The Most Amazing One-Ingredient Ice Cream!

One Ingredient Banana Ice Cream

OMG! I’m obsessed! Obsessed with my newest discovery of one-ingredient banana ice cream. Yes, it’s just bananas and it’s as creamily smooth as soft serve ice cream.

I readily admit that I’m an ice cream addict. I’m pretty sure that it runs in my family as my brother and sister are severely afflicted as well so I think it’s safe to blame genetics on this misfortune.

The other night during one of my “CHRISTINA NEEDS ICE CREAM RIGHT NOW!” moments, I downed an entire pint of this stuff.

Nada Moo Maple Pecan Ice Cream

It was just what the doctor ordered! The only problem is that it was 10pm at night and consuming large amounts of sugar late at night keeps me up. So as I lay in bed well after midnight with my heart racing and not a wink of shut-eye in sight, my late night ice cream binge wasn’t looking like such a hot decision after all. Sadly, I know this about myself—how sugar affects me. And I clearly knew how late it was, yet could not stop eating the sweet creamy bliss. *sigh*

However, I’m thinking that this holy-mother-of-god-amazing invention of only-banana ice cream just might be my savior to late night cravings since fruit sugar (fructose) does not affect blood sugar levels the way that refined sugar (glucose) does!

One Ingredient Banana Ice Cream

Also, I must clarify. When I say ice “cream” I am, of course, referring to those of the non-dairy variety, which I dare say are better than the kind made from a lactating bovine. And with the overwhelming number of different companies producing such a wide variety of flavors it’s hard not to find at least a couple that you will love. You have choices from coconut to soy, almond, cashew, and rice based ice creams—so, yeah, lots to choose from. That Nada Moo kind I had the other night was awesome and I want to try other flavors of it, but my favorite kind that’s available nationally is Ginger Cookie Caramel Coconut Bliss. Sooooo good! Almond Dream is also another great brand and I actually love the straight up vanilla one. And if you’re in the Bay Area you cannot miss trying Scream Ice Cream—it takes the cake (heh) as best ice cream in the world and makes me salivate just thinking about it.

Somehow I missed the internet craze about this banana ice cream when it initially hit as it seems to have been all the rage a number of months ago. Apparently there is even a special banana ice cream making machine on the market. I don’t mean to knock it, but if you have a food processor this tool is completely superfluous and just another unnecessary kitchen gadget. You’re just blending bananas!

Toasted Coconut Banana Vegan Ice Cream

Ok. Ok. Enough chit chat. Onward with how to make this mother of all inventions!

You first want to slice some ripe bananas and stick them in the freezer until frozen (I like to wait a day to make sure they’re solid.) Then you throw them in your food processor.

Frozen Banana Slices

And start to process…you’ll see it turn to chunks and then start to get a bit smoother.

After blending a few minutes more it’ll start to get even creamier. I like to periodically turn on the machine and scrape down the side and spread out any chunks so that it gets evenly pureed.

I really love it at the stage in the above photo on the right, but you can continue blending until it’s even creamier like the one below.

Banana Soft Serve Ice Cream

I’ve noticed that if you don’t add any additional fruit to your ice cream, when you refreeze it maintains that soft creamy consistency. However, if you add strawberries, for example, the refrozen version becomes harder and tastes more like sorbet.

One Ingredient Vegan Banana Ice Cream

I also enjoyed topping it with chocolate sauce, strawberries, and toasted coconut.

Oy…clearly, I’m very inexperienced at photographing frozen foods because, in retrospect I realize that I should have frozen the plate and then let this trio sit in the freezer for a few minutes before photographing it—meltytown!

One-Ingredient Banana Ice Cream

Ingredients

  • at least 2 frozen bananas (or banana slices)
  • (optional) splash of vanilla

Puree Bananas: If they’re not already sliced, I recommend chopping up your frozen bananas before putting them in the food processer. Once you have slices, whirl away for several minutes until you have something akin to soft-serve ice cream. Feel free to sample along the way as you’re scraping down the sides of the bowl 🙂

Also, feel free to experiment with adding other flavors or foods to the mixture. So far I’ve tried:

  • berries
  • coconut and coconut milk
  • molasses and cookies
  • sunbutter (which was heaven for me—it’s funny, though, that the combination of the two oxidized to create an unappetizing grey color to whatever parts were exposed to air)
  • chocolate
  • OMG pumpkin!
So if you haven’t tried this little experiment yet and are fond of bananas, you’re missing out! Perhaps it, too, will satisfy your late-night ice cream urges.

