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



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


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


½ C sugar
1 C sunflower seed butter
¾ t molasses


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.



Puggy Portobellos

Smoked Herring Stuffed Portobello

Smoked Herring Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

The portobello mushroom apparently is just an over-grown crimini mushroom.

Meaty – yes, flavor – mild, calories – low, nutrition – potassium and fiber rich.

Always loved mushrooms and my son and I routinely look for them on appetizer menus when we eat out.  I’ve made stuffed mushrooms myself and they are a real treat!

The ingredients you choose for your stuffing is what will add flavor to these and really, you can be as creative here as you wish!  Me, well, I like a lotta flava!

While making this, I thought I made too much stuffing however it all fit into these colossal portobellos.  Each one could satisfy two people with a side salad or sautéed spinach.

Smoked Herring Stuffed PortobelloSmoked Herring Stuffed Portobello

Here’s the recipe.

Smoke Herring Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

2 Large Portobello mushrooms

½ C Mozzarella cheese – part skim
3 T Pecorrino Romano cheese — grated


1 T olive oil
1 medium onion — chopped
4-5 cloves of garlic – minced
1 sweet pepper – chopped
¼ t salt
Dash of pepper
Dash of red pepper flakes
spinach – blanched, liquid removed
mushroom stems
1 can of Smoked herring – drained (I used Trader Joe’s)
2 T butter
1-2 C Bread crumbs

Process:  remove the stems and wipe the mushrooms; cook the stems in water – enough to cover them, this will create a vegetable stock.  In a large pan, sauté the onion, garlic and sweet pepper in the olive oil; add salt, pepper and red pepper flakes and continue to cook until ingredients are softened; add the cooked spinach, smoked herring, mushroom stems – cut into small pieces, and butter; cook for another 3 minutes.  Add the bread crumbs and mushroom stock a little at a time so the stuffing is not overly moist; remove from heat and allow to cool.

Stuff each Portobello cap with the stuffing mixture and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and then the pecorino Romano.  Bake in a 400F oven for about 20-25 minutes.

Smoked Herring Stuffed Portobello