$2.50 Chocolate-Coconut Peanut Butter

>> Monday, October 31, 2011

When I first came upon Ashley's nut butter recipes, I fell in love with making peanut butter at home. But I've been lazy during my pregnancy -- often dropping up to $6 on store-bought varieties. (And I HATE over-spending on grocery items.)

So, I bought some dry-roasted peanuts and blended them up with chocolate. I proceeded to eat it -- ALL of it -- almost immediately, which isn't a pregnancy thing. It's just a ME thing. I have no control with anything chocolate-peanut butter. In fact, Stephen and I were talking about our Halloween candy habits as kids -- and I divulged how I would eat each and every Reece's peanut butter cup immediately upon returning home from trick-or-treating.

What can I say? The stomach likes what it likes.


What did I do the minute I got home this evening? That's right -- I made MORE peanut butter to fill the empty jar hole in my heart. Hopefully I can contain myself better this time around and make it last.

If not, I have four more cups of peanuts in our pantry.


$2.50 CHOCOLATE-COCONUT PEANUT BUTTER

What you'll need . . .
  • 2 cups dry roasted peanuts (they have to be dry roasted or they won't turn into PB)
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips (mini ones work best, but see below)
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil (optional, but highly recommended)

Method . . .
  1. Toss peanuts and 1 teaspoon of salt in your food processor and blend until they turn into peanut butter. Really, it WILL happen. You may need to scrape down the sides a bit to make sure all peanuts get blended evenly . . . but just be patient. It takes about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Toss in the coconut oil and chocolate. I wrote that mini-chocolate chips work best because they quickly melt into the peanut butter. If you are using larger chips . . . you may wish to pulse them before you start to make them smaller. I used semi-sweet chips -- not vegan ones. But you can use whatever kind you like.
  3. Keep blending until smooth and uniform. You may wish to add more salt, depending on your tastes. I love salt. So, I added more.
Then store in a sealed jar (I used a pint glass jar topped with some plastic wrap held by that metal screw top). I don't know technically how long the peanut butter stays "good" because it never lasts me more than a few days. I imagine at least a week or two. Also, I arrived at the $2.50 cost because about 4 cups of peanuts costs less than $4.00 at our Wegmans. So, 2 cups: $2.00. The other ingredients are used in such small amounts . . . it's an educated guess-timate.

Still, way better than dropping over double that. Cheap(er), custom, drippy goodness . . .


Stephen enjoys his on apple slices. I eat it straight off the spoon. I bet it'd be great in baking, too!


Today on (never home)maker, baby! I wrote all about week 36 of my pregnancy. Wild. 4-ish weeks to go. And in my belly shots, you can totally see where Baby A likes to hang out in my uterus. TMI? Maybe. There's no shame at this point.

Like what you just read? You can subscribe to the feed of these posts or follow us on Twitter or Facebook to be the first to know what the (never home)makers are up to. And we’ll love you forever!!

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Have Fun. Make Stuff. Yourself.

>> Thursday, October 27, 2011

We haven't written about many of our crafty projects in a while. It's not that we're not making stuff. I guess we're just being quiet about it! But in the spirit of all things doing-it-yourself, we thought we're recap some of our favorite tutorials for you!

DIY LIGHT BOX

Now that the sunlit hours are starting to dwindle, photographers out there might enjoy this tutorial on how to make your own light box. It's a cheap, easy way to get better photos indoor during the winter months.


RECYCLED T HOLIDAY GARLAND

The holidays are on our minds a bit early this year since decking the hall in our house might take some extra preparation. This festive garland is made from recycling t-shirts. New sewing or other crafty skills are required!


YOUR OWN WORT CHILLER

Beer enthusiasts might enjoy our entire series (go to the "Home Brewing" section) on how to make your own beer. This particular tutorial covers this lovely piece of equipment that's critical to the process.


