sunflower seeds

Homemade Sunbutter... Yes, please!

As I mentioned, I eat a lot of sunflower seeds and sun butter. I really love the organic unsweetened version of this brand of Sunbutter because there's just one ingredient: roasted sunflower seeds. I always have sun butter in my house because it's a fabulous nut alternative and when I'm hungry and need a quick snack, a spoon of it is just perfect. My kids love sun butter too, and it's a frequent lunch choice on a sandwich with fresh fruit slices or jam. I decided to try my hand at making my own sun butter.

It's harder than I thought it would be! I tried several times using raw sunflower seeds and adding oil instead of starting with roasted seeds and the result was pretty gummy and not at all smooth and creamy like I had hoped. Blah. Then I tried using maple syrup instead of honey but that didn't turn out well either. I finally got it right using roasted seeds and didn't need to add any extra oil. Victory! My successful recipe had just two ingredients: 1 cup of roasted, salted sunflower seeds and 1 tablespoon of honey. That's it! Next time I plan to eliminate the honey and use vanilla extract and cinnamon instead and see how that goes...  For any nut-allergic folks, be sure to read the label on roasted sunflower seeds to make sure they're not roasted with peanut oil.

1 cup of roasted sunflower seeds.    

1 cup of roasted sunflower seeds. 

 

First the seeds became dry and crumbly. It took patience and time to get to the next stage.  When you think it's time to give up, keep going! The oils take a while to be sufficiently released to produce the desired outcome. 

First the seeds became dry and crumbly. It took patience and time to get to the next stage.  When you think it's time to give up, keep going! The oils take a while to be sufficiently released to produce the desired outcome. 

Finally! After 7 minutes in the processor, the sunbutter began to resemble what I think of as sunbutter. Then I added 1 tablespoon of honey and pureed till smooth. 

Finally! After 7 minutes in the processor, the sunbutter began to resemble what I think of as sunbutter. Then I added 1 tablespoon of honey and pureed till smooth. 

Voila! Creamy and delicious. 

Voila! Creamy and delicious. 

Lunchtime! A great sandwich for a hot day. 

Lunchtime! A great sandwich for a hot day. 

Crazy for Sunflower Seeds!

A while back I was lamenting the lack of Omega 3s in my life. I've been taking a DHA supplement that's recommended for nursing moms like me and because of my fish allergies, it has to be vegan. There aren't so many on the market! As I read the ingredients of the one that was recommended to me, I was surprised and happy to see that ingredient #2 is sunflower oil. I eat a ton of sun butter but I wondered what else I could do with sunflower seeds? Maybe I could make my own sun butter? I could add them to salads, certainly, and with oatmeal for breakfast. 
I'm excited to tell you that I've been consuming sunflower seeds like crazy! But I'm sad to report that as of yet, I have not found a good recipe for my own sun butter (and I've tried making it at least 10 times!) I'll post the recipe as soon as I come up with one that satisfies me. 

Here's today's daily dose of sunflower seeds - a simple salad for my lunch with arugula, avocado (another thing I cannot get enough of lately), raw carrot slices and dried cranberries, topped with raw sunflower seeds and drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice.

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Happy lunching! 

Arugula Salad with Avocado, Cranberries and Sunflower Seeds

3 cups arugula
2 carrots, peeled and sliced into rounds
1 avocado, cut into chunks
β…“ cup dried cranberries
2 tablespoons olive oil
Juice of one lemon
ΒΌ cup raw sunflower seeds
S
alt and pepper to taste

Avocado * Avocado * Avocado!

Perfection.

Perfection.

Is it me? Or are the avocados lately beyond delicious? I have been eating one a day for several weeks and it's a groove I'm happy about. Avocados are great with every meal; spread on toast for breakfast, sliced into a sandwich for lunch and added to a salad for dinner, just to name a few. 

I made an egg salad yesterday with fresh dill and made a sandwich around it and it just didn't seem complete without avocado. Here's an example of toddler lunch meets infant lunch meets adult lunch. My toddler had egg salad. My infant had some baked sweet potato that I mashed and some avocado, also mashed. I put it all together for this awesomeness - sweet potato spread on one piece of whole grain bread with sprouts, egg salad and avocado. Check this out: 

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Avocado is on the menu for dinner tonight, too. The salad below is loaded with protein, fiber, good fats and vitamin E. It's going to be the main event for our dinner tonight with a side slaw of kale with carrot, apple and a gingery dressing that I found here. The sunflower seeds add a delightful crunch and serve as a great substitution for nuts. In fact, I've used sunflower seeds in the kale slaw in place of almonds and have been using sunflower seeds in one way or another almost every day lately.  

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Chickpea, Avocado and Farro Salad with Sunflower Seeds

1 can of chickpeas, drained
2 avocados, cut into chunks
1 1/2 cups cooked farro
2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh chopped mint
1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro
Juice of one lemon (about 1/4 cup)
1 tablespoon olive oil
pinch of cayenne (optional)
1/4 cup of roasted shelled sunflower seeds (plus extra for garnish) 
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved (optional) 
salt and pepper to taste

In a large bowl, combine the chickpeas, avocado and farro. Add chives, mint and cilantro and toss. Add lemon juice, olive oil and cayenne and gently mix. Finally toss in the roasted sunflower seeds and salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle the extra sunflower seeds on top for an added crunch.  I've added sliced grape tomatoes for a pop of color but frankly, I think the recipe is delicious with or without them.
Enjoy!