DIY Almond Butter

DIY Almond Butter

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We eat a lot of nut butter in our house. We eat it on everything from oatmeal, to rice cakes, to putting it in our smoothies and the list goes on and on. Our favorite brand is Justins Nut Butter and we have tried all the different flavors. The cost of buying nut butter can really add up, especially at the rate that we eat it. I decided to try making my own in an attempt to be more cost effective and to experiment with my own flavors.

DIY Almond Butter

You only need a few ingredients and a food processor to make your own nut butter. I decided to make an almond butter as that is what we use the most often but I plan to make my own hazelnut butter as well. I started with 2 cups of almonds because I wasn’t exactly sure how much it would make. I found the 2 cups to make the perfect amount, especially in the experimenting phase. I have a 7-cup food processor and would really need a bigger one to process any more than 2 cups at a time as you want there to be extra space when processing. The only other ingredients you will need are 1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil and whatever you choose to sweeten the nut butter with but this is completely optional.

DIY Almond Butter

Begin by adding the almonds to the food processor and grinding into a fine powder. This can take 5-10 minutes. Next you want to add the coconut oil to the processor. Continue processing the mixture until it has a smooth, creamy consistency. You will notice the butter begin to stick to the sides of the food processor, make sure to scrape it down periodically. The nut butter should be creamy, if not, add a small amount more of the coconut oil and process again. The entire process can take 15-20 minutes to get the butter the right consistency. If you are going to add a sweetener or any other flavoring, wait until the very end. Once the butter is creamy, add the sweetener or additional flavoring and either stir in by hand or process for less than a minute.

DIY Almond Butter DIY Almond Butter DIY Almond Butter

There are so many different options you could use to sweeten of flavor the nut butter, such as maple syrup, agave, honey, vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, or cocoa powder. I chose to add in only a small amount of cinnamon and sugar-free syrup. While the nut butter did taste good, I think adding in more syrup to sweeten it further would have made it even better.

DIY Almond Butter

Ingredients

  • 2-4 cups of almonds ( depends on the size of your food processor)
  • 1-2 tbsp. of coconut oil
  • sweetener optional ( ex: maple syrup, agave, honey)

Instructions

  1. Add almonds to food processor and grind to a fine powder ( 2-10 minutes)
  2. Add the coconut oil and continue processing until a smooth, creamy texture
  3. Scrape down the sides of the processor periodically as needed.
  4. If texture is not a creamy consistency, add more coconut oil
  5. The entire processing time could take 15-20 minutes
  6. Once the creamy texture is achieved, add salt, sweetener, or other flavoring and stir in by hand or process for less than 1 minute.
http://www.thesouthernmagnolia.com/diy-almond-butter/

DIY Almond Butter

Let me know what variations of nut butter are your favorite or what flavors you would like to try.

 

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Sweet Treats for Valentine’s Day

Sweet Treats for Valentine's Day

I was compensated for this post. This post also contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

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I know there are lots of people who dread Valentine’s Day but I have never been one of those people. I mean, come on, a holiday that encourages the consumption of chocolate and all things sweet, how could you not love that. It seems that the price of chocolate and candy seems to soar around the holidays. If you are not fortunate to have a special someone in your life to buy that expensive chocolate/candy for you this year or if you are responsible for buying the candy for your little ones to give to their friends and classmates , I am here to let you in on a little secret. The Dollar Tree has tons of Valentines chocolate, candy,  and decorations, and you guessed it, for only one dollar a piece. This allows you to stock up on all of your Valentine’s Day needs for a fraction of the cost, leaving you plenty of money to snag a few sweets for yourself.

Sweet Treats for Valentine's Day

Today I will be sharing 3 of my favorite Dollar Tree candies and how I use them to create some delicious treats for whatever Valentine’s Day festivities you may be attending.

