The Healthy Foodie http://thehealthyfoodie.com Who says eating healthy has to be boring? Tue, 22 Apr 2014 11:51:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9 Buttered Pecan Muffins http://thehealthyfoodie.com/buttered-pecan-muffins/ http://thehealthyfoodie.com/buttered-pecan-muffins/#comments Tue, 22 Apr 2014 11:00:54 +0000 http://thehealthyfoodie.com/?p=3436668251 To be honest, these Buttered Pecan Muffins came into existence by complete accident. What I’d really meant to bake that day were cupcakes. Fluffy, light and airy cupcakes. I’d even written down the recipe and everything! But when I finally got around to actually making them, I realized that I was missing half the ingredients. […]

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To be honest, these Buttered Pecan Muffins came into existence by complete accident.

What I’d really meant to bake that day were cupcakes. Fluffy, light and airy cupcakes. I’d even written down the recipe and everything! But when I finally got around to actually making them, I realized that I was missing half the ingredients.

DO’H! Way to go, me! Plan on making a recipe for the blog, put it on the agenda and all, but don’t even bother to make sure that I have all the ingredients I need on hand.

Buttered Pecans Muffins | www.thehealthyfoodie.com

Thank goodness, at least I hadn’t committed to anyone or anything…

I could’ve simply put the whole thing off, but I really had my heart set on baking that day, so I was going to bake! Bah! All I had to do was improvise.

I started switching some of the ingredients around, scratching those that I didn’t have, replacing them with stuff that I knew I had in my cupboards.

Frankly, I must say that I’m EXTREMELY happy with the way these muffins turned out and I’m almost happy I messed up that day.

Funny thing is, a few weeks prior, I’d been thinking just how much I missed sinking my teeth into a super dense, sweet and chewy Date & Bran Muffin. Oh yeah, they used to be my favorites. Big time!

Let me tell ya, I just found the ultimate replacement. These babies here have EXACTLY the same combination of taste and texture that I used to dig so much about bran muffins. I’d even say that they taste better. MUCH better! So hey… who needs bran, really?

Buttered Pecans Muffins | www.thehealthyfoodie.com

If you’re gonna whip up a batch for yourself, start by making the crumble; that way it gets to cool and harden while you work on the muffin batter.

Melt the ghee and honey in a small saucepan or skillet and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.

Buttered Pecans Muffins | www.thehealthyfoodie.com

When it starts to bubble vigorously and turns a light amber color, add the chopped pecans and cook until they take on a nice golden caramel color and start to smell heavenly good, which should take no more than 1 or 2 minutes.

Buttered Pecans Muffins | www.thehealthyfoodie.com

Remove your caramelized nuts to a plate and sprinkle them with fleur de sel. Now let’s set that aside to cool and get busy working on that batter.

Buttered Pecans Muffins | www.thehealthyfoodie.com

In a large mixing bowl, mix almond flour, tapioca starch, coconut flour, flaxseed meal, cinnamon, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt until fully incorporated.

While sifting is not mandatory, I strongly recommend it. It’s the best way to make sure all the lumps get broken down (coconut flour is especially lumpy) and any potential larger pieces or unwanted debris get caught. Ever had a tie wrap magically appear in the middle of one of your guests’ piece of cake? I have…

Never again!

Buttered Pecans Muffins | www.thehealthyfoodie.com

In the bowl of your food processor, add pecans, ghee and raw honey

Buttered Pecans Muffins | www.thehealthyfoodie.com

Process until all the ingredients are well combined and turn into a paste that has some kind of a play-dough-like consistency.

Buttered Pecans Muffins | www.thehealthyfoodie.com

Add the eggs, one at a time, processing until each egg is well incorporated before adding the next.

Buttered Pecans Muffins | www.thehealthyfoodie.com

Your play-dough will soon turn into this silky smooth, velvety and intoxicatingly fragrant mixture. Resist the urge to sit yourself down with this bowl and eat the whole thing by the spoonful.

Buttered Pecans Muffins | www.thehealthyfoodie.com

Instead, what you want to do now is add the coconut milk and vanilla seeds and resume processing until all is well incorporated.

Buttered Pecans Muffins | www.thehealthyfoodie.com

Now pour this heavenly concoction over the reserved flour mixture…

Buttered Pecans Muffins | www.thehealthyfoodie.com

…and mix delicately with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until well combined, without over-mixing the batter.

See how nice and thick yet airy that is?

Again, no eating the content of this bowl by the spoonful… This batter still has to bake. Trust me. You’ll be glad you did!

Buttered Pecans Muffins | www.thehealthyfoodie.com

Divide the batter evenly between prepared muffin cups, then break the cooled and hardened crumble down with your fingers and sprinkle it all over your muffins.

Buttered Pecans Muffins | www.thehealthyfoodie.com

Bake in a 375F oven for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Or better yet, until one of the muffins volunteers to be broken in half to test if it and the rest of the bunch are good and cooked all the way through.

Of course, seeing as how the poor thing is now torn apart and unsuitable for sharing with friends and / or family members, you might as well jump on the occasion and do a taste test.

Buttered Pecans Muffins | www.thehealthyfoodie.com

Hey, you only get one chance at fresh-out-of-the-oven-taste-testing; you wouldn’t want to miss out on this opportunity, now, would you

See what I mean by perfect texture? Oh maaaan, I wish you all could taste these by simply grabbing a bite right off the screen!

Buttered Pecans Muffins | www.thehealthyfoodie.com

Oh, and that crumble on top? My, oh my! Pure dope, I tell you.

Honestly, as far as muffins go, this is one of the best I’ve eaten in my entire life and trust me, I’ve eaten more than my fair share of them!

I almost kinda wish I hadn’t come up with this recipe because no matter how much I used to love muffins, my brains had finally sort of come to terms with the fact that they were off our regular diet for good.

