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Buttered Up, Blended Together and Bowled Over

That headline describes much of my Kitchen Life this past week. Despite battling a cold and working to pack up and put away the holiday decor (let’s just say I was “functional,” but with most of the “fun” taken out), I decided to experiment with a couple of things I’d been wanting to try.

Almond butter before. . .

Almond butter before. . .

. . .and after.

. . .and after.

First was homemade almond butter. Because two of my children experience allergy symptoms from eating peanut butter, we have long substituted almond butter for it in everything from sandwiches to cookies. And ever since I learned about the benefits of soaking and dehydrating nuts to make them easier to digest, I’ve wanted to make my own version. Following the soaking/dehydrating directions and an actual recipe (including honey, coconut oil and salt) for almond butter in Nourishing Traditions, I ended up with a result that tasted fantastic but had some surprising characteristics. For starters, I wouldn’t really say it was spreadable—more like a somewhat crumbly topping—especially straight out of the fridge, where the recipe recommended storing it—that you could pile up on a piece of toast and pat into place. Of course, once the warmth of the toast kind of melted it a bit, it was easier to smooth out. And it had a soft and creamy—not gritty or dry—mouth feel, as well. I think the coconut oil contributed to both the crumbly texture and the incredible taste. I’ll definitely be making it again—especially because now that I’ve sampled it with everything from pancakes to oatmeal, I don’t have enough left over to use in a single batch of cookies!

Garbanzo beans, from sprouts. . .

Garbanzo beans, from sprouts. . .

. . .to spread.

. . .to spread.

The next thing on my list was making hummus from sprouted garbanzo beans. I had two different kinds of garbanzos in my pantry—the traditional golden-colored ones and their smaller, darker chana dal cousins. I started sprouting a jar of each variety and was surprised to see that the chana dal beans sprouted sooner than the traditional kind. Once the beans in both jars showed sprouts (after two days), I combined them and cooked them until they were tender—they simmered on the stovetop for about two or three hours. Then I blended them with the usual hummus ingredients (garlic, cumin, olive oil, lemon juice, salt) in my Vita-Mix. The result was a tasty dip and spread that we enjoyed all week—especially wrapped up in whole wheat tortillas made from a soaked-flour recipe I borrowed from Wardeh Harmon’s site, www.gnowflins.com. (Click here for the tortilla recipe. I had so much more success with this recipe than with an almost identical one using sprouted flour, that I’ve called into question my grain sprouting/dehydrating method. I’ve decided that dehydrating my sprouted grain in the oven is too hot a process—most likely eliminating the beneficial enzymes I’m after by sprouting in the first place, and ultimately drying the grain out so much that the resulting flour is parched and requires a lot more moisture to work with. I’m holding out for an actual dehydrator, which will allow better temperature control and energy efficiency.)

New fam favorite: Sloppy Joes in a Bowl.

New fam favorite: Sloppy Joes in a Bowl.

Finally, our family enjoyed another of Wardeh Harmon’s recipes two times in the past week and a half: slightly different incarnations of her Sloppy Joes in a Bowl (click here for a link to another site where she shares the recipe). Both times, I soaked brown rice overnight in water with a little apple cider vinegar (to break down the phytic acid that makes all grains difficult to digest). The first time, I opted not to rinse the rice after soaking, but simply added chicken stock and cooked it. It came out a little vinegar-y, which I didn’t mind but the kids definitely noticed. The second time, I did rinse the rice before cooking it in fresh water and chicken stock, and the kids were much happier with the outcome. My son Kerrick helped to make the meal and even photographed it for me, declaring that he could eat it for dinner every night. Now that’s what I call a rave review!

This post is part of the Tuesday Twister blog carnival hosted by www.gnowfglins.com. To link to today’s Tuesday Twister on that site, click here.

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2 comments

1 Wardeh @ GNOWFGLINS { 01.13.10 at 6:26 am }

Sonya, I’m intrigued by what you mentioned with the sprouted grains; you could be right. I think I should send you some of my dehydrator-dried sprouted spelt to try and see if it makes a difference.

Glad you enjoyed the tortillas and the Sloppy Joes. 🙂 The hummus looks fabulous and yes, the almond butter crumbles. The more oil you add, the smoother it gets. But I’ve always avoided the coconut oil since it gets hard when refrigerated – I choose a sesame or grapeseed oil (expeller-pressed) for the fluidity when cool. I think it helps.

Thanks for sharing your week in the Twister!

2 Sonya Hemmings { 01.13.10 at 7:50 am }

Wardeh, I would love test out some of your dehydrator-dried sprouted spelt! You are generous to offer that. I could send you some unsprouted spelt in exchange. . . . 🙂 Thanks for the tip on replacing the coconut oil with grapeseed or sesame in the almond butter. I didn’t really mind the crumbliness—it just kind of surprised me. I will try the other oils, too, though for a comparison.
Love,
Sonya

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