Peanut and Almond Butter Recall

FSNBHere we go again. Salmonella and nut butters recalled for salmonella. That’s enough for me. I’m going to start making my own (and maybe I’ll add chocolate to it like Big Sis does). We are too much a nut butter house to keep having these salmonella scare. My personal jar is not on this list, but that doesn’t make me feel much better about it. I’m guessing that jar is going to cool its heels in the fridge until I get sick of looking at it. Daggone it – details here. Eat well, be well friends.

Nut Butter Bliss Balls

Ooooh boy these are some good little cookie like thangs!  There is no baking involved and lots of goo on the fingers to lick off when you are done.  What could be better than that?

Did you think I wasn’t going to tell you what was better than that?  Well!…. These lovely little sweets were consumed, enjoyed and complimented by folks from all ranges of the baked goods and sugar consumption spectrum.  In other words, as my son would say, both the health whacks like his dear old Mom and the normal people liked these cookies.  This is not always the case with the sweets that come out of my kitchen.  In fact, both of my sweet offerings were appreciated.  One of them, Healthy Pumpkin Cookies, was shared earlier in the blog and now, because I am so nice and generous and love to toot my own stolen horn, I will share the Nut Butter Bliss Balls recipe with you!  I hope these recipes (along with the list of healthier holiday foods from our blog that Little Sis is working on) will help you party with folks from all over the spectrum this holiday season.  ‘Tis the time of year for sharing, right?

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So back to tooting my own stolen horn…. I didn’t steal a horn, I adapted a horn, er…  recipe, from the wonderful Diana Herrington at Real Food for Life.  She calls them Peanut Butter Bliss Balls.   Mr. Bigg Sis doesn’t do peanuts, so I made them both with almond butter and the original way because my son and I LOVE peanut butter.   They are heavenly either way.

Nut Butter Bliss Balls
1 cup toasted sunflower seeds
1 cup nut butter (I have tried almond and peanut – you can cheaply make your own almond butter – with or without chocolate!)
1/2 cup honey (original is 3/4 cup – I found 1/2 to be awesomely sweet but chickened out and added another Tbsp tothe1/2 cup for my guests batch)
1/4 cup coconut (unsweetened, flaked)
1/4 – 1/2 cup almond flour (original coconut flour which is costly) but you could also use oat flour
1/4 cup oats
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds

First off – if you don’t have toasted nuts and seeds, I toasted the sunflower seeds at 350 for about 8 minutes – just keep an eye on them so they don’t burn, and the sesame seeds for about 5 minutes, again, watch them as ovens are different, pans are different, it’s a beautiful variable world!

Secondly – the reason for the wishy-washiness of the flour amount.  Peanut butter and almond butter (beautiful variable world consideration again) have varying consistencies, and honey is hard to measure accurately, so the stickiness of your final product is affected by these variables.  I use almond flour which is the dried out leftovers from making almond milk, so it may be a bit lighter than store bought almond flour.  Basically you want a dough consistency that is sticky enough to hold together and pick up a coating of sesame seeds but not too sticky to eat.  Start with the lowest amount of flour and add more until you like the consistency.  Taste tests are totally appropriate and recommended.

After you’ve toasted the sunflower seeds, place them in a bowl with all of the other ingredients except the sesame seeds and smush it all together, preferably with a purple spatula 😉

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Pour your toasted sesame seeds onto a plate, form edible size balls (this of course will be affected by the wonderful variety of mouth sizes…. I make mine large) and roll them in the sesame seeds.  For more variety you can roll them in unsweetened coconut.

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I am singing a happy song of variety….. and one must try all of the varieties to be equitable (after eating your pre-emptive veggies of course!)

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Breathe, enjoy the season, and as Little Sis says when I worry over pleasing guests that are coming…. “It’ll be fine.  They’re your friends!  They love you.”

Peace and love to you and yours in this world of infinite variety and possibility.

Throw Some Sauce on What You’ve Got

It’s all in the sauce Sister!  I mean where would pasta, rice, noodles and life be without it?  Having sauce on hand is a great tool when you need a quick meal.

Here are 2 that I have come to depend on.

