Almond Butter – Savory and Sweetened

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Peanuts (legumes) are verboten on my diet. Thankfully, I love almonds. Almond butter is easy enough to come by, but it is expensive, so I made my own.

Savory Almond Butter Ingredients:

2C almonds (I used roasted, salted)

4T coconut oil

1t maple syrup

Blend almonds in food processor, stopping frequently to scrape it down. Blend til it balls up, then add oil and syrup. You may want to add more oil if you want a runnier consistency. If you used raw almonds, add salt to taste. Enjoy!

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Since I’m always looking for a sweet bite that isn’t unhealthy, I wanted to make a sweet version, too. I halved the batch I just made and added to it.

Sweetened Almond Butter Ingredients:

Half batch of savory almond butter

1T maple syrup

1/4t cinnamon

1/4t allspice

1/4t vanilla extract

I just added the ingredients to a jar and stirred them into the butter. Use a food processor for easier mixing.

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This batch thickened up considerably, which is fine for my purposes (spoon-eating), but if you intend to spread it on anything, add more coconut oil. It’s really delicious, almost like fudge, and melts in your mouth a bit. It’s so good that I might need to make more soon…

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Hummus

Like I mentioned before, hummus has long been one of my favorite foods. Growing up, when my extended family met up at the Outer Banks every summer, we always had hummus and pita bread to snack on.

I’ve started making my own sometimes, since it’s easy and inexpensive. This recipe is essentially a double batch which I’ve since frozen for later. Feel free to halve it.

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2 cans of chickpeas, rinsed and drained

3 cloves of garlic

10T olive oil

6T tahini

juice of 1 lemon (or lime)

1t salt

1t dried cilantro (use fresh if you have it!)

pepper to taste (I added a dash of cayenne pepper, too)

Puree chickpeas in food processor, add olive oil and tahini and blend. Add spices to taste. If you like it thinner, add more oil. You can also use less tahini if you don’t like the flavor as much. Play around with it til you get the perfect mix for you! I love garlic and thought maybe 3 cloves wasn’t enough, but my brother thought it was plenty. So you do you. I won’t judge. You know that episode of Friends (start at 1:32) where Phoebe accuses Monica of overusing garlic in her restaurant? Yea, I’m definitely a Monica.

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Apple Spice Granola

Now that we’re all caught up to present-day, here is a recipe with steps!

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Breakfast these days consists of eggs, a protein shake, or a smoothie. If I’m eating yogurt I always need something with texture to offset its creamy feeling. Enter, granola! I stumbled across a paleo recipe that uses nuts and seeds instead of oats, which I thought sounded great.

I left out pecans since I did not have them.

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Mix all the dry ingredients in the food processor til combined and in small pieces.

I realized mid-way through that I didn’t have the applesauce it called for. Thankfully we did have a few Gala apples in the fridge. I chopped one up roughly and put in a saucepan with a little water, lemon juice, and cinnamon, and let it cook til soft.

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I tried turning the apple in to sauce with my hand mixer but it didn’t do anything. It worked beautifully in the food processor, though. (Yes, there was some transferring back and forth of ingredients in this step).

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After combining the wet ingredients in a separate bowl, I added them to the nuts in the food processor. At this point, you blend them til they’re combined, but not til they turn into a puree.

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I ate a few spoonfuls plain at this point. It was still warm from the fresh applesauce and I was imagining it scooped directly on top of some vanilla bean ice cream for dessert. Since I didn’t have any ice cream, I continued making it into granola. I followed the baking directions on the recipe, but if I did it again I would have lowered the heat and left it in for longer. My granola was starting to burn on the bottom and never became really crunchy, even after cooling overnight. Nonetheless, it has a great spicy, sweet flavor and was just what I wanted on my breakfast.

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