1-minute homemade peanut butter in the Vitamix

So, peanut butter is another of those things that I had been wanting to try to make in the Vitamix, but was waiting until I used up the last of my commercial PB. Making homemade peanut butter is too easy not to share how it is done. Making your own nut butters can be great, especially if you tend to buy some of the more expensive nut butters like almond butter or cashew butter (which can be made the exact same way as the PB). I knew this was going to be pretty easy, but had no idea it would be this easy.

Here’s what I did:

I started with a couple of cups of roasted peanuts. I bought them unshelled (from the Asian market) and roasted them myself (20min in 350 degree oven). I debated taking off the skin, but in the end was too lazy.

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Put the nuts in the Vitamix. Cover with lid and tamper.

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Blend on High for 1 minute or so, using tamper to send nuts to blades. My PB was probably done around 45 seconds, but since this was my first time, I wanted to make sure it was really creamy and blended for the full minute.

Here’s what you get. Fresh, homemade creamy peanut butter.

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R thought I put chocolate into it because it looks darker than commercial PB, but I think it just came out this color because I roasted my nuts a long time and left the peanut skins on (more fiber, right?). If you want crunchy PB, I suspect you just save some nuts to add in towards the end of the 1-minute blend time. Now, that I know that making nut butters in the VM is super fast and easy, I’m going to try to make cashew, almond, macadamia nut and sunflower seed butters. Oh, you can also add in salt and sugar during the blend if you like, but I prefer au natural. Plus, eaten with apples or bananas, there’s no need for added sugars or salt.

If you have a Vitamix, this is definitely something you should try to make. But I will admit, the normal ‘30-second blending with soapy water’ didn’t quite clean it the same as it does with smoothies. But, every now and then my VM definitely needs a good scrub. I also let it soak with hot, soapy water to get rid of the PB underneath the blades. This worked just fine.

Yield: ~2 cups of nuts made 1 cup of nut butter

Click on the Vitamix button below to order your own or use code 06-005573 at checkout to receive free shipping ($25 value).

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Making my own reality

As I about a week away from entering a new decade, I thought I would give you an update on how I was doing with establishing my 3 new habits. Accomplishing #3 on my Thirty before 30 list had to be my worst favorite thing to do. I think because it was the one thing on my list that took the most perseverance. I get into ruts. Do you? One of my New Year’s Resolutions from 2009 was to become an early riser. Surprisingly, I did fairly well with that resolution even into 2010—that is until this summer. We had returned from a month of being in Taiwan and I just couldn’t whoop that jet lag. So, I started sleeping in later than I wanted. During the school year, I usually try to get up before 7, most mornings getting up around 5:30 am. So, how did I do with (re-)establishing habit #1? Continue reading

You’d be nutty not to make this: Almond milk in the Vitamix

Recently, you might have noticed Blue Diamond has made commercially available almond milk. Almond milk is a great alternative for those who don’t like or can’t tolerate milk or soymilk. It’s cholesterol-free and has a delicious nutty flavor. It surprisingly isn’t as expensive as I thought it might be, a half gallon costing a little more than a gallon of milk (if I remember correctly). Well, I tasted and thought it was pretty good. But if you know me, in my quest to become more domesticated, I wanted to see how difficult it would be to make almond milk from scratch. Again, this was another thing that was on my list of things I wanted to try with the Vitamix, but haven’t got around to it until tonight. (It seems that every time I have almonds in the house, I end up making these.)

Here’s how I did it:

Soak 3/4 cup almonds overnight in water. You can use whole almonds or sliced. I had both, so I used both.

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After soaking, rinse them until the water runs clear. They will be puffy.

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Continue reading

pockets are just containers for your hands

Some people have a shoe fetish. For others it’s purses. I have a container fetish. I am slightly obsessed with finding the perfect way to hold everything. Now, I must tell you I am pretty selective about my containers. I thought I’d share a few of my favorites.

my banana case

Perfect for packing nature’s perfect food and not being worried about it getting all bruised up in my backpack. No, I have never had a banana not fit.

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Continue reading

Who says Mason jars are just for jelly? How to make cake-in-a-jar.

Since my sister and BIL left for duty in Afghanistan in March of this year, I have been experimenting with how to best send them baked goods. I had some success in the past with vacuum sealing using a Reynolds vacuum sealer, until the last time I sent her peanut butter bread. When she called me last month, she said she opened up the package and it smelt so good. She was all ready to take a big bite…until she saw the mold. Boo.

