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Homemade Sunflower Seeds


Last night I taught a family cooking class with 2 other dietitians. We had 27 people cooking Turkey Tacos and Broccoli Cheddar Soup. Other than one little girl’s finger meeting the blades of a cheese grater, we came out unscathed. Let me tell you, 8-year-olds with knives is SCARY as…you know what.

“Dicing” was interpreted more as “large chunks” and we took those chunks and cut them into 4 pieces…and still had “large chunks” that resembled anything but “diced”…but we made due. Celery cutter boy had…a…blast! And Team Onion and Team Carrot just the same. It’s the little things in life…especially at 8. That’s the beauty of it!


We even made a “Code of Conduct” for the 5-week program that included ground rules such as “no goofing around with knives”, “share chopping responsibilities with others”, “teamwork” and my personal favorite, the “Two Bite Rule”. The kids have learned in school nutrition education that they have to try everything…two bites worth. I freaking love it.

The little girl sitting next to me was about in tears over the fact that the tacos contained pinto beans. It took her a good 10 minutes to finally cave and try the taco. And ironically, she was the one who suggested the “Two Bite Rule”. You know what? She really liked the tacos. IMAGINE that.


The curriculum really challenges the families to try new things.

I think that’s what I loved most about participating in a CSA for the first time. Mr. Prevention was inquiring as to whether or not we would participate again next year and I replied with a resounding, “Yes! Why wouldn’t we?!” Admittedly, some of it went to waste. Two people can simple not eat as much produce as we were receiving. We gave some away, we traded some with our friends who belong to other CSA’s. But in the end, the variety and the push outside of our “comfort zone” was worth every penny. A BOX of organic, local veggies delivered to my front porch for $15/week? No brainer.

While I have two weeks left of deliveries, one of my favorite surprises this CSA season was this beautiful sunflower head. I had seen the sunflowers growing at the farm when I had gone to pick blueberries back in August, and now, it’s in my delivery! I did what anyone would do and I made sunflower seeds. These were simple and better than any I’ve tried before. If you ever get your hands on a sunflower head full of seeds, here’s what to do with them!



Homemade Sunflower Seeds from Home Made Simple

1 cup salt
1 quart water
3 cups raw sunflower seeds


Mix the salt and water in a large bowl; dd the sunflower seeds. Soak overnight.

Preheat the oven to 200 F. Drain the seeds, then spread them on baking sheet in a single layer.

Roast for 3 to 4 hours, stirring 1-2 times, until completely dry.

Yield: 3 cups (12 servings – 1/4 cup each)

Nutrition Information (approximate, per 1/4 cup): 67 calories; 6.0 g. fat; 0 mg. cholesterol; sodium unknown; 2.3 g. carbohydrate; 1.0 g. fiber; 2.5 g. protein

Result: Crunchy, salty and just as sunflower seeds should taste! But fresher…and better! Enjoy!


A normal day today! I’m taking “Cardio Sculpt” after work…should be a good challenge for this sculpt-hating girl!

Be well,

Share With Your Friends!


  1. November 6, 2012 / 6:40 am

    Man I do not look forward to the day that I will have to fight with my kids over trying foods!

    • Nicole, RD
      November 6, 2012 / 9:35 am

      Ha, I know! We will probably have THE pickiest eaters ever. Ahhh!

  2. November 6, 2012 / 7:20 am

    Sculpt-hating. HA, that’s funny! You’d hate the Jillian Michael’s DVDs I’ve been forcing myself to do lately….ugh.

    I love sunflower seeds (And pinto beans, for that matter) but I never eat them! I have been eating sunflower butter instead, does that count?! I’m addicted.

    • Nicole, RD
      November 6, 2012 / 9:35 am

      I haaaate strength exercises! I will run til I drop, but I hate that muscle quivering/sore feeling…bleck!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Chelsea
    November 6, 2012 / 7:56 am

    The class sounds fun! What type of setting are you teaching it in? Are you fortunate enough to work in a facility that has multiple cook spaces?

    • Nicole, RD
      November 6, 2012 / 9:34 am

      Hi Chelsea! The class is held at the hospital’s wellness center in the teaching kitchen. There’s not multiple work spaces, but the kids shared well and the “big people” did the cooking…the kids did the chopping, measuring, etc. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. November 6, 2012 / 8:27 am

    How fun to get a sunflower head in your CSA box!!

  5. November 6, 2012 / 8:37 am

    I’ve never heard of getting a sunflower head in your CSA box – how cool!

    My grandfather always grew them in his garden but I don’t think they ever made seeds to eat. He would hang them up to feed the birds in the winter.

  6. November 6, 2012 / 10:58 am

    8 year olds with knives? Woah. You are a brave woman, Nicole ๐Ÿ˜› Love the 2-bite rule! I totally used that all the time when I was an intern (and will continue to use it).

    Your CSA sounds awesome! Peter and I only ever did it once and it was so-so (a bad growing year). We may look for one in the Champaign area if we’re here enough over next summer.

  7. November 6, 2012 / 11:38 am

    I LOVE that you’re hosting a family cooking class!! Sounds awesome. I’ve always heard that getting kids involved in creating their meals makes them more likely to eat them, and you’re definitely showcasing that!!

  8. STH
    November 6, 2012 / 12:21 pm

    It took me a while to get the hang of my CSA; the first couple of years, I did waste some of the produce. I got better at it, though. I think the key is to start your meal planning from the box, rather than trying to fit what you get into a plan. It also helps to preserve some of the produce for later, especially greens, which can be blanched and frozen. We have a lot of Cottage Pie (my recipe is here: http://chickensintheroad.com/farm-bell-recipes/lightened-up-cottage-pie/), stir fry, main dish salads, and fried rice because they’re recipes where I can use whatever I happen to get in my box.

    My final pick-up is today and we’re supposed to get a pie pumpkin and popcorn!

  9. November 6, 2012 / 12:22 pm

    I love the two bite rule!! I can’t tell you how many things I just stuck my nose up to growing up because I automatically thought I wouldn’t like it!

    My CSA kinda sucked ass – it was $25 a week and for the first five weeks all I got was kohlrabi and carrots! ๐Ÿ™

  10. November 7, 2012 / 12:32 am

    A family cooking class sounds like so much fun!

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