One Ingredient Banana Ice Cream

Arame Purple Cabbage Slaw with Tahini Goddess Dressing

Arame Slaw

Spring has apparently sprung (or was bypassed in favor of summer?) for my dear friends and family in Michigan where they’ve been enjoying record high temperatures. Even though it’s still possible that they’re in for a good Mother’s Day snowstorm (it wouldn’t be the first time!), for now they can savor the warm weather and perhaps enjoy the colorful fresh veggies spring has to offer like this favorite slaw of mine.

Arame

In general, I’m actually not a huge fan of seaweed. The strong fishy flavor is usually what turns me off to it. I do enjoy sushi rolls occasionally, but even the nori on rolls can be a tad too strong sometimes (I know, I’m weird, right?!). I’ll still eat them, but there’s something about that flavor that can be so offensive to me. And that’s what I love about arame because it lacks that distinct fishy flavor and is one of the most mild sea veggies there is.

Above you’ll see the lovely arame in it’s dried form and this is what you’ll be looking for when you purchase it at the store. For this recipe, you’ll want to pull it out of the bag and cover it with warm water to soak for at least 15 minutes.

While your arame is soaking, chop the veggies and make the Tahini Goddess dressing. Before moving on, I have to stop right here and mention that this dressing is possibly my all-time favorite. In college I used to purchase Annie’s Goddess dressing at my local co-op before learning how to easily make my own homemade version of it. The homemade version is just as good, if not better (and doesn’t use any extra oil!), if I dare say so myself. 🙂

Once you’ve chopped your veggies and placed them into a large mixing bowl you’ll have this beautiful rainbow of colors.

Vegetable Bowl

After the arame has soaked for at least 15 minutes it will look like this. You then want to strain it with a sieve and squeeze out (with your hands) as much excess water as you can before adding it to the rest of the salad.

Soaking Arame

Toss all of the veggies including the arame together and then add the tahini sauce and toss again until everything is well coated and the dressing is evenly distributed. Easy peasy, hey? At this point you’re done and ready to enjoy!

Arame Slaw

Arame Purple Cabbage Slaw with Tahini Goddess Dressing

Ingredients

  • 1 small head purple cabbage, chopped into small strips
  • 1 large carrot, shredded
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into thin slices and halved
  • 2 scallions, white and green parts thinly sliced
  • 2 cups dried arame

Tahini Goddess Dressing

  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tablespoons tahini (roasted or not roasted—either works just fine)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce (tamari, shoyu, or Bragg liquid aminos—whatever you prefer)
  • 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup water
  • salt and pepper to taste

Soak Arame: Place the arame in a medium bowl and cover with very warm water. Let it soak for a minimum of 15 minutes. It always takes me a bit longer to prep the rest of the veggies and tahini sauce so I just let the arame soak until I’ve completed all of that.

Chop Veggies: While the arame is soaking, chop all of your veggies and place them in a large bowl.

Make Dressing: Place all of the dressing ingredients in a mini food processor or blender and blend until completely smooth.

Assemble: Toss the veggies and arame together in the bowl and then drizzle the dressing and toss again until all veggies are evenly coated with the dressing.

Eggplant Chips

Eggplant Chips with Basil Pesto

Every year my CSA will deliver one too many eggplants to my door. Too many being more than zero. Seriously, I don’t like eggplant. Neither the texture nor the flavor appeal to me, but knowing that I should eat a variety of foods in my diet, I attempt to choke them down every so often without paying too much attention to the slimy, unpalatable food I’m consuming.

Often times, when I don’t like a particular food, I whip out my trusty blender (or food processor) and puree the crap out of it. I also make sure to include a bunch of other strong flavored foods in my pureed concoction to mask the icky taste.

