I hope everyone has fun and festive plans for Cinco de Mayo/the weekend! (incl. but not limited to raucous baking sessions)
Quick aside, did anyone else know that there is a stunningly beautiful plant called a Mexican Hat?
So I’m hoping you know what today is on my blog, but if not, I’ll give you a hint with this bangerang breakfast sandwich I had for lunch today:
read ahead nailed it! It’s PROTEIN FRIDAY!
Yesterday, as I decided on the below for my newest treat, it dawned on me how integral of a role almonds play in my daily nutrition. I’ve wearied your eyes glorifying Justin’s Maple Almond Butter, they’ve been the key ingredient in four of my recipes thus far, and I’m just gettin’ warmed up!
For convenience, taste and ability to satiate, almonds are hands-down my No.1 go-to protein source.
Please take your sombreros off for today’s Protein Friday Star!
ONE CUP OF WHOLE ALMONDS HAS THIRTY GRAMS OF PROTEIN
The daily protein requirement for women is 46 grams. I’d wager that between my homemade almond butter, my pb&j bars and snacking on them whole-roasted, I’ve consumed at least 1/2 – 2/3 cup of almonds every day this week. That’s around a third of my necessary daily intake!
Aside from their incredible protein power, almonds are tasty, gluten-free and extremely versatile. I love them in the buff, in butter form, and Almond Breeze almond milk is probably my favorite non-dairy beverage.
Just last night, I added another almond-based delight to my repertoire, in the form of Coconut Cherry Pie “Larabars”!
I count myself among the many LÄRABAR
suckers fanatics, but I don’t enjoy shelling out almost $2/bar (cheapest I’ve found is $1.59 at Trader Joe’s).
Good thing I don’t need to! Most Larabar flavors contain less than five ingredients and several have less than three–facts which the evil Larabar geniuses display proudly on their website.
Yesterday I realized that I already had the ingredients in my pantry to make one of my favorite flavors, Cherry Pie!
This recipe is delicious and deliciously easy. I decided to add coconut for some extra healthy fat and texture, but I’m sure they’re fabulous without as well.
Coconut Cherry Pie “Larabars”
- 1 1/4 cup Medjool Dates; pitted and chopped
- 1 1/4 cup dried cherries (I use and adore the brand Kirkland)
- 1 1/2 cup roasted almonds
- 1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
Process the dried cherries, dates and coconut until they turn into a semi-gooey paste–you want to maintain some small pieces of dried fruit. Empty the mixture into a large bowl and set aside. Now pulse your almonds into a course meal. Again, it’s nice to keep it a little chunky for texture. Don’t let it turn to flour! Empty your almonds into the bowl of dried fruit. Knead the dried fruit and almonds together until combined and evenly distributed. Press the mixture into the bottom of an 8-inch or 9-inch square pan to about 1/2-inch thickness. Refrigerate the mixture for at least 30 minutes or overnight. Invert the pan’s contents onto a cutting board and slice to desired size. Makes about a dozen bars, depending on your individual preference.
These taste exactly like store-bought Larabars, only better in my opinion ;). The scrumptious mixture of fiber, carbs and protein makes them a perfect pre or post-workout snack!
There are countless other ways to incorporate almonds into your diet:
- Add a dollop of almond butter to your morning oatmeal or smoothie. Nuke some in the microwave or thin by mixing with a bit of milk and drizzle over cereal
- Spread AB on toast, fruit, crackers or raw veggies (swear it’s yum!).
- Cup for cup, dairy milk has more protein than almond milk. However, if you’re like me and feel dubious about the majority of dairy milk distributed to our grocery stores and you enjoy the taste, go for almond or drink a mixture (like I do). Obviously, this is also a great alternative for those with a lactose-intolerance.
- Use AB as a binder or chopped almonds as an ingredient in granola and granola bars.
- Use as a crust in dessert/snack bars like my pb&j ones. Make them lemon; add some cocoa powder and create brownies–get creative!
- Experiment with almond flour and almond meal in baked goods, which has a fabulously moist and dense texture
- Toss raw almonds with a sweetener or oil of choice–something that coats/sticks–and cover raw almonds with a mixture of your favorite spices. Roast at 350 until slightly brown and fragrant.
- Substitute coarsely-processed almonds for breadcrumbs in savory recipes
- Don’t forget those conveniently pre-sliced almonds! I love them as a topping for salads, yogurt, pudding and ice cream.
For more almond inspiration, here are a few links you might wanna check out!
- 10 Savory Almond Recipes
- Almond Recipes from the Almond Board of California (sort of a big deal)
- Gluten-Free Almond Flour Recipes from Elana’s Pantry, a fantastic blog that I read on the reg.
You can also read more about the killer nutritional benefits of almonds HERE.
I’d love to hear more from you guys, so feel free to leave a note in the comments section about your favorite way to eat almonds/almond butter.
Have a fantastic and safe Friday night!