Pesto is not just to zip up some pasta!  Not if you add nuts and veggies to the mix.  That, my friends is a zipped up meal that takes very little time.  Pesto is not cheap, but be aware that you don’t need nearly as much pesto for a pound of pasta as you would tomato sauce.  Pesto packs a punch!  You only need about 4 – 6 ounces of pesto to a pound of pasta, and although that’s likely to cost you about $4-6, … it is still cheaper than eating out – and better for you, and you might even have some leftovers.  And it’s quick!  Did I mention quick?  Back to the quick part, which is a BIG factor in the choice to eat out, isn’t it?

(Before the quick part – if you have some fresh basil, you can make a batch of pesto and freeze it.  Even better you can make Little Sis’ Sunflower seed pesto which is cheaper than using pine nuts and parmesan – and is totally plant-based and even is she wasn’t my sister, I’d tell you it is truly yummy.)

So cook your pound of pasta (preferably whole wheat, but maybe that’s a baby step you will take a little further down the road)

When it’s done – drain, add your pesto and then add or offer the following:

We don’t eat at the windowsill, but there is nice light there!

a choice of nuts: I recommend walnuts or cashews… but hey – you can add whatever you want 😉

a choice of vegetable: (fresh or frozen that you’ve heated up): I recommend frozen green beans or peas since we’re talking speed, but if you want to add sauteed peppers or greens, or zucchini… you can add whatever you, or your peeps want!

If you don’t add to the whole mix then everyone can choose what and how much they want.  My son doesn’t like the walnuts in the pasta but he eats them on the side which works for me.

So if you use frozen veggies like I did on this particularly crowded evening full of schoolwork, TaeKwonDo and baseball, this takes about as long as it takes to cook the pasta.  It made me happy, and when Momma is happy, everybody is happy!

And now for the second sauce…and last recipe that I will share from Meals That Heal Inflammation, because certainly this wonderful book should be purchased!! (Actually, the book is FULL of very interesting information about food and inflammation with recipes at the end.  I highly recommend it.)

This is a Pad Thai sauce that uses almonds instead of peanut, and got my son to eat raw zucchini.

Wait – did you miss that?  This sauce gets my son to eat raw zucchini. This boy does not like zuchhini, but he digs the sauce Baby!

Raw Pad Thai Sauce (Meals that Heal Inflammation, p. 306.)
2 Tbsp. (30ml) tahini
2 Tbsp. (30ml) almond butter (use peanut butter if you don’t have almond)
1 Tbsp. (15ml) lemon or lime juice
2 Tbsp (30ml) wheat-free tamari (I used Bragg’s liquid aminos – you could also use soy sauce, maybe a little less though and taste)
1 Tbsp (15ml) raw honey (I used un-raw? honey)
1/4 tsp. (1ml) garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. (2.5ml) ginger root, grated

Difficult instructions: Mix all that there stuff together.  I do it in a 4 cup measuring cup with a fork.

I usually double or triple this recipe.  It is quite thick but it thins out when you put it over raw vegetables or raw vegetable and rice or raw vegetables and noodles.  I used my mandoline to make long thin noodles out of zucchini which could also just be cut.  I also used grated carrot and red cabbage (very fast and easy in a food processor if you have one).  You could also use green onion, cauliflower or broccoli, bean sprouts, peppers or romaine.  Adding rice or noodles beefs it up a little. And of course you could add some leftover chopped meat if you like.  Whatever you have is the key because one evening when you get home, you’ve got what you’ve got, and the choice is throw some sauce on what you’ve got or go out to eat.

Throw some sauce on what you’ve got
To make what you’ve got hot-ter
It’s meant to be, just mix and see
A smiling son or daughter

Sauce on hand at your command
For a bowl full of vitality
Be sauce-y sisters be sauce-y
Go sauce-y brothers – Go Sauce-y!

Sorry.  I need my 11 year old looking over my shoulder to edit my silliness, but he’s cleaning the guinea pig cage, so you’re stuck with my extra sauce 🙂

PS – here are a few other sauces to try:
Easiest/Fastest tomato sauce ever
Fabu Asian Peanut Sauce
Basil Avocado Cream
This is a fast mac & cheese sauce that can be frozen and used on other things… or for fast mac & cheese!

Please share links to your favorite go to sauces that will keep in the frig or freezer for nights when you’ve just to throw some sauce on what you’ve got!

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