So when eggplant season arrives, I often find myself swimming in batch after batch of baba ghanoush, but that gets old pretty fast and, really, there’s only so much baba one can eat in a month without turning into Aladdin himself.

eggplant slices

A few years ago (during said eggplant season) I wondered what eggplant chips would be like. After all, I was making kale chips (so amazing!) daily because I loved them so much so I decided to give the eggplant chips idea a whirl. Lo and behold I found myself with another recipe where I could actually eat eggplant without holding my nose. Eggplant, you have been redeemed in my book!

So for all of you other eggplant haters out there, here’s a simple way to use those pesky purple nightshades when they end up in your CSA box later this year. And for those of you who already love eggplant… well, I guess you’ll just have yet another way to enjoy these buggers.

Eggplant Chips with Basil Pesto

Eggplant Chips

Ingredients

  • 1 eggplant (any variety, but preferably one that is long and thin like a Japanese eggplant)
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • dried herbs of your choice (I chose thyme for this batch)
  • salt and pepper

Sweat Eggplant: Slice the eggplant into thin slices (1/8 inch or so) and lay each slice on a cooling rack. sprinkle salt on each slice and let it sit for at least 30 minutes or longer. This step is important in reducing the bitterness as well as removing excess water so that it can crisp up easier. After your eggplant has sweat all it can sweat, blot off the excess water with paper towel.

Prep: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Season Eggplant: Lay each slice in a single layer on the baking sheet and, using a brush, coat each one with olive oil (don’t be stingy on the oil). Sprinkle the top with salt, pepper, and herbs. Flip them over and do the same to the other side.

Cook: Bake for 10 minutes, take them out of the oven, flip them over, then bake for another 10 or so minutes. Depending on how thick your slices are you may need to cook them longer to get the desired crispiness and potentially flip them over yet again. Also, be sure to keep a close eye on them while they’re baking and remove or relocate slices that are getting too brown—the last thing you want to be doing is choking down charred eggplant seeing as the whole reason for this recipe is to make eggplant more desirable to the palate.

I hope you enjoy these crispy, do-not-taste-like-eggplant eggplant chips as much as I do!

Note: I had some wilting basil that was about to throw itself in the compost if I didn’t use it immediately and made a batch of pesto (pictured) for dipping my chips. This combination was amazeballs and I realize that I could have even brushed the eggplant with it before placing in the oven! I really want to try this next time!

Deliciously Creamy Lima Bean Soup

Amazing Lima Bean Soup

I’m here to make more promises! Oh, yes, I am! This soup is phenomenal. Really. I’m sure you’re thinking that lima beans are the last thing you’d describe as phenomenal, but trust me this silky smooth, hearty soup is nothing short of amazing. Even if you despise lima beans, I’m willing to place bets that you’ll actually like this soup because when lima’s are pureed their creamy texture lends itself to a delicious soup base. No mealiness found here!

What I love about this soup and why I’ve been making it for many years is because it’s incredibly quick to put together (almost instant to make), it’s tasty, hearty, satisfying and loaded with protein, fiber, Vitamins A, C, and K, and manganese. So to break that down, it’s healthy, fast, and delectable!

Lima Bean Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 10 oz. bags of frozen lima beans
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped into small pieces
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped into small pieces
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 heaping teaspoons dried thyme (don’t forget this ingredient—IMO, it completely makes the soup!)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Cook Beans: Empty both bags of frozen lima beans in a medium pot and fill with just enough water to cover. Cook the beans over high heat until they boil. Reduce the head to low, cover, and cook until heated through—about 10 minutes.

Sautee Veggies: While the beans are cooking, pour the olive oil in a medium saute pan and heat over medium heat. Add the onions and saute for 7-10 minutes or until soft and translucent. Add the carrots and garlic and saute for another 7 minutes.

Puree Beans: While the veggies are cooking and after the beans are heated through, puree the beans in their cooking liquid either directly in the pot with an immersion blender or in batches in a blender until silky smooth. Return the pureed beans to the cooking pot and then add the cooked veggies. Add the dried thyme (I like to rub it between my hands to allow the flavors to come through more before adding it), salt, and pepper. At this point, you can either cook the soup for another 15 minutes on low heat or, if you’re pleased with the tenderness of the veggies and the flavors of the soup, eat it now.