Well… Not anymore, they’re not! (just don’t tell my brains, I don’t think that they’ve quite realized yet…) continue reading

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Slow Cooker Pork Stew with Oyster Mushrooms http://thehealthyfoodie.com/slow-cooker-pork-stew-oyster-mushrooms/ http://thehealthyfoodie.com/slow-cooker-pork-stew-oyster-mushrooms/#comments Sat, 19 Apr 2014 11:00:03 +0000 http://thehealthyfoodie.com/?p=3436668225 Sadly, this is probably one of the last Slow Cooker recipes that I will share with you for a wee while. Indeed, I think Crock-Pot season is pretty much coming to an end and will soon be giving way to grilling season. Ah, but I’m not one to complain, really… If it was only for […]

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Sadly, this is probably one of the last Slow Cooker recipes that I will share with you for a wee while.

Indeed, I think Crock-Pot season is pretty much coming to an end and will soon be giving way to grilling season.

Ah, but I’m not one to complain, really… If it was only for me, I would be grilling year ‘round!

Slow Cooker Pork Stew with Oyster Mushrooms | www.thehealthyfoodie.com

I mean don’t get me wrong, I adore me some tender morsels of meat that get to cook ever so slowly in a fragrant broth, which eventually transforms into a luxurious, silky sauce.

But to me, there’s nothing quite like grilled meat and veggies. Must be because I associate them so intimately with the warm, sunny days of summer, which I truly live for! Needless to say I’m really looking forward to firing up that BBQ for the first time of the season.

Until that finally happens, let us enjoy the [most probably] last Slow Cooker stew of the season…

Slow Cooker Pork Stew with Oyster Mushrooms | www.thehealthyfoodie.com

Not long ago, I paid a visit to my favorite Asian market with the sole intention of stocking up on green tea and coconut milk. I was gonna be a good girl and get nothing but that.

But, if you’re anything like me, then you know just how pretty darn near impossible it is to set foot in any kind of food market without coming across some irresistible deal which forces you to make additional, spontaneous purchases.

That day, Oyster mushrooms happened to be on sale. And I do mean ON SALE! So I bought a bunch. Okay. I got a bit carried away. I bought a whole load!

But, I happen to have a real soft spot for Oyster mushrooms and I knew right then and there EXACTLY how I would use them up: the tasty, chewy fungi would reign as king in a slowly cooked, bone warming, soul soothing stew.

Slow Cooker Pork Stew with Oyster Mushrooms | www.thehealthyfoodie.com

Since I find pork and mushrooms go so incredibly well together, I didn’t even think twice when it came to selecting the perfect right hand man for my fungus king.

In order to do its job right, that pork first needs to be browned real good. You know the drill, don’t you? Sear on all sides in a scorching hot skillet, use plenty of fat, don’t overcrowd the pan, allow air to circulate around the meat and work in batches if you have to (which you probably will, unless you have a skillet designed for a giant!) and remove meat to a bowl to collect all the juices.

Alright! I’ll let you get busy and do just that then.

Slow Cooker Pork Stew with Oyster Mushrooms | www.thehealthyfoodie.com

Once all the meat has been browned and removed to a bowl, add onions, garlic and spices to the skillet and cook until fragrant, which shouldn’t take more than a few minutes.

Slow Cooker Pork Stew with Oyster Mushrooms | www.thehealthyfoodie.com

Pour in your stock or broth… I used bone broth, but you could very well use any kind of stock that you have on hand, chicken, beef, vegetable… or even just plain water if that’s all that was available!

Slow Cooker Pork Stew with Oyster Mushrooms | www.thehealthyfoodie.com

Add your meat (and meat juices) back in and bring to a simmer. This then goes into the slow cooker where it will cook for 4 to 6 hours, depending on which setting you choose.

Slow Cooker Pork Stew with Oyster Mushrooms | www.thehealthyfoodie.com

When the meat is almost completely cooked, the mushrooms then get added and cooking resumes for another hour or two.

Oh yeah! You want to leave them whole. Tiny little pieces of mushrooms is NOT what we’re after, here. We want our mushrooms to really let it be known that they are king of this stew.

Slow Cooker Pork Stew with Oyster Mushrooms | www.thehealthyfoodie.com

When your stew is done cooking, ladle a little bit of the cooking liquid into a measuring cup – whisk in the coconut milk and ghee and return that to the slow cooker. Stir well and set the table: dinner is ready!

Slow Cooker Pork Stew with Oyster Mushrooms | www.thehealthyfoodie.com

I find this stew really shines through its sheer simplicity. There isn’t much to it, really. Pork and oyster mushrooms, brought together by a tasty, silky gravy.

And it couldn’t be easier to make, too! Yet, it has so much to offer in the flavor and texture department, it’ll knock you right off your feet.

Slow Cooker Pork Stew with Oyster Mushrooms | www.thehealthyfoodie.com

I think you should really hurry and make this scrumptious Pork Stew quickly, before summer really is upon us.

It might not be quite as comforting and soul warming if you eat it sitting by a bonfire…

Slow Cooker Pork Stew with Oyster Mushrooms

Yield: Serves 4

NF based on 1 of 4 servings

Slow Cooker Pork Stew with Oyster Mushrooms

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tbsp lard or coconut oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 2lbs pork loin, cut into 1" cubes and patted dry
  • 1/2 tsp Himalayan salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 tbsp dried oregano
  • 2 tbsp dried mustard
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground whole nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cups bone broth
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 lbs oyster mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup full fat coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup ghee
  • 3 tbsp capers

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Melt the lard or coconut oil in a heavy skillet set over high heat.
  2. Add the meat in a single layer, making sure that the pieces do not touch, and cook until brown on all sides. Work in several batches if you have to so you don’t overcrowd the pan. Remove the cooked pieces of meat to a bowl to collect the juices.
  3. Once all the meat has been cooked and set aside, lower the heat to medium, add a little more fat to the pan if necessary then throw in the onion and garlic and cook, stirring often, until the onion is fragrant and becomes translucent.
  4. Add oregano, mustard, ground nutmeg, stir to coat then add broth and white wine vinegar.
  5. Add meat and juices back into the pan, bring to a simmer then transfer to slow cooker and cook on low for 6 hours or high for 4 hours
  6. Add mushrooms and an extra cup of water and continue cooking for 1 hour on high or 2 hours on low
  7. Ladle a little bit of the cooking liquid into a measuring cup - whisk in coconut milk and ghee then return to slow cooker; add capers, mix one final time and serve.
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Slow Cooker Pork Stew with Oyster Mushrooms | www.thehealthyfoodie.com

