It's weekends like this past one that gave me the opportunity to re-center and ground myself after a whirlwind of a week. When I saw that the weather was shaping up to be a gorgeous one, my sights were set on taking advantage of the outdoors and soaking up the sun as much as possible. I wasn't worried about playing catch up on what I had "missed" from this past week, but rather focused on taking time for some of the things that I hadn't been able to: friends, hiking, cooking...sleeping.
I had been slipping on my routine morning smoothies, so was sure to make extra good ones this weekend. I played music extra loud around the apartment and rekindled my love for What's Up by 4 Non Blondes. That's a sing-it-at-the-top-of-your-lungs right after you've gotten out of the shower kind of tune. Ya with me, ladies? I made sure that my feet were hitting the ground as much as possible, so I rallied a few friends to go on a local hike (called Buttermilk Trail, which I preferred to name Buttermilk Biscuit Trail), spending the majority of the time laughing at our younger selves and how we've turned in our hangover ridden days for 7-mile hikes. Also, if we were to take a history lesson on our own city that we grew up in, we would have failed miserably (well, 2 out of the 3 of us at least).
By the end of the hike, we actually were craving some buttermilk biscuits. Slathered in butter. But rather the crunchy granola gal in me just wanted some almond butter and bananas. I had spotted this mouthwatering recipe for Smoked Sea Salt and Maple Almond Butter and since I already had those ingredients on hand, I decided to put them to good, good use. I bit my tongue a little when I saw that I had to wait 30 minutes for the almonds to roast in the oven, but reassured myself that the wait would be well worth it.
The key ingredients that make this stuff knock your socks off are Crown Maple Syrup and chunky Himalayan Sea Salt. Toss the roasted almonds into a food processor with these minimal ingredients (see full recipe & instructions below), and you've got a jar of decadent homemade almond butter that'll keep you satisfied for weeks.
Maple Sea Salt Almond Butter
Adapted from Gratitude and Greens; makes approx. 1 jar of almond butter
2 cups roasted almonds
2 tbsp Crown Maple Syrup
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp neutral oil (olive oil or coconut oil)
1. Preheat oven to 300ºF. Spread the almonds onto a baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes, until fragrant and golden brown. (Your kitchen will smell amazing.)
2. Remove the almonds from the oven and allow them to cool.
3. Blend roasted almonds and sea salt in a food processor until it begins to liquefy. Add maple syrup and continue blending.
4. Add neutral oil if additional liquid is needed.
5. Store in sealed jar and enjoy!
I just wanted something simple and lazy to enjoy it with, hence the sliced bananas, however besides scooping the almond butter straight out of the jar, there are several other delicious things to enjoy it with.
For example, it's the perfect time to whip up this easy peasy version of ice cream that only requires a handful of ingredients.
Brownies for breakfast? Brownies anytime, really. This recipe for Almond Butter Brownies with Sea Salt is a stunner from Amy Chaplin, author of one of my favorites cookbooks: At Home In The Whole Food Kitchen.
And let's just put ALL the icing on the cake with this one...Almond Butter Salted Caramel Brownie French Toast. Lawd have mercy. Now that looks delicious. Going towards the tip top of my hit list.
Savor up & be well,