Wednesday, May 9, 2012

PaleoISH/Almond Butter

 I leave for Italy tomorrow and have a list a mile long to accomplish today, but blogging seems to be top priority right now ;) this will also be the last post for about 2 1/2  weeks (unless I find some extreme motivation while in the land of carbs). I plan to eat as PaleoISH as I can, but still enjoy some of the things Italy is famous for. The Villa we are staying at, and where we will be eating most meals, grows all of their own organic fruit and vegetables, so thats a plus. I have been told that Tuscany is not known for their pasta like most people associate with "Italian food." Apparently, Olive Garden (which you should never even step foot into again - they are worse than Chili's in how they process, prepare & cook their foods) is the Americanized version  of Italian food. Go figure, American's go and take over again! We will be surrounded by roasted veggies & meat, which is awesome, but then they throw in the yummy bread and finish with gelato. Thats where I may have to live the culture and gain the whole experience :) Casa Cares makes their own organic olive oil & wine, both of which I have full intention of shipping cases back to Alabama!  I have individual bags of pistachios for the plane and CLIFFKids fruit strips as a snack to keep in my purse, J.I.C. I am also taking a box of Quest bars, which are as Paleoish as you can get when it comes to a processed bar. I would not recommend them for daily consumption (not to mention they are NOT cheap) but if you were traveling and need to keep something on you, these are a winner. I ordered them from (Here is the link). While on the topic - this is where we order all of our vitamins. I suggest you take supplements, Paleo or not, my view is they can only help. I'm sure some strict Paleo followers may disagree with me, but as I woman with an iron deficiency and history of osteoporosis, I am trying to be proactive. I take a Women's multivitamin (This is the one I take now) I like them a lot, but they do contain soy so I am going to try THESE next time we order. The Hubs takes a Men's multivitamin, and we also both take a Fish oil with Omega-3. Your vitamins are something you don't want to slack on. I don't recommend buying them at your local big box super store (aka Wally-World, Target, Kroger, etc.) spend a few extra dollars and get some that are actually going to be absorbed into your bloodstream and give you the benefits you need. You also know you are getting gluten free, natural ingredients.  Many of the cheaper vitamins do not provide your body with an adequate amount of anything because for one, they do not include the amount of nutrients your body needs (they may contain just enough for the nutrient to be detected, there for earning a label of "vitamin") AND,  you will flush them out the first time you urinate (ewe, I know - I just used the word urinate, but other labels didn't seem appropriate and it's the truth of process!) We also drink Xtend during/after a hard, training type workout. This is definitely not something a strict Paleo follower would drink, and it does have a small amount of soy in it (ugh, it's everywhere!) But, for me personally, the benefits outweigh the cons. This intra/post workout drink helps me feel hydrated (without the extreme amount of salt or sugar other sports drinks offer) it contains the needed amount of potassium, chloride, sodium (your muscles need some sodium, but not near as much as Gatorade has) to help with cell hydration and muscle contractile function. Yet, the main reason I swear by it...... I personally think it helps keep extreme soreness at bay. Don't get me wrong, I still get sore, but Xtend seems to help. Trust me, while CrossFitting, every little bit counts when it comes to being able to sit down or raise my arms. Here is the one we drink, I recommend the watermelon, it tastes like a jolly rancher!

Remember how in my last post, I recommended a food processor? Well, here is an EASY PEASY recipe that uses your food processor and will save you money!
We do not eat peanuts (if you need a refresher, read here on why we say no to legumes) BUT, no need to fret! You may not be able to eat peanut butter but, you can have almond butter!
 I buy the 3lb. bags of whole (unsalted, no sugar added, NOT roasted) almonds from Sam's (so much cheaper than whole foods! Just make sure you are getting pure almonds - READ every label!)  
 2 cups of whole almonds equal a little over 1 cup of almond butter (it does have a thicker constancy, so 1 cup will last you a while)
 You can tailor the recipe to your specific (cooking/eating) needs by adding seasoning to the processor if desired. (Think cinnamon or nutmeg a pinch of salt, pepper etc.). I rarely add anything and if I do, it's cinnamon for when we are dipping bananas in it.
 If you have time, roast your almonds before creaming them. This is an easy step that really enhances the flavor, but will not affect the out come of the butter if you skip it!

1) Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees & line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, pour the almonds on the baking sheet & season lightly if you desire.
  ( My processor handles 2 cups of whole almonds well, so I use 2 cups per process.)
2) When your oven is pre-heated, bake your almonds for about 8 minutes. Do not over bake the almonds, you will end up with a bitter taste and an ugly color. (Reminder, you can skip this step! If you are using the butter in a recipe, there is most likely no reason to roast them first)

3) When the almonds are roasted and cooled enough to handle, put them in your processor (with the chopping blade in-tact) if you are seasoning, season them to desired strength.

4) This step depends on your processor and amount of almonds, adjust your time accordingly. Turn the processor on & find something else to do ;). My process usually takes about 10-12 minuets. The almonds will go through stages - first they will be sandy, then they begin to cream.

5) Once you think it's creamy enough, let it blend for 1-2 more minutes to really get the ideal texture. 

6) Store in an air tight container (I use a small mason jar)

How easy was that!?!?! Now you never have to spend the 20 something dollars WholeFoods charges for their pure almond butter!

Everyone have a great rest of the week, weekend and next 2 weeks! Keep an eye on Facebook/Twitter for Italy updates! I'm crossing my fingers for a good internet connection!

You may not really be what you eat, but what you eat can really affect what you are.

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