking soda. In a separate mixing bowl, add peanut butter, egg and mix well. Slowly add in sugar, vanilla and milk. Now add the oat flour mixture to the wet ingredient mixture, and mix well on low speed if using a mixer. Remove from mixer and fold in the grated carrots. Pour batter, filling each cupcake mold three quarters of the way.  This recipe will make about 12 cupcakes. Bake in an oven  a preheated oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes. Allow cupcakes to cool before removing them from pan. You may top them  with  a cream cheese frosting —or just enjoy them plain! Optional: Add  ¼ cup of raisins and chopped walnuts to the batter before baking. Store  cupcakes  in air tight container for up to 5 days.

Double Chocolate Fudge Popsciles

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

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

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

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

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

Double Fudge Popsciles

Double Chocolate Fudge Popsicle

1 tablespoon of Once Again Sunflower Butter

2 tablespoons of unsweetened cacao powder

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

½ of one avocado

Chocolate chips

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

All Your Seeds

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


All Your Seeds by Once Again Nut Butter

All Your Seeds

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

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