Determined to send her something besides cookies, I have had this cake-in-a-jar project on my list for a while and just hadn’t gotten around to it until this weekend. For my first attempt, I made a very simple cake. Once I hear from her that it worked, I will fancy it up.

Here’s how I did it:

I boiled a big pot of water to sterilize my half-pint jars, lids and rings. You can also use pint jars, which will just result in a bigger cake serving per jar. It’s okay to use cleaned old jars. Just make sure to use new lids and rings.

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Continue reading

Real simple, real free

I currently don’t subscribe to any paid magazine subscriptions, but if I did, I would definitely get a subscription to Real Simple magazine. Well, the next best thing to their magazine, is their website. I especially liked one of the featured articles from today and thought I would share because who doesn’t love free stuff!

Surprising Stuff You Can Get for Free | Real Simple.

Taiwanese girl takes on Turkish food

I was going to wait until I ate all 30 new foods before I wrote a post about accomplishing #24 on my TB30 list. But I just had a meal so delish that I believe it is deserving of a post of its very own.

After posting my TB30 list on my blog, my wonderful friend, D (check out her blog here) offered to help me cross off a few from the list, particularly #24. Now, I must tell you about my dear friends, D and R. D and I used to be classmates and her husband, R, is currently finishing up his PhD. We don’t necessarily hang out very often or socialize with the same crowds. And on the surface, we all don’t have much in common: A Taiwanese girl raised in the South, a girl who grew up in Vermont and a guy born and raised in Turkey and now living in America. But it is our love…no, our passion for food and life that we share in common. I don’t know what it is about D and R, but instantly I knew I just liked them. They are 2 of the most interesting and talented and kind people that I have ever met. You know those kind of people you just feel a kindred spirit with? Well, that’s D and R. After meeting 2 years ago, we had talked about giving each other Turkish and Taiwanese cooking lessons and we honestly had all the best of intentions of getting together, but just hadn’t. Well, with my birthday just being around the corner, there was a sense of urgency that gave us that push to do it. So, D invited me over tonight for a last-minute trip around the world to enjoy a homemade Turkish meal. Continue reading

They say it takes 21 days…

They say it takes 21 days to form a new habit. Well, the new habits I plan on forming are only for the weekdays (Is that cheating?) and I know I’m bound to miss a few days. So, according to my calculations,if I start now, I’ve given myself about 40 weekdays to get my habits formed before my next birthday so I can check off #3 from my TB30 list.

I couldn’t decide on just 3, so I came up with 4 new habits that I want to start. (Plus, if one doesn’t go through, I’ll still have met my goal of 3 new habits.) Continue reading

Popeye approved: Faux Cream of Spinach Soup in the Vitamix

The cool fall day today made me really crave soup for dinner. I had bought a big ‘ole bunch of spinach at the Asian market tonight. So, I decided to make a faux cream of spinach soup. This recipe could easily be vegan if made with vegetable broth instead of chicken.

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4 T onion, peeled/chopped

2 t canola or olive oil

1/2 # fresh spinach, washed

2 c broth (chicken or vegetable)

1 1/2 t cornstarch

3 oz tofu

  Continue reading

digital decluttering

Although I really dreaded having to do #5 on my TB30 list, I got some great encouragement from my friend L. She suggested, in keeping with my 30’s theme, that I delete 30% of my Facebook friends.  Now, I consider myself pretty selective in who I have “friended” on FB and definitely don’t play the “let’s see who can get the most friends on FB” game, but was surprised that after doing the math, I realized that in deleting 30% that I would have to delete 154.5 friends! Continue reading

tHiRtY before 30

Here is my list of the things I want to do before I turn 30.

Caveat: You must know that ever since I turned 25-ish, I have had a hard time admitting my age to people. I don’t know why because in no one’s book is mid-20’s considered “old”. To be honest, some of it must stem from insecurity. I guess sometimes I’m insecure about what I should have accomplished or experienced by age “x” and by admiting my age, I’m allowing people to judge whether or not I’m living up to that standard.  So, for me to put a post about turning 30 out “there” for all to see, is a BIG deal…but also is part of #30 on my list.

In following with the so-called theme of this blog, these are things that I want to do or try to make my life a little fuller. In reality, I know that the list is ambitious to try to do all of these things before my next birthday, which is in about 2 months, but that’s okay because that will just leave me more to do by my next birthday. Look for posts on some that have already been accomplished. And even though I haven’t completed this list, I’m also taking suggestions for next year’s list as well. Continue reading

Oodles and oodles of zoodles

Here is a post on what you can do with all of those zucchinis from this summer’s garden.

