Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Things I Am Loving This Week

It's Tuesday which is of course one day better than Monday, and also time for the "Things I Am Loving This Week"--those (mostly) food-related things I am enjoying and want to share.

I think I have previously mentioned my squirrel-like habit of storing nuts and seeds (in my freezer though--not in the ground!), and I am trying my best to work through the mass quantities I have stock-piled. I had a large Ziploc of raw sunflower seeds and this Sunflower Seed Spread from my "Tosca Reno's Eat Clean Cookbook" seemed like a great way to make a dent in them. Similar to a hummus only with the nutty flavor of sunflower and sesame seeds, I am loving this spread on veggies, as a sandwich spread and I think it would be great thinned out a bit as a salad dressing too. Sunflower seeds have a combination of selenium and vitamin E and provide great antioxidants.

Tosca says, "Cooking" does not get any easier than this. If you can assemble things in a blender and press "start," you can make this delicious bread spread that quite frankly tastes just as good on a chicken breast.

Sunflower Seed Spread
Tosca Reno's Eat Clean Cookbook
(Makes 5 Cups)

2 1/2 cups / 600 ml raw, unsalted sunflower seeds
1/4 cup / 60 ml sesame seeds
2 Tbsp / 30 ml pumpkin seed oil
2 Tbsp / 30 ml roasted sesame oil
2 shallots, peeled and cut into chunks
1 lb / 454 g silken tofu, unflavored
1/4 cup / 60 ml light soy sauce or red tamari
1/2 tsp / 2.5 ml sea salt
pinch of freshly ground black pepper
juice of one lemon

Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until absolutely smooth. Adjust consistency of this spread by adding very small amounts of water. Store unused portions in a glass jar with a tight fitting lid (A Mason jar is a good choice) in the fridge.

My Notes: I didn't have pumpkin seed oil and the smallest bottle I could find was $17.00 so I subbed some coconut oil--not the same thing taste wise but I didn't want to buy the pumpkin seed oil at that price. (I did use the sesame oil as the recipe directed). Once I tasted the spread I found that it was good, but I wanted it a bit "brighter" and so I used the juice of two lemons and liked it even more.

Nutritional Value for Two-Tbsp Serving: Calories: 73, Calories from Fat: 62, Protein: 3g, Carbs: 20g, Total Fat: 7g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Trans Fat: 0g, Fiber: 1g, Sodium: 11mg, Cholesterol: 0mg, Sugar: 1g.

It's not food but I love bath products almost as much, especially when they contain natural ingredients and a good friend gave me this big bottle of Archipelago Pomegranate Body Wash. This purple-red liquid has been waking me up in my morning shower with its fresh scent of pomegranate, cranberry, lemon and orange. It foams up nicely and smells good enough that I almost want to eat it. Although surely not nearly as effective as eating these fruits for their antioxidants, I guess washing with them can't hurt! ;-)

I having been trying to cut down on my processed sugar lately and that means limiting the amount of chocolate I am consuming too. When I do indulge I want it to be "splurge-worthy," meaning something that I think is worth indulging in. My latest find is this new Lindt "Touch of Sea Salt Bar" which I am loving as it works for that salty-sweet craving I often get.

The dark chocolate in this bar is creamy and the level of sea salt just about perfect--enough to taste it but not overpowering. Chocolate and sea salt remains one of my favorite pairings ever and I love that one thin square (or two on a tough day!) of this bar satisfies me and makes me happy.

So that is it for this week's "Things I Am Loving"--a little bit of healthy mixed with a little bit of indulging myself, so a good balance.

What things are you loving this week?


  1. I think I have the same likes as you...nuts, bath products and chocolate, great round-up :)

  2. I saw that chocolate at the store the other day, and was wondering if it was good. I knew I should have just gone on ahead and bought it!

  3. A great blend of sinful and saintly! I have never heard of pumpkin seed oil, I wonder what it is like. Very interesting spread, I would like to try it. Sounds uber healthy.
    And that pomegranate wash sounds wonderful!
    I do like salty with my sweet, the touch of sea salt is one I will pick up if I see it too.
    Looks like a great week of finds for you!

  4. I am definitely one of those people who sit there staring at the Lindt's while on line at the supermarket. Dreaming about buying one but never doing so. This flavor looks delicious. I love sweet and salty.

  5. The Lindt chocolate and a touch of salt sounds very good! I'm going to pick one up the next time I see it at the store.
    I'm loving great California wines this week.

  6. That spread sounds so good! I completely understand about skipping some ingredients. Some things are worth the money, some are a bit to pricey for me. I'm sure the oil is great, but that is expensive! Sounds like you made a good substitute.

  7. I haven't seen that chocolate before! Wow!

  8. Deb.... the Sunflower Seed Spread sounds incredible. I like your suggestions for its use; especially turning it into a dressing.

    And I will definitely keep my eye out for the Lindt Sea Salt Dark Chocolate bar. Sounds like a nice combination.

    Love your 'weekly likes' series ~ thanks.

  9. I hate how "specialty" oils cost so much--it's just not fair! Years ago, I purchased two bottles of avocado oil from New Zealand for ten bucks; yes, ten bucks. And it was some of the most blissful oil I've ever used. Now I can find tiny bottles for that much and it gets on my pecs something fierce.

    Okay, moving on. I am very glad that you are not storing your seeds and nuts in the ground and you turned them into something that I'm sure even the squirrels would envy. :)

  10. I've seen that pumpkin seed oil and wondered about it. They have a smaller bottle here for around $9 or so. I might indulge one day. The sunflower spread sounds really nice. I also love bath and body products almost as much as cooking, hence the job at Lush to support my expensive habit of buying bath goodies. Sounds like a great list of things this week:D

  11. Deb, I really like the way the spread sounds. It looks beautiful on those cucumber slices.

  12. I think I am the only person on the planet that doesn't like the salty/sweet combination in chocolate. Oh well.

    I have some of the Archipelago candles - they smell so good, so I imagine the body products are that much better.

  13. i am loving my daughter trying to talk, wow what a great spread

  14. I want that chocolate - we don't have it here so I have to make do with the Lindt with orange. Something to look out for next time we travel.


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