Sweet Treats for Valentine's Day

I purchased the Palmer Cookies & Crème Hearts, Peanut Butter Hearts and the Milk Chocolate Luscious Lips. Growing up my Grandmother always stocked us up on Palmer’s brand chocolates around the holidays so I have been a long time fan. The chocolates are absolutely delicious and the Valentine’s Day inspired shapes make them even more fun.

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I decided to add my chocolates to another one of my favorite desserts, cookies. I used both plain sugar cookies and chocolate peanut butter cup cookies. I simply prepared my cookies per the instruction from the package and after removing them from the oven I promptly placed my chocolates on top of the cookies before they had a chance to cool. This allows the chocolate to melt to the cookie so that it stays attached. I put the peanut butter hearts on top of the chocolate peanut butter cup cookies and the milk chocolate luscious lip chocolates on top of the sugar cookies. Make sure to allow the cookies to fully cool after adding the candies on top so that the candy has time to harden back up.Sweet Treats for Valentine's DaySweet Treats for Valentine's Day

Now if you are planning on distributing these goodies to others instead of eating them all by yourself, Dollar Tree has several different options you could use to package your treats. I purchased the valentines treat bags with twist ties (25 treat bags come in one pack for only $1) but they also have boxes that would work well too.

Sweet Treats for Valentine's Day

What sweet treats will you be fixing for Valentine’s Day?

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Sweet Treats for Valentines Day Sweet Treats for Valentines Day

 

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Setting Goals for the New Year

Setting Goals for the New Year

I’ve never been big on New Year’s Resolutions. Mostly because so many people make resolutions at the beginning of the year only to break those resolutions in a few weeks or sometimes months. I am, however, a big proponent of setting goals. I always feel like having a goal to work towards forces me to work harder and gives me the motivation to do so. Knowing what my end goal is helps me to determine what steps I need to take in order to get there. I will be sharing a few of my goals for 2017 as a way to hold me accountable (if its written for all of you to read then I have to follow through, right?).

  1. One of my goals is to grow this blog. I have only been blogging for a few months and not always so consistently (evident by the fact that I’m getting my New Year’s post up on January 9th), so that is definitely one of the things I want to work on in order to help grow my readership. I want to improve upon both my content and photography as I feel that is hugely important when trying to grow a blog. I also need to start focusing on my social media presence (Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest) as it plays such a big role in driving traffic to the blog. Sometimes it seems like there is an endless amount of learning when it comes to blogging. I researched tons of tips on starting a blog prior to writing my first post and still continue to research different aspects of blogging so that I can incorporate it into my blog to try to improve it. While it sounds like a lot of work, I truly do enjoy creating different content to share.
  2. My second goal for 2017 is to unplug more. I feel like today it has almost become the norm to be glued to our cell phones. Between all the different forms of social media to having access to internet at all times, its almost hard not to get sucked in. I know I’m guilty of looking at social media and before I know it I have wasted 15-20 minutes. I also tend to get distracted when I am trying to get things on my to-do list done but instead get caught up on checking emails or something else on my phone. I want to be more intentional about spending that time that I typically waste on social media/internet doing things that don’t involve my phone or computer. I also think its incredibly important to be present in our everyday lives and by spending time with our loved ones instead of having our faces glued to our phones.
  3. Thirdly, I want to try to stress less. About 7 months out of the year, my husband and I spend more time on the road and out of town then we do at home. Between all the traveling and trying to run my handmade jewelry business and now writing a blog, I sometimes get overwhelmed and feel that I don’t have time for everything. I want to try not to get stressed out if I’m not able to get a blog post up as often as I would like, or if I’m not able to get some of the things accomplished for my jewelry business that I would like. At the end of the day, it isn’t that big of a deal and I can always get it accomplished on another day.
  4. Another goal I have for 2017 is being more consistent with my quiet times. I go through phases where I will stick with my quiet time on a daily basis for a while then I let our ever changing schedule throw me off and it takes me a while to get back on track. I want to start making my quiet time a priority and sticking to it. I feel I am a much better wife and over all person when I spend time daily reading the Bible. Do you have any bible studies that you would recommend? I would love to hear your suggestions.
  5. My last goal for 2017 is to grow my jewelry business, Immeasurably More. I launched my jewelry website in June of 2015 and really didn’t have a clue what I was doing. I have continued to research and try to implement everything I have learned into my business but still have more to learn. I want to invest more time and effort into growing my sales as well as my social media channels.