Note: The rosemary garnish is completely unnecessary and would be ridiculous to actually eat with this soup—I just thought it needed some kind of accessory in order to be more photogenic and that was the best I could find in my fridge :). A few fresh thyme leaves would be more appropriate.

Lima Bean Soup

My Sweet Valentine

Binary Wrapping Paper

Right now Alex is peacefully sleeping and I will be off to work before he wakes so I won’t get to see his reaction to the Valentine’s gift I left him this morning. And actually I’m okay with that as it might be more enjoyable for him to open it without me hovering over him. It might afford him the time to just relax and enjoy it.

So what did I make for him? Well, after my successful chocolate candy making experiment over the holidays, Alex has been begging me to make more. So always wanting to please my hon, I decided that Valentine’s Day was the perfect reason to get back into it. I knew that I wanted to use the occasion appropriate hearts and kisses molds for the shape.

Chocolate Candy Valentine's Tin

And for the filling? Well, having been born and spending his early childhood in New Hampshire and Vermont, Alex has a certain affinity for maple. Maple sugar, maple candy, maple cream, maple syrup, and, of course, maple butter. So what better way to treat him for Valentine’s Day than to mix his recent chocolate candy request with his love of maple?

Maple Butter Filled Chocolate Hearts

For the kisses, I cut thin strips of pink tissue paper and wrote little notes with things that I love about him on it and placed it in the kiss before wrapping it in foil.

I then packaged them all up in a tin with pink tissue paper and, because Alex is a software engineer and totally geeks out on things like this (and I won’t deny that I don’t either), I wrapped his gift in paper that says “I love you” in binary. Can any other geeks out there read this? 🙂

Binary Wrapping Package

Maple Filled Chocolate Candy

These are so ridiculously easy to make!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (or more depending how many you want to make) chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable shortening
  • maple butter (or maple cream)

Melt Chocolate and Assemble: In a microwave or heavy saucepan, melt the chocolate chips and shortening until completely smooth. If you want to be extra careful not to burn the chocolate, you can use a double boiler. With a paintbrush (or small spoon) paint the inside of the mold with the melted chocolate. Once you’ve completed every heart and kiss in the mold, place it in the freezer for 3-5 minutes until hardened. Remove from the freezer and fill each heart and kiss with the maple butter. The maple butter I was working with was VERY sticky so I had to grease my finger when working with it. If you use maple cream, you probably won’t need to do that. Then cover the maple butter with the melted chocolate and put the molds back in the freezer until the chocolate hardens completely. Pull them out of the freezer, pop them out of the mold and store in a cool place until ready to serve.
Enjoy!

Green Machine Smoothie


I have been eating this smoothie every day (for weeks) as a post-lunch snack. By using seasonal fruit and taking advantage of the luscious kale that is in abundance at the markets right now, you too should enjoy this nutrient powerhouse. The great thing about the Green Machine is that even if you abhor kale you’ll still love this smoothie! It’s the perfect way to add this high-nutrient dense veggie into your diet. I promise you won’t even taste it! The fruit completely overpowers the flavor of the kale and the only way you know it’s in there is because of the beautiful green color it lends to the smoothie.

Powerhouse Green Machine Smoothie

  • 2  oranges peeled (make sure to remove all of the pith otherwise your smoothie will be bitter—it’s happened to me, don’t let it happen to you)
  • 3 apples cored
  • 1 pear cored
  • 2-inch peeled chunk of ginger (optional—but for me, this makes the smoothie!)
  • 1 banana
  • 2 cups frozen pineapple chunks
  • 2 cups kale, rinsed and de-stemmed
Directions: Place all of the fruit ingredients and ginger in a blender and blend until super smooth. Also, I layer the fruit in my blender starting with the oranges, then apple, pear, banana, ginger, and pineapple so that the juice from the oranges adds enough liquid that you don’t need to add any extra juice. It makes for a crazy thick smoothie that you can eat with a spoon so that it’s as nutrient dense as possible. Then add the kale and blend again until completely smooth. Enjoy!
Note: I have a Vitamix blender and have not tested this in any other machine so in the case that it won’t blend you might need to add a smidge of juice.

