Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Make your own almond butter!

I made my own almond butter today! I don't know why I never tried it before. It's pretty easy and waaaaaaaay cheaper than buying it at the natural food store.

Salvador is allergic to peanuts. Not the smell a peanut, go to the ER kind of allergic. Just a rash and swollen earlobes kind of allergic. Anyhow, the poor kid must get really sick of sunflower butter sandwiches and fake cheese quesadillas (he's allergic to dairy and soy, too), so I thought I'd try something different. I gave him almond milk a couple times this week with no apparent reaction, so I thought it might be worth trying the almond butter.

I got a one pound bag of raw almonds on sale for 2.99 at Kroger. Wooohooo! After nibbling on a few handfuls here and there (there is never enough food in the house for a nursing mama), I poured the rest in a frying pan, turned the heat on medium-low and browned them. I stirred them pretty regularly to make sure they wouldn't burn. You could also roast them in the oven at 350 degrees for a few minutes, stirring once or twice.

After they were lightly browned (and smelled delicious!), I poured them into my knock-off Magic Bullet thingie and blended them. It took quite a while because you can only run the thing for 5 seconds at a time (or you'll burn the motor). I had to shake and knock it on the counter repeatedly to keep it from sticking to the walls of the container. After a while, it started to kind of ball up and stick together and I added olive oil. Just a little at a time. I think I added 3 teaspoons of olive oil in total, but could have gotten away with less. The longer you blend the nuts, the moister (is that a word?) they become. They went from nuts, to a crumbly texture, to a course but floury texture, then a pasty texture, then a moist buttery texture! Be patient, it can take a bit of time to get creamy. I added a bit of salt (maybe 1/2 teaspoon) and sugar (2 teaspoons-ish) to the mixture, but those are optional.

I can't really say how long it all took because it went sort of like this: Blend a few seconds, shake, blend some more. Repeat. Move the diaper load from washer to dryer, forget about the nut butter, remember I need to change Salvador's diaper, Santiago wakes up, change his diaper, remember the nut butter, blend a few seconds, shake, blend, shake, blend, scrape sides, blend, put Santiago in my ring sling because my arm is getting tired, blend some more. Remember that I never actually changed Salvador's diaper. Go, put Santiago down, change Salvador's diaper. Forget about the nut butter again. Santiago is now hungry and wants to nurse and sleep. Remember the nut butter but can't get to it. Get Santiago to sleep but won't stay asleep because he probably has a wet diaper and hates to be wet. (Guess I can't blame him.) Change diaper, get him back to sleep. Go to kitchen to make sandwiches, remember the nut butter. Blend some more - it's looking pretty good! Finish the nut butter, and use it to make sandwiches. Yum! Tastes good, I must say.

And it only took all morning. But that's what happens when you have an 8 week old and a two year-old. Life happens. Everything takes forever. But that's ok. Those boys melt my heart.

You can make your own almond butter, too. Changing diapers isn't actually a part of the recipe, so it might not take you as long as it took me. The process would probably work for other nuts as well. You'd just have to experiment a little.

Better go get the diapers out of the dryer before Santiago wakes up!

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