Tag: sunflower seed butter

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.

Savory Curry Snack Bars

Although we haven’t shared thousands of sweet granola bar recipes, they certainly are out there on  the web for your viewing pleasure. They come with small variations – some add more ingredients; others make it simple with no baking directions, and a few even venture into exploring unexpected ingredients such as red pepper to spice things up. However, a bar recipe you haven’t seen quite enough of is the savory variety. These bars  aren’t sweet based– on the contrary, they are perfect for when you crave something salty and would rather not dip your hands into a bag of junk food. A common approach to salty snacking used by those looking for better nutrient balance than that found in chips for example, is to eat mixed nuts. This is a  smart choice for snacking  of course, but when it comes to mixed nuts, it’s easy to overindulge  and potentially end up consuming more calories than intended. Therefore, these savory type of snack bars are  a fantastic solution to your salty snack demands.   It is also easy to control portion size with these bars.

There are currently only a couple of savory bars available on  the market. The good news about these bars is they are incredibly fast to make and uncomplicated. . Also, they give  you the opportunity to add your favorite flavor twists, too.

The recipe shared below is for a Savory Curry Bar. It draws influences from Indian cuisine, with the addition of spices such as curry and turmeric. Curry powder is most often a mixture of coriander, turmeric, cumin, fenugreek, and chili peppers. Turmeric is an excellent source of iron and manganese. It is a good source of vitamin B6, fiber, copper and potassium as well. Rich in phytonutrients such as curcumin, demethoxycurcumin, tumerones and tumenorols, this spice offers anti-inflammatory benefits and promises a decreased cancer risk. Research has also shown its potential for improving cognitive function, blood sugar balance, kidney function and helping in the management of some arthritic and digestive disorders. Both curry and turmeric have  strong and unique flavors. If you have not tried these  before, I would recommend trying them first before making the recipe given below.  Here is an experiment: Mix about 1/8 of a teaspoon of curry powder into  plain brown rice to test if you enjoy this Southeast Asian spice. The same method can be used for the testing of turmeric alone. If you don’t enjoy these flavors, you can make the recipe below by simply skipping those spices, or substituting them with ones you actually do love. For example, a rosemary and lavender combination works well for this bar. In the video below, I  go through the steps of making this bar. The trick is to adhere to  the resting time in the freezer, enabling the bar to set. After making this recipe a couple of times, I noticed that the crumbles at the bottom of the container were just too good to waste. I added them to salads as toppings, and that was a genius move! Here is an idea: If you don’t want to wait for it to set in the freezer, just pour the mixture into an airtight jar and store in the refrigerator. Use it as a crunchy topping for your salads, soups or even a rice and bean bowl that calls for more flavor!

The notion of “salty” bars might just be the new trend for 2017. What do you think? Let us know in the comments if you think this trend will be a winner.

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Savory Curry Snack Bars

2 cups of puffed rice cereal

½ cup of sunflower seeds

2/3 cup of slivered almonds

2 tablespoons of flax seeds

2 tablespoons of flax meal

¾ cup of Once Again Sunflower Seed Butter or Almond Butter

2 tablespoons of coconut oil

½ teaspoon of turmeric powder

½ teaspoon of curry powder

Mix all ingredients, in no special order! Just mix them well.  It is a bit easier to start with the coconut oil and Once Again Nut Butter, and then add in the powders and next the seeds, nuts, and cereal. Once well mixed, press the mixture it onto an 8×8 baking dish. Place  it in the refrigerator to set for four  hours, or in  the freezer for 30 minutes. Cut it into bars and enjoy! Store in refrigerator for up to seven  days. You may also crumble it up and use it as a salad topping!

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.

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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Springtime Pineapple Cake

We are back with another blog focused on giving some of our favorite foods a make-over! Today we are tackling “pineapple cake.”  You may wonder why; it is a bit of an odd choice for a make-over recipe. However, it was a fan request! We thank you, Susan from Florida, for sending in the note: “I am a huge cake fan; I often bake cakes according to season. During the winter I make spice cake; in the fall, I make pumpkin; summertime  calls for citrus, and in the spring, I make pineapple cake. Since spring is upon us, can you help me with a cake recipe that is better for me and my family?”

