Ridiculous Snack: Apples and Homemade Almond Butter

20140205-155208.jpgHello again from Food Lunatic Central; it’s been awhile. This year I set a New Year’s resolution to move more and consume less. Part of this is also to take a serious look at my food costs. As President Truman said, “We’ve got to reduce the cost of living.” But you know me, I still want to eat healthfully and sustainably.

So far most of my recipes have been fairly cheap to put together; comprising lots of stuff I grow in my garden, catch in some water, or find lying around somewhere. This post is to be the first of what I hope to be a series of delicious, nutritious, and super cheap food options.

As part of this new trend, I’ve started eating more nuts. Nuts are tasty and nutritious. They are loaded with healthy fats that make you feel full with fewer calories than if you were just eating bread (as I often do). Consequently I have been consuming mass quantities of peanut butter; on bread, apples, carrots, in soups, sauces, dressings, whatever. I also bought a few bags of nuts at the Costcos: pistachios, peanuts, and almonds.

Despite their healthy and fulfilling nature, the fact is I don’t always love nuts. They are fine, I just don’t get excited about them. So I was pleasantly surprised recently when Uncle Lunatic came by and asked if I had ever tried almond butter. “Yeah, maybe”, I said. “Well try it on apples”, he commanded, “It’s insane!”

It is truly rare to find a food that could serve as a breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, or even dessert. Even if you did find such a Holy Grail of foods, what are the chances that it would be so delicious AND nutritious that you could eat it all day and actually know that every bite is making you stronger, healthier, and maybe even a bit lighter?

Almond butter on apples is that food. It cost’s upwards of $10-12/lb, but I it struck me as ridiculously easy to make. I had just bought my raw Costco almonds for $4.50/lb, so I went home straight away and made some myself.

For this recipe, you’re going to need some sort of food processing implement, you have one right? Sometimes there’s really no substitute. And no, you don’t have to thank me, though you’re going to feel obligated.

Almond butter and apples:
Enough almonds to fill your FoodPro about 2/3
1 really freaking great apple (bananas might even substitute)
1 pinch of sea salt

Start by measuring out your almonds. The paste will expand temporarily during processing, so fill to about 2/3.

Pour almonds onto a cookie sheet and roast at 400 F for 15 minutes. Your kitchen will start to smell nutty and delicious.

Take the nuts right out of the oven and into the FoodPro, add that pinch of salt, then turn it on and walk away. The action of the blades chops, then heats the nuts; which brings out the oils. Using hot nuts, out of the oven, accelerates this process by 5-10 minutes. But more importantly, gives you that awesome roasted nut flavor.

The nuts will rattle for a sec, then turn into a coarse flour, then start to clump together. After 10-15 minutes they will start to break down and then very quickly turn into a luscious creamy butter.

20140205-155152.jpgFinally, to eat! Slice up your apples and just dip and chew. The tart crisp apples provide the perfect counterpoint to the rich and creamy almond butter. Enjoy the fact that you are eating real foods, on the cheap, and getting healthier with each bite!

I like mine for the off-meals: second breakfast, elevensies, and afternoon tea at work.

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