Nutty About Nutcrackers

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photograph by Robert Shomier via sfgate

Ever since my daughter was little, she has loved the Nutcracker Ballet. She continues to enjoy watching this seasonal ballet with delight.

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photograph via christmasspirit

My son also loves nutcrackers. His collection has grown over the years and they adorn our house during the holiday season.

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photograph via thepaleomom

Snacking on nuts, enjoying a ballet, or decorating with nutcrackers remain a part of our holiday celebration.  This year, nuts will also be enjoyed in a new way.

Recently, I started the Paleo diet. Actually, I feel so good eating this way, that I do not consider this a “diet.” It is more like a lifestyle change.

This recent dietary change came up in a conversation with a co-worker as our office prepared for their annual Thanksgiving potluck. One friend mentioned they were bringing a Paleo-friendly recipe they discovered on detoxinista.  Once I tried it, I was hooked.

Image photograph via detoxinista

Megan’s Grain-Free Pumpkin Bars via detoxinista

Ingredients
½ cup pumpkin puree
½ cup almond butter
⅓ cup honey
2 eggs
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice*
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
Instructions
Preheat oven to 350F and grease an 8″ x 8″ pan generously with coconut oil or butter. Combine all of the ingredients in a medium bowl, and mix well until a smooth batter forms. Transfer the batter to the greased pan, and bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown and the center is firm. Allow to cool completely in the pan, then cut and serve! Glaze these bars with Megan’s Maple Pecan Glaze.

 

I was surprised that this recipe did not contain any flour or butter. The key ingredient was almonds! Surprise! Almond butter works as both the flour and the butter.

Image photograph via thehealthyfamilyandhome

Although you can find a great almond butter recipe on detoxinista, here is another great Paleo almond butter recipe posted on thehealthyfamilyandhome.

Karielyn’s Homemade Almond Butter via thehealthyfamilyandhome

Ingredients
3 cups organic raw almonds (soaked overnight and dehydrated)
1 tablespoon organic coconut oil

Instructions
Soak almonds overnight. In the morning, rinse and dehydrate 24 hours (or until completely dry. Put almonds and coconut oil in food processor. Process. It will go through different stages–flour, ball-shaped, smooth. Stop periodically to scrape the sides. Once the butter is creamy, store in an airtight container.

Although nuts should be eaten sparingly on the Paleo diet, I love that occasional treats are still an option.

I hope you go a little “nutty” too this holiday season!

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