Homemade Peanut Butter and Friendships

Last night I had some new girlfriends over. We ate cheese and crackers and veggies and delicious banana bread. We also drank wine while complaining about the weather and how hard it is to make good girlfriends as you get older. Over the past couple years I’ve heard this complaint a lot, from both myself and the ladies I’ve met and it doesn’t seem to be specific to Boston either.

When we are no longer in school with ample time to “hang out” but instead work full-time or take care of children all day it leaves little time for friendship. Seems we’re all yearning for more friends and yet we can’t figure out how to connect. Add a move and a new city to the mix and it makes it all the more difficult.

Plain and simple, as an adult it can be hard to make new friends!

It requires time and effort to develop close friendships and I’ll admit, it can be also be somewhat uncomfortable. It’s almost like a first date, meeting a friend of a friend for coffee or a perfect stranger for a yoga class, where I’m not really sure if we have enough in common to hang out but decide to try anyway. It can leave me feeling a little insecure as I wistfully think of my friends back home. But, then I remember that at some point they too were new friends. They were the awkward meet up for a run or book club or cocktail that grew into these deep, lasting friendships. And that keeps me optimistic.

I can never tell how much is too much to share here. Whether I shouldn’t write about this kind of stuff because it might make me sound childish and whiny. But then I think if I’m having this problem and many of the other women I’ve met are feeling them same, then maybe I’ll just be open about it. I’ll risk seeming less than blog perfect (ha!) if it opens up a dialog and makes us all feel less like we’re the only ones. If you happen to have all the friends you need then I’m a little envious and please ignore the above.

I wish at the end of this ramble I could give a solution. Like a fool-proof app where you could punch in a couple of criteria and presto you’d have 5 new best friends. I don’t have that app. 😦

What I do have is peanut butter. The fool-proof kind where you dump it all into a processor  and presto, you have a new best friend!

See how that worked? The perfect segue from friends to peanut butter in less than 30 words.

This recipe is not ground breaking. There are plenty of homemade peanut butter recipes out there, I’d just never tried any myself. Our last jar of store-bought peanut butter looked like this today.

peanut butter

So, I figured now was as good a time as any to try it. The process couldn’t be simpler and calculating the cost, making my own was about a $1 cheaper. Not a huge sum but I like the idea of being able to adjust the salt and am looking forward to mixing a couple of different kinds of nuts and flavorings together for tailor-made nut butters.

Homemade Peanut Butter (vegan, gluten-free)

1 16 oz bag of unsalted peanuts

1/2 tsp salt


Add peanuts and salt to your food processor.

peanut butter 1 minute

Run the processor for about 4-5 minutes until peanut butter is smooth. Scrap down the sides if necessary.

Peanut butter 3 minutes

Makes one jar. Store in the fridge.

homemade peanut butter 1

Enjoy and Exhale!

Little Balls of Energy

On Saturday mornings I teach back-to-back classes at 9 and 10:30 with about 20 minutes of frantic driving across town in between. I’m usually on my scooter so eating between classes is impossible. This requires that I have a quick but nutrient dense breakfast beforehand that will tide me over until lunch.

In my pre-blog days I would have stocked up on Lara or Clif bars but I have the time to make homemade treats now so why not take advantage of it?

I’ve experimented with a few grab and go-tos like these and these. Both of which keep me pleasantly full through 3 hours of utkatasana demonstrations and core work. But there’s nothing wrong with adding some additional recipes to the line up.

These were originally inspired by Lara bars with the use of dates as the binder and nuts for the holding power although I did follow the basic recipe from here. In honor of the holidays I continued with the ginger, allspice, cinnamon theme but promise to expand my spice use in the new year. I also bought a bag of dried cherries this weekend and they are just begging to become cherry pie flavored energy balls. Oh the things you get to look forward to, haha.

Ginger Cinnamon Energy Balls (vegan, gluten-free)

1 1/2 cups of mixed nuts, I used walnuts, cashews and almonds

3/4 cup gluten-free oats

1/2 cup raisins

1 cup pitted dates

1-2 tablespoon crystalized ginger, chopped

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon allspice

2 tablespoons maple syrup


nuts and raisins

Soak dates in water for 30 minutes to an hour.

Add nuts and oats to a food processor and grind until fine.

nuts, oats and spices

nut and grain flour

Add dates, raisins, crystalized ginger and spices to the nuts and oats. Lastly add maple syrup. After a minute or two it should form into a dough.

energy ball dough

Wet your hands slightly and roll mixture into balls. You can also pat into a loaf pan if you want to make bars instead of balls.

ginger cinnamon energy balls

Yields about 16. Give or take if you snack a little straight out of the processor like me.

Store in the fridge.

The perfect on-the-go breakfast or snack!

ginger cinnamon energy ballss

One note on travel for these little guys, even after a night in the fridge they were a little sticky so make sure to put them in a plastic baggy or tin foil if you’re packing in lunches. Or you could roll in shredded coconut if you’re into that sort of thing.

Enjoy and Exhale!

Oil Free Peanut Butter Granola

This was almost another baking flop. I followed a recipe online for peanut butter bars. I made a few adjustments, like mixing and matching the types of nuts and seeds I added, but for the most part I stayed fairly close to the recipe. I’d had enough fails and creativity hasn’t been serving me this week.

But sometimes creativity is what saves a recipe. What we were suppose to get were no bake peanut butter bars, what we got was peanut butter granola. Instead of scraping the whole recipe when the bars refused to set, I tried baking them. When that still didn’t work, I simply crumbled them up (which wasn’t hard as they were crumbly already) and created a peanut buttery granola that would be perfect over yogurt or eaten with almond milk. Honestly, regardless of how we got here, I’m glad we did.  If you’re a peanut butter fan, this granola is for you.

Oil Free Peanut Butter Granola (vegan, gluten-free)

1 1/2 cups oats, I used certified gluten-free oats

1/4 cup hulled hemp seeds

1/4 cup sesame seeds

1/4 cup pumpkin seeds

1/4 cup sunflower seeds

1/2 cup cashews

1/4 cup almonds

1/4 cup maple syrup and then a tablespoon more

1 cup peanut butter


Preheat oven to 350.

Add all nuts and seeds to a big bowl. Feel free to use whatever nuts or seeds you prefer.

Next add maple syrup and mix into nut mixture (I’m not sure why the granola is so yellow in this picture).

Add in peanut butter and mix. I warmed my peanut butter up in the microwave for 20 seconds to soften it a bit so it would be easier to mix in but I only think this is an issue with natural peanut butter.

Press mixture into a pan.

Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Let cool and then crumble granola with your hands.

One note, to streamline the whole process I would just spread the mix on a baking sheet and bake in the oven. The wax paper wasn’t needed at all.

Have a wonderful weekend and enjoy!