CRAFTASTIC ENVELOPES

Snail mail isn't out of style -- especially if you jazz it up with fun details like these homemade envelopes. You can use any kind of paper or card stock. And they're fun for sending invitations to parties and other events.


PRETTY (EASY) ETERNITY SCARF

I'm not exactly a pro-knitter. But even I can handle this project! Just in time for the chilly weather, you can make your own eternity scarf . . . and it's much easier than you might think!


And today on (never home)maker, baby! we're asking experienced parents to help us out. Will having a baby be the end of, well, US as we know it? We're starting to freak out.

Like what you just read? You can subscribe to the feed of these posts or follow us on Twitter or Facebook to be the first to know what the (never home)makers are up to. And we’ll love you forever!!

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'Tis the Gift to be Simple

>> Wednesday, October 26, 2011

These days, we're favoring simple, fast meals over those that require more time and attention. One of our favorites? Burritos.


We just toss anything we have in them. It uses up our leftovers and makes use of long-forgotten cans of beans and veggies in the pantry. Add some cheese, avocado slices, and salsa (or not -- anything goes), and the meal is complete.

What's inside this one? It could be ANYthing!


OK. Here's a clue. We used the overflow on the side salad.


Pinto beans
Corn
Salsa
Cheddar cheese
Avocado slices
And we did hide some tofu in there, too!


How can you ensure you are always able to throw together this simple meal? Buy tortillas versus sliced bread for your lunches. We make peanut butter and jelly on these guys -- but they are so versatile! We slice and toast for dipping in hummus. We also make simple Breakfast Burritos with 'em.

Keep salsa and canned beans, etc. on hand as well.


The good news is that these ingredients keep well and are cheap. When you want to make the burritos, just gather your ingredients. Heat a pan over medium-high heat. Then get creative. Season as desired and cook until everything is warmed.

I know I don't need to tell you how to make a burrito. But sometimes it's fun to feature the simplest meals. I tend to get caught up (and happily so) in overwhelming recipes -- so it's refreshing when a meal comes together in less than 10 minutes.

Enjoy!


And if you're following our pregnancy running posts, today on (never home)maker, baby! I answer Kathleen's heart rate tracking question.

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The Best of Intentions

>> Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I'm still fighting my cold from last week. And this weekend, we had lots to accomplish. Needless to say, we didn't get everything done. A lot of time was spent lounging on the couch, eating, and meaning to cross items off our to-do list. It wasn't all a waste, though.

Stephen ran a 5K!


His first mile clocked in at 4:56, which was wayyy too fast. He was feeling it at the end of the race:


Regardless, he beat his high school PR in the 5K with a time of 16:35 (and snagged 2nd place overall)!


The rest of the day, he rested while I cooked. We bought a large upright freezer a few weekends ago, and we're trying to stock up before Baby A arrives.


What did we make? 10 quarts of Smoked Pumpkin Chili and 4 quarts of 15-Minute Applesauce. All should keep for up to 6 months in the freezer. We want to make more applesauce, another kind of stew, and some Pumpkin Garlic Knot dough this weekend to add to the stockpile.

Speaking of dirtying dishes . . . remember our dishwasher dilemma? Well, we finally caved and bought our tiny portable machine.


We haven't hooked it up yet -- but we're hoping we love it as much as we think we will!


I also started work on a new sewing project. But it had been over two months since I used my sewing machine. In theory, it looks cool . . . but it's not coming together as well as I would hope. Does anyone know where I can find good sewing tutorials online that go step-by-step? I'm hoping to hone my skills over the winter months.

What did you accomplish this weekend? I'm now almost full-term, so we're definitely feeling the time-crunch. And I still need to pack my hospital bag, among many, many other things. Yikes!

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Healthy Living Celebration: We Want Your Stories!

>> Saturday, October 22, 2011

Those of you have been reading us for a while might remember our Healthy Living Celebration -- featuring FITspirational stories of self-made athletes and others who used real-life wake-up calls to change their lives for the healthier. It's been a while since we've accepted new stories for this series, but we've missed hearing from you.

