Tag Archives: healthy

Homemade Creamy Almond Butter. Yes, It Exists.

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Maybe it’s just me that’s finally figuring it out – I’m usually the last one to figure stuff out.  Apparently, I’ve been making almond butter all wrong for the past year.

I wasn’t processing it long enough.

I started making almond butter after reading about it on Mark’s Daily Apple, a site where I first started learning about Primal and Paleo diets.  Maybe I read it wrong.  I don’t know, and I don’t remember.  I’d add some raw almonds, coconut oil, and salt into my food processor, and then whirl it a bit.  It would come out like a chunky nut butter, but it wasn’t very spreadable.  My son and husband would eat it anyway, spooning it onto apples or bananas or chunks of bread.

So the other day, I noticed a jar of peanut butter on the counter.  I was slightly horrified.  My son had bought it because he missed the creamy-ness of it.  Peanut butter is actually very bad, bad, bad for you, and peanuts aren’t actual tree nuts either.  Look it up on Google, or even in the dictionary, if you don’t believe me.

Hey, I love peanut butter, especially on toasted English muffins.  Mmmmm… that’s the best.  But I’m trying to eat healthier, and peanuts are a no-no.

Anyway, I felt bad that I couldn’t make creamy almond butter for my son.  I didn’t think it was possible.  So I went online and searched for recipes.  I found a lot, and they all stated that almond butter can be as creamy as peanut butter.  I love a challenge, and any experiment gets me excited.

I got my food processor out and threw in:

3 cups raw almonds  (I bought a big bag at Costco, but I know you can buy them at Sprouts in the bins.)
3 turns on the grinder Himalayan pink salt  (A large pinch of any salt will do.)

Most of the recipes I read had 10 minutes for the processing time.  Mine took closer to 15 minutes, including stopping it to scrape down the sides.

I promise I’m not lying about the creamy part.  I thought it was a lie.  I was standing there watching the almonds go round and round, thinking for sure it would need some oil to make it even close to creamy.  Every time I opened it to scrape the sides down, I kept thinking to myself, “Creamy?  My ass.  This is never going to get creamy.  Liars!

But I kept going out of curiosity.  Here are the stages I witnessed:

1)  Bolus.  It formed a large, clumpy ball, that just stuck to one side and didn’t move.  Then it just gets pushed around and around the side of the container.

2)  Pottery wheel.  I shit you not.  An indentation formed in the middle of that clump and, moving round and round, looked like it was forming a fancy vase.

3)  Creamy.  The vase was whipped apart and, I’ll be damned, it got creamy!

Mind you, this nut butter isn’t as smooth and creamy as Jif.  I don’t think that’s even possible, using a food processor.

Also, many of the recipes stated that if you add coconut oil or honey to the butter that it will decrease its shelf life.  I didn’t see any explanation of why that is, and I haven’t looked into the science of it either.  It does sound a little suspicious to me, though, because coconut oil and honey can sit practically forever, without refrigeration.  So how it could reduce the almond butter’s shelf life is a mystery to me.

Regardless, great add-ins for small, personal helpings are honey, shredded coconut, cocoa powder and/ or nibs.  Use your imagination and your taste-buds!  You can even roast the nuts, and then process them.

You can, also, substitute this almond butter in place of peanut butter in cookies and other recipes.  I’ve made an experimental flour-less, gluten-free cookie recipe with almond butter and cocoa powder that tasted, and had the consistency of, cake-y brownies.  I’ll have to perfect it first, before posting it.

Dear readers, do you have any good recipes using almond butter or a yummy almond butter recipe of your own?

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Primal Urges

I started my foray into the world of “Healthy Living” earlier this year.  A bunch of things happened, so I can’t remember which event really prompted me to start.

Our otherwise healthy 8-year-old shepherd cattle-dog mix was diagnosed with lymphoma in March.  We had to put him down by April.  It was devastating for all of us.

Then we found out my cousin was diagnosed with breast cancer, a very aggressive form.  Both my mother and my aunt (my cousin’s mom) are breast cancer survivors.

I started having heart palpitations that really freaked me out.  The first thing my PA did was to run some blood tests.  I found out my vitamin D level was dangerously low.  There are some recent studies looking into links between vitamin D deficiencies and breast cancer.  I also found out that I should really start taking fish oil supplements or start eating a lot of fish.

We were also dealing with our toddler suddenly breaking out in welts all over her body one day, and it wouldn’t go away.  One morning her face was swollen.  After wracking our brains for weeks and seeing the doctor, we finally narrowed it down to the use of a particular baby soap that had changed its formula.  This particular brand totes that its products are pediatrician and allergy tested, natural and organic.  Do you know what they added to their products that made my toddler break out?  Sodium Benzoate.

Just do a Google search.  All I needed to know was that my toddler had a frighteningly severe allergic reaction to it.  She didn’t get to the point of breathing difficulties but the face swelling was enough to scare her doctor.  Even after stopping the use of the product, it took almost two months for her skin to clear up completely.

I set out on a mission to clear out as many chemicals from my home as possible.

It’s not possible.

Not by a long shot.  It’s possible to lessen the amount of chemicals in your household, but that’s all you’re going to get.  Hopefully, that will be enough.  I’ll go into more detail in future posts.

Then while searching for ways to brush your teeth without the use of chemical-y toothpastes and mouthwashes, I came across the website Mark’s Daily Apple.  You can read more about The Primal Blueprint here.

I’ve never been one to go on a diet.  I think they’re ridiculous and don’t work.  And I HATE exercise.  As I’ve mentioned before, I have ADD.  If you have ADD, have you ever tried running on a treadmill or riding a stationary bike?  Have you tried reading a book or watching TV while doing these things?  It’s mentally painful, isn’t it?  I just can’t do it.

What if I told you that all I did was stop eating one thing and I don’t even exercise, and I was able to lose all my pregnancy weight and then some?

First, let me tell you this.  I gained over 40 pounds with my last pregnancy.  Granted I breastfeed, so that helps to burn calories.  But I couldn’t shake that extra 10 to 15 pounds that I wanted.

I stopped eating flour – anything and everything that was made with flour.  Okay, now that I think about it, I did stop eating more than one thing.  I stopped eating potatoes and corn as well.  I stopped drinking soda.  I stopped eating and drinking anything with refined sugar in it.

You may ask:  Well, what the hell?  What is there left to eat???

Meat, vegetables, fruits, dairy, and nuts.

When the weight started melting off – and it did start melting off fast! – I added brown rice into my diet.  That’s the only grain I eat.  I do cheat now though.  And I cheat often but my body burns it off pretty quickly.

And I’m not saying people shouldn’t exercise.  It just doesn’t have to be the strenuous, boring workouts that most people do.  Read Mark’s page and it will explain more.  My “exercise” of preference?  Gardening, hiking, leisurely walks, and running after my toddler.

From the recipes I post to the natural cleaners and personal products I will be talking about, you’ll see that it’s not that difficult or expensive to be healthy.  I’m cheap and I’m ADD “lazy.”  If I can do it, ANYBODY can do it.

MJ