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Quick Coconut & Chia Seed Pudding http://thehealthyfoodie.com/quick-coconut-chia-seed-pudding/ http://thehealthyfoodie.com/quick-coconut-chia-seed-pudding/#comments Thu, 17 Apr 2014 11:00:43 +0000 http://thehealthyfoodie.com/?p=3436668141 As I am writing these words, I am a complete, total bundle of nerves: in a few hours only, after many months of hard work, THF’s new look will be going live. Theoretically, by the time you guys get to read these lines, everything will be said and done, the operation will have been a […]

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As I am writing these words, I am a complete, total bundle of nerves: in a few hours only, after many months of hard work, THF’s new look will be going live.

Theoretically, by the time you guys get to read these lines, everything will be said and done, the operation will have been a complete success (hopefully!) and Betty Crocker will have been sent away for a well-deserved, permanent vacation!

I really, truly hope that you like the new décor and can’t wait to hear what you all think!!!

Of course, as is always the case with any website launch, a few hick-ups and road bumps are to be expected… It’s very likely that not every functionality will be working perfectly, and it goes without saying that the operator (aka yours truly) will have to learn the ropes of her new dashboard.

So things may look a tad funny for a wee bit. Please bear with me, this transition really shouldn’t take too long and we’ll be up and running in no time at all.

Quick Coconut Chia Seed Pudding | www.thehealthyfoodie.com

Since, as you can very well imagine, this has been a fairly nutsy day for me, I figured I would share a super quick and easy recipe, one that you can make on ANY given day, even the craziest, busiest and frenziest of days.

Heck, it’s so easy and quick to make, even a VERY young child could do it. In fact, it could be a very fun and healthy project for them to tackle!

Quick Coconut Chia Seed Pudding | www.thehealthyfoodie.com

Simply add some unsweetened shredded coconut, black chia seeds, a pinch of salt and about 3/4 of a cup of full fat coconut milk to a small mixing bowl or half-pint Mason type glass jar.

I know, I know, my measuring cup indicates 1 cup. I just didn’t fill it all the way to the top. You see, this is one of those recipes that doesn’t even call for exact measurements… bonus points if you’re gonna have your favorite kiddo handle this!

Quick Coconut Chia Seed Pudding | www.thehealthyfoodie.com

Pour in a half cup of coconut water. Don’t have any of that on hand? No biggie. You could very well improvise and use unsweetened apple juice instead, or freshly squeezed orange juice, or pineapple juice for a bit of a tropical twist, why not? (oooh, I like, I think I’ll have to give that one a try!)

Even plain water would do the trick, if no other option was available, or if you wanted to keep the carb count in check. Don’t worry about your dessert lacking flavor: the coconut milk alone, even if diluted, will provide AMPLE satisfaction in that department.

Quick Coconut Chia Seed Pudding | www.thehealthyfoodie.com

Now throw in a little splash of pure vanilla extract. Just because. Vanilla makes everything taste so much better!

Quick Coconut Chia Seed Pudding | www.thehealthyfoodie.com

Give that a very quick stir, until everything is well combined. No need to get fancy about it. Just use a good ‘ole spoon and move everything around slowly

I say this is already looking pretty darn good, wouldn’t you agree?

Now put the lid on, or cover your bowl with plastic wrap or something, and throw that in the fridge to rest for at least 2 hours. Your chia seeds need time to expand and soften up and do what it is that only chia seeds know how to do: produce that gel-like coating that we all dig so much.

Quick Coconut Chia Seed Pudding | www.thehealthyfoodie.com

After a few hours in the fridge, your pudding will be lusciously nice and thick and ready to be enjoyed.

Quick Coconut Chia Seed Pudding | www.thehealthyfoodie.com

Divide your pudding between two serving bowls (or glasses) and add a layer of fresh fruit right in the middle, if desired.

While this is entirely optional, I strongly recommend adding the fruit. They do add an entirely new dimension to this creamy dessert. I chose to use raspberries, but of course, any other berry would work superbly well here. Stone fruits, such as peaches or plums, would also be wonderful or even citrus supremes, like oranges or pink grapefruit.

Chunks of pineapple would certainly be magical, too! Hmmm! And here I go again with that tropical twist… I’ll definitely need to give that “Piña Colada” version a try!

Quick Coconut Chia Seed Pudding | www.thehealthyfoodie.com

Oh, one last thing.

I chose not to add any sweetener to this because I find coconut to be sweet enough as it is. I thought the final product was just perfect: creamy, light and super refreshing. I say this is bound to become a big favorite this summer!

If you, however, happen to have a bit more of a sweet tooth, feel free to add a little bit of honey or maple syrup to this.

Hey, you’re not gonna hurt my feelings! continue reading

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Cold Nordic Shrimp Salad http://thehealthyfoodie.com/cold-nordic-shrimp-salad/ http://thehealthyfoodie.com/cold-nordic-shrimp-salad/#comments Tue, 15 Apr 2014 11:00:11 +0000 http://thehealthyfoodie.com/?p=3436668114 I don’t often discuss my eating habits on here, other than by sharing recipes of the actual food that I eat, that is, but I sorta feel I need to touch base on the subject with this post. At the beginning of the year, after I learned that I was going to be a full-time […]

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I don’t often discuss my eating habits on here, other than by sharing recipes of the actual food that I eat, that is, but I sorta feel I need to touch base on the subject with this post.

At the beginning of the year, after I learned that I was going to be a full-time blogger, I decided to give Intermittent Fasting (IF) a shot. I’d been curious about the practice for a while and figured that, if I was gonna be at home all the time, it would probably be a good thing for me to have some kind of a pre-established window during which I would allow myself to eat.

