Homemade Almond Butter

almond butter

All you truly need to make a beautiful batch of homemade almond butter is a food processor and some patience!  I enjoy homemade almond butter over store bought almond butter for two reasons:

1.) It tastes fresher and nuttier

2.) It is less expensive!

It’s also difficult (and expensive) to find organic almond butter.  But if you’re making your own you can simply buy organic almonds!

I personally prefer to use roasted almonds because they taste better, and raw almonds will get cooked in the process anyway!

Here goes!

Ingredients:

3 cups organic almonds

Patience ; )

Directions:

Place almonds in food processor and press start.  You’ll slowly start to see your almonds turn into a thick paste.  Keep going!  As you process the almonds be sure to stop intermittently and scrape the sides of the food processor to make sure all of the almonds are being processed.  The paste will slowly but surely turn into a creamier texture.  Around the 15-20 minute mark, the oils from the almonds will finally release and you’ll start to see smooth, shiny, creamy almond butter.  This is what we’ve been waiting for!

Drizzle freshly made almond butter over sliced apples, celery or use on toast. Bottle up your nut butter concoction in a mason jar and send it as a gift!

Tip: Get Creative! Try adding cacao, maple syrup, vanilla extract, espresso, etc. if you’d like to experiment with different flavor almond butter.  My personal favorite is adding 1/2 cup of maple syrup and 1 tsp of vanilla extract.

What’s your favorite nut butter concoction? I’d love to hear about it below!

 

Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

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I’m so excited to share this recipe! These are some of the tastiest cookies I have ever made.  They come out just the way I like ’em–thin and gooey.  And the best part about this recipe is that no one will believe they are VEGAN cookies!  I actually used homemade almond butter for this recipe since I had some left over–puts a whole new spin on the phrase “from scratch”.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup almond butter

1/2 cup maple syrup

2 1/2 tbsp melted coconut oil

1 tsp almond extract

1 cup oat flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl mix almond butter, maple syrup, coconut oil and almond extract well.  In a separate bowl, mix together dry ingredients excluding the chocolate chips.  Add dry mixture to wet mixture and stir until combined.  Next, fold in chocolate chips.  Allow mixture to stand for about five minutes.  Then drop by tablespoon onto parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes or until edges are golden brown.  I tried to roll the dough into balls, but the dough is a little too sticky.  I baked them for 9 minutes and they came out perfect!  Allow to cool for about ten minutes.  Then devour!

Makes 18 cookies.

Tip: To make the cookies gluten free use gluten free oat flour.  Substitute the almond extract for vanilla extract if you’re not in love with the almond flavor.  Substitute the chocolate chips for slivered almonds if you don’t like chocolate…I know you people DO exist…

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Healthy Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

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These muffins came out perfectly moist with just the right amount of sweetness!  I’ve been on a banana frenzy lately and ended up with three perfectly browned small bananas by the end of the week and couldn’t resist wanting to bake with them.  I chose muffins over banana bread only because bread takes a little longer and I was one sugar craving, tired, and hungry lady!

Healthy Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

(makes about 9 muffins)

Ingredients:

1/2 cup coconut palm sugar

2 tbsp melted butter

1 cup mashed overripe bananas (aprox 2-3 bananas)

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup oat flour

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

3/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine all ingredients until smooth.  Pour batter into greased muffin pan or paper cups until about 3/4 full.  Bake for 14-16 minutes or until wooden toothpick comes out clean.  And voila! You have yourself a healthy and tasty breakfast, snack or dessert!

Tip: Add walnuts, dried cranberries, raisins, or coconut for a flavorful twist!

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Goat Cheese Salad

Healthy Goat Cheese Salad

It’s probably no surprise that I have been trying to cut back on dairy and wheat.  However, I have not completely eliminated these foods.  I truly believe in the power of balance and try not to label any food as “bad” or “forbidden”.

Goat’s milk and sheep’s milk tend to be more gentle on the human digestive tract than cow’s milk because they are slightly lower in lactose.  However, everyone is unique and there are some people that are sensitive to all types of dairy so it’s best to find out what works for you as an individual.