Roasted Tomato Gigante Bean Salad

Let me just say that I might have a new favorite bean. Don’t get me wrong, I still love my pinto, black bean, cannelini, and most of all, garbanzos, but there is a new kid on my block and I’m falling hard for him. He goes by the name of Gigante, sometimes Gigande, and I’ve even seen some people use Giganti. He’s totally beefy and much larger than your average bean. Here’s a photo for comparison (note: all of these beans are steamy and at their fully erect size).

And here you can see him from the side—see, super beefy, right?

His texture is soft yet firm, but totally creamy melt-in-your-mouth. Oh, em, gee…I’m salivating just thinking about it.

Oh, and look who spotted one of his favorite foods (and don’t worry your cute little pants off as I disinfected the cutting board after letting him enjoy this mid-afternoon snack.) Anyone else have a cat with a penchant for beans? He plays no favorites and loves them all—so weird!

But here’s the catch—Mr. Gigande is incredibly elusive. I thought Rainbow Grocery, with their extensive bulk bean selection, would for surely carry him. After all they carry peruano beans, ayacote morado beans, black calypso beans, and Santa Maria pinquinto beans! But woe is me after not finding my beloved Gigante there.

Beans at Rainbow

I then went to Whole Foods to see if he might be there. Since I have been meeting him there for our regular trysts at the salad bar for months now, surely they would stock him in bulk! But no such luck for me at Whole Foods and I walked out the door empty handed.

Hmmm…I didn’t want to have to go back to his native land, Greece, to track him down. On the other hand, maybe that would be the perfect excuse for a trip? Either way, I wanted to be able to see him more frequently—like every day. I wanted to be able to find him here and enjoy him when it strikes my fancy!

So I was then reduced to stalking him on the internet: “Where the hell can I find Gigante beans in the Bay Area?” was my Google search. It became clear to me through this search that I am not the only one who has fallen for him—apparently he’s quite the charmer and has made the rounds—but it seems that he’s not just elusive with me, as others were having the same trouble locating him as well. I did; however, discover that someone had spotted him at the Ferry Building Farmer’s Market from Iacopi Farms in Half Moon Bay. Bingo! Just as I was beginning to lose hope, suddenly my spirits started to lift.

On Saturday I dressed in my finest Farmer’s Market garb (thank god he prefers the athletic look because I was not about to hike up SF hills in heels) and trucked my booty to the Ferry Building.

Wahoo! FINALLY! I found him!

After I returned home, I got busy in the kitchen with Mr. Gigante and created this amazeball dish!

Roasted Heirloom Tomato Gigante Bean Salad

  • 1 pound dry gigante beans
  • 2 large heirloom tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling over tomatoes
  • salt and pepper
  • 3-4 green onions

Rinse your beans and soak them in water for 8 hours or overnight. Make sure there is 8 inches or more of water above your beans as they will soak up way more than you’d think.

Soaking Beans

After that, strain and rinse them. Also, remove any deformed or discolored beans like the one on the right. That happened to be the only sad bean I found in the bunch.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Wash, slice, and deseed your tomatoes and then place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Drizzle olive oil over the tomatoes, sprinkle with salt and pepper and place them in the oven.

Let the tomatoes roast for 30 minutes and then pull them out and turn them over to roast on the other side. This is what mine looked like after 30 minutes. After turning them over, pop them back in the oven for another 30 minutes.

While they’re roasting, thinly slice the green onions and mix them with the beans.

After the tomatoes have roasted for at least an hour, you can pull them out of the oven. If you wish, you can roast them for several hours; the longer you roast the more intense their flavor will become. Here’s what mine looked like after an hour.

Chop the tomatoes and fold them into the beans and onions. Drizzle with the 3 tablespoons of olive oil and add salt and pepper to taste.

I am totally over the moon for Mr. Gigande and this dish. I’m also massively happy that I made a hefty amount and will be able to enjoy it throughout the week!

Super Easy, Super Amazing Vegan Sunbutter and Coconut Cups

Once you’ve gone “all the way” with your sunbutter like my hot night of passion, or even just had a quickie by picking up a jar at the market, you’re ready to take your relationship to the next level and dress your little sunbutter up in some chocolate! This goes for coconut too, though, it holds a completely different, more platonic, place in my heart.

