West African Benne Cakes

I don’t know about you, but I often need a sweet treat after an action-packed dance class with Djoniba.  This recipe for Benne Cakes comes from West Africa, where the benne seed (known here in the U.S. as the sesame seed), originated.  Though called a cake, this treat is more like a cookie.  Benne seeds contain a small amount of protein and are commonly thought to be good luck, so make a wish and sample a benne cake from your own kitchen!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Oil  to grease a cookie sheet
  • 1 cup finely packed brown sugar
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup toasted sesame seeds

Here’s what you’ll do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 Degrees.
  2. Lightly oil a cookie sheet.
  3. Combine the brown sugar and butter, beating until they are creamy.
  4. Stir in the egg, vanilla extract, and lemon juice.
  5. Add flour, baking powder, salt and sesame seeds.
  6. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto the cookie sheet two inches apart.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes or until the edges are browned.
  8. Eat and enjoy!


*Retrieved and adapted from  http://www.africaguide.com and http://recipes.wikia.com

Don’t Skip Meals!

Skipping meals cause your body to go into a fat-storing starvation mode, making it harder to burn calories.  Eat three meals a day.

Don’t drink any beverage other than water for one week.

Go vegetarian for a week. Go vegan for a week. Or just eat less meat.
You’ll save money too!

Halfway through your meal, taking a break from eating.  Give yourself time to evaluate how full you are.

If you want a snack, pick something healthy that’s high in fiber.

Stay away from processed foods.

Leptin, the hormone that tells your body that you feel full, goes down when you’re sleep deprived.  Get a good night’s rest.

Have a regular exercise routine somewhere in your schedule.
A great online resource:  http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/weight-loss/MY00432
Another great site:  http://www.webmd.com/diet/default.htm
Great healthy recipes:  http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes_menus
And one last link: