chunky + creamy

There’s no better way to spend a Sunday than at home making homemade nut butters.  Especially because doing so will save quite a bit of money (especially with the coconut butter).  To be completely honest, I have never bought or tasted the coconut butter that you can buy in the stores, but all I know is that the recipe below is so simple and delicious there is no reason to spend more than a couple of dollars to enjoy it.

And all you need for either of these recipes is a food processer – couldn’t be much easier than that, right?

Chunky Almond Butter

  • 10 oz raw almonds
  • 1/4t salt

1. Preheat oven to 325*.

2. Roast the almonds for 15-18 minutes, until slightly toasted.

3. Let cook on the pan for 5 minutes.

4. Place 8 oz of the almonds in a food processor and process for 6-10 minutes or until it has reached a butter consistency.  Add in the salt and mix it a couple more times.  Pour into a mixing bowl.

5. Chop up the remaining 2 oz almonds into small to medium size chunks (whatever size you like the most).

6. Add the chopped almonds in with the almond butter and stir to combine.

7. Place in a mason jar and enjoy!  You can leave your almond butter at room temp for a couple of weeks, or put in the fridge to last longer (although it probably won’t last that long, especially in this house!).

Chunky perfection.

Coconut Butter

  • shredded coconut

1. In a food processor, place as much coconut as you’d like.  I normally stick to half of a 12oz bag for this which makes 6-7 fluid ounces of coconut butter.

2. Process until creamy.  It will take between 6 and 10 minutes, just scrape down the sides of the processor if needed.

Mmm creamy.

I wish I could say that I didn’t just make these both last weekend and had to make them again today.  Although most of the consumption happened before Kinley’s 1/2 marathon on our delicious pancakes.

red, white & blue breakfast

If you’ve read my blog before, I think you’ve noticed I have a thing for muffins.  So when it comes to celebrating the 4th of July, I just had to create a recipe that utilized the colors of the American Flag.  I knew berries would give me the colors I was looking for but didn’t want to use them for the blue and red, so I used cherries and poppyseeds.  You may not think of poppyseeds as blue, but I think they have a blue tint and they definitely worked in the recipe!  To finish the trio, the millet was added as the ‘white’.  Although none of my baked goods are white anymore, I think the millet stood out enough to count ;).

Cherries

Millet 

Poppyseeds

Works for me.  And with this recipe being gluten free and vegan, no one will be left out.

Red, White & Blue Muffins makes 12

  • 1/2 c oat flour
  • 1/2 c millet flour
  • 1/2 c oat bran
  • 1/4 c ground flaxseed (grind 1/4 c whole flax seeds, which will be enough for this + the flax egg)
  • 1t baking soda
  • 1 1/2t baking powder
  • 1/2t salt
  • 3/4t xanthan gum (you could leave out, but the muffins would be a bit crumbly)
  • 1/4 c poppyseeds
  • 1/4c millet
  • 1 flax egg (1T ground flax +2T warm water, let sit for 5 minutes)
  • 1/4c unsweetened applesauce
  • 1T maple syrup
  • 3/4 c unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1t vanilla extract
  • 1/2t almond extract
  • 1c cherries, pitted and cut in quarters

1. Toast the millet in a pan on the stovetop.  Heat over medium heat and stir frequently until you start to smell the millet toasting and hear it pop.  Allow to cool.

2. Mix together all of the dry ingredients from the oat flour to the millet and whisk together.

3. Whisk the remaining ingredients (except for the cherries) and add to the dry ingredients.

4. Mix the dry + wet ingredients until fully incorporated and then mix in the cherries.

5. Bake in a 375* oven for about 20 minutes or until set.

When the muffins first come out of the oven, you will taste quite a bit of almond from the extract, but it will decrease once the muffins have cooled so don’t be alarmed!

Garnish with cherries and these make a delightful and healthy addition to your menu :).

Happy 4th!

just a touch of sweetness

I think I have said it in just about every post the past few days but weather this week has been AWFUL!  Fog, rain, more fog, thunderstorm, power outage, another thunderstorm, power outage…  Luckily the sun has finally made an appearance today (although not without a few scattered rain showers).  I did find one thing that makes even the darkest and stormiest days a little sweeter.  Although I would not attempt making this if you’re without power… I would imagine it would be quite time consuming ;).

We had some almonds sitting around and are currently out of almond butter, so of course I knew what I had to do.  It took me a few minutes to decide what flavor I wanted to add along with the almonds… I considered the Vanilla Maple + Cinnamon Almond Butter that was oh-so-tasty, but wanted to try something new.  This combination is just the perfect amount of sweetness to add to any day.  Or any AB&J sandwich.

Honey Almond Butter

  • 8 oz raw almonds
  • 1T honey
  • large pinch of salt
  • 2-3T grapeseed oil

1.  Bake the almonds at 325* for 15-18 minutes, stirring about 3-4 times throughout.  Let cool for 5 minutes.

2. Put almonds in a food processer and blend for 6-10 minutes, scraping down the sides as necessary until the almonds start to butterize.

