Tag Archives: nuts

nutbut

I don’t know if I have ever fully opened up to you all about my love for nut butter. Let me share my heart with you a little today.

I have a friend wo has been known to challenge people to a game called “I love peanut butter more than you love peanut butter”, which usually ends in him telling his opponent that if there was a puppy in the road and a jar of peanut butter next to it, and a car was hurtling towards the pair at top speed, he would save the jar of peanut butter before the puppy (he has even been know to push the hypothetical puppy into the path of the hypothetical car on his way to the hypothetical peanut butter jar in order to win the game).

I’m not going to challenge you all to any hypothetical duals. I do, however, happen to have a bit of hard evidence.

(not pictured: my jar of tahini)

When you get to 6 (uh..7) jars, you start wondering if you have a problem. Actually, at this point in time I’m down to 4; I polished off the scrapings of both the chocolate almond butter and the crunchy pb in the form of overnight oats (one of the best breakfasts there is).

But.. I also have a stash squirreled away…

I’ll leave the diagnosis up to you, while I focus on the nut butter.

It’s the component of most of the breakfasts I eat that I believe really makes the meal stick with me. The healthy fats and protein are a satisfying combo, and then on top of that you get the vitamin E, iron, calcium, and antioxidants that occur in nuts and seeds in various quantities. I think the fact that the nuts are ground until their oils release means that the nutrients are brought out from their cells, ready for absorption. And your tongue can tell! Isn’t a spoonful of peanut butter more satisfying than a handful of peanuts? (or is that just me?)

Oatmeal with figs, peanut butter, and maple syrup.

And the enrichment of your life via nut butters isn’t limited to breakfast. Last night I made a saute of sweet potatoes, turnips, red pepper, and onion in a easy sauce made from a mixture of tahini, peanut butter, honey, rice vinegar, and soy sauce. Just mix approximately equal amounts of those ingredients together, adjust until you like how it tastes, and thin it with water to add to your saute towards the end of cooking. You can also do salad dressings from similar mixtures.

Nut butter is an easy ingredient to play around with, and the results will seldom be unsatisfactory. Worth keeping a jar or two (or six…) in your pantry for some easily-accesible energy and flavor.

I’m always open to new ideas for things to do with nut butters, so if you have any to share, please feel free!

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Chocolate Chip Apology

Oh dear, I’ve been a slacker blogger.  I feel like that’s the worst kind of blogger; the other unfortunate kinds of bloggers include annoying bloggers and offensive bloggers… but you as a reader don’t have to be affected by them, you can just avoid their site.  A slacker blogger, on the other hand, may cause a reader to return to their site to be disappointed over and over.  How cruel.

Can I make it up to you with cookies?

These cookies are from the magazine Vegetarian Times.  They are titled “The Heart-Healthiest Chocolate Chip Cookies in the World” because they use ground walnuts and a little canola oil instead of butter and eggs (resulting in no cholesterol and minimal saturated fat) and include both oat flour and rolled oats (resulting in lots of fiber, including soluble fiber which helps remove LDL (“bad”) cholesterol from your blood).  Of course, there are plenty of of studies these days about how it’s saturated fat, not the dietary cholesterol you consume, that raises the cholesterol in your blood, or how you need a little saturated fat to keep everything running right… But the only thing I was really thinking about when I made these cookies was that anything bound together by ground up walnuts couldn’t be bad.

They are especially good about half an hour after they come out of the oven, when they are chewy but a little crisp around the edges.  As they aged, they became just chewy, kind of in the way a chewy granola bar is chewy.  In fact, I basically used them as granola bars, taking them to work for quick energy and carrying them on long runs.  At this point, they are improved when dipped in tea.

They are super easy to make.  You can find the recipe here.  The only changes I made were to use 1 cup almonds and 1 cup walnuts (since we didn’t have enough walnuts) and to grind my own oat flour in the food processor.  It’s super easy: you just stick the oats in and turn on the food processor until they become powder.  And for this recipe, you need the food processor anyway to grind the nuts, so you don’t even dirty and extra dish!  I think I actually didn’t grind my oats enough… the cookies would probably have a little less granola bar chew if I had made a finer powder.

Here are the dry ingredients…

Here is the nut “butter”, combined with the melted brown sugar/water…

Everything getting mixed up…

Combine

I like to use pieces of random chocolate bars we have lying around in cookies… these ones contained some dark chocolate with espresso along with the chocolate chips.  I also did some with raisins instead of chocolate.

Mmmmm… fresh.

So yes, speaking of running…. I did my longest run last week!  20 miles.  It went well; my biggest complaint was thirst around mile 17, but conveniently I was approaching a gas station at that point, so I stopped there to drink some water.  Maybe in the future I’ll carry water on long runs, especially if I do them on trails where gas stations are less frequently encountered.  Now, though, I’m in taper land.  Today was just a 12 mile run and it went smoothly.  It was a sunny, warm Fall morning.  Time out in this weather is an added bonus to running; I’m really glad I chose this season to train!

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Decisions

Half-way through my toast this morning I decided I wanted to be eating cereal.

Quick fix!

I just chopped up my toast and poured milk on it.  Even better than cereal from a box.

And I had two “flavors” from the two halves of my reincarnated toast: sunflower seed butter with raisins, and peanut butter with banana.

Decision making is easier when you can have two things as one.  And I need all the help making decisions I can get…

Last weekend I was tasked with making the cake for my uncle’s birthday.  It was an open-ended assignment, since he indicated no preference for flavor.  Luckily Katie was here and had concrete ideas about what cake I should make.  We get the little mini Everyday Food magazine that comes alongside the Martha Stewart Living magazine.  They did a maple/brown sugar feature that included a Maple-Walnut Cake with Brown Sugar Frosting.  It stole Katie’s heart, and I didn’t take much convincing 🙂

The magazine doesn’t have the recipe online (yet?) but someone else did the work of transcribing it, so here it is.  It was pretty simple cake-making.  It just involves…

Creaming Butter, Sugar and Maple Syrup…

Adding Flour, Baking Powder and Salt…

(There’s An Egg in There Somewhere…)

Folding in Walnuts…

Baking…

Frosting (hand modeling by Decider and Assistant Spreader Katie)…

And Decorating!

 

It was super-decadent, autumnal, and salty-sweet (I accidentally used salted butter in the cake, but I think it worked).  The walnuts added texture and toasty flavor, and the cake itself has a mapley-caramel taste.  I think it has gotten better with age, too.  I’d call it a success.

 

After a busy week of work and visitors, I have a completely free day.  I’m going to clean my room, study for the GRE, go for a run, and I’m thinking of baking something, I just have to decide what…

 

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