Being constantly so close to the fridge and pantries, from early morning to bedtime, could have very disastrous consequences for me if I didn’t give my brains a set of hard rules to live by.

Cold Nordic Shrimp Salad | www.thehealthyfoodie.com

So I’ve now been practicing IF since January, and I must say that to this day, despite finding it *somewhat* restrictive at times, this is my most favorite way of feeding my body, ever.

Like it’s a natural fit.

By the time I get to eat in the morning, I’m really hungry, for REAL food. Like meat and veggies. Like eggs, Italian Sausage and Sauerkraut. I don’t have to bargain with my brains and convince them that they need to eat, settling for Chocolate Puddings, Stacks of Paleo Pancakes or Banana Muffins, which is pretty much all they seem to be naturally interested in eating early in the morning. Carbs of the sweet kind. Not ideal!

I’ll usually sit myself down to 2 large and satisfying meals per day, and will only eat between the hours of 11am and 7pm, 7 days a week. Of course, I’ll also snack on this and munch on that… a little bit too much. But at least, I will not put any food in my mouth before 11am, or after 7pm. That much really is saving my butt, me thinks. Big time!

Cold Nordic Shrimp Salad | www.thehealthyfoodie.com

Seriously, IF has been working incredibly well for me. I’m not sure that it would’ve worked so great with my former schedule, but with my current situation, it’s absolutely ideal. Gone are the days when I’d have to train at 5 in the morning, eyes still half shut. Not eating until 11am would’ve been pushing it… I now hit the box, or basement, at 9am, still train in a fasted state (which has always worked best for me) and get to eat in the hour that follows.

The only exception to that rule would be Fridays, where I work out at 5:30 pm.

Since I work out so late on those days, I don’t have much of a choice but to eat immediately after. There’s simply no way for me to get back home in time, so my only option is to bring food with me and eat it on the spot, sitting right there on the floor, among the enticing aromas of concrete, rubber, metal and sweat.

Call me crazy, but there is something that I absolutely adore about that set-up! Could be the ambiance… or the company!

Cold Nordic Shrimp Salad | www.thehealthyfoodie.com

For these kinds of situations, my usual go-to dish has always been my beloved Tuna Avocado Salad, although I now tend to make it with salmon instead of tuna. More Omega-3s!

But, even though I’m the kind of person who doesn’t mind eating the same thing for days on end, I like to vary sometimes. And no matter how much I LOVE that tuna salad, eating the exact same thing every Friday night post WOD doesn’t sound all that appealing to me.

Looks like I’ll need to come up with some sort of a rotation…

Cold Nordic Shrimp Salad | www.thehealthyfoodie.com

This Cold Nordic Shrimp Salad will definitely be a part of it. I love that it comes together in no time at all and can be made a few hours in advance, so I can whip it up in the morning or afternoon, before I hit the box.

The only thing that you need to do ahead of time is hard-boiling the eggs. But if you’re like me, you probably have some in your fridge at pretty much any given time.

Now, I used wild-caught Nordic shrimp, which is widely available in my part of the world, but if you’re not so lucky as to have such easy access to it, feel free to substitute any other kind of cooked shrimp.

Hey, even canned could very well do the job, if you’re in a pinch. 

Just make sure they are sustainably sourced!  continue reading

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“Graham Cracker” Nut Butter http://thehealthyfoodie.com/graham-cracker-nut-butter/ http://thehealthyfoodie.com/graham-cracker-nut-butter/#comments Sat, 12 Apr 2014 11:00:38 +0000 http://thehealthyfoodie.com/?p=3436667610 It appears that I’ve been particularly inspired lately and seem to be well on my way to coming up with a complete line of “Gourmet” Nut Butters. It all started with my Sweet and Salty Macadamia, Cashew and Maple Butter.  That first creation was so good, it was pure crack in a jar. Dangerous stuff, […]

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It appears that I’ve been particularly inspired lately and seem to be well on my way to coming up with a complete line of “Gourmet” Nut Butters.

It all started with my Sweet and Salty Macadamia, Cashew and Maple Butter.  That first creation was so good, it was pure crack in a jar. Dangerous stuff, I tell you!

Graham Cracker Nut Butter | www.thehealthyfoodie.com

Then came the Oatmeal Cookie Nut Butter. According to all who have tried it, this one really tastes and feels like you’re eating actual Oatmeal Cookie Dough. Yet, as you may have guessed, it contains none of the ingredients that you may expect to find in real Oatmeal Cookie dough. Well, save for raisins and walnuts, that is. Oh, and cinnamon, of course!

Same goes for this latest creation of mine: Graham Cracker Nut Butter.

You pretty much get all the flavor of a Graham Cracker, but none of the unwanted ingredients!

Graham Cracker Nut Butter | www.thehealthyfoodie.com

In fact, you don’t need much ingredients at all to whip this one up. Toasted coconut, blanched almonds, raw cashews and a few carefully selected aromatics.

And the process couldn’t be easier either: simply throw everything in the bowl of your food processor…

Graham Cracker Nut Butter | www.thehealthyfoodie.com

Start the motor and let her rip, pedal to the metal, for a total of 8 to 10 minutes, while stopping to scrape the sides from time to time.

Graham Cracker Nut Butter | www.thehealthyfoodie.com

This is one of those nut butters that comes together fairly quickly. Indeed, toasted coconut has a very low moisture content and fairly high fat content, so the oils start to come out fairly soon in the process, which really helps the other nuts turn into butter that much quicker.

After only a minute or two, you should already be looking at a thick paste like the one picture above.

Graham Cracker Nut Butter | www.thehealthyfoodie.com

A couple more minutes and your butter should really begin to take form.

And just wait ’til you smell this. OH! You’ll want to stick your nose right into that bowl and never take it out.

Graham Cracker Nut Butter | www.thehealthyfoodie.com

But if you’re ever going to get to that beautiful creamy stage, you’re gonna have to take your nose out of there. Start that motor again and let it run for a good 5 minutes, uninterrupted.