3.  Add in the honey and salt, mix well.  It will most likely turn thick at this point, so add as much oil as necessary (I used 2T).

It really was just that easy!  The flavor is amazing and I am making myself hungry just writing about it!

pb&j bar

Originally, I was just going to have appetizers to serve at my graduation party to avoid attempting to find something that would be a crowd-pleaser for dinner.  It is also tricky to find something that incorporates my dairy-free and no-meat diet that is still popular with everyone.  Thus, the PB&J bar was born!

I think everyone was pleased with this “spread”!  Most of the items were store-bought which made it so simple to put together, but because of the mason jars, I was asked over and over again if everything was homemade!  All of the ingredients are from Trader Joe’s, I just love that place!  We had:

Natural Creamy & Chunky Peanut Butter

Sunflower Seed Butter

2 Kinds of Homemade Almond Butter (recipes below)

Blueberry & Strawberry Preserves

Apple Butter

Mango Butter

Honey

About 5 loaves of whole-grain bread (we got a mix of sprouted, different grains as well as cinnamon-raisin bagels which Grandpa adored).

Just make sure that you have plenty of knives laid out for people to use!  It seemed like most people put a variety of spreads on their bread and very much enjoyed everything!  My cousin even dipped some crackers in one of the homemade almond butters because it was just that good!

To make the almond butters, I used ideas from two recipes from The Edible Perspective.  The recipes can be found here and here.  To start out, I had a 16oz bag of raw almonds from Trader Joe’s.  Each recipe called for 2cups of raw almonds.  I separated the bag of almonds by weight (8oz which is just shy of 2cups) to make the following almond butters.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Almond Butter

  • 8oz raw almonds
  • 1T brown sugar
  • 1/4t salt
  • 2t vanilla extract
  • 1/3t almond extract
  • 1T grapeseed oil
  • 1/2 cup chunked dark chocolate

Vanilla Maple + Cinnamon Almond Butter

  • 8oz raw almonds
  • 1T pure maple syrup
  • 2t vanilla extract
  • 1/2t cinnamon
  • 1/4t salt
  • 1-2T grapeseed oil

Directions

1. In a 325* oven, roast the raw almonds for 12-18 minutes, flipping every 4-5 minutes.  Let cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet.

2. Place the almonds in a food processor and turn on for 6-10 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally.  Eventually it will start to look more and more like almond butter.  You can add additional oil at this point if it isn’t starting to come together (mine did no problem so I did not need to add additional at this point).

3. Add in the desired additions and mix until incorporated.  At this point, my almond butters stiffened dramatically so I added grapeseed oil to both to reach the consistency I wanted.

4. Spoon into a jar and keep at room temperature if you will eat within 2-3 weeks (both recipes make around 1 cup of almond butter, which is no problem to finish off in this household), otherwise keep in the fridge.  For the chocolate chip cookie dough flavor, refrigerate the base for an hour before stirring in the chocolate chunks or else the chocolate will melt all over (which probably wouldn’t actually be a bad thing ;), just would not look as much like cookie dough).

little ball of energy

I typically do my longer run on Saturday since it used to be my only day off of school/work for the week.  I’ll still keep up my Saturday ritual since it will work well with training for my upcoming races, but this past weekend I switched up my routine a bit.  I attended my baccalaureate service for Graduation on Saturday morning with my family and then we went out to brunch.  Needless to say, I did not want to wake up early to run the usual distance, so Kinley (my sister) and I did a quick 3 mile run instead.  I was then planning on running on Sunday… but then I wimped out because of the 45mph wind gusts, there’s lovely Wisconsin for ya ;).

Monday it is then!  It was still a little windy, but the sun was shining and the temperature was in the 40’s which is what I am used to.  So I woke up around 7, ate a rice cake with 1T trader joe’s peanut butter and set out for my run at 8.  I’m not quite sure why, but my energy was just not with me.  I ended up running a 10k in pretty good time for myself but I just felt like I was dragging.  I used to run without eating anything before, which is not very effective but I think I still must not be energizing enough.

I definitely could have used some of these energy-filled balls as a pick-up halfway through!  I found this recipe for Chocolate Coconut Dough Balls from The Edible Perspective and changed it up just a bit based off of what I had on hand.  They taste very similar to Larabars, which I love and these were so simple to make!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup ground almonds (I had a pack of pre-ground trader joe’s raw almonds)
  • 12 pitted dates
  • 1T unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2T unsweetened shredded coconut

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. In a food processor, chop up the dates (make sure you have pitted dates, or otherwise take the pit out before you do this).
  2. Add in the ground almonds, cocoa powder and shredded coconut.  Mix together until it will form into balls.  I also added about 1T of water to the mix to get the correct consistency (I think because the original recipe called for medjool dates which I did not use).
  3. Roll into balls (mine made 13) and keep refrigerated.

I’ll definitely be bringing these along with me on Saturday’s run to see if they’ll help me keep up my pace (if they’re still around that is, they’re delicious)!