chocolate or vanilla?

I have to admit, I’m actually more of a vanilla kind of girl.  When it comes to chocolate vs. vanilla, I will typically pick vanilla.  Now, don’t get me wrong….I absolutely love chocolate….dark chocolate to be exact.  And maybe it’s just cake + ice cream.  Vanilla will always be the winner with those 2!

However, chocolate oats!?  Yes please!

(1 of 15)

This looks like dessert.  I get that.  But it’s not!  It looks super dark from the cocoa powder, but it’s not as rich as you’d think, and barely sweet.  The cocoa flavor is amazing and not overwhelming.

(2 of 15)

Definitely a fun change of pace from the usual banana or pumpkin oats!  And graham crackers on oats??  Don’t even get me started…

(3 of 15)

Lunch was obviously the Spicy African Peanut Soup that I made yesterday.

(4 of 15)

I would say this recipe makes about 6-8 servings.  I’ve eaten it three times, Chris has eaten it twice, and now it’s all gone.  And I am sad. 

(5 of 15)

Can you smell it through the screen??

(6 of 15)

I used raw chickpeas for this recipe, and noticed a definite difference from canned.  I soaked them overnight, then discarded the water + rinsed them.  After that I boiled them with kombu for about 1.5hrs or so, until tender.  Then I threw them in the crock pot with the other ingredients.  They had a nice little crunch to them, more so than canned, and it was awesome.  It’s so much cheaper to cook beans at home, although I realize it’s somewhat of a hassle. 

(7 of 15)

I’ve been out of almond butter for TWO weeks.  GASP!  While I absolutely love the maple cinnamon almond butter and pumpkin spice almond butter, I’m always looking to create new recipes.  It’s just too much fun!

It sort of looks like bugs crawling on the almonds, but I can assure you, they’re just flax seeds.

(8 of 15)

I couldn’t help but toss these with maple syrup…it’s just a perfect match.  But instead of molasses, or cinnamon, I paired it with vanilla

(9 of 15)

Vanilla bean paste to be exact.  Have you ever used this?  I absolutely love it!  They say you can sub this for vanilla extract 1:1, but I feel like it’s a bit stronger.  (10 of 15)

Vanilla Bean Maple Almond Butter

(11 of 15)

The texture was much creamier for this recipe.  I’m pretty sure it was because cinnamon was not involved.  Cinnamon thickens the nut butters quite a bit.  And now I have a new love…

(12 of 15)

Vanilla Bean Maple Almond Butter [yields 1 1/3c]

  • 2c raw almonds
  • 1/3c whole flax seeds
  • 2T + 1T maple syrup [they are added in at different times]
  • 2t vanilla bean paste [or 2-3t vanilla extract]
  • 1/4-1/2t salt
  • 1/2T safflower oil
  1. Preheat your oven to 300*
  2. Line baking sheet with parchment [trust me!] and toss almonds + flax seeds with 2T maple syrup.
  3. Bake for 15min, stir, then bake 15min longer.
  4. Let cool for a few minutes and pour into your food processor. 
  5. Process, until nut butter forms, about 10min and 10-15 bowl scrapes.
  6. Once creamy and smooth, add salt, vanilla bean paste, and 1T maple syrup.
  7. Process again for 3-5min, until it becomes creamy again.  Scrape the bowl as necessary.
  8. If too thick, add 1/2T oil and let process another minute or two.
  9. Store in a air tight jar.

If you want crunchy nut butter, scrape the nut butter into a medium sized bowl.  Add almonds + flax seeds to your food processor and pulse a few times until small pieces are left.  Stir into nut butter for some crunch!

I absolutely LOVE the flax seeds in this.  It made a noticeable difference in taste.  Much nuttier and so so delicious.  From now on, my almond butter will most likely contain flax!

(13 of 15)

This would make a fabulous homemade Christmas or Hanukkah gift [happpppppy Hanukkah!!!] alongside homemade graham crackers!

I’m feeling much better today.  No more dizziness!  I got a full night of sleep and took it easy today.  No working out, just a nice dog walk!  It was a gorgeous sunny day today and pretty warm too!  When I went out with the dogs, this sky was staring at me.

(14 of 15)Just lovely.

(15 of 15)

<3 Ashley