Good news, though! We're looking to get the fun started again.


If you missed 'em the first time, you can get caught up on these stories now:
  • Laura overcame her eating disorder to embrace exercise.
  • Josie quit being a quitter to get healthier and fitter.
  • Chrissy found her inner athlete and rolled her way to running.
  • The Nerdy Runner learned to love whole foods and marathons despite her busy schedule.
  • Ashley (yes -- that's ME!). Enough third person. I share part one of my healthy living story: How I understood health as a child and struggled to find my way.
  • Maissa became the gazelle of her dreams, falling head-over-heels for running.
  • Jen embarked on an awesome journey from being overweight to in-charge of her health.
  • Amy went from curling up on the couch to, well, CURLING!
  • Brittany used to hate the gym. Then she found she had a thing for yoga.
  • Karen went from restricting to living the healthy life through running and vegetarianism.
  • In Part II of my Healthy Living story, I tell you all how I fell in love with running.
  • Alysa overcame disordered eating habits/self-image and found a strength she never thought she had through running and yoga.
  • Jenna went from letting herself go . . . to being ON the go with her cute Collie/Lab pooch.
  • Maddie's fitspiration started at Lululemon and continues with half marathon training.
  • Jen danced her way healthy with Zumba . . . and keeps it up with running and eating whole foods!
  • Kerri ran/walked her way through a couch-to-5K program and is now eying 10Ks and half marathons!
  • Nina went from smoking and starving to running and stretching.
  • Samantha is learning to find balance with diet and exercise, embracing healthy habits.
  • Rowena suffered through a crash and found there's more to health than fitting into THE dress.
  • Jessica learned there's no such thing as a "real" runner and rocked a half marathon!
  • Marike never thought she'd be a runner. Now she can't see life any other way!
  • Loving Myself writes about her struggle with exercise anorexia and how her friends helped her heal.
  • Ariel went from gym-obsessed and drained to running with a smile.
  • Laura learned to love whole foods and running, as well as the healthy living community!
  • Alison took a leap of faith and started running. Her goal? Run the Chicago Marathon!
  • Kati went from eating crap and hating gym class to biking 100K and climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro.
  • Jenn went from living rules and restrictions to loving the healthy life.
Over the next couple months, we'll be featuring up to 20 new healthy living stories from our readers. If you'd like to submit your own post, here's all you need to do:
  1. Write up a thoughtful story about what made you want to be fit. What inspired you to eat more healthfully. What sport you thought you could never do. What situation served as a wake-up call to your need for a healthier lifestyle.
  2. Anything goes -- nothing is too silly or insignificant. (But please write something new -- don't just send us a link to an already-published post.)
  3. Email this story to us: neverhomemaker [at] gmail [dot] com. Use the title: HEALTHY LIVING STORY.
  4. Also send along 2 (or 3) photos to help illustrate your story. We'd prefer they be at least 500 pixels in height or width.
  5. Include your contact information (name, what you'd like us to call you, blog address -- if you have one, etc.)
  6. Be patient. We'll get back to you ASAP -- but publishing on the site may take several weeks.
Of course, if you have any questions -- just leave 'em in the comments section or email us at neverhomemaker [at] gmail [dot] com.

Like what you just read? You can subscribe to the feed of these posts or follow us on Twitter or Facebook to be the first to know what the (never home)makers are up to. And we’ll love you forever!!

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Stephen's Garden Hummus

>> Thursday, October 20, 2011

I came down to the kitchen after a shower to find THIS in our food processor.


I knew was he was up to, but I'm always amazed at how many ingredients Stephen can toss into a hummus recipe. His results are always delicious. But it's so different from how I approach making the spread.

