Posts tagged ‘almonds’

June 1, 2011

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).

May 17, 2011

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)!