When I was at the farmer’s market buying peaches and basil for the smoothie that I wanted to try, I also picked up some beautiful zucchinis. I wanted to try to make the zoodles that I had tried at the local raw/vegan cafe that I ate at the other day. This is perfect for people who are following diet restrictions (for whatever reason), like vegan or raw food diets and for people who just want a fun way to eat zucchini besides zucchini bread. For this re-creation, I did not see what ingredients they used to make them with and just went with my instincts on what I thought I might like. I hope the owner of this cafe isn’t offended by my attempts at re-creating her delicious dishes. I hope she just remembers that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Here’s what I used in my version of zoodles:

zucchini, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, sesame seeds (I had white and black so I used both), sugar (not shown in picture)

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Here is what the zucchini looks like after it’s been attacked by the julienne peeler. Don’t they look like green noodles?

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Here is the delicious final product: Zoodles (They were so yummy that I ate them with 2 meals today and I can’t wait to get my hands on more zucchini.)

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My new favorite end-of-summer combo: Peaches and basil

I recently visited a cute local vegan/raw cafe with my cubie, F. We shared an lunch entree that included zoodles and an amazing beet salad. We also decided to each order a smoothie. There were so many to select from; I ended up going with the chef’s recommendation, the Tropical Peach, which featured flavors of peaches and basil. I thought it sounded like an interesting combination and wanted to see what it was like. Let me tell you. It was the most refreshing, clean-tasting, delicious creation! I took note of the ingredients she used to prepare it and rushed to the farmer’s market to buy some local peaches and basil so I could try this at home.

Here are the ingredients I used to create a smoothie perfect for summer’s end:

2 fresh peaches (I used white, but I’m guessing yellow would be just as good, maybe even better), 6-7 basil leaves, 1/2 c frozen mango, small handful of walnuts, 2 T shredded coconut, 1/2 c coconut milk, agave nectar (just a squeeze…may not need if peaches are really sweet), ice

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I blended everything up in my Vitamix on high for about 30 seconds.

I didn’t even have time to garnish the smoothie before R grabbed it up and downed it. By the way, this picture does this smoothie no justice.

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makes 2 generous servings

It’s official…I Heart my Vitamix!

One of the main reasons I started this blog was to have a way to capture life to share with my baby sister and BIL while they are away in Afghanistan serving our nation. The other main reason is because I wanted to share with everyone my adventures in the kitchen, especially those that involve my Vitamix (VM). If you know me at all, you know how I can’t stop raving about my VM. I joking told a friend that if I had a dollar for each time I mentioned their blender, I wouldn’t need to work. Well, I recently found out that I could promote the VM and the VM lifestyle and potentially earn a dollar. So, I am now officially a Vitamix affiliate, which basically means that I can offer free shipping and handling ($25 value) to anyone who buys a VM through me, using the link on this page (see below) or by using my affiliate code (06-005573) at checkout if buying online.

Here’s to living a full life: full stomach, full mind, full heart!

Shrek Juice and Blueberry Ice Cream in the Vitamix

I have decided to affectionately refer to my green smoothies as “Shrek Juice”. This morning I made a special batch of Shrek Juice (SJ) to take to work with me. Today’s SJ was made with banana, pineapple (the not pretty part that you don’t want to eat, but is a waste to throw it away), including pineapple core (or pineapple hearts), frozen strawberries, frozen mangos, carrot, grape tomatoes and and the “Shrekiest” of ingredients—a generous handful of spinach!

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As you can see, I definitely made enough to share. So, I packaged it up for my bike ride to work by pouring the SJ into pint-sized Ball jelly jars. I then put the jars into a insulate cooler (that I scored the other day for free from the University career fair—which I likely didn’t have business visiting). Continue reading

Butter me up: Homemade cinnamon-honey butter in the Vitamix blender

As I sit here writing this post, I am enjoying some luscious homemade strawberry ice cream (made with real cream, not skim milk like I usually do) made in the Vitamix.

Picture 018But I digress. I wanted to tell you about my first attempt at making butter in the Vitamix. As a dietitian, you may be wondering why I am making my own butter. Well, #1: I am not against eating butter (everything in moderation); #2: I have a machine that can do it and wanted to see how easy or hard it was; and #3 I had some whipping cream in the fridge that was getting close to its expiration date and wanted to use it up. Continue reading