Thursday, May 29, 2008

Nut substitutions

Since my toddler tested positive for peanut on the allergy test the allergist advised to avoid all tree nuts. Sunflower seeds seem to be just fine for her, though. I recently discovered that my VitaMix makes butter out of the seeds, to mock peanut butter! That's exciting for me. I'd been avoiding peanut butter since I started nursing my second child, and I'd really missed it!!! So now I have something close to the real thing. I spread it on bread for a sandwich, and I also use it in making no-bake cheerio treats and monster cookies(I will post the recipes sometime). You can purchase sunflower-seed butter, but make sure you check the label; many may be processed in facilities that also process peanuts. I make my sunflower seed butter in small amounts and store it in the refrigerator in an air-tight container. The butter does start to grow "ripe" and get rancid if you leave it too long. I use roasted sunflower seeds to grind, or toast raw sunflower seeds in the oven before grinding. I tried grinding raw seeds and I don't like the flavor.

While breastfeeding and going off dairy and nuts, I have been at a loss for what I can snack on that's healthy and contains protein I need. It has really helped for me to discover garbanzo beans, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and soy nuts as alternative protein sources.

You can roast garbanzos. Either use them from a can, patted dry, or cook up your own from dry beans. Spice them up, toss them in oil if you like, roast them at 350 or 400 degrees, maybe 20-30 min., and they make a nice snack! Actually, my toddler prefers these simply cooked without being roasted in the oven. We spice them up together and she eats them right there! There are several recipes on the internet for roasting garbanzos, which have different spice combinations. Two seasonings I enjoy are plain Season All; or a mixture of oregano, cumin, cayenne, with a little lemon juice.

Hummus is a great way to get some healthy protein in a snack. You can make your own hummus, too. There are recipes available on the internet. I cook a large batch of dry garbanzos and then make lots of hummus! The hummus can be packed into small bags or small containers for the freezer. I pull out a container and place in the fridge a couple days thaw, then enjoy it on raw vegetables!

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