I made both of these bad boys over the holiday break and gifted (I know that Alex is going to cringe when he reads me using “gift” as a verb, but I stand by this use as it’s now perfectly acceptable—the dictionary confirms this, thank you very much) my co-workers with a variety of chocolate goodness that you can read more about here. These little buggers were a serious hit with my co-workers so it’s safe to say that they’re as good (if not better) than your standard peanut butter ones. And, really, the options of what kind of nut or seed butter you want to use are limitless so play around with a particular filling that knocks your socks off.

General recipe ingredients and guidelines for making your way to any sunbutter or coconut lover’s heart:

Ingredients

Chocolate

  • 4 cups chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable shortening

Sunbutter Filling

  • 1 cup creamy sunbutter
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
Coconut Filling

  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup,  agave syrup, or other liquid sweetener of your choice.
  • Mini muffin tin (I found mine at Sur La Table)
  • Mini paper cupcake/muffin cups (Found these at Sur La Table as well)

Directions

Mix Filling: For both, stir together all filling ingredients in separate small bowls and set aside.

Melt Chocolate and Assemble: Melt the chocolate chips and vegetable shortening in a small heavy bottom pan over the stove until completely smooth. With a mini spoon, other small utensil, or paintbrush paint the inside of the paper muffin cups with the melted chocolate. Make sure to coat every nook and cranny so that there are no holes. Place the cup in the muffin tin so that it retains it’s shape. Once you’ve coated as many cups that the mold holds with chocolate, place the pan in the freezer for 3-5 minutes until the chocolate has completely hardened. Remove from the freezer and spoon the sunbutter or coconut filling into each of the cups. Then cover each cup with your melted chocolate.  Refrigerate until hardened. They can be stored this way for several weeks (and probably months, but they’re not likely to last long enough to test that theory). Also, I had to do many batches since my tin only held 12 cups at at time and I didn’t need to remelt my chocolate through all of it, but if your chocolate does harden before you’re finished simply go ahead and remelt it.

Yield: Varies depending on the size of your muffin cups.
Coconut filling recipe inspiration credit: Elana’s Pantry

Christina Does Sunbutter

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of nut butters. I love ’em all. In fact, I publicly proclaimed my love of the nut in it’s buttery form years ago here. And this is still true today—my unwavering love of nut butters has not changed; however, this love has evolved. It has evolved to include a cousin of the nut, seeds, and just like nuts, there a a lot of them out there, from the more standard sunflower, pumpkin, and sesame to some newcomers (in the sense that you can find them on your standard grocery store shelves) like hemp and chia.

The seed that I became enamored with a couple years ago is the beloved sunflower, particularly in it’s butter form called sunbutter. Even after a few years into our relationship we’re still going strong. Though, we have had our ups and downs like when I consumed an entire jar in a single day and had a massive bellyache, or that time when I consumed heaping amounts every single day and started to develop a weird sensation on my tongue whenever eating it so we had to go on a break for a while. Thankfully those dark lonely days only lasted a few months. And through all of that, we’re now in a really great place. So great that I decided it was high time to try making some from scratch myself.

On my walk home from yoga on Friday night I stopped by Whole Foods and picked up some plain organic sunflower seeds and got busy in the kitchen. It was a date—a totally giddy-like-friends-who-are-just-starting-to-get-to-know-each-other-on-a-new-level kind of date. And let me tell you, the results of that date are awesomesauce. The chemistry was purely magical. I suggest you too give it a go! Here’s how you can move on to a deeper level in your relationship with the sunflower seed and how my Friday night romp ended up:

Ingredients:

  • plain, unsalted, shelled sunflower seeds
  • sweetener of your choice (agave syrup, maple syrup, cane sugar, etc.)
  • salt
  • cinnamon or any other interesting flavors you might want to add to the mix
Roasting: The first step is toasting the seeds in a dry skillet or oven for a few minutes. When they’re brown, but not too dark, quickly remove them from the pan. Some will be darker than others—they won’t all toast evenly and that’s A-ok! Just make sure you don’t over toast them otherwise you might end up with a bitter sunbutter. You’ll want to transfer the seeds into a dish or on a plate to cool down and you’ll want to do this right away to prevent them from cooking longer in the hot pan. This is how mine looked post-toasting. Once we got the basic get-to-know-you conversation out of the way, we could then move on to the fun part.
Dirty Dancing:  You then need to start grinding your seeds like a couple of college students at their first frat party. Throw caution to the food processor and turn it ON. After a short amount of time it will start to look crumbly, but that’s just because it’s nervous.

