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crazy nut butters

It was a boring day in the food department over here!  And, a super dreary day in the weather department.  Luckily, the rain made me motivated today and I got a lot of work done.

Breakfast was the same blend of oats that I had yesterday, and lunch was leftover pizza from yesterday!  So, pretty boring!

I did take a few breaks from my work to do some fun things.

Break #1 – A trip to the new Fresh Market that opened up!

I have been waiting for this place to open up, but I have to say that I was not super impressed.  The produce department was very small and very expensive!  It seemed like the main parts of the store were the meat counters, and the prepared food counters.  It was fun to check it out though.  They had a small bulk foods aisle with nuts and trail mixes.

I picked up some things I haven’t seen or tried before – Okra Chips!

And, fresh pressed Cashew Butter!

Even though we ended up going to another grocery store to buy all of our produce for the week, the Fresh Market was still a fun place to check out!  I would definitely go back there for specialty items.

Break #2 – A trip to the gym!

I was in need of a good sweat session today after spending the majority of the day working!  So, I jumped on the stepmill for 40 minutes, then did an easy 35 minutes on the treadmill.  All while watching a Lifetime movie!  So cheesy, yet so addicting and fun. 🙂  I love Lifetime!

Break #3 – Nut Butter Craziness!

I have an ongoing list of fun treats and meals that I want to make.  I have had a few nut butters on my list for awhile, but after seeing Jessica’s Pistachio Coconut Butter post this week, I knew that I needed to make these today!  So, I broke out my nuts and food processor and got started.

First up, Pistachio Coconut Butter.

I doubled her recipe and used 1 cup of pistachios and 6 tablespoons of coconut.

All thrown into the food processor and blended until smooth!  She adds maple syrup, coconut oil and vanilla too which I threw in towards the end of the blending.

It took awhile, but I was psyched when I saw this!

Pistachio butter!!!  It worked!  This is sweet and salty, with an awesome coconutty flavor – yum!

Next up, Chocolate Cherry Almond Butter!

Another one of Jessica’s masterpieces.  If you haven’t seen her blog before, definitely check it out here.  She has amazing recipes!!

I basically followed her recipe, except I omitted the canola oil and salt.  Instead, I doubled up on the dried unsweetened cherries and added 1 tbsp of maple syrup.

I literally threw the almonds, cherries and raw cacao powder into the blender and turned it on.

This took about 10 minutes of solid blending (with me scraping down the sides a few times, and adding the maple syrup) to get a buttery consistency.

This almond butter has the perfect amount of sweetness from the cherries and maple syrup.  This will be delicious on toast or as an AB&J sandwich!

And, finally Chunky Salted Sunflower Seed Butter!

This has popped up in stores everywhere, so I have been wanting to give it a try.  I put 1 cup of raw unsalted sunflower seeds into the food processor with 1 tsp of salt.

I turned it on, and just let it spin for about 10 minutes.  It came out very creamy!  Then, I stirred in about 1/8 cup of raw sunflower seeds because I wanted this to be chunky.  YUM – crushed sunflower seeds are delicious!  Very nutty tasting…I guess I would just use this in place of peanut butter.

My 3 nut butters were a huge success!  They all came out smooth and creamy, but definitely a different consistency than what you would buy in a store.  It just screams homemade when you taste it, and I love that!

Then, I had a photo shoot, of course.

The pistachio coconut butter is definitely the winner in my book!  It is sweet and salty, and the pistachios and coconut surprisingly compliment each other very well.

Making your own nut butters is such a great thing to do.  It will save you a ton of money, especially if you like the specialty nut butters like I do.  A jar of organic almond butter can run you $10-$12 these days!  And, pistachio butter – forget it!  Only specialty shops sell it, and it is pricey.  So, why not make your own?!  All you need is a food processor of very high speed blender (like a Vita-Mix) and the nuts of your choice.  They can be raw, roasted, with salt, without salt – basically, whatever you want.  And, the mix-ins are endless.  Check out Trader Joe’s for a huge nut selection for cheap!

I eat a lot of nut butter, but homemade won’t last as long because there are no preservatives, so I like to make mine in small batches.  Plus, then I can change up my flavors more often!

healthy tip of the week – green spring cleaners

This tip of the week is coming a little late!  I have had this post half written since Sunday, but just never got around to finish it up.  Better late than never!

Healthy Tip of the Week – Green Spring Cleaners

Cleaning products are filled with chemicals that are harmful for our bodies, our homes, and our environment!  If you scan the back of your name brand bathroom cleaner, I bet that you won’t know many of the ingredients listed.

More and more green products are showing up on our shelves these days, but is everyone buying them?  And, are they really all natural as they say they are?  I haven’t done enough research on that topic to speculate, however, I have read some studies which indicate that not all natural products are as earth friendly as they say they are.

I have used many of the greener products out there myself, and some definitely work better than others.  In particular, I have used the Method and Seventh Generation brands on numerous occasions.  But, even though I like these products, I’d prefer to mix up my own cleaning products if I can.  This way, I know exactly what I am breathing in and cleaning my kitchen sink with.

I spent some time over the weekend mixing up some green dish soap and all purpose spray.  I searched for a few recipes and researched what ingredients did what, and decided on the following mixes!

All Purpose Cleaner

from Gorgeously Green, recipe found here (ps – I have this book, and love it!!)

  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon pure castile soap (peppermint is a favorite)
  • 3/4 cup hydrogen peroxide
  • 20 drops tea tree oil
  • 20 drops of lavender or lemongrass essential oil (I used orange)

Mix all ingredients together and shake!

I used my old Method bottles for storage.  At some point, I will make pretty labels!

Dish Soap

found here plus a few additions

  • 2 cups pure castile soap (I used peppermint)
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 6 drops essential oil (I used orange)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup vinegar

Combine two cups of liquid castile soap and 1/2 cup vinegar with 1/2 cup of warm water.  Add a few drops of essential oils and lemon juice for a pleasant scent.   Mix well and place in a bottle.  At first I put this into my plastic Method dish soap bottle, but decided on a fancier glass bottle instead!  Make sure to shake the soap well each time before using.

I just love the way this soap smells!  Very pepperminty!

After a few hours, the soap did eventually all mix together, and has stayed that way for the past week.

I have been using these products all week, and am happy to say that they work great!  The all purpose cleaner made my mirrors and windows sparkle, and the dish soap surprisingly got my dishes cleaner that the previous soap I was using!  I am psyched!

Purchasing the products to make these cleaners is definitely a little pricey, however, I barely put a dent in any of those products to make my spray and soap.  It will last for awhile!

Have you ever made any cleaning products at home?  Please share!