Yoga and Nutrition
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It's 18 degrees out. Go inside and turn on your oven.

I'm a summer girl at heart. I love the sun and warmth, abundant vegetables and fruits, and myriad opportunities for healthy plant-based meals. Come winter, I've been known to fall into a food rut. Let's face it: life doesn't look the same without plump New Jersey blueberries to sprinkle in muffins, or oodles of garden-fresh basil to put in, well, everything. To break out of the doldrums, I've been experimenting with ingredients that have a long shelf-life, and are just as delicious whether you use them in January or July. At the top of my list are nut and seed butters.

We’ve all eaten good old peanut butter. But when is the last time you enjoyed sunflower seed butter or cashew butter? It's worth playing with the whole lot of them. Nut butters are calorie-dense for their volume, so portion control is a consideration. However, even a small amount of nuts, seeds, or their butters offer essential fats, protein, fiber, and many micronutrients. Two tablespoons of almond butter contain about 6 grams of fiber, 7 grams of protein, as well as iron. The same amount of sunflower seed butter provides vitamin E, zinc, copper, and beneficial monounsaturated fat. 

The following sunflower butter muffins make a delicious breakfast. The healthy fat, fiber, and protein from sunflower seeds make for a satiating little meal that will keep you feeling full all morning. Coconut oil imparts lush moistness and a hint of tropical taste. And whole wheat pastry flour bumps up both the flavor and fiber, without being gritty or dense.  I love these topped with a dollop of honey or strawberry jam. 

Sometimes it only takes one fun new recipe to brighten a winter day. Let me know if you agree.


Sunflower Muffins



3/4 c whole wheat pastry flour

3/4 c unbleached all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 c sunflower seed butter

1 c brown sugar

1/4 c canola oil

1/4 c unrefined coconut oil

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 c almond milk or soy milk

1 c finely chopped mixed nuts (I like pecans, cashews, Brazil nuts, and hazelnuts. You can use whatever you have on hand and like best.)



1. Preheat oven to 375˚ and place paper liners in muffin tin.

2. Combine flours, baking powder and salt, and set aside.

3. In a standard mixer, combine sunflower butter, sugar, oils, egg, vanilla. Add in soymilk and mix until batter is evenly textured.

4. Add dry ingredients to above, mix just until combined. Stir in half of the chopped nuts.

5. Fill muffin cups about 3/4-full with batter. Top each muffin with a sprinkle of the remaining 1/2 cup of chopped nuts.

6. Bake until tops are browned and a knife inserted to the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes.


These muffins are delicious straight from the oven, but even better if you let them stand for a few hours after baking. They keep well for 2 days in a tightly sealed container, or wrap extras in foil and keep in the freezer for up to 2 months.


Makes 12 medium-sized muffins



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