Meet-up magic and nut-butter bliss

March 13th, 2011 · Lisa · gluten-free, raw, Recipes, Snacks, sugar-free · Comments

After reflecting on my 105 experience in my last post, it became pretty obvious that as much I loved the food – the friendship and camaraderie was probably what made the experience so memorable.

Since returning home I’ve made a personal pledge to make the effort to spend time with people who inspire, delight and encourage me. I do have a full-time job, a training schedule, volunteer commitments and dishes to do but I hope to carve out a little more time for those interpersonal exchanges that give me the energy to tackle all the rest.

Luckily, the afternoon after my return there was a gluten-free blogger’s meet-up at a vegan restaurant. So despite the rainy, grey day, I pulled on my boots and headed out to spend time with some luminous women.

Maggie, Ricki, Kristin’s sister, Kristin
I’ve known Ricki for a few years and cherish any opportunity to catch up with her. If you’ve never lost a few hours on her blog than I highly suggest you brew some tea and set aside the appropriate block of time to truly appreciate the amazing recipe resource it is. I really enjoyed meeting Maggie and Kristin and discovering their fabulous blogs. They both share great recipes and ideas for feeding families on a gluten-free diet.
Amey is not a blogger but does incredible work in international development. I could spend hours listening to her tails of travel and facilitating global change.That’s me in the middle. Ashley is another beautiful blogger who has inspired so many people through her words and joyful example. We connected online but have never had the chance to sit down together. It was quite a treat.
If you’ve never been to a blogger meet-up…there are always a lot of cameras.
The brunch menu at Fressen was less gluten-free than we had hoped. I order a couple of dishes off the tapas menu: lentils and greens & avocado and chickpeas. Both bowls had bright flavours, a great departure from the dreary day.
It was a really wonderful welcome home. I look forward to many more meals with these lovely ladies.
My favourite treat of the day was a special surprise that Ricki prepared for all of us: Walnut Cacao Butter. The fatty content of walnuts make for a really creamy, rich spread. The addition of cacao nibbs adds a deep, bitter, chocolate bite, creating an interesting, exotic edge to the flavour. I love it.
Ricki has inspired many great moments in my kitchen and last week she did it again. I had an overwhelming urge to make a homemade batch of nut butter. Looking through my pantry, I decided on a Maple Cinnamon Almond Butter.
Even before they became butter the almonds coated in maple cinnamon were a satisfying, sweet snack. But I managed to reserve enough to create a perfectly, smooth spread. I’m sure you can imagine…this stuff is awesome.
Maple Cinnamon Almond Butter (based on Ashley’s recipe)
2 cups raw almonds
3 TBSP maple syrup
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch of clove
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp coconut oil (or any light oil you prefer)
Optional step: In a large bowl mix together all of the ingredient (except the oil) to coat the almonds. Spread the almonds on a Teflex sheet and dehydrate overnight at 110 degrees. If you prefer to roast the nuts in your oven, I suggest following Ashley’s directions.
In a food processor add all of the ingredients (except the oil) and let it blend. Once the almonds form a paste (probably 8 minutes) add the oil and let it blend until the butter is perfectly smooth and spreadable. Adjust salt and spices.
I think this treat will have you searching for anything to dip, drizzle or top with a little almond butter.
Yesterday, I attended another blogger meet-up and I can’t wait to share all the details with you. I’ll have a huge post up tomorrow. It may have been my best lunch…ever. 

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