What are some of the goals you have set for yourself for 2017? I think it is neat to look back on my goals throughout the year to see what progress I have made and what I still need to work on.

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Quinoa Protein Breakfast Cereal

Any one else consider themselves a cereal addict? I don’t only like cereal for breakfast, but could eat it for each meal. Cereal makes a great late night snack and its quick and easy. I typically prefer to eat my cereal dry without milk because I can’t stand for my cereal to get soggy. The one big downside to cereal is the amount of sugar and carbs that the majority of cereals contain. You would be surprised to know how much sugar is in a single serving of your favorite cereal. It makes you think twice before grabbing that bowl of cereal, especially the really good tasting cereals such as Lucky Charms, Cocoa Pebbles, or Fruit Loops.

quinoacereal4

For the longest time I just stayed away from cereals altogether and stuck to just oatmeal for breakfast. Oatmeal is a great way to get some complex carbs in to start the day. I still crave dry cereal as a snack sometimes so I started looking for some healthier options. I stumbled upon IEatProtein’s Quinoa Cereal. The cereal is available in three different flavors: chocolate, cinnamon, and peanut butter. I opted to try the chocolate flavor first. The ordering process was simple and I received my order quickly. The cereal is a bit pricey compared to cereal you’d purchase at the supermarket. I wasn’t really sure what to expect taste wise because healthy doesn’t always translate to tasty. I was actually pleasantly surprised with the flavor of the cereal. This cereal is gluten-free, sugar free, low fat, and loaded with protein. My husband and I quickly finished off our box and I plan to try the other flavors in the near future. The IEatProtein compay also sells several other products such as powdered peanut butter and protein packed coffee.

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Low Carb Cauliflower Lasagna

Anyone else out there love lasagna but hate all the carbs that come along with it? Well I’ve got a recipe for you today that will help you to enjoy that lasagna without any guilt. I will be discussing my low-carb lasagna recipe that tastes just as good as the traditional lasagna.

If you’ve read my post on cauliflower crust pizza, you will already be ahead of the game. We will be using the same recipe I used for the crust to replace the pasta used in traditional lasagna. You can refer back to that recipe here. Since fixing the cauliflower layer is the most time consuming part, I strongly recommend starting with this step. Start with the same steps we used for the cauliflower crust in our pizza and simply use a cookie sheet instead of the pizza sheet, creating a rectangular shape instead of round this time.

cauliflowerlasagna4Once the cauliflower layer is finished, start cooking the meat for the lasagna. For my lasagna I used 1 lb of deer meat we had in the freezer but any lean meat will work. Cook meat thoroughly before moving to next step. cauliflowerlasagna1When the meat is completely cooked, pour in the peeled tomatoes. Cook another 5 minutes and stir occasionally.

cauliflowerlasagna3

Set the meat aside and begin on the cheese layer next. Mix together the ricotta cheese, an egg, and the mozzarella cheese. Stir until ingredients are completely mixed.

cauliflowerlasagna5At this point we have all the different components of our lasagna complete and we just need to layer it together. I used a 9×7 Pyrex dish and sprayed with nonstick spray. I first layered the meat into the bottom of the dish and then added a cheese layer on top. I then cut the cauliflower into square pieces and layered them on top of the cheese layer. I added one more layer of meat, cheese, and cauliflower, which filled my dish to the top.

cauliflowerlasagna6I then place the dish into the oven at 400 degrees F to let it bake for about 30 minutes. Make sure you allow it to stay in the oven long enough to completely melt the cheese layers. Once it has baked completely, I pull it out of the oven and it is ready to enjoy.

