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Are you excited to see all the athletes compete in Brazil this month? I'm obsessed. Growing up swimming & watching my girls swim competitively most of their lives - our obsession begins with the trials. The passion, hard work, diligence and pursuit of something greater than yourself is so inspiring. Plus I'll admit, I get totally weepy with the pageantry and spirit for our country. I know, I'm a big sap but I know I'm not alone. Our favorites to watch are swimming- without a doubt, gymnastics and all things running - go figure! I'm hoping to be running by that time.
In the spirit of the host country, lucy asked me to use the Brazil nut as my inspiration. I'll be honest, I never had the nut ever before as I'm pretty basic with my nut selection. I did my research and was blown away by the health benefits. High levels of selenium. Just one or two of these nuts per day is recommended. Other minerals are copper, magnesium, manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, phosphorus, and zinc. Copper helps prevent anemia and bone weakness (osteoporosis). This nut is also packed with thiamin and vitamin E. Hello nutritionally powerful nut.
Nut butters are a wonderful source of protein and necessary fats in your diet. My favorite way to incorporate nut butter is in my smoothies, overnight oats, on rice cakes and as a dip for fruit. Of course, baking and cooking are also fun ways to incorporate this delectable food.
Typically, nut butters are quite expensive but if you've never made your own - it's remarkably easy and you can add whatever flavors you prefer. Espresso, cacao nibs, vanilla, coconut, cayenne... the options are endless! I went with a more standard flavor profile that will appeal to everyone in your family and work well in most recipes. I hope you give this recipe a whirl. So easy and quite delectable.
1 lb of Brazil Nuts
1 vanilla bean or 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
2 tablespoons of maple syrup
1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon of salt
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line your baking sheet with a Silpat liner of parchment. Spread your Brazil Nuts evenly on the baking sheet. Roast for 6 minutes then remove and toss. Return to the oven for an additional 6 minutes or so. Keep a watchful eye. Nuts have a high level of fat and will burn quite easily.
Once golden, remove from the oven and let cool for about 10 minutes. Once cooled, add to your food processor or high speed blender. Add the vanilla bean seeds or extract, syrup, cinnamon and salt. Blend, stopping the machine occasionally to scrape down the sides. Let it run until you achieve the consistency the you prefer. I did a creamy nut butter texture, which took about 6 minutes.
Sample and adjust the seasoning to your preference. Spoon the nut butter into a jar with a lid and store in the fridge. Enjoy!