Monday, September 28, 2009
Pecan and Walnut Butter with Cinnamon and Ginger
I am trying to get to the point that the majority of the fat we consume comes from nuts, seeds and avocados with occasional fat from oils. As you all know I spend far too much time reading about health and nutrition and I am beginning to come around to the idea that oil is an inferior form of fat since it is processed and nuts, seeds and avocados are consumed in their natural state. While the Italian in me loves good unfiltered extra virgin olive oil that has now been relegated to the occasional treat at our house.
If you are wondering what difference it makes to consume oil versus nuts I will try to explain it as I understand it. Nuts, seeds and avocado are high in fat, like oils. However, the whole foods also contain fiber and other micronutrients that are removed when the whole food is processed and turned into oil. Also it is easy to pour a couple of tablespoons of fat into a dressing or sauté but it take more work to eat the equivalent in nuts and seeds, making it a more deliberate action.
Regarding oil I only buy organic and cold or expeller pressed varieties. Other forms of oil use chemicals to extract the oils and that is something I don’t want us to consume. It is more expensive but given the amount I use it doesn’t amount to much in terms of our total food budget.
I try to spread our fat consumption over all our meals. Each smoothie I make includes flaxseeds for a dose of healthy omega 3’s first thing in the morning. Since lunch is frequently salad those now have hempseeds, sesame seed or pumpkin seeds included for a mid day dose of omega 3’s and I have been trying to dress most of our salads with only vinegar or lemon juice. Much to my surprise it works fine. Our afternoon snack is normally an apple or banana with nut butter. At dinnertime there is usually one dish with a nut or seed garnish. I don’t add a lot of nuts or seeds to our meals, just a teaspoon or so because I don’t want us to get too much fat. I also realize that I have to include some fat so our bodies can process the fat-soluble vitamins most effectively.
When we initially tried to follow the “Eat to Live” plan I have to admit it was a very difficult adjustment at first. But I think that was because we went from omnivore to low fat vegan literally overnight. It was tough to change everything that we were used to at one time. Since we have eased back into the "Eat to Live" plan from a fairly healthy diet it has been much easier this time.
Today’s nut butter is pecan and walnut with a little cinnamon and ginger for flavor and antioxidants. I wanted to try a nut combination today for variety. Cinnamon was added to assist our bodies in processing the fruit sugar that is inevitably consumed with the nut butter. Ginger was included since it goes well with cinnamon and is anti-inflammatory. Initially I made the nut butter without the agave. However I think it needs a little sweetener to bring out the flavor of the nuts. If you like you can add the agave at the end of processing. That is what I did this time and it worked fine.
Pecan and Walnut Butter with Cinnamon and Ginger
Makes just over 1 cup
1 cup pecans
1 cup walnuts
1 pinch kosher salt
1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon – optional
½ teaspoon ginger, powder – optional
2 teaspoons raw amber agave, or to taste
Put everything in the food processor and process until smooth. You will need to stop the processor and scrape down the sides a few times while processing. During the first minute or two it will appear that the nut butter will not get smooth. If you continue to scrape the sides and let the processor continue to work the nut butter will become smooth in time.
Amount Per Serving
Calories - 96.29
Calories From Fat (84%) - 81.01
Total Fat - 9.68g
Saturated Fat - 0.87g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 17.94mg
Potassium - 63.1mg
Total Carbohydrates - 2.33g
Fiber - 1.34g
Sugar - 0.49g
Protein - 1.76g
The cinnamon and ginger flavors are not as pronounced as I expected. I thought the flavor would increase as it sat in the refrigerator. Next time I will definitely increase the cinnamon and ginger by 50%.
Including pecans added time to the processing of this nut butter. Where the walnut butter took about 1 minute this version was in the food processor at least 5 minutes. I don’t think that pecans added much flavor. Walnut is still the dominant flavor in this nut butter. Unless my husband loves this I will probably go back to all walnut butter but will add cinnamon and ginger.
I need to get back into the kitchen now. Pinto beans are on the stove for a different variation of bean burger for dinner tonight. Our CSA had sweet potatoes and am going to try to shred them and add them to the pinto beans with some sunflower seeds and wheat germ. Expect a recipe for that burger later today, assuming I like how it turns out.
My husband liked the cinnamon level on this nut butter and doesn't think he would like more added to the next batch. I don't know if this is because his palate is more sensitive to the spice than mine. But I wanted you to have both opinions, mine and his. He did also tell me he shared this at work and the other guys liked the nut butter too.