With that being said, I was craving a cheesy indulgence and bought some goat cheese the other day.  I made a yummy goat cheese pizza with brussels sprouts and used the extra for a salad the next day.

The colors in this salad make me long for spring time!  And with Groundhog’s day right around the corner there IS a possibility that spring will come early…right?

Either way, this salad will lighten your step, brighten your mood, and keep spring on your mind no matter what that groundhog sees on February 2nd.

Goat Cheese Salad (serves two)

Ingredients:

4 handfuls of romaine lettuce

1 avocado, sliced

1/2 cup goat cheese

1/2 red onion, sliced

sea salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste

olive oil and balsamic vinegar

Directions:

Toss romaine and red onion in a bowl. Top with goat cheese, avocado, sea salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Enjoy!

Tip: Include sliced beets or dried cranberries for a sweet addition.

I would love to hear about your favorite salad recipes and tips below!

Acai Energy Smoothie

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I usually do smoothies with a little protein powder after my workouts, but I’ve honestly gotten sick of the taste.   I’ve been craving cleaner and fresher smoothies and decided to try out these Acai smoothie packs I’d been eyeing at Whole Foods.  So the other day I ended up creating this Acai Energy Smoothie.

This smoothie is so great because it’s not only packed with antioxidants, but it keeps you energized and satisfied.  Also, acai berries are basically magical.  The antioxidants in acai berries have been shown to improve blood circulation, aid in digestion, increase libido, prevent aging, and even improve skin.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup frozen raspberries

1 acai berry smoothie pack

1 cup almond milk

1 tsp almond extract

1 tbsp chia seeds

2 dates

Directions:

Blend and do a happy dance!

Tip: Add a ripe banana if you’d like it sweeter. Add 1 heaping tbsp of cacao if you’d like a chocolatey treat.

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Squares

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These pumpkin squares taste just like pumpkin pie without the hassle of making an entire pie and are much healthier.  They came out perfectly moist and are not overbearingly sweet. They’re also super easy to make and require little clean up.  Now, let’s get to the good part!

This recipe was adapted from Spoonful of Sugar Free’s Grain-Free Pumpkin Pie Bars with Creamy Frosting

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree

1/2 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup coconut sugar

3/4 cup coconut flour

2 eggs

1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or you can use a combination of cinnamon, ginger and a dash of nutmeg)

3/4 tsp baking soda

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp sea salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9X9 inch baking dish and set aside (I used coconut oil spray).  Combine all ingredients and blend until smooth.  Transfer mixture to greased baking pan and smooth off the top. Place in oven and bake for about 40-45 minutes.  Your pumpkin squares should be done when the edges are brown and the middle is firm.  Allow to cool completely before cutting into squares.  You can eat them alone or add a frosting of your choice. Enjoy!

My Morning Green Smoothie

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My absolute favorite way to start my mornings is with a fresh, green smoothie.  It doesn’t always happen, but when it does I feel amazing, invigorated, light, full of energy… you get the idea.  And my day automatically starts off on a good note.

Below is a green smoothie recipe that generally works without fail. I am currently saving up for a Vitamix, but my 40 dollar Black & Decker blender from Target works just fine.  So don’t think you need a fancy blender to make green smoothies!

Morning Green Smoothie Recipe:

Ingredients:

2 handful’s of spinach or kale

1 apple (cored and sliced)

1 ripe banana

Juice of half a lemon

1-2 Tbsp of fresh ginger

1 cup of filtered water

sprinkle of stevia (optional)

Ice cubes to taste
Directions:
Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth.  It’s sometimes easier to add the spinach and water first and then add the rest of the ingredients.  Add ice cubes and blend again until it reaches your desired consistency.  I’m sure if you have a Vitamix you can just hit “blend”!

Tip: For smoothies, you can actually blend them the night before and they are good for 48 hours (this is not the same with green juices!).  If you’re going to blend the smoothie the night before you can leave out the ice cubes and just use the water as it will be in the fridge over night and will be nice and cold in the morning.  I just add the ice cubes when I’m going to drink the smoothie immediately as I like my green smoothies super cold.

Hope you enjoy! I got my brother and dad drinking these on a daily basis and they are NOT veggie people! I’d love to hear about your green smoothie recipes and experiences below!