Chocolate Almond Butter

Almond butter is a wonderful indulgence.  A nice change from peanut butter, not an allergen for as many folks, some would argue it’s better for you, and it does not have the problems of some molds and toxins that may well be what sets off some people’s peanut allergies.  Alas, it is an economic indulgence.  It costs at least twice what peanut butter does in the store and much retail almond butter is produced in factories that also process peanuts and so still is inedible to those allergic to peanuts.

Enter this wonderful blog-o-spere linking so many creative (and cheap) people to me!  I found lots of people are making their own almond butter who claim that it is easy in a food processor.  They were right!  And inspired by my Little Sis who can never leave a recipe well enough alone… I decided I should put my own stamp on homemade almond butter to share with you.  But what to do to almond butter?  Clearly, chocolate should be involved.

This is not a great innovation mind you.  Chocolate and nuts have been meeting in back alleys and broom closets for centuries.

Lots of my co-workers rave about Nutella ( a hazelnut and chocolate spread) and I have eaten it before – but it packs a whopping 21g. of sugar per 2 Tbsp serving.  Sugar is the first ingredient and palm oil is the second, relegating the hazelNUT part of the nutella to 3rd place on the ingredient list.

This recipe of mine also foreshadows our next Baby Step which will address the notion of baby stepping away from the more dangerous food choices in your life (or your kids lives).  Lots of kids eat sugar-y crap for breakfast…. Pop-tarts, sugar-y cereals, doughnuts, etc.  One way to move away from those choices is to offer an alternative that still provides a nod to the devil in one ear whispering
“I want sugar with Ka-POW,
Give me sugar, give it to me NOW!”  (scene shifts to hyper child jumping around and evil laughter in the background.) Continue reading

I’m So Glad You Won’t Eat That

Little Sis and I talk a lot about whether our children like our food discoveries and creations.  It’s important to us to find kid-friendly healthy foods as kids are easier to get along with, have fun with, and most importantly – CONTROL – when they’re not doped out on chemicals and stimulants such as sugar.  Really, I am much happier when I am in control of the little people in the house.  In fact, I’m a little happier when I’m in control of ALL the people in the house but this is a discussion for a therapist, not you long suffering blog-readers who are wondering if I’m ever going to get to the point.  Suffice it to say that one of my favorite lines to my family is, “If you would just do what I tell you, everything would go so smoothly around here.”  Don’t worry, they are not daunted in the least and go on about their business as usual.

During this process of searching for kid-friendly foods one sometimes joyfully discovers something that the little people don’t like.  I am very glad in this case because their ‘No’ is my ‘Go!’

Brownies!  Say it again – Brownies!  Brownies are chewy, fudgy and in my book, usually far too sweet… what’s an adult taste bud to do?  Concoct something from dates, almonds, cocoa, and a wee bit of sugar that looks and smells like a brownie, but tastes much more sophisticated.  I am hooked and not the least bit sorry about it.

I got the recipe from Snack Girl and here it, along with a few pictures, are to tempt you to indulge your adult taste buds.  Slip the kids something you don’t particularly care for and enjoy!

No-Bake Brownie Balls
(15 balls)
1 cup roasted almonds (no salt added)
15 pitted dates
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (plus extra for dusting)
1 tablespoon honey, maple syrup, or agave syrup
2 tablespoons water
confectioner’s sugar (optional) – I used unsweetened coconut instead for rolling

Add almonds to food processor and pulse until ground.

(I used a Vita Mix.  It would be a LOT easier in a food processor.  The first time I made a single batch and I cut the dates into 3rds before adding to Vita Mix to try and help it out.)

Look at those almonds-a-grinding!

Add dates (chopped if using Vita Mix), cocoa powder, honey, and water. Mix until it just forms a sticky mass.

(The second time I made these greed got the best of me – I attempted to make a 1 & 1/2 times recipe and the Vita Mix safety kicked in to keep from burning up the motor and it stopped.  So I removed the mixture a bit early but the next direction in the recipe was the same…)

Wash hands and attempt to make a ball with the dough (it may need a few drops more water to get to the perfect consistency).

Nothing like having tasty gooey stuff all over your hand.  How was I ever going to get it off?   : )

Here is the dough after lots of squeezing, mashing and kneading.

Put a tablespoon of cocoa or confectioner’s sugar (or coconut) on a plate. Roll balls in your hand and then roll in sugar or cocoa (or both).

Eat! These can be stored in the fridge for a week.

For one brownie bite: 109 calories, 6.8 g fat, 12.2 g carbohydrates, 3.6 g protein, 3.5 g fiber, 3 PointsPlus

(My bites were evidently much smaller as I got many more than 15 – so that means I get two, right?)

TaDah!  Truly tasty and children need not force them down – just pass ’em over to me.