Graham Cracker Nut Butter | www.thehealthyfoodie.com

Once your butter is really nice and smooth like this, you’ll want to transfer it to a glass jar and let it rest for a little while. I always say that nut butters taste MUCH better after they’ve been allowed to relax for at least 24 hours. This gives them a chance to get back to normal room temperature and allows the flavors to mingle and get better acquainted.

Graham Cracker Nut Butter | www.thehealthyfoodie.com

Now that it’s had a chance to rest, go ahead and dig right in. Just *try* not to overdo it!

Hmmmm… I just go this crazy idea! I think I need to come up with a New York Cheesecake Nut Butter. I definitely will be adding this one to the list, right next to the Buttered Pecan Pie [aka Orgasm In a Jar], White Chocolate & Macadamia Cookie Dough, Salted Caramel and Dark Chocolate Swirl and Spicy Cinnamon Apple Pie!

Ha! Seriously. I’m way too nuts about nuts! Someone help me, please!

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EXCITING NEWS!!! THF IS GETTING A BRAND NEW LOOK! http://thehealthyfoodie.com/exciting-news-thf-getting-brand-new-look/ http://thehealthyfoodie.com/exciting-news-thf-getting-brand-new-look/#comments Fri, 11 Apr 2014 11:00:46 +0000 http://thehealthyfoodie.com/?p=3436667626 Remember how I told you, not so long ago, that The Healthy Foodie was getting a complete overhaul? Well… The wait is ALMOST over you guys. Soon, very soon, you’ll be visiting a BRAND NEW VERSION OF THE HEALTHY FOODIE! Take a long last look at Betty Crocker there, ‘cuz in 5 short days, she’s […]

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Remember how I told you, not so long ago, that The Healthy Foodie was getting a complete overhaul?

Well…

The wait is ALMOST over you guys. Soon, very soon, you’ll be visiting a BRAND NEW VERSION OF THE HEALTHY FOODIE!

Take a long last look at Betty Crocker there, ‘cuz in 5 short days, she’s history!

WOOT! WOOT! Are you as excited as I am? I sooooo can’t wait to share this with all of you!

Let the countdown begin! 

The Healthy Foodie - Countdown to new look

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Ginger Cashew Beef Stir-Fry http://thehealthyfoodie.com/ginger-cashew-beef-stir-fry/ http://thehealthyfoodie.com/ginger-cashew-beef-stir-fry/#comments Thu, 10 Apr 2014 11:00:50 +0000 http://thehealthyfoodie.com/?p=3436667580 It had been forever since I’d last had a good stir-fry. I wonder why that is… Stir-fries come together so quickly and easily, I feel it’s something I should be having at least once a week, if not more. Especially since I’ve always been such a huge fan of Asian food! Plus, not only are […]

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It had been forever since I’d last had a good stir-fry.

I wonder why that is… Stir-fries come together so quickly and easily, I feel it’s something I should be having at least once a week, if not more.

Especially since I’ve always been such a huge fan of Asian food!

Ginger Cashew Beef Stir-Fry | www.thehealthyfoodie.com

Plus, not only are they delicious and super quick to make, but they are also extremely versatile.

You can basically use any kind of meat that you like, so long as it’s cut into thin strips, slices or bite size chunks. Beef, pork, chicken, lamb or shrimp all make very suitable choices.

Same goes for veggies. Your imagination is pretty much the limit in that department:  carrots, celery, snow peas, sweet peas, asparagus, bell peppers, zucchinis, broccoli, bok choy, cabbage, green onions, bean sprouts and mushrooms are only a few examples of possible tasty additions to any good stir-fry.

Seriously, sky is pretty much the limit when it comes to stir-fries. It’s one of those dishes where you can just be super creative. Simply open the fridge, check out what’s in there, gather a whole bunch of ingredients and get started.

Ginger Cashew Beef Stir-Fry | www.thehealthyfoodie.com

The only real “rule” that you’ll want to abide by when making stir-fries is to have all your ingredients ready before you start cooking. Once you get started, everything happens so quickly, there will be no time for you to chop, slice, dice or mince…

Ginger Cashew Beef Stir-Fry | www.thehealthyfoodie.com

So before you even think of turning on the heat under that wok (or skillet!), make sure that your meat is cut, patted dry and seasoned, that your sauce is all mixed up and ready to go and that all your veggies have been chopped into the desired shape.

Ginger Cashew Beef Stir-Fry | www.thehealthyfoodie.com

Typically, a stir-fry needs to cook at a very high temperature for a very short amount of time. And if you opted to go with beef for protein, you might want to keep it slightly under-cooked to make sure that it remains tender. Rare definitely is the way to go! 

Overcooking it will only result in tough, chewy meat and frankly, no one wants that…

So get that wok really scorching hot, add a generous amount of heat stable fat in there and cook that meat in several small batches for about 45 seconds to a minute per batch, tops.

Ginger Cashew Beef Stir-Fry | www.thehealthyfoodie.com

Once all the meat is cooked, it’s time to add the veggies. In this case, they all go in at once and the same principle applies.

Cook them at high temperature for a short amount of time, and stir / sauté almost constantly. Don’t let your veggies stay in the same spot for more  than a few seconds. After 2 to 3 minutes, your vegetables will be cooked plenty. You don’t want to turn them into mush. Make sure that they retain a little bit of a bite to them.

Ginger Cashew Beef Stir-Fry | www.thehealthyfoodie.com

Time to add the fresh cilantro, green onions sauce. Stir that in quickly and let it cook until thickened, about 1 minute…

Ginger Cashew Beef Stir-Fry | www.thehealthyfoodie.com

then throw the meat back in.

Ginger Cashew Beef Stir-Fry | www.thehealthyfoodie.com

 Give your dish a quick stir until everything is evenly coated.

Ginger Cashew Beef Stir-Fry | www.thehealthyfoodie.com

 Then finally, add the cashews, stir one last time and serve.

Ginger Cashew Beef Stir-Fry | www.thehealthyfoodie.com

This dish is fantastic on its own and doesn’t need much of anything else, but if you’re one of those people who prefer to have their stir-fry with a side of rice, you might want to whip up a batch of Almond Coconut Cauliflower Rice to go with that.

