Gingerbread Pecan Butter

 I’m all about gift-giving.

I think that’s why I love Christmas so much.

It’s the season of giving.

This is my third year to participate in the Food52 holiday swap, where two people exchange gifts.

Obviously I make my gift-ee homemade treats that he/she can enjoy.

I love to make non-perishables because they travel well and keep well for a while.

Everyone loves a good pecan butter.

If you don’t…we aren’t friends.

😉

I made this one extra special…Gingerbread Pecan Butter.

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Ummmmmm…yes, gingerbread cookie flavored pecan butter.

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Is that not absolutely divine?

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Oh yes, hunny.

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Slather this stuff on fruit, grilled veggies, muffins, or stir it in oatmeal…but you know my favorite vehicle is toast.

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That’s just classic…period. end.

Gingerbread Pecan Butter
Author: 
Recipe type: Snack, Nut Butter
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1 small jar
 
A smooth, creamy, pecan nut butter with all the flavor of a traditional gingerbread cookie. Gluten-free, paleo, vegan, refined sugar-free.
Ingredients
  • 2 c. roasted, unsalted pecans
  • 2 t. blackstrap molasses
  • 1 t. pure maple syrup
  • ½ t. ground cinnamon
  • ½ t. ground ginger
  • ¼ t. ground cloves
  • ¼ t. sea salt
Instructions
  1. Place the pecans in the bowl of a food processor and process on high until the nuts begin to break down into a silky, smooth butter. You will have to periodically stop the food processor and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
  2. Add in the molasses, maple syrup, spices, and salt and process again until incorporated.
  3. Pour into a mason jar.
  4. Serve with toast, crackers, or drizzled on protein pancakes (my fave!).

MANGIA!!!

Labor-less Day

I know it’s Labor Day and I’m supposed to be talking about some amazing glazed, fall of the bone, succulent pork rib dinner, followed by a homemade peach pie with a scoop of Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream…..buuut, you know I like to break the rules.

Today is all about snacks.

Plus, you will need some good snacks if you are going to be behind a grill all day today.

It’s Labor Day, there is no laboring involved in this snack.

It’s only two ingredients.

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Pistachios

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and toasted coconut…

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all up in your face.

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Then I pulverized them into a creamy, slightly, salty and sweet

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smash-bang toasted coconut pistachio butter.

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Y’all this stuff is ridiculous…nutty, slightly crunchy, with an island vibe to it.

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Grab a piece of toast and slather some of this on it…then go have a mimosa for me!

Happy Labor Day!

Toasted Coconut Pistachio Butter
Author: 
Recipe type: Nut Butter, Spread, Snack
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-8
 
Toasted coconut and nutty pistachios combine to form, a creamy, salty/sweet nut butter that is perfect for snacking. Gluten-free, paleo, vegan.
Ingredients
  • 1 c. roasted, unsalted pistachios
  • 2 c. unsweetened coconut flakes, toasted
  • ½ t. fine sea salt
Instructions
  1. Place the ingredients in a large food processor and blend until a smooth, creamy butter begins to form. This takes about 5 minutes.
  2. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as you go.

MANGIA!!!

Wreck It.

Thank goodness it’s Monday!

What!? I know, I rarely ever say that about Monday.

You will probably never say that about Monday either.

Let me tell you about last week.

It was freaking amazing.

Until Wednesday… at about 3:15 p.m.

I was on my way home from work and had just come to a standstill on the overpass because there was a stalled car somewhere on the freeway.

This is normal for Houston traffic.

Person on the side of the road…traffic, paper flying across the freeway…traffic, bright metallic green escalade with 24-inched rims…traffic.

You get the point.

Anyway, at that very moment, for some reason, I looked up in my rear view mirror only to see that a car was coming at me around 50-55 m.p.h.

In that very moment, I knew I was powerless, I shut my eyes and waited for the impact.

He hit me, and hard.

I pulled onto the shoulder, got out of the car in tears from the impact, and immediately called my dad, then 911.

Wrecks are no fun.

Especially when you get hit by an 18-year old boy who speaks very little English.

Or at least he pretended to speak very little English.

He was texting and driving…duh.

Oh, and not to mention…my car is totaled.

But I count my blessings…it could have been worse.

Then, there are days where I have epiphanies and think…did I really just create that?

Yesterday was one of those days.

IMG_0399Let’s pulverize some cashews while we blow off some car wreck steam.

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Then, that stuff up there…ya that…homemade coconut butter.

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Let’s blend those two together.

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What you get is a giant bowl of smooth, creamy, nutty, coconut, cashew heaven butter.

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Then we get extreme by adding: chopped cashew pieces AND toasted coconut.

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Mhhhhmmm…we like to do awesomely insane things around here.

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I mean, I’m not really sure how I did this.

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What car wreck?

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I’m on a crunchy tidal wave of coconut and cashew epic-ness.

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This is fully legal.

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It’s also fully loaded.

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Your Monday just can’t get any better.

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Oh, yes.