After adding some water and blending until smooth, we had THIS to enjoy for dinner with a plate of veggies and pita bread:


What's in the mix:
  • 2 cans of chickpeas
  • 1 small onion (or several tiny ones from your garden)
  • Handful of fresh parsley
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons tahini
  • Water

How THIS guy makes it:
  1. Toss all ingredients into a food processor. (You may wish to add the salt and pepper last.)
  2. Add water slowly -- tablespoons at a time while blending -- until you reach your desired consistency.
  3. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. NOTE: Makes enough for several lunches and dinners.

Stephen's so fantastic at making up his hummus recipes, we simply can't eat store-bought anymore. It just doesn't taste as good. Stephen's is custom (and he's particularly proud to have used onions and parsley from our garden!). Plus, we can make a TON of it on the cheap.

All this chickpea mash has me scheming up new hu-mousse -- dessert hummus -- ideas! Hmmmmm . . .

And today on (never home)maker, baby! I wrote all about all the ways my third trimester is reminding me of my first. Not exactly a good thing, but -- unlike in the first tri -- we're getting closer to our due date!!!

Like what you just read? You can subscribe to the feed of these posts or follow us on Twitter or Facebook to be the first to know what the (never home)makers are up to. And we’ll love you forever!!

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The Ups and Downs of Pregnant Running

>> Wednesday, October 19, 2011

We've received a few emails from newly expecting moms (congrats, ladies!) who want to stay active during their pregnancies. So, I thought it was time we posted all our preggo-running posts in one place.

It hasn't always been pretty, but running while pregnant has surely been an experience. One of the biggest surprises I've had? Though I've had success while running . . . I am not what I'd consider a super-preggo-runner. I thought somehow I would be. My approach has been relatively conservative, but -- another surprise -- I've been fine with scaling back intensity. Listening to my body has been key at each stage.

And just when I think it's getting easier OR harder . . . my body surprises me.


The biggest piece of advice I can offer is that running while pregnant is different for each woman. Comparisons have no place in it. The ultimate goal is to keep moving -- even if that means giving up at some point. (I've taken my fair share of days off!) But don't get discouraged.

Any amount of activity you do while pregnant contributes to the ultimate goal: A healthy baby!

And today on (never home)maker, baby! I wrote all about my new favorite way to run now that I'm nearly 35 weeks: Barefoot Treadmill Running.

Are there any topics I haven't covered that y'all are curious about with this activity? If so, just let me know! I'd be happy to answer your questions. Just leave a comment or email us at neverhomemaker [at] gmail [dot] com.

Like what you just read? You can subscribe to the feed of these posts or follow us on Twitter or Facebook to be the first to know what the (never home)makers are up to. And we’ll love you forever!

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15-Minute Applesauce

>> Monday, October 17, 2011

I feel like I'm subconsciously preparing for Baby A's arrival by learning how to cook all my favorites as quickly as possible. Each fall, I look forward to making homemade, slow cooker applesauce. I spent a good amount of time peeling and chopping apples, then toss everything in the crock pot and let it stew all day. Pretty easy.

Problem is -- it takes at least 3 to 4 hours.

Then a friend mentioned that applesauce can easily be made on the stove-top in more like 15 minutes. The aroma may not fill the house all day, but THAT'S FAST! And since one of my goals is to freeze a ton of applesauce for the winter . . . I need speed.


15-MINUTE APPLESAUCE

What you'll need . . .
  • A bag of apples (3-1/2 to 4 lbs)
  • 1/2 cup cider or other juice (I used orange juice!)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Method . . .
  • Peel, core, and slice apples. Toss them into a large stock pot.
  • Pour cider and sprinkle spices onto apples. Then cook over medium-high heat until you reach a strong simmer -- let stay at this heat for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. (Note: You can get creative with your spices. Add whatever you like!)
  • Lower heat, cover, and let cook for another 10 minutes. Again, return to the pot to stir on occasion.
  • Then use a masher to mash apples for a nice, thick and chunky sauce. Or use a food processor for a smoother applesauce.

If you want to make in bulk and store your applesauce, simple clean out some quart canning jars, pour in applesauce until it reaches an inch (or maybe two inches) below the top of the jar. Let cool completely before putting on the lid. Then freeze for up to 6 months!