We are with you on this one, Susan: As fellow cake-lovers we too must find better ways to bake cakes without all the added sugar and empty calories. The beauty of a spring cake is that you can vary it with  lots of fruits such as bananas, pineapples, peaches and berries, for example. The addition of fruit to your cake batter helps hold moisture without the need for extra butter and oil. Of course, fruit  also adds sweetness to the cake, allowing you to decrease the amount of sugar in the recipe.

Moreover, this is a good opportunity to also add protein, vitamins and minerals to your recipe. Most cakes have minimal amounts of nutrients, which makes them a poor candidate for a snack or breakfast food. To save cakes from falling entirely in the treats’ category, add some protein, and watch them graduate them into mini-meal status. But how do you do that without compromising taste? Once Again Nut Butter is the solution, of course! Not only does it add nutrients, including fiber but it also adds amazing flavor.

Since this is a spring cake, the obvious choice to enhance it was Once Again Sunflower Seed Butter (Have you seen the label? The flowers are just perfect for spring).  Once Again Sunflower Seed Butter tastes like a handful of roasted sunflower seeds! You can choose the lightly sweetened variety (which is what we used  for this cake), or the salt and sugar- free variety, if you like..  Once Again  has both to offer. As a matter of fact, if you are a sunflower seed butter fan, make sure that you check stores for the squeeze packs of Once Again Sunflower Seed Butter, which are now available. They are so practical to toss into your purse for a snack, and they are perfect lunch box item for kids of all ages.

But now, let’s zoom in on another ingredient used in cakes that we can certainly find a healthier choice for: the oil. Most cake recipes will ask for vegetable or canola oil. But what if you could instead bake with coconut oil and reap the benefits of its abundant medium chain triglycerides, including lauric acid? Among its many benefits are MCTs (medium chain triglycerides) that help increase blood HDL levels–  that’s the good kind of cholesterol. Actually, coconut oil is a fitting match for cake. Its properties are adequate for baking, and it doesn’t add a coconut flavor to the cake as one would expect. Although we wouldn’t be opposed to that outcome, if it did!

Lastly, let’s talk sugar. Cake without sugar is pretty much bread. Therefore, we know there needs to be some added sugar,but  to make this recipe diabetic-friendly there is an option for using a stevia “sugar” baking mix. The key is that we are increasing the nutrients in the cake while lowering its “empty-calories,” attractive qualities that enable you to  enjoy it more than every once in a while.  Enjoy the cake and keep sending us comments with more ideas for recipe make-overs!

Springtime Pineapple Cake on www.onceagainnutbutterblog.com

Springtime Pineapple Cake

3 cups of whole wheat flour

2 cups of sugar (or ¾ cup stevia sugar baking mix)

1 teaspoon of baking soda

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

3 eggs

3 mashed bananas

1 can (14 ounces ) of crushed pineapple (do not drain)

¼ cup of coconut oil

½ cup of Once Again Sunflower Seed Butter

1 ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract

1 cup of chopped toasted pecans

Add sugar, eggs and bananas to mixer and beat using a low setting. Add coconut oil (at room temperature), sunflower seed butter, and vanilla, next and in that order. In separate bowl, mix flour, cinnamon and baking soda. Now combine the dry mixture by adding it slowly to the mixing bowl and beat  at a low setting. Make sure to beat until the mixture is well blended. Using a spoon, mix in crushed pineapple and pecans.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a bundt cake pan with non-stick spray and pour mixture into it. Bake for approximately one hour and ten minutes.  Allow the cake  to cool for at least one hour before serving. Serve with pineapple ice cream or spread some extra Once Again Sunflower Seed Butter on top of the cake or on each slice!