HOMEMADE NUT BUTTER
When I developed severe food allergies at age 30 and was forced to quit fast food and processed foods over night due to allergens, I was desperate for filling and tasty snack ideas. I read that snacking on tree nuts (almonds, walnuts, cashews etc) is a great way to get heart healthy unsaturated and omega 3 fats into a balanced diet. Nuts are packed with vitamin E and fiber too, so basically these have to get on your menu one way or another. At the time when I first developed my allergies, my palette was so used to heavily salted and sugary processed snacks, that raw nuts tasted to me no better than those woodchips I see toddlers eat off the ground at the playground. Over the years of eating a whole food unprocessed diet my palette has of course adjusted and now I can enjoy the subtle flavors of all sorts of raw plant foods- romaine lettuce, chard, raw celery and carrots, and yes raw nuts. I discovered that a great way to fancy up and consume those nutritious morsels is by making creamy homemade nut butter. You can use it as a veggie dip, a spread on fruit, or add it to smoothies. The options are limitless, and the taste is fabulous. You may already be enjoying nut butter purchased at the store. I do that too on occasion for convenience, but it's much cheaper and waaaay more delicious to make your own. You'll know what you're eating is super fresh, and free of any added salt, sweetener or preservatives. The best part of all is that you don't even need a recipe, and the instructions couldn't be more simple. Pick your favorite raw nut, toss a few cups worth in your food processor, and process until creamy! That's all there is to it! Harder nuts like almonds will take longer to process (about 20 minutes), while softer nuts like cashews will process more quickly. Depending on your machine, you will need to stop the processor every few minutes or so so scrape down the sides with a spatula before resuming. No need to add liquid or any oil. The natural oils are released from the nuts during processing, churning the nuts into creamy butter. Pictured here is lovely cashew butter, delicious paired with carrots and a sprinkle of turmeric. Experiment with mixing nuts to make blended butters, try adding cocoa powder to make a chocolate spread, or add cinnamon, or coconut oil for even more variety! Share your favorite nut butter in the comments!