The two of them do pair surprisingly well!

Ginger Cashew Beef Stir-Fry | www.thehealthyfoodie.com

Yep. I definitely have to start making stir-fries more often.

I only wish that they reheated a little better… you all know how much I’m a fan of leftovers! Frankly, though, reheated stir-fries do tend to get a little too mushy for my taste.

But hey, they take so very little time to make from scratch, that’s barely even an issue. Guess I’ll just have to make a fresh batch every time.

It is very well worth the effort! continue reading

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Magic Mushroom Powder – Umami In A Jar! http://thehealthyfoodie.com/magic-mushroom-powder/ http://thehealthyfoodie.com/magic-mushroom-powder/#comments Tue, 08 Apr 2014 11:00:23 +0000 http://thehealthyfoodie.com/?p=3436667562 According to Michelle Tam of Nom Nom Paleo, “if fish sauce is liquid umami in a bottle, this is powdered umami in a jar, and an indispensable tool in your kitchen arsenal.” Well, let me tell you… she’s ABSOLUTELY right! While I haven’t exactly tasted Michelle’s original spice mix, I can tell you one thing: […]

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According to Michelle Tam of Nom Nom Paleo, “if fish sauce is liquid umami in a bottle, this is powdered umami in a jar, and an indispensable tool in your kitchen arsenal.”

Well, let me tell you… she’s ABSOLUTELY right!

While I haven’t exactly tasted Michelle’s original spice mix, I can tell you one thing: I will NEVER be without this magical condiment EVER again. Now that I got to try this, I just have to sprinkle it on everything!

EVERYTHING! It now pretty much replaces my habitual salt and pepper…

Magic Mushroom Powder | www.thehealthyfoodie.com

Unfortunately, I couldn’t get my hands on the dried porcini that Michelle’s recipe calls for, as they didn’t have any at my favorite local Asian market. I went for the next best thing, in my humble opinion: shiitake!

They might not be quite AS pungent as the porcinis, but they still pack quite a healthy dose of flavor, so I thought they would make a more than suitable replacement. And indeed, I believe they did!

Likewise, I didn’t have any dried thyme on hand, so I used oregano instead. Truth is, I don’t care for dried thyme all that much anyway. I think it’s been forced down my throat in too strong doses and a little bit too often in the past, so I now tend to pass on it as much as I can.

Again, I think oregano was a very acceptable substitution.

Magic Mushroom Powder | www.thehealthyfoodie.com

While Michelle’s original recipe has you powder the mushrooms alone and mix them with the rest of the spices afterwards, I elected to add all of my ingredients directly into the bowl of my trusty food processor and turn everything into a fine powder.

Magic Mushroom Powder | www.thehealthyfoodie.com

After a couple of minutes of stop and go grinding / pulsing / processing action, a fine powder is exactly what I got!

Magic Mushroom Powder | www.thehealthyfoodie.com

So fine indeed that this powder will be trying to escape through any crack it can find, so make sure you don’t leave the chimney of your food processor uncovered.

Can you appreciate the fumes that are escaping through the chimney on the picture above? And that was quite a few seconds after the motor had stopped running. Just make sure you leave that pusher in place or cover that hole with your hand, else you might find yourself sneezing uncontrollably for a good half hour or so…

Magic Mushroom Powder | www.thehealthyfoodie.com

Just check out all the “dust” that accumulated on the cover! Yep… this is pretty volatile stuff!

Magic Mushroom Powder | www.thehealthyfoodie.com

Transfer your Magic Mushroom Powder right into an airtight glass jar. This will keep in the cupboards for several months, but I bet you’ll never be able to keep it for that long.

You’ll want to sprinkle this over your panfried eggs, toss some in your scrambled, dust some over your avocados, put some in your favorite salad, include it your favorite meat recipes…

I’m telling you, you’re going to want to use this EVERYWHERE, and ALL THE TIME!

Magic Mushroom Powder | www.thehealthyfoodie.com

Heck, I came this close to putting some in my last batch of muffins.

Now I really need to work on finding some dried porcini locally so I can try the real thing. And if I can’t get my hands on ‘em, I’ll have to get some online. Judging on how incredibly tasty this is with shiitake, I can’t even start to imagine how intoxicating it will be when made using porcini.

I think I’m drooling already…

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Braised Moroccan Chicken with Stuffed Green Olives – The Slim Palate Paleo Cookbook Giveaway http://thehealthyfoodie.com/braised-moroccan-chicken/ http://thehealthyfoodie.com/braised-moroccan-chicken/#comments Sat, 05 Apr 2014 11:00:26 +0000 http://thehealthyfoodie.com/?p=3436667513 For the second time in a little under a month, I managed to follow a recipe *almost* to a tee. Hey, I’m getting good at this, and I have to admit that I’m really starting to enjoy it, too! It’s allowing me to get a real, genuine taste of other people’s creations’ true flavor profile […]

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For the second time in a little under a month, I managed to follow a recipe *almost* to a tee.

Hey, I’m getting good at this, and I have to admit that I’m really starting to enjoy it, too! It’s allowing me to get a real, genuine taste of other people’s creations’ true flavor profile and expand my own, by the same token!

This time, it was a recipe out of Joshua Weissman’s latest cookbook, The Slim Palate Paleo Cookbook that I decided to try out “as prescribed”.

All I did to modify this Braised Moroccan Chicken recipe is, one - I doubled it and two – I changed the cooking method. I chose to braise my chicken in the oven as opposed to doing it on the stove top, like Josh’s original recipe instructed.

Oh, and I used Meyer lemons instead of regular and Almond Stuffed Green Olives instead of Pimiento Stuffed, because that’s all I had on hand. Other than that, I stayed entirely true to the original recipe.

And I must admit that I was MIGHTY impressed! I will DEFINITELY be making this one again and absolutely can’t wait to try more of Josh’s recipe.

Moroccan Chicken with Olives |www.thehealthyfoodie.com

Wait. You do know Josh, right? Joshua Weissman, the amazing blogger behind Slim Palate and author of The Slim Palate Paleo Cookbook? If you don’t, I strongly urge you to visit his blog AND to get his cookbook, too!

