Tuesday Things

1. ‘Tis the season for holiday baking! I’ve been going through quite a bit of almond butter to create some new grain-free goodies, and this time I decided to take the easy route– by resorting to Trader Joe’s store-bought brand.

measuring out almond butter out of a jar

Unfortunately, that didn’t work out so well.

Trader Joe’s raw almond butter has always had a gritty texture, but it also seems to be loaded with small chunks of rock-hard shell lately, making it downright inedible to me. While taste-testing my baked goods, I nearly broke a tooth biting into those tough shards!

From now on, I’m sticking to the homemade stuff.

2. There’s also a new nut-like butter in my life.

jar of organic sunflower seed butter

I tried Trader Joe’s brand of Sunflower Seed butter years ago, but it tasted like a jar of frosting to me– they added way too much sugar! After that, I thought I’d never try sunflower seed butter again. Luckily, Marlena mentioned enjoying this organic brand, so when I saw it at my local Whole Foods, I decided to pick up a jar. It’s much better! Still slightly sweetened, but it only has one extra gram of sugar when compared to unsweetened almond butter or peanut butter.

Sunflower butter is a great alternative for those of you who’d like to transition away from peanut butter, or for those who have nut allergies. I’ve started sneaking it into Austin’s “Peanut Butter” Banana Milkshakes, and he hasn’t even noticed the difference!

3. Not only is peanut butter being replaced in our house, but so is coffee.

tea in a green mug

I suffered from a brief bout of food poisoning a few weeks ago, and as a result I couldn’t drink coffee for a week– so I decided to just stay off of it, even after I felt better. Austin joined me a couple weeks later, opting for black and green teas as a transition tool. It’s funny how I’ve dreaded giving up coffee for years, and it really wasn’t all that hard when it came down to it. I’ve been coffee-free for nearly a month already!

Thank goodness for my partner in crime–> it’s much easier when your spouse or roommate isn’t brewing coffee each morning, either.

4. Instead of coffee, I’ve simply been enjoying my green juices a little earlier each day.

bottles of earthbar juice

I took advantage of a Groupon deal from Earthbar, and have had fresh juices delivered to my door all month long. Perfect timing for the holidays! I’ve been so busy this month, having my juices ready to go has been pretty handy.

All of Earthbar’s juices are made with organic produce and aren’t as sweet as some other juice bars that I’ve tried, which is nice. Plus, trying these new flavors has given me some new ideas for making my own juice combinations at home! If you’re in the LA area, it’s a great option to try!

5. With the holidays in full swing, I love having holiday-scented home.

cinnamon sticks and water in a crockpot

So, instead of burning potentially toxic scented candles, I’ve started using a mini-food warmer to heat up a bowl of water filled with a couple cinnamon sticks. In just 30 minutes, my house smells like cinnamon! Sometimes, I add a splash of vanilla, too.

Even when the holidays are over, I think this would be a great way to freshen up your home– maybe a few lemon slices or oranges with cloves would smell good? I’m excited to try some different scent combinations!

Reader Feedback: Have you tried anything new lately? Any new holiday baked goods that I should try? I’ve already got quite a few lined up for the next few weeks!

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Comments

Danielle @ Clean Food Creative Fitness

Good for you for giving up the coffee. I’ve been dying to give that a try but am so afraid of giving up my beloved morning coffee!

    Megan

    It’s not easy– obviously, it took food poisoning for me to get the ball rolling! LOL ๐Ÿ™‚

      Sue

      Hi, being from England I don’t really drink much coffee, but it would be a different matter if I had to give up tea!:)
      Actually, I don’t really drink much tea either, am a big fan of herbal teas, the spicier the better although I love Chamomile too.
      Loving your blogs and recipes. The US are usually ahead of the UK when it comes to things like this, so I’m trying hard to persuade my friends and family to eat in a Detoxinista way. It may take time but I’m getting there.

Annis

What a coincedence, I gave up coffee a month ago as well! It’s always been on my to do list, but thinking it required a superwoman effort I never got around to it. Then one Monday I realised that I didn’t have a cuppa for the entire weekend, and somehow survived! Just decided to keep my momentum going after that, and to date I haven’t missed it at all ๐Ÿ™‚
I think going wheatless made the transition a lot easier as well!

    Megan

    That’s pretty much how it was for me, too! Once you have the momentum started, it much easier to keep going. ๐Ÿ™‚

Red Deception

Nice job on cutting the coffee. I’ve never had a cup of coffee and the taste of coffee-flavoured chocolates make me gag, so I think I just have a distaste for it. However, I feel slightly smug as I drink my green tea in the morning – more antioxidants!!

