surviving the storms of new england

 

I knew this was going to happen.  I knew that I was going to finish off my jar of dark chocolate dreams peanut butter, just to wish that the word “finish” didn’t belong in the same sentence. 

I knew I was going to miss dark chocolate terribly.

I knew I was going to have to make my own version of dark chocolate dreams, just to (sanely) carry me through this New England blizzard.

 

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I’ve heard from countless, reliable sources that there is absolutely no excuse not to make your own nut butter at home.  “It’s easy!”  They say.  “You’ll never, ever buy a jar from the store again.”

Well, I’m really not looking for a replacement.  I’m just looking for a suitable substitute.  Yes.  Exactly.  To carry me through this blizzard.

With high hopes, a cup of pan roasted almonds, a box of cocoa powder, and a jar of honey, I set off to make myself some almond butter.

 

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Before we continue on, I just have to point out that I used “roasted almonds” for this particular recipe.  You could most definitely make a raw almond butter.  Some people prefer it.  But, more times than not, I err on the side of roasting.  The heat will gently coax out the oils, and the aroma is out.of.this.world, ridiculously amazing.  In fact, it will almost make you forget about making almond butter altogether, instead noshing your way through a pan of crunchy almonds.  Resist the urge.  Trudge ahead!  And transfer those roasted beauties into a food processor.

 

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Zwwwhirp…a minute or two in the processor.

And then this happens:

 

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That is the powder stage.  The stage in which you will want to raise a white flag in surrender, declaring that you will never, ever make nut butter again.  Not to worry.  Keep on blending, being sure to scrape down the sides now and then.  Slowly but surely, the powder will begin to clump.  The clump will begin to cream.  And soon enough, almond butter is born.

I’m not saying that I’ll never buy a jar of nut butter from the store again.  However, it took only one warm, delicious bite of deep chocolate almond butter to confirm my beliefs that I could sanely make it through this kabillionth New England storm. 

Carry on, blizzard.  Carry on.

 

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Dark Chocolate Almond Butter

Right before the almond butter reached the creamy stage is when I added all of the “extra” ingredients, but you can really add them any time after the butter begins to clump together.  Raisins.  Cinnamon.  Vanilla.  Sea salt.  Coconut.  Feel free to use your favorite flavor combinations for this!

Serve on graham crackers, whipped banana oats, or toasted almond butter sandwiches.  Enjoy!

  • 1 cup almonds
  • 4-5 tsp. honey
  • 2 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 Tbsp. canola oil (optional, if almonds are on the dry side)
  • sprinkle of sea salt
  1. In a small saucepan, heat almonds over medium-low heat until aromatic.  This will take about 5-8 minutes.  Stir often.
  2. Transfer almonds to a food processor and process until beginning to clump together.  This will take a while, but hang in there!
  3. Add cocoa powder, honey, canola oil (if using), and sprinkle of sea salt.  Continue processing until smooth and creamy, to desired consistency.  ENJOY!

Question: What is your favorite kind of nut butter?  Favorite flavor?

Food Stars

 In every good movie, there is a celebrity.  A star.  The main actor.  The reason you watch the movie in the first place.

Food isn’t so different.

Take breakfast, for example.  Just my standard bowl of banana ‘n’ oats, topped with granola, chia seeds, coconut…

 

 …and Trader Joe’s almond butter. 

Almond butter.  It stole the show.  I mean, everything else was delicious, and there would have been no meal without the oats, the milk, the banana.  But still.  It was all about the almond butter.

 

 Then there was lunch.

You all know I love my salads.  Whether it’s basic like this one, or filled out to the max.  Love. 

 Extra virgin olive oil.  Tomatoes and cucumbers from the garden.  Buttery white beans.

But it all came down to the cheese.  Robusto cheese, to be exact.  Full of little crystals that pop when you chew, melting into your tongue with a burst of sharp, nutty flavor.  I like to try all different types of cheese, but I’m pretty sure I could settle down and enjoy this one for the rest of my life. 

 

dessert: watermelon x2!!!

snack: grapefruit and almonds

 

 Dinner had a major role player as well, although this one was a little harder to narrow down.

Was it the brown rice cooked in vegetable broth?

The grilled zucchini, cooked with olive oil, garlic powder and pepper?

 

 Was it the grilled chicken, smothered in garlic powder, paprika, parsley, pepper, & a little olive oil?

Was it the fresh salsa, made of Trader Joe’s mild salsa and diced avocado?

 

No. 

It was the date.  The sweet, innocent medjool date that I ate for dessert.  At first glance, he doesn’t look like much.  But, you know, first appearances really aren’t everything.

Densely sweet.  Chewy.  Nature’s candy. 

Melt.  In.  Your.  Mouth.  Delicious.

Question: What were some of the “food stars” of your day?