Seriously, Josh has got to be one of the most impressive kid out there, EVER! Yes, you read that right. I said KID! For Josh would in fact still be in his teenage years. That simple reality will honestly never cease to amaze me.

Slim Palate Cookbook Review | www.thehealthyfoodie.comSeriously, the fact that this recipe book was written by a teenager absolutely BLOWS MY MIND, and I really think that it will blow yours, too. The level of maturity that Josh exhibits is absolutely astounding: the recipes that he elaborated are surprisingly complex and sophisticated,  well refined and always CRAZY mouth watering! Each and every single one of them!And, I really mean that: Josh’s picture taking skills are BEYOND excellent. They make my photos look pale in comparison! The book is worth getting if only to lose yourself in the beauty of the printed images that illustrate each and every recipe.

And if that alone wasn’t enough, Josh also has an amazing story to share, in that he managed to lose over a 100 pounds simply by turning from trendy diets to real food. In his book, not only does he share a whole bunch of his favorite recipes, but he also shares how he developed a sensible, yet still indulgent, philosophy of eating for health and happiness.  Can you say inspirational?

I think this kid has a brilliant, and HEALTHY future ahead of him. Trust me, you NEED to get your hands on his book. It might very well transform your life, too!

Josh has even generously offered to send a FREE copy of his cookbook to one of my readers! Oh, and not just any copy, either… A SIGNED copy! You lucky people, you! GAH! I wish I could enter that giveaway myself! 

Take advantage of this generous offer and enter for your chance to win by using the form at the end of this post.

Moroccan Chicken with Olives |www.thehealthyfoodie.com

For now, let’s get busy cooking! Start by cutting the chicken into pieces. I prepped my chicken as follows: bone-in breasts cut in half crosswise, legs, thighs, and wings, so that was 10 pieces per chicken, total.

Sorry, I didn’t include a tutorial on how to cut the chicken.  I wouldn’t want to be responsible for missing fingers and emergency trips to the hospital! Me prepping chicken is something you do NOT want to see. I think I’m a tad dangerous and would make any butcher out there grimace, for sure!

Once you’ve got your chicken all cut up, pat the pieces dry and sprinkle them with salt and pepper.

Moroccan Chicken with Olives |www.thehealthyfoodie.com

Prep the rest of your ingredients so you have everything ready to go when needed.

Moroccan Chicken with Olives |www.thehealthyfoodie.com

Set a large Dutch oven over high heat and melt the ghee. Add the pieces of chicken, a few at a time, being mindful not to overcrowd the Dutch oven, and cook until crisp and golden, about 4-5 minutes per side.

Moroccan Chicken with Olives |www.thehealthyfoodie.com

Remove the cooked pieces of chicken to a large bowl to collect the precious juices.

Moroccan Chicken with Olives |www.thehealthyfoodie.com

Once all the pieces are browned, reduce heat to medium and add onion and garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until onion starts to soften and turn translucent.

Moroccan Chicken with Olives |www.thehealthyfoodie.com

Add spice mix and continue cooking for about a minute, stirring constantly to avoid burning.

Moroccan Chicken with Olives |www.thehealthyfoodie.com

 Add the water…

Moroccan Chicken with Olives |www.thehealthyfoodie.com

…and make sure you scrape the bottom of the pan to detach every little bit of flavor.

Moroccan Chicken with Olives |www.thehealthyfoodie.com

Bring the liquid to a simmer and then add the pieces of chicken back in. Don’t forget the meat juices. Add olives, sprinkle with half the cilantro and half the parsley, then squeeze the juice of 1 of the lemons.

Moroccan Chicken with Olives |www.thehealthyfoodie.com

Although Josh, in his original recipe has you braise this in batches on the stove top, I chose to take the lazy route and dumped everything in the Dutch oven and braise this at 350F oven for 1 hour, until the chicken got really tender and fell off the bone.

Already looks amazing, doesn’t it? You could almost serve this as is, right out of the Dutch oven.

Moroccan Chicken with Olives |www.thehealthyfoodie.com

But we’re gonna take things one step further and turn that braising liquid into a luscious and tasty gravy.

Remove the chicken and olives to a large shallow bowl or plate and strain the cooking liquid through a fine mesh sieve directly into a medium saucepan. Squeeze in the juice of the remaining lemon.

Moroccan Chicken with Olives |www.thehealthyfoodie.com

Mix the tapioca starch in 2 tbsp of water and pour that into the simmering cooking liquid

Moroccan Chicken with Olives |www.thehealthyfoodie.com

Bring back to the boil and cook for about one minute, whisking constantly.

Moroccan Chicken with Olives |www.thehealthyfoodie.com

 Sprinkle the rest of the chopped parsley and cilantro all over the plated chicken…

Moroccan Chicken with Olives |www.thehealthyfoodie.com

… and serve with the thickened braising liquid poured right over top.

This chicken dish is so tasty and moist and juicy, I bet this will instantly become a favorite in your household. I know it has in mine… Wait. Is a household of one still a household? Bah… what does it matter, really. A favorite is still a favorite, no matter the size of the household!

And now, take a second to enter this giveaway for your chance to win a signed copy of  The Slim Palate Paleo Cookbook.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Toasted Almond Hazelnut Butter http://thehealthyfoodie.com/toasted-almond-hazelnut-butter/ http://thehealthyfoodie.com/toasted-almond-hazelnut-butter/#comments Thu, 03 Apr 2014 11:00:43 +0000 http://thehealthyfoodie.com/?p=3436667475 I know I’ve been giving you a lot of nut butter recipes lately, and I really hope that you don’t mind because I happen to still have a few more in store! What can I say? I am truly passionate about them! A little obsessed, even… One thing I just realized, however, is that I tend […]

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I know I’ve been giving you a lot of nut butter recipes lately, and I really hope that you don’t mind because I happen to still have a few more in store! What can I say? I am truly passionate about them! A little obsessed, even…

One thing I just realized, however, is that I tend to share more of my intricate, unique flavor combination recipes.

