Thursday, 19 February 2015

Almond Roundup



this month nuts.com is teaming up with fellow bloggers to showcase the multiple uses for almonds.  inspiring me, to share the many ways i use this powerhouse nut.  from almond butter to almond flour, these nuts serve as a healthy substitute when preparing nutritious meals & snacks.


the health benefits associated with mighty almond is extensive, this we already know. 
both nutritious and delicious they are nutrient dense, loaded with vitamins and minerals and among the healthiest of all the tree nuts.

they've also been known to:
  • regulate blood pressure
  • reduce the risk of heart disease
  • develop and maintain brain health
  • aid in weight management
  • strengthen immune systems
  • etc, etc....

so whether you eat them by the handful or incorporate them into your favourite dishes, making almonds apart of your daily routine is something your body will thank you for.
your stomach & taste buds will benefit too.
cheers.




BLUEBERRY-NECTARINE SALAD W/ BRIE AND CANDIED ALMONDS


Dressing: (Blueberry Vinaigrette)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup blueberry jam 
2 Tbsp apple cidar vinegar
2 tsp dijon mustard

In small bowl, whisk vinegar with jam and dijon mustard.  Slowly whisk in oil until well combined.

Candied Almonds:
1/4 cup almonds

2 Tbsp granulated sugar
2 Tbsp water

Place almonds, sugar and water in small saucepan set on medium heat.  Stir to dissolve sugar.  Simmer mixture, stirring occasionally, until golden and almonds are coated, about 5-7 minutes.  Transfer to parchment lined baking sheet to cool.
If possible make these a day ahead, or at least a few hours before, to allow sugar to completely harden.

Salad:**
6 cups baby spinach
1 1/2-2 cups blueberries
3 nectarines, quartered and sliced

1/2 cup brie, diced
1/2 cup candied almonds
dressing to taste

To assemble: Combine, blueberries, nectarines and spinach.  Add dressing, using as much or as little as desired. Toss to coat.  Sprinkle with cheese and almonds.




OATMEAL, COCONUT & GRAHAM CRACKER SNACK BITES


Ingredients:
1 cup old fashioned oats
1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/3 - 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs, ground
1/3 cup mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup almond butter
1/3 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla

Method:
In large bowl combine almond butter, honey and vanilla, mix well.  Add in oats, coconut, graham cracker crumbs (start with 1/3 cup) and combine.  (if mixture is still too wet add in a little more graham cracker crumbs) Fold in chocolate chips.
Refrigerate mixture for 30 minutes.  Once chilled roll into balls.
Store in air tight container in fridge.
Enjoy!
Yields 15-25 balls depending on size




VANILLA MAPLE ALMOND BUTTER


Ingredients:
2 cups whole raw almonds
1/3 cup whole flax seeds (optional)
3 Tbsp pure maple syrup, separated
3 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 Tbsp sunflower oil

Method:
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Set aside
Using 2 tablespoons of maple syrup coat almonds and flax seeds (if using) and transfer to prepared sheet.  Bake for 20-25 minutes turning once halfway.
Allow almonds to cool for a few minutes.  Place roasted almonds into a food processor and process for 10-12 minutes, stopping occasionally to scrape down sides of the bowl as needed.  Once smooth and creamy, add remaining Tbsp of maple syrup, vanilla and oil.  Process for another 3-5 minutes
Store in air-tight container in refrigerator.



ALMOND BUTTER GRANOLA


Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups oats
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1/2 cup almonds, chopped
1/2 cup ground flax
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla
1/4 cup, plus 2 Tbsp maple syrup
1/4 cup homemade vanilla maple almond butter (or regular)

Method:
Preheat oven to 250F.  Set aside two cookie sheets.
In large bowl combine first 5 ingredients.  Mix well.
In small bowl, mix almond butter**, vanilla and maple syrup.  Pour over oat mixture.  Tossing to coat.  Spread mixture evenly onto prepared baking sheets.
Bake for 30-40 minutes, till golden brown in color.  Tossing every 10-15 minutes.
Remove from oven, and allow mixture to cool.  
Store in air-tight container.

**you may want to microwave almond butter for a little to make it easier to work with



BLUEBERRY ALMOND SCONES





Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup sugar
6 Tbsp butter
3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup fresh blueberries
1/4 cup sliced almonds

sugar & milk for glaze


Method:

Preheat oven to 375.  Line baking sheets with silpat mat or parchment paper.  Set asde.
In large mixing bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.  Cut in butter.
In separate bowl combine milk and egg.  Add to dry ingredients.  Stir to combine.  Fold in blueberries and almonds.
Turn out onto lightly floured surface and knead 5-10 times.
Pat out to form a circle 1 1/4-inch thick, cut into 8 equal segments.
Transfer to prepared baking sheets.  Brush tops with sugar-milk mixture and bake for 15 minutes or until golden in colour.
Serve and devour while warm.
Yields: 8




WILD RICE W/ APRICOTS & ALMONDS


Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups wild & brown rice blend
3 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp water
1/2 medium red onion, chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp apricot preserves
1/2 cup dried apricots, diced
1/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted
4 sprigs fresh thyme

Method:

In small saucepan over medium heat.  Add olive oil and onion and cook till translucent 3-5 minutes.
Add in water and apricot preserves, whisking till blended.  Add rice, dried apricots and thyme.  Bring mixture to a boil.  Cover and simmer for 30-40 minutes, or until tender.  
Remove from heat, and remove thyme.  Fluff with fork.  Transfer to a large serving dish, add in toasted almonds and enjoy.
Serves: 6





HONEY-CINNAMON ALMOND BUTTER


Ingredients:
2 cups whole raw almonds
3 Tbsp honey, divided
1 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp sunflower oil

Method:
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Set aside 
Using 1 1/2 Tbsp of honey coat almonds and transfer to prepared sheet.  Bake for 20-25 minutes turning once halfway.
Allow almonds to cool for a few minutes.  Place roasted almonds into a food processor and process for 10-12 minutes, stopping occasionally to scrape down sides of the bowl as needed.  Once smooth and creamy, add remaining 1 1/2Tbsp of honey, cinnamon and oil.  Process for another 3-5 minutes
Store in air-tight container in refrigerator.




VANILLA MAPLE ALMOND BUTTER NO BAKE COOKIES


Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup milk
2 cups sugar
4 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup vanilla maple almond butter
3 cups rolled quick oats
1 tsp vanilla

Method:

In medium saucepan, mix together butter, sugar, milk, salt and cocoa. Bring to a boil. Add in vanilla and peanut butter.
Remove sugar mixture from heat and stir in oats. Mix well. Spoon cookies (1 1/2 Tbsp) onto wax/parchment paper. Allow to cool.






BALSAMIC ROASTED ASPARAGUS W/ TOASTED ALMONDS


Ingredients:
2 lbs. asparagus
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp shaved parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp sliced almonds, toasted

Method:
Preheat oven to 400.
Bend asparagus gently until it breaks at a natural point, discard ends.  
In small bowl whisk together oil and vinegar.   Coat prepared asparagus in olive oil mixture and arrange on a baking sheet in a single layer.  Bake for 10-12 minutes until tender crisp.
While asparagus is baking, place almonds in a dry skillet and roast over medium-low heat until fragrant and golden. Careful not to let them burn.  
Remove asparagus from oven, place in dish and top with shaved parmesan and toasted almonds.  Serve.
Yield: 4 servings

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