almond butter

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Can I first just say that my post on the Galway Spirit One Spa somehow made it to the Galway City Guide page?! Even if no one ever reads it, just having my post on a Galway page is enough to make me smile for the rest of the day! Its almost like ME being there :) :) Soon enough! Now back to my regularly scheduled post. . . Sunday was a good reminder of why I do not bake. My “plan” was to spend part of this unseasonably cold, SNOWY, Sunday baking almond butter pumpkin cookies. Of course I completely forgot to pick up necessary ingredients such as baking powder and more eggs, so my cookies quickly turned into shortbread, and a very healthy shortbread at that. I started with a jar of Blue Diamond almond butter, this time the ready spread honey almond butter. If you like Barney Butter, you will definitely like this. Best eaten out of the jar ;) it is also very good for baking.
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I could not get a good picture without flash or with flash. :( I started with an amazing chocolate chip shortbread recipe that I always make for parties and holidays, and I made quite a few changes.
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My recipe: 1 cup whole wheat flour 1/2 cup canned pumpkin mixed with a dash of cinnamon and some freshly ground nutmeg 1/2 cup Blue Diamond honey ready spread almond butter 2 TSP organic maple syrup Preheat oven to 375 Mix all of the ingredients together until a ball of dough is formed. If you need to, sprinkle a tiny bit of water into the bowl, then using your hands shape into a ball, making sure to get all of the flour blended in. Place ball of dough on a cookie sheet or in a baking dish and roll or press out with your hands. Once the dough is on the cookie sheet/baking dish, place in the oven for 12-15 minutes. You want to make sure that the shortbread is cooked through so that it is dry and crunchy/crumbly. Once out of the oven, score the shortbread with a knife so that it is in the pieces that you want it to be in after it cools. This makes it MUCH easier to get apart once it is cool.
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My shortbread was a little too crumbly. I would bake it for another 3-4 minutes next time. Other than that, I really liked it. There was no sugar or butter added, so this is not a sweet, buttery shortbread like I usually make. However, the tastes of the pumpkin, almond butter, and maple syrup give this a complex, nutty flavor that is perfect for breakfast, with tea or for a not to sweet dessert. I would definitely make this recipe again. It is a versatile, feel-good snack, the kind of baking that I can definitely get behind!

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Tags: almond butter, baking, pumpkin

Happy Thursday evening! It is almost the Friday before a long weekend, and I could not be more ready. This week I have done a lot of cooking, as you can probably tell. I definitely tend to become more of a homebody when summer ends, but don’t worry I am sure I will continue seeking out food and wine adventures :) I am in a great mood tonight, in part due to the FOUR jars of almond butter that Blue Diamond sent me to try. I can not wait to open them after I get back from the long weekend. Could they bypass our beloved Barney Butter or TJ’s almond butter? We shall see ;)

Last night’s dinner was inspired by a Mario Batali recipe from the Spain on the Road Again cookbook, and it was enhanced with Nature’s Pride 12 grain bread.

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Ingredients
4 slices Nature’s Pride 12 grain bread
1 12 ounce can chicken or vegetable broth plus half the can filled with water
15 cloves of garlic a few splashes white wine, whatever you prefer or have opened
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
12-15 medium sized shrimp, peeled and cleaned

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1) Stack the bread and cut into strips, then cubes.

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2) Peel and finely chop garlic, or toss in the food processor to save a bit of time.

3) Coat the bottom of a heavy soup pot with a thin layer of olive oil, turn heat on to low, and place cubes of bread in the oil so that maximum bread surface is in contact with the oil. Let the bread sauté for a couple of minutes, then use a spatula to flip each cube so that both sides get nicely golden brown.

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4) Once the bread has a nice golden color, toss in the chopped garlic and stir so that the garlic also has some contact with the hot oil.  Lower heat and simmer for another minute, being careful not to burn the garlic.

5) Pour in the chicken broth, then the wine, then the water. We used Nashoba Valley Vidal Blanc because we had a bottle open, but you can use whatever white you like, remembering that the flavor concentrates as it cooks, so use something yummy!

6) Stir slowly, breaking up the bread as the soup starts to simmer. Add the cayenne pepper and some salt. Taste to make sure that the flavors are right for you.

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7) Bring up to a boil, add the shrimp to the soup, then turn back down to a simmer. The shrimp will only take a couple of minutes to cook. Once they are pink on both sides you can turn the heat off and let the soup rest for a minute or two.

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Sprinkle with additional fresh ground pepper and salt to taste, and you are ready to eat!

I will be submitting this recipe to Nature’s Pride for the Foodbuzz Blogger Festival scholarship, so fingers crossed! The festival is getting near; if you are going please let me know!

P.S. A great blogger is running the Chicago Marathon this weekend for an amazing cause! Check out http://chicagomarathonval.com/ to wish her luck and find out more about her charity!

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Tags: almond butter, Nature's Pride, soup

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