Yet, I do make “standard” nut butters much more often than I make the fancy varieties.

Toasted Almond Hazelnut Butter | www.thehealthyfoodie.com

This Almond Hazelnut combination right here is one that I would be making on a very regular basis. I kind of think of it as my standard peanut butter replacement. 

To make it, I like to use a combination of toasted almonds and hazelnuts, because I find their flavor profiles go so well together. I also like to add a good amount of raw almonds, to help slightly thicken the final consistency of the nut butter.

Toasted nuts, having a much lower moisture content, tend to produce much thinner butters, whereas raw nuts yield thicker butters. Also, toasted nuts taste smokier, nuttier, whereas raw nuts tend to be a little bit more on the sweet side. So I like to mix things up a little to achieve the desired flavor and consistency.

I find this recipe’s ratio works great for me, but don’t be afraid to play with it until you find one that really works for you.

Toasted Almond Hazelnut Butter | www.thehealthyfoodie.com

As always when making nut butter, I like to start with raw, unsalted nuts. In this case, we’ll be using a combination of almonds and hazelnuts.

Toasted Almond Hazelnut Butter | www.thehealthyfoodie.com

We’re gonna be toasting half the almonds and all of the hazelnuts; I find hazelnuts taste SO much better after they have been toasted. Also, I like to peel them because their skin can have a bit of a bitter taste to it and toasting them makes removing that skin a breeze.

Let’s lay the nuts on a baking sheet in two distinct patches. You don’t want to mix them because then that would make peeling the hazelnuts a tad trickier.

So let’s keep ‘em nuts separated!

Toasted Almond Hazelnut Butter | www.thehealthyfoodie.com

 See how the skin has cracked, shrunk and lifted after the hazelnuts come out of the oven? It’s like magic!

Toasted Almond Hazelnut Butter | www.thehealthyfoodie.com

 As soon as they are cool enough to handle, transfer the hazelnuts onto a clean tea or flour sack towel.

Toasted Almond Hazelnut Butter | www.thehealthyfoodie.com

Fold the towel into a little bundle like this. Hold it firmly in one hand and with the other hand, wiggle the nuts around so that they grind against each other. Do that for a good minute or so…

Toasted Almond Hazelnut Butter | www.thehealthyfoodie.com

 …and when you open up your little bundle, your hazelnuts will be totally skinless!

Toasted Almond Hazelnut Butter | www.thehealthyfoodie.com

Now carefully pick the nuts out, leaving the skins behind.

Toasted Almond Hazelnut Butter | www.thehealthyfoodie.com

Add the toasted almonds, hazelnuts and raw almonds, as well as the salt and chopped vanilla beans to the bowl of your food processor.

Yes, I actually throw the whole vanilla beans in there, not just the seeds. I only take care to remove the dry ends, then chop the whole vanilla beans fairly finely before adding them to the food processor. They’re going to get pulverized, anyway… so why waste?

Toasted Almond Hazelnut Butter | www.thehealthyfoodie.com

The nuts will have to be processed for a total of about 20 minutes, but you will want to stop from time to time to break down the mass that will invariably form and scrape the sides, too.

Toasted Almond Hazelnut Butter | www.thehealthyfoodie.com

In the early stages, you will have to stop more often as the nuts will want to lump up into a solid mass strangely resembling cement.

Toasted Almond Hazelnut Butter | www.thehealthyfoodie.com

After about 5 minutes, the nuts will start to release some of their oil, making the mass more pliable and more inclined to stay within the path of the spinning blade, so you won’t have to stop as often.

Toasted Almond Hazelnut Butter | www.thehealthyfoodie.com

Still, it might be a good idea to stop from time to time, if only to give your food processor a little break if you feel it needs one…

After 10 minutes, the mixture will start to look a lot more like nut butter! Still, it’s a tad too rough for my taste, though. I think it needs to spin some more!

Toasted Almond Hazelnut Butter | www.thehealthyfoodie.com

Another 5 minutes in the making and you really have what looks like creamy nut butter now. You could very well stop here if you wanted to. But I like my nut butter to be as smooth as can be, so I like to give it a little bit more time, still.

Toasted Almond Hazelnut Butter | www.thehealthyfoodie.com

 Aaah! There we have it. Can you see the difference? I think we’re good to go, now.

Toasted Almond Hazelnut Butter | www.thehealthyfoodie.com

Does this look smooth and creamy enough for you? Looks very good to me, I must say.

And just you look at those little black specks of vanilla. Gawd I love ‘em!

Toasted Almond Hazelnut Butter | www.thehealthyfoodie.com

Time to transfer your creamy nut butter into glass jars.

Ideally, you want to let that rest for a wee bit now. As good and tempting as it looks in this very moment, all that friction from the blade makes the nut butter become fairly warm and takes away from its overall deliciousness.

I find it’s always much better after it’s had a little time to come back to room temperature as well as give a chance to all the flavors to get to know each other a little bit better.

But of course, I can never resist getting a little taste at this point, you know. I mean, that bowl does have to be scraped really clean, doesn’t it? And what are spatulas for, if not to be licked?

Toasted Almond Hazelnut Butter | www.thehealthyfoodie.com

Now, after your nut butter has had a chance to rest for a while, as in about 24 hours, it’s finally time to whip out a spoon and go right to town.

Just close your eyes, dig in and enjoy!

Toasted Almond Hazelnut Butter | www.thehealthyfoodie.com

You know, the principle of making nut butter is pretty much always the same, so don’t be afraid to experiment. Try different nut combinations, try mixing raw with toasted, try different ratios and try adding different flavorings and spices. I sometimes like to add a little bit of cinnamon, nutmeg, or ginger, or even coconut, or a hint of honey or maple syrup…

Hey, you could even make savory nut butters and add garam masala, curry powder, Ras el Hanout, cayenne pepper or even smoked paprika, why not?

I think I need to start experimenting with that myself! “Spreadable Spicy BBQ Peanuts”, anyone?

Hmmm, that can’t be bad now, can it?  continue reading

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