Don’t Give Up: Keep grinding and its nerves will subside, it’ll become more relaxed and start to form into a creamy paste.

Keep Grinding: Don’t let the screams of the food processor fool you, it’s not done until both parties are satisfied. You really have to be patient with it and it will eventually loosen up to become a smooth operator like this. This foreplay lasts roughly 7 to 10 minutes before you’ve gotten the sunbutter to the right drippy consistency. And if your food processor starts to whine about the massive workout you’re giving it like mine did, you might want to give it a short break. You don’t want it to die pre-climax and be left with a mealy, unfinished sunbutter.

Any Accoutrements?: Right at the sunbutter’s peak consistency, I then added some salt, maple syrup, and cinnamon. Oh. My. God. Just when I didn’t think it could get any better I totally lost it. This is the thing about being on a date with your own sunbutter—you can completely customize the additions to your liking. Maybe you like the paler agave syrup? Or maybe you too prefer the complex flavors of maple syrup? Or maybe you like both at different times? Or a little of both at once? You totally get to choose when you make your own!

At this point, Alex arrived home and walked in on me in such a post-coital haze that I forgot to snap more photos, but you probably don’t want to see me shoving it in my mouth. So that’s pretty much how it went down on Friday night in my house.

Serving: For me, I truly love my sunbutter straight up with a spoon (like the picture below), but I also enjoy when it dresses up in some sexy outfit like bread or crackers from time to time.

Anyone else this crazy about nut and seed butters? Or am I the only nut-case like this? Pretty please tell me that’s not true!

Homemade Curry Powder

Nothing beats a warm curry dish on a cool winter evening. And nothing beats curry powder like homemade curry powder. Seriously, ever since I started making my own curry powder 9+ years ago, I’ve not once purchased a store bought blend. Even when I’ve been in a time-crunch and realized I was almost out of the stuff, I’ve either reworked my meal plan or sprinted to the store to purchase the missing spices. It’s just that much better. Also, making your own curry powder allows you to customize the spices to your own liking, whether that be spicier or sweeter or cardamommier curry—you get to choose.

So try it out! Trust me. Once you make your own you won’t go back to store bought either. Plus it’s very easy and super quick (total time is ~5 minutes) to make.

    • 1/4 cup coriander seed
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons black peppercorns
    • 1 tablespoon cumin seed
    • 1 tablespoon cardamom pods
    • 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds (Does fenugreek smell like butterscotch to anyone else? Or is it just me?)
    • 1 or 2 cinnamon sticks (2-3 inches worth)
    • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
    • 2 tablespoons ground turmeric

Roasty Toasty: (This is one of the reasons homemade curry powder is so amazing—and I have a feeling that most commercial producers skip this step.) Place the coriander seeds, peppercorns, cumins seeds, cardamom pods, fenugreek seeds, and cinnamon stick in a dry skillet. Toast them over medium heat, stirring and shaking the pan for about 4 minutes until they become fragrant. Transfer the spices to a plate and let them cool for a few minutes (make sure to do this right away so that they don’t continue to cook in the hot pan.)

Grinding: Place the roasted spices in a coffee grinder and grind to a fine powder. I suppose you could do this by hand as well using a mortar and pestle; though, a coffee grinder will be way more efficient.

Pour and Mix:  Pour the powder in a bowl and stir in the ginger and turmeric until they are well incorporated.

*Makes approximately a 1/2 cup of curry powder

Storage: Store the curry powder in an airtight container in a dark place. It will last for a good 6 months without compromising the amazing flavor.

Gifting: Also, homemade curry powder makes a wonderful gift (and this is when Alex tells me I’ve gone a bit overboard and am getting too Martha Stewart-y, but I see nothing wrong with that 🙂 )