Sowing the Seeds of the Sun

You all know my love of grocery stores and that they are a source of inspiration for me.  Well, Trader Joe’s had something that was new to my repertoire:  sunflower seed spread.  Apparently this is a no sugar version of their sunflower seed butter.  It was cheaper than almond butter ($4.99 / 16 oz.) so I bought it not really knowing what to do with it.

While I still have not been won over by Trader Joe’s products — often not worth the effort of standing on their “forever lines” — the bright spots are discovering new noteworthy products and chatting with their charming cashiers (once you finally reach them).

I got several ideas for a cookie and was drawn to the combination of chocolate and sunflower seed.

I nosh on my own weighed and measured trail mix that includes sunflower seeds and often think how adding chocolate chips to the mix would heighten the snack!  Though, I do not want to heighten the number on the scale so I have to let go of those thoughts for now.

This recipe is pretty much a tweak on my almond butter cookies with the addition of unsweetened cocoa powder and sweetened coconut which brings the flavor up yet another notch.

Please note – this is not the sugary sweet cookie you might be accustomed to.  The chocolate is pronounced and the nuttiness of the sunflower seed although it is the main ingredient, is in the background.  Great flavor here!

Here’s the recipe.

Chocolate Sunflower Seed Butter Cookies with Shredded Coconut

Ingredients

Dry

½  C rolled oats, processed
1/3 C flour
¼ C unsweetened cocoa
1 t baking powder
½  t baking soda

Wet

1 egg
2 t vanilla extract
¼ C maple syrup
¼ C coconut milk (or almond milk)

Creaming

½ C sugar
1 C sunflower seed butter
¾ t molasses

Topping

¼ C shredded Sweetened Coconut

Process:  add all dry ingredients to a bowl and combine; add all wet ingredients to a smaller bowl and mix well; in a larger bowl, cream the sunflower seed spread with the sugar and molasses using an electric mixer; add the dry and wet ingredients to the creamed mixture and mix until combined; drop by tea-spoonfuls onto a prepared cookie sheet; press the dough down using fingers dipped in warm water; using one finger, press down in the center for a space to hold the coconut; add the coconut to this indentation; bake in a preheated oven at 350 F for about 12-15 minutes.

You can opt out of the coconut to make cookies for ice cream sandwiches as these are perfect for the addition of that creamy sweetness.

 


Comforting Crock

Crock Pot Asian Style Ribs

I have been regrettably neglectful of my blog…

This is a post that was set up for February, when we had much cooler temps.

It’s here now…  Thank you for sticking around!

The Crock Pot entered my life years ago as a food warmer; never thought of it as a cooker even after interviewing a food writer on her Crock Pot cook book!  My wonderful supportive friends online turned me onto its genius!  Yes, it cooks for hours however it creates the most flavorful dishes as it seals in the spices, herbs, flavors and juices of the dish you have in it!

I made these ribs as an initial experiment.  Did some investigating on the use of a Crock Pot and found many recommendations to add liquids to dishes no matter what the desired result.  Hmmm, additional liquid would turn dishes into stews, wouldn’t it? That was not my intention here.

I just followed my instincts and made an Asian-styled marinade for the ribs then added them to the pot after sufficient marinating.  I cooked them for about 6 hours while I worked from home.  And man, oh man…  What a flavorful result!  Meat was super moist and tender!

Since this trial I have made the following in my Crock Pot:  fresh brussel sprouts with balsamic, duck breast soup, and chicken stew with lots of fresh veggies!

The simplicity is what won me over in addition to the great results!  One pot to clean!

Good deal on good pork from Whole Foods. I pounced!

It begins with the freshest!

Here’s the recipe and the process.

Crock Pot Asian Style Ribs

Ingredients for Asian Marinade
*Note:  these measurements are approximate as you can tailor the marinade to your personal tastes.
1 T Chinese Five Spice
6 garlic cloves – minced
¼ C Hoisin sauce
1 T minced ginger
1 orange – juiced
¼ C citrus seasoned soy sauce
2 T Zhenjiang vinegar
1 T soy sauce
1 T canola oil
dash of red pepper flakes

Process:  add all ingredients to a bowl and combine; add the marinade to washed and dried ribs and allow to permeate the meat for at least 2 hours; add the ribs to the Crock Pot set on high, cover and allow it to cook for 5-6 hours checking on them and turning them from bottom to top on occasion.  Remove, allow to cool, and enjoy the flavors!!!

Ribs are melding with the flavors.

Asian flavors abound!

No dried out ribs here.