2012/02/19

Control (Peanut & Flaxseed Butter)

I have learned that in life there are things you can control, things that you should exert minimal control over and things you can't control. The key is figuring out which is which early enough in the process that you don't go crazy. It's a survival mechanism.



Like when your senior daughter is a month late on finishing college applications. No sense of deadlines. And the super-punctual person inside of you goes absolutely insane watching. Yes, this is a time to exert minimal control - encourage without nagging.


Or when your youngest daughter decides that this month is going to be a blue hair month. And next month will be green. Things like this are probably "not the hill to die on". (Eventually, she will move on to some other idea - save the battle for something bigger.)


I may not be able to control other people's actions, but I can control how I react to their choices, right? Which is easier said than done some days. We won't even talk about control at work. Learning how to bite your tongue definitely should be a marketable job skill... I wish more people had that talent. Just sayin'


There are a 1,001 examples, aren't there? 


I guess that is one of the reasons that the kitchen is such a relaxing place. With the exception of the inevitable kitchen mishap, this is the one domain that I generally get to be in control of. Results are normally predictable. As long as I play within the laws of nature, life is good.

Added bonus: you also get to control what goes into your diet. Now, don't get me wrong, I am not above using convenience foods where it makes sense. There are only so many hours in a day and I am only one person. BUT...some things are so quick and easy (and potentially more cost effective) to make at home, it just makes sense. Like peanut butter.

One day, I made the mistake of reading the back of a jar of peanut butter. Long story short, what I saw didn't make me happy. I was left feeling kind of grumpy. Very, very grumpy (I would venture to guess there were other causes to the grumpiness, but for the sake of a good story I am totally blaming the peanut butter - 'kay?) At this point, I wandered over to the jars of "natural" (whatever that means) peanut butter. The back of the jar was less disturbing, but I didn't feel like donating an arm and a leg to secure a jar.

I then did what most normal people would do (hey, I am telling the story, I get to define what's normal) - I went home and did a buy vs. make comparison. In this case, it was a bang-my-head-on-the-wall why-does-it-take-me-this-long-to-figure-things-out kind of "a ha" moments.


Dump, process, store. The most difficult part is cleaning up.

And that, my friends is the story of how I started making my own peanut butter...


Peanut & Flax seed Butter

Yield: ~ 2 cups

17-18 ounces (~4 cups) dry roasted peanuts (or other nut(s) of your choice - cashew & almonds are nice)*
1 1/2 ounces whole flax seeds (~1/4 cup)
1 Tbs honey (optional)
1/2 tsp salt (optional)

Place all ingredients in the work bowl of a food processor.  Secure cover. Pulse until nuts start to form a rough paste. Scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl. Secure cover and process until creamy paste forms - roughly 3-5 minutes depending on your processor. (Progression shown above - it will go from grainy, to rough, to smooth & oily, to smooth). Nut butter should be fairly fluid by the time you are done. That's okay - it will thicken in the refrigerator.

Scape into a resealable container (I like to use a screw top glass jar). Store in refrigerator. Stir before using, as oils may separate during storage. Peanut butter should last ~2 weeks in the refrigerator. Mine rarely makes it a full week, so I don't have experience storing beyond that point.

* Most nuts can be formed into a butter. Use whatever you have on hand - or like. If I only have odds and ends, I will throw them all in and make a mixed nut butter. I usually leave any skins on - they don't bother me. If you don't like skins, take them off. Sometimes I will toast nuts before processing; sometimes I will just process as is. If you like it sweeter - add honey or agave nectar. I have thrown a 1/4 cup of cocoa powder in. Your house - your rules.

8 comments:

  1. Ha! I made pb this week, too. Do the flax seeds add any flavor, or is it a hidden benefit?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Personally, I don't find them to add too much flavor - it's more of a hidden benefit. Although, sometimes I will use sunflower or pumpkin seeds and those add a bit more of a flavor.

      Delete
  2. Who knew it was so easy to make peanut butter! Do you use salted nuts or add the salt in later?

    ReplyDelete
  3. It is soooo easy...
    I use salted nuts, but I taste at the end and add a little extra if needed. Some salted nuts are saltier than other.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thank you for posting this. I have switched to almond butter since moving because I can't find any natural peanut butters around here which I like. I suspect that they are made with raw as opposed to roasted peanuts and the taste is just really lacking. You've inspired me to try making my own.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Wow, Cher - it would never have occurred to me to make my own peanut butter! But you're right, seeing sugar as the second ingredient on the list does not make one happy. And, we eat a lot of peanut butter. Smart of you to add in flax seeds, too.

    I totally agree about being in "control" in the kitchen! LOL!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Coincidentally, it was a jar of natural peanut butter with flaxseeds that made me (nearly) give up buying nut butters altogether (a brand that overfilled the jars and made it impossible to stir without leaving a river of oil all over the counter). You've inspired me - peanuts, almonds, and fresh, local maple syrup....

    ReplyDelete
  7. Wow, I'm impressed that you made your own peanut butter! It has to be very tasty! What a great idea to add the flax seeds.

    ReplyDelete

Hi - Thanks for stopping by. I'd love to hear from you!

Due to the high number of weirdo SPAM comments I have been receiving, I have turned comment moderation back on for the time being... Comments may show a slight delay.