The only new thing I’ve tried is chia pudding for breakfasts – with is AMAZING! Tonight I’m going to make a black bean brownie recipe for a wedding shower I’m going to tomorrow.

the delicate place

i love once again’s tahini! i only drink coffee on weekends and my go to beverages lately are dandy blend tea or trader joes candy cane green —put a pinch of cocoa and almond milk in there and it’s like a thin mint!

    Megan

    Ooh, that tea sounds delicious! I love thin mints. ๐Ÿ™‚

bonnie

for scenting your home….i use in a crock pot….orange peel, cinnomon sticks, cloves and twig of pine needles….. makes the house smell great….and you can add more to if you want…..use your imagination!

    Megan

    I bet that smells wonderful! Thanks for the idea!

Lauren

Hahaha, I use TJ’s almond butter, and, while I haven’t found the shell, it often tastes old to me. Love your idea with the cinnamon! Those candles give me a bad headache, so it’ll be nice to have an alternative. I’m going to plug myself and tell you to try my Carrot Nog! It’s a nice alternative to egg nog. http://www.oatmealwithafork.com/2012/11/12/carrot-nog/
๐Ÿ™‚

    Megan

    Carrot Nog? I’ll have to check it out! ๐Ÿ™‚

Cadie

The juices look amazing! I would love to find a local service like that, especially with a Groupon deal! What has been your favorite flavor combo?

    Megan

    I’m not sure I can pick just one! The one I had this morning was a blend of cucumber, kale, green apple and lemon, and it was like a green lemonade! I also enjoyed a carrot, apple, ginger blend. ๐Ÿ™‚

babs

Yes, to scent my home I also use a pot on the stove with fresh orange peel, cinnamon sticks, cloves, and cranberries….now I might add a drop of pine essential oil to it too!

    Megan

    That sounds like it will smell so good. ๐Ÿ™‚

Christina

Although it isn’t as close to me, I think I need to switch to Earthbar because Pressed Juicery doesn’t use all organic produce! They say they use about 90% organic but can’t really confirm anything-disappointing! And I will definitely try the sunflower seed butter instead of peanut butter for my passenger’s green smoothies. I’m allergic to peanut butter so it makes it really difficult for me to taste test and make sure the flavor is on point! Perfect alternative ๐Ÿ™‚

    Megan

    I’m disappointed that Pressed Juicery isn’t 100% organic, too. I’d buy their juices more often, for sure! You should also try Beverly Hills Juice Club on Beverly– they make some of the best organic juices, too!

      Christina

      I used to get Bev Hills Juice Club juices back in the day, I think I’ll be revisiting them again soon! I thought I heard somewhere that their juices aren’t 100% organic as well, but I’ll have to look into it a little more. Oh and I bought that sunflower butter tonight- addicting! SO good.

Candice

I love Sunbutter organic. Delicious and no sugar added!

    Megan

    Thanks! I’m going to look for that next time!

jeanne

Oh my…everyone is so against coffee!! I gave up coffee for three years during grad school…totally not worth it for me. My health didn’t improve, I saw no added benefit of not having coffee, no great digestion revelation or clear skin or better sleep, and I missed coffee! I did the herbal tea thing and really thought I was over coffee, but then I’d get the smell and just have to lie to myself thinking I was all extra healthy, but really I was just in denial. I crave that earthy dark bitter balance in my life…I just love that first sip in the morning, and I see no point in ever giving it up again…but I’m French so I think it’s in my blood ๐Ÿ™‚

Lately I’ve been having TJ’s organic chai roobios (it’s caffeine free!) on our cool california nights with almond milk like a chai latte and I love it!

I’m so sorry to hear you got food poisoning…out of curiosity was it from juice? I got it once from a bottle of fresh green juice from whole foods and it really turned me off to unpasteurized juice…the stomach pain was intense ๐Ÿ™ I’m glad you’re feeling better!

    Megan

    Hi Jeanne! I don’t think the food poisoning was from juice– it happened soon after we dined out at a restaurant, and I’m pretty sure the food wasn’t cooked properly. Blech!

    I totally understand your attachment to coffee, especially since you haven’t noticed a difference with giving it up. I actually do feel MUCH better without it, but I still love the smell– and, I’d probably enjoy a cup if I really wanted one. ๐Ÿ™‚

Kat

I have tried to give up coffee many times but still have one after making a green smoothie or green juice in the morning. Why did you give it up? I was wondering if it is hurting me that much or not? Thanks!

    Megan

    Hi Kat! Personally, I think coffee throws off my energy levels. It was a great pick me up in the morning, but then I hit a slump in the middle of the day and crave sweets, or more coffee, to pick me back up again– it was kind of a roller coaster ride. However, I know it doesn’t necessarily affect everyone like that!

