Homemade Almond Butter

Almond Butter in a jar
I may not be reinventing the wheel with this one, but it’s a staple around here and a method that merits mentioning—even though I’m decidedly not the first to do so. If you haven’t seen this party trick yet (or just haven’t gotten around to trying it out), get ready to save some money and impress all your friends, all while barely lifting a finger.

Homemade almond butter, people. Toss some almonds into a food processor, turn it on, let it run until you have almond butter. End of story. Goodnight!

It really is that simple, but let’s talk a little more about why you might want to make your own and all the wonderful ways that you can use this pantry staple.

Almonds in a jar

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Green Smoothie of the Moment

Peachy Green Smoothie
In April of this year, Chris and I bought our first home. We weren’t super well-acquainted with the neighborhood before we moved, but we were very excited that we would be living just one block away from a big park. We were even more excited when we learned that there is a greenmarket in the park every weekend and that the neighborhood CSA program’s pickup location is right next to that market.

Veggie-lovin’ jackpot! Before we even started packing boxes, I made sure we were signed up for the CSA.

We’d participated in our old neighborhood’s CSA a few times, and we loved the spirit of it as well as receiving a huge haul of organic produce every week, but our relationship with that CSA was a bit love/hate. The pick up location was more than a mile and half away without convenient subway access. While a 35-minute walk may not be such a huge deal, the 35-minute walk home loaded down with pounds upon pounds of produce in the middle of August was another story. It also didn’t help that the route passed through a pretty sketchy industrial area. Our solution to this problem was to rent a Zipcar each week to retrieve our share, which felt indulgent and totally negated the financial benefits of CSA participation.

A five-minute walk through the park to snag our veggies alongside a greenmarket sounded like heaven.

Almond Butter & Spinach
And it has been great! Those Saturday morning strolls feel sweet. We cruise through the greenmarket, stopping for a moment so that Roman can listen to the guitarist near the entrance and show everyone his awesome dance moves. Sometimes we grab lunch from Body and Soul, the vegan bakery stand with a nice gluten-free selection. Then we pop over and pick up our CSA share.

As anyone who’s ever participated in a CSA knows, the amount of produce you receive can be somewhat overwhelming. It took me a while to get back into the swing of using up all of our goodies (I totally forgot about freezing by the way! Next year I will definitely be freezing the things I know I can’t get around to.) but we’ve gotten into a good rhythm with the vegetables. I even used up all of our zucchini last week! The fruit has been a little trickier, though.

We usually receive two different kinds of fruit and will often get a lot of one of them. Early on we’d get quarts of blueberries. This was never a problem since they were sweet and wonderful; I’d eat a heaping cupful with breakfast every day and was sad when they stopped coming. Then, for a few weeks, we were getting dozens of little yellow plums. I dutifully ate as many of them as I could stomach before I’d had enough of wincing through the bitterness of their skins. Lately, we’ve been getting tons of little donut peaches…. 

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A New Leaf

Leaves of Kale
Suddenly I’m the new kid in school.  I’ve done this before, I know very basically how it all goes, but I’m walking down unfamiliar halls and everyone has yet to learn my name.  I’m not sure where I fit in.  It’s been a long time since I had to start from scratch.

If we know each other from a previous life, thanks for jumping across sites to be here.  If we’re meeting for the first time, I’m Britt.  I’ll spare the personal details for the About page, but the short story is that I used to write a food blog called GF in the City about gluten-free living in NYC.   After becoming vegan in the fall of 2011, I increasingly found myself feeling limited by the scope of that blog and decided that I needed a new, veg-friendly place to play. Enter Leaves of Kale.

I’m still gluten-free, which we’ll get into at some point, but basically just means that I bake with all kinds of crazy flours and eat a lot of quinoa.  I thoroughly enjoy food and am a firm believer that dietary restrictions don’t have to mean deprivation.  There is far more flavor and variety in my current diet than there ever was in my omnivorous, gluten-filled days.  I’m looking forward to sharing all that goodness with you here.

Another major reason for the change of address: I’ve been itching for a long time to write freely about plant-based nutrition, my favorite cruelty-free products, and my experiences as a crunchy, hippie-dippy mother to an amazing little boy.  So that’s what I’m going to do.  That and whatever else feels right.  I have a lot of hope for this space and am setting zero limitations for myself.

So here we go, kids.  School is officially in session.  Let’s see where these hallways lead.