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Spread the Love

Posted Aug 11 2011 12:00am

Hey everyone!! I’ll make an abs post sometime soon because I got a lot of comments on mine from yesterday!

I gots a guest post today as I got LOTS of school work to dooooo!!!! Let’s welcome, TARA!

BUT FIRSTT!!! IM FULLY BLONDE!! got my hair done yesterday!

Hey Guys! I’m Tara, aka XC Foodie. Here’s a quick “about me”: I’m a track and cross country runner with a huge appetite for healthy, vegetarian food. I struggled with disordered eating and bad self-esteem in the past, but running taught me to love my mind, body, and food as a source of fuel and fun rather than fear!

Today I want to address a food that many of us in the blog world know and love: NUT BUTTER!

Why do we love nut butter? I actually struggled to answer this. I think a better question would be, why don’t we love nut butter? It’s satisfying and filling, and nuts have a complex flavor that can’t be matched by many other foods! They taste so decadent, but they’re totally healthy at the same time.

Every nut is different, but most of them all have these going for them:

* Unsaturated fats aka “good fat”

* Fiber

* Protein

* Vitamin E

* Plant Sterols

* L-arginine

And even more beneficial vitamins and health benefits that would make this page go on and on if I tried to list them.

Nut butters can be expensive though! Especially when you want the fun flavors or specialty nuts. But there is a solution that allows you to save money and cultivate your own culinary creativity:

Make your own!

It’s not hard at all. I’ve been doing it for a long time and I always find that they taste just as good if not better than the store bought kinds. They’re totally customizable and you can make as much or as little as you want. They also make great gifts for friends and family!

Here are some basics:

1. Pick a flavor! You can go straight up single nut butter, mixed nuts, or try to make some fun flavors. When I’m trying to decide on a flavor I try to think of some kind of flavor combination that sounds good: banana + chocolate, almond + honey, etc. Another option method of brainstorming is basing it on one of my favorite desserts flavors: cakes, ice creams, cookies, etc. If you want to get really crazy make a savory nut butter! I personally love making “mexican peanut butter” with taco seasoning!

2. Gather the key ingredients:

* nut or nuts of choice – Every nut will yield a different texture and flavor. Higher fat content produces a more drippy butter, and lower fat content tends to be more pasty. To balance this, cashews are a perfect base for higher fat nuts, or you can add oil to a pasty butter to smooth it out.

* Sweetener – not always necessary. It depends on your personal taste preferences! This can also be used to add some flavor with ingredients such as molasses, honey, maple syrup, or mashed banana.

* Salt – I almost always add a dash of salt. It brings out the flavor of the nuts.

* Oil – If you want a smoother nut butter, a little additional oil is a necessity.

* Extras: whatever you may want to add to flavor your nut butter. It could be extracts; mix-ins like dried fruit or chocolate chips; spices – the possibilities are pretty much endless here.

3. Put the nuts in the food processor and GRIND ‘EM UP! This might take a long time, but your patience will be rewarded! The nuts will go from whole, to chopped, to crumbly, to pasty, to buttery. You need to give the nuts some time to release their oils before they yield results.

4. Gradually add sweeteners, salt, and oil. I usually add these in small increments and taste as I go until it is just right.

5. Once you get the base exactly the way you want to, add your mix-ins! The more “chunky” items you add, the harder it will be to spread, so keep that in mind!

6. Scoop it into a jar or container. It may have to be stored in the fridge depending on the consistency (too liquidy at room temp) or added ingredients (could spoil at room temp). I highly recommend that you clean up properly, which means consume every last morsel before washing your tools.

Don’t be afraid to get your hands a little dirty!

7. Taste test! My favorite way to test it is usually on a banana – a snack that Carrie and I both share an obsession with – but toast is a really great way to test out the nut butter since it doesn’t conflict with the flavor. Straight off the spoon works too!

Oatmeal Raisin Cashew Butter

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