Anna

I didn’t know coffee was harmful. Are you caffeine sensitive?

Kristin

Do you know of any negative effects of peanut buter? Just wondering your reasons behind switching it out with almond or sun butter- thanks!

Amanda Jewell

Once Again is my favorite brand of tahini!! I go through a jar a week! oops.. ๐Ÿ™‚
If you haven’t tried it already, I’d highly recommend it!

I’ve been enjoying your pumpkin sage sauce (on everything..) and Bitchin’ Sauce from a local vendor here in San Diego. It’s a completely vegan and gluten free almond-based sauce that you can use on anything. And all of it’s ingredients I approve of! I get the chipotle one, but the original and pesto are great too! Here’s the link in case you’re interested: http://bitchinsauce.com/Bitchin_Sauce/Bitchin_Sauce_Home.html

Jen @ Existential Evolution

Great Tuesday Things. I finally figured out this past summer that peanut butter gives me terrible indigestion…acid reflux x1000! I finally isolated the culprit and instead use almond butter, cashew butter, tahini and sunflower butter (Sunbutter organic unsweetened version is my favorite).

    Megan

    Yes, to the acid reflux! The first time I tried eating raw foods for 30 days, I had cut out peanut butter– and it was the first thing I wanted when I was done with my little experiment. I literally ate a spoonful of the stuff, and had acid reflux almost immediately! Of course, that didn’t totally stop me from eating it… but, it is a good reminder to not have it that often.

    I’m going to be on the lookout for Sunbutter organic!

Chef Almost Vegan

I haven’t heard of Earthbar! Do they only deliver to LA?

    Megan

    Yes, I think they’re a pretty small operation for now. They hardly delivered to where I live in LA!

Chirpiebird

I too, have had bad experiences with tiny rock hard shell pieces in Trader Joes Almond Butter, and it was your post on making my own that finally gave me the courage to try. It was so easy!! Now I only use my homemade almond butter and it’s always delicious!

I am a huge fan of Once Again Tahini, too ๐Ÿ™‚ A fantastic sunflower seed butter without any added oils or sugars is Swanson Organic. I order it online and highly recommend it!!

    Megan

    Thanks for the recommendation. I’ll check it out!

Tasha

I made your grain-free pumpkin bar recipe (which turned out DELICIOUS, by the way) using Brad’s Organic almond butter: http://www.bradsorganic.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=BO&Product_Code=PB203&Category_Code=PB

Love it

    Megan

    Yay! I want a pumpkin bar now. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for the recommendation!

Karen

have you ever heard of Teeccino? (http://teeccino.com/) Its a type of tea that’s caffeine free and non acidic made to taste like coffee. its great for people wanting to reduce or restrict their caffeine levels as well by adding it to one’s regular coffee and playing with the ratio of Teeccino to coffee. (I also emailed the company directly and they guaranteed that it was peanut free.)

Sherry

Try matcha tea. It’s so good and good for you. Yes, it does have caffeine, but apparently the caffeine is released slowly the entire day and you don’t get the crash or the sluggish feeling. Instead of steeping the tea in a bag, you mix the ground up green tea leaves (powder) with water and whisk away. I froth mine with unsweetened almond milk and pour on top — a quick matcha tea latte. Yum! Thanks for all your recipes — I’ve made quite a few and love them all! Especially your creamy tahini dressing — I use every day on my kale and spinach salad.

Janet

Love the idea of the mini crock pot for scents! I’m inspired to try some cloves and crushed cinammon sticks in my flame-heated oil burner. ๐Ÿ™‚

Penny O

Great Tuesday post! Thanks!

I had to give up coffee and all caffeine due to my terrible insomnia. On occasion I’ll have a decaf coffee with real cream – what a treat! It took me a month of headaches and crankiness to get over the caffeine ๐Ÿ™ I could never skip a day due to the headache.

I’m really into the bulk nut butters at my local natural food place. I simply adore re-using containers!

Will try sunflower butter…sounds good!

Marlena

Giiirl I cannot WAIT to see any and all grain free recipes you create, especially with the sunflower seed butter. My brother actually introduced me to it and I can never believe how much it tastes like real peanut butter.

Your grain free baked things and overall recipes have really inspired me the past few weeks. Thank you!

Lauren

Such a great idea of the chemical-free scents! Can’t wait to try it. Thanks again for all your great ideas ๐Ÿ™‚

Marissa

I love sunflower butter! Once Again makes a sunflower butter that has no added sugar or salt. I’ve never seen it in stores, but you can find it online.

liz

Hi! A few years back I tried these eggnog cake pops (gluten free) that were utterly divine. Any sort of eggnog cake/cake balls you’d be willing to try and then divulge the healthier recipe with us?

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