😉

Crunchy Toasted Coconut Cashew Butter
Author: 
Recipe type: Snack, Nut Butter
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10-12
 
Creamy, slightly sweet coconut butter + nutty cashew butter come together w/ crisp toasted coconut and chopped cashews for the perfect crunch! Gluten-free, paleo, vegan.
Ingredients
  • 3 c. unsweetened, flaked coconut
  • 2 c. dry-roasted, unsalted cashews, plus 1c. roughly chopped cashews, for add-in
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Spread 1 c. of the coconut out evenly over the baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 5 minutes, tossing in between to prevent burning. Let cool completely on the baking sheet.
  5. Place the remaining 2 cups of coconut into a food processor and process on high until the coconut begins to break down and forms a smooth, silky butter. You want the end product to be a "drippy" consistency, very pourable. This takes about 3-5 minutes and you might need to stop the food processor and scrape the sides of the bowl down as you go. Set the coconut butter aside in a jar.
  6. Place the 2 cups of cashews into the food processor and process on high until a smooth and creamy nut butter forms.
  7. Pour in a ½ c. of the coconut butter and process until everything is combined. The nut butter should be extremely creamy and smooth with a semi-drippy like consistency, but thick.
  8. Fold in the toasted coconut, and the remaining 1 c. of chopped cashews.
  9. Serve on toast or spread on anything else that comes to your imagination. 🙂

MANGIA!!!

Simplicity.

Y’all!

My thighs are killing me.

Let’s just say I did a 45 minute advanced routine w/ my Nike Training App yesterday morning and…it won.

I had no idea I could sweat that much.

Listening to my body has been extremely difficult for me in the past.

I used to push myself past my limits and would feel the repercussions physically.

My knees would ache from running every single day of the week, I would feel lethargic, as if I couldn’t get through the day, and my feet would constantly fall asleep.

I’m past all of that now.

So, when I woke up on Sunday runday yesterday and I wasn’t feeling it…I tried something new.

It was challenging.

But totally worth it!

While I love to try new things, I also like to stick with what I know.

Simplicity is best in my opinion.

Especially when it comes to fuel for the body.

Did I mention that I gave up peanut butter for Lent?

So now, I’m addicted to any sort of nut or seed butter ya wanna throw at me.

No, it’s not the same thing as peanut butter…so don’t even try and tell me that.

I’ve been working up my own concoctions because we all know how expaaaaaaanseeeeve a jar of almond butter costs at the store.

Walnuts, pecans, and a food processor is all you need.

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Because that’s all you need to achieve baller status.

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It’s doesn’t get simpler than that.

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Okay, and maybe I add a smidgen of salt in there too!

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Wait…did I just make something not involving sweets?

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Take me to the penitentiary!

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😉

Pecan Walnut Butter
Author: 
Recipe type: Snack, Nut Butter
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Creamy, slightly salted nut butter made w/ pecans & walnuts. Gluten-free, paleo, vegan, refined sugar-free!
Ingredients
  • 1 c. of raw walnuts
  • 1 c. of raw pecans
  • ¼ t. sea salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Place the walnuts and pecans in an even layer on the baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 10-12 minutes, flipping the nuts half way through the baking process, until lightly toasted.
  5. Let cool slightly.
  6. Transfer to a food processor and process until a smooth, creamy, butter has formed. Fold in the salt.
  7. This takes about 5-8 minutes. Use a spatula to clean down the sides of the food processor as you go.
  8. Pour into your favorite mason jar and go!
  9. I spread mine on apples for a quick snack.

MANGIA!!!

B is for…

Yo.

You remember that stuff I made yesterday?

Well, yea, prepared to be wowed.

I’m about to make you dessert with it.

But first, let’s talk death.

I know, what a depressing subject, huh?

Today I am attending my GREAT Uncle Joe’s funeral.

I put great in all CAPS b/c that is what he was…absolutely freaking GREAT.

He was 95 years old with a full head of dark Italian hair.

He is probably still growing hair as we speak.

He was exactly what you think of when you think of an old Italian man: about 4’6, shiny black boots, crisp white shirts, a handkerchief in his pocket, and hair slicked back with jet fuel 😉

My “Unca” Joe even owned his own Italian restaurant in Houston called Joe Matranga’s FOR-EV-ER!

If that’s not Italian I don’t know what is.

Just think red checkered table cloths & homemade pasta and meatballs.

My dad proposed to my mom at that restaurant.

The best thing about Unca Joe was his funny sense of humor and his angelic voice.

Man could make you fall off your seat laughing and at the same time, make you tear up when he sang opera.

Think Andrea Boccelli meets Michael Corleone (only 95 years old).

Keeping with the Italian theme of the past two days.

Nutella is Italian, right?

Yep.

Let’s make something with it.

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I just can’t even stop looking at this stuff.

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It’s just that good 😉

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This stuff is probably lethal.

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Death by chocolate chips, anyone?

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I think I’m developing an addiction to chocolate.

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That can’t be all that bad…can it?

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It can’t be worse than my coconut addiction.

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You know it took every bit of my well being NOT to put coconut up in this business.

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I mean…who is this chocolate lover all of the sudden?

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Did I mention these things have like 4 ingredients? Well, minus the chocolate chips.

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But chocolate chips are practically calorie free so they totally don’t count.

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Oh, not to mention these things are paleo, gluten-free, refined sugar-free, and have the potential to be vegan.

It’s a win-win-win situation. 🙂

4-Ingredient Flour-less Chocolate Chunk Nutella Brownies (GF/V.O./P)

Ingredients:

1 c. Homemade Nutella (store bought is fine also)

2 large eggs (or equivalent of 2 flax eggs or egg replacer for vegan version)

1/4 c. coconut flour

1/4 c. unsweetened, vanilla almond milk

pinch of salt

sea salt, for topping

1 c. vegan mega chocolate chunks (I used the Enjoy Life brand), divided

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8×8 in. square baking pan with cooking spray.

Combine all of the ingredients + 1/2 c. of the chocolate chunks , mixing well until smooth.

Pour the batter into the prepared dish. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 c. of chocolate chunks evenly over the top of the batter.

Bake for 10-15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out clean.

Let the brownies cool completely before cutting.

Cut into even squares and sprinkle each with a pinch of sea salt.

Makes 9-12 brownies.

MANGIA!!!