Baby-post followers: Don't miss my post all about 34 weeks on (never home)maker, baby! It was a rough week, but not all bad.

And don't forget that we've added 80+ recipes to The Recipe Archives, all organized by category.


Like what you just read? You can subscribe to the feed of these posts or follow us on Twitter or Facebook to be the first to know what the (never home)makers are up to. And we’ll love you forever!

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Weekend Hike and Pancakes

>> Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Scenes from this weekend's highlight -- a long, flat hike amongst the leaves. The weather was absolutely gorgeous, though a bit warmer than I like this time of year.


In all my 33-week glory:


Stephen hated stopping for me to take photos . . .


But I reminded him it might be our last hike as a couple for a while!


The next morning, we made Greek yogurt pancakes.


Here's a closer look:


The recipe isn't ours, though. So, I'll direct you on Macheesmo if you think you'd like to make 'em. I'd very much suggest doing so. We were blown away at the texture. There's hardly any flour in them, too! Just lots of protein and flavor. We'll surely be making them again sometime soon.

Can't believe it's Wednesday already! I know it's late to ask -- but how was your weekend? And if you missed it, on (never home)maker, baby! I wrote up 33 things about Week 33.

Like what you just read? You can subscribe to the feed of these posts or follow us on Twitter or Facebook to be the first to know what the (never home)makers are up to. And we’ll love you forever!

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Applesauce Coffee Cake

>> Thursday, October 6, 2011

I don't drink coffee, but I thoroughly enjoy coffee cakes of all varieties. It had been nearly two years since I made one at home (Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake). So, I happily whipped this one up before work yesterday morning, incorporating a full cup of homemade Ginger Gold Applesauce (from locally grown apples!) I made over the weekend.

Definitely my best breakfast cake yet!


Not too dry or moist. Not too sweet or bland. With a crumbly topping we couldn't resist . . . which is why these photos are all we have left. Well, AND the memory of how great it all tasted.


APPLESAUCE COFFEE CAKE

What you'll need . . .
  • 1-1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt (or your favorite substitute -- Greek is all we had on hand)
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup applesauce
For the topping . . .
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 tablespoon Earth Balance
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar

Method . . .
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a square baking dish (9 in. x 9 in.) and set aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon.
  3. In a smaller bowl, combine the Greek yogurt, maple syrup, vegetable oil and applesauce. Then add the mixture to the dry ingredients.
  4. Combine with a spatula until everything is wet/together -- but resist over-mixing.
  5. Pour mix into your prepared pan.
  6. Then combine all the topping ingredients in a small bowl using a fork. Spread mixture over your cake batter.
  7. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes -- until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  8. Let cool.

Serve hot, warm, or cold. With or without coffee.


And today on (never home)maker, baby! you can check out my 32 week belly shots (self portraits). Today I'm 33 weeks. 7-ish more to go!

Like what you just read? You can subscribe to the feed of these posts or follow us on Twitter or Facebook to be the first to know what the (never home)makers are up to. And we’ll love you forever!

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Updated Recipe Archive!

>> Tuesday, October 4, 2011

We slacked . . . and we're sorry. We hadn't added any recipes to our Recipe Archives since -- GASP -- January 2011! Knowing that in the coming months life is only going to get crazier, we got to inputting. (AKA the more boring, but necessary side of blogging.)

It took us a few weeks, but we're happy to report that we've added 80+ recipes to The Archives, organized by category.


So, if you're new to (never home)maker, the Recipe Archive can be your new best friend. It's a great way to catch up on our vegan and vegetarian favorites.

And if you're a dedicated reader -- thanks for your patience! -- you can now find some of your specific favorites much faster than before.

Like what you just read? You can subscribe to the feed of these posts or follow us on Twitter or Facebook to be the first to know what the (never home)makers are up to. And we’ll love you forever!

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