cauliflowerlasagna10                  cauliflowerlasagna11

Cauliflower Lasagna

Ingredients

  • 2 Heads of cauliflower
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups of mozzarella cheese
  • 15 oz Ricotta cheese
  • 1 lb lean meat
  • 1can (25oz) peeled tomatoes

Instructions

  1. Break the two heads of cauliflower down into cauli-rice by using a food processor.
  2. Place cauli-rice onto cookie sheet covered with parchment paper
  3. Cook the cauli-rice for 15 minutes at 350 degrees F
  4. Remove cauli-rice from oven and allow to cool
  5. Once cooled, squeeze all water from cauliflower by using a cheesecloth or wash cloth. Make sure to get as much liquid as possible from the cauliflower as it will help the cauliflower layer stick together better. Cauli-rice should now resemble more of a ball of dough.
  6. Add 2 eggs and 1 cup of mozzarella cheese to the cauliflower. Stir until completely mixed.
  7. place dough mixture back onto parchment paper and bake another 15 minutes at 450 degrees F.
  8. Once finished baking remove from oven and set aside to cool.
  9. Place a small amount of oil into pan and begin to cook meat. Cook meat thoroughly before moving to next step.
  10. Once meat is completely cooked, add in can of peeled tomatoes. Cook mixture another 5 minutes and stir occasionally.
  11. Next mix together 1 egg, ricotta cheese, and 1 cup of mozzarella cheese. Stir until completely mixed.
  12. Spray nonstick spray into 9x7 baking dish.
  13. Begin with layering meat into bottom of dish
  14. Next add a layer of the cheese mixture on top of the meat.
  15. Cut cauliflower into squares and layer over top the cheese mixture.
  16. Repeat layer of meat, cheese, and cauliflower.
  17. Place baking dish back into oven and bake at 450 degrees F for another 30 minutes or until cheese layers are completely melted.
  18. Remove from oven and enjoy
http://www.thesouthernmagnolia.com/low-carb-cauliflower-lasagna/

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3 Must-Read Devotional Books

With so many different devotional books out there it can be hard to narrow it down to one. You can spend forever reading the description of each one but I find the best way to find if one is a good fit for you is by hearing reviews from others who have already read one. Today I will be discussing three of the most recent devotional books that I have read and give you my thoughts on each.

The first book I will be discussing today is Wives After God: Drawing Closer to God & Your Husband. I went through the devotional study shortly after marrying my husband. I think it is great for newly married women but I really think it is a good study for any married woman. It takes a look at God’s design for marriage and the roles we play as husband and wife. It explores the importance of our relationships with God which in turn effects the relationship with our spouse. The study explains that by drawing closer to God we are better able to be the Godly wives we were meant to be. I find myself often referring back to passages and scriptures that I looked at during the study to guide me in times when I feel I am struggling. Our role as wife is not always easy but this study reminds us that it is easier with God than without.

The Search For Significance: Seeing Your True Worth Through God’s Eyes is the second devotional study that I want to discuss today. I think this study is such a great one especially in today’s society. It is so easy for us to get caught up in what “the world” says about our worth. We tend to look to other people to determine our worth when in actuality we should only look to God for our self-worth. We tend to rely heavily on our accomplishments or on other’s opinions for the basis of our self-worth but that is not as God intended it. We are driven by a desire to be accepted and seek to gain the praise of others which ultimately leaves us feeling hopeless. This study helps to learn to base your self-worth on the truths of God’s Word which ultimately results in our behavior being a direct reflection of Christ.

The third study that I want to share with you today is more lengthy than the first two and delves a lot deeper into Gods Word. This study is Nourishing the Seed: Learning to Please Father God. This study really helps to deepen your relationship with Christ by dissecting scripture and analyzing our role as Christ followers here on Earth. It illustrates the importance of loving as God loves which is not always an easy task. Loving what God loves only comes as we mature in our walk with Him. Strongly recommend this book for anyone looking for a deep study of God’s Word to grow in your relationship with Him.

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