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I'm Crystal Vaughn

a classically trained chef taking holistic plant-based nutrition on a grand adventure through North America. When I’m not creating in our traveling kitchen, you can usually find me on my yoga mat or a hiking trail.

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If you have read my Almond Butter Pudding blog post you know I love almond butter.  What you may not know is that I am super picky about which brands I eat.  I have tried almost every brand I can get my hands on.  Well, excluding the ones with added sugar and other ingredients along those lines.  

It is hard to find one that would meet my ideal standards: raw, sprouted, organic with no additives and when you do find one it isn't affordable.  At least not for someone who can eat through a whole jar in a week.  Also, a lot of the ones I am hopeful to try that meet some of my criteria end up tasting a little stale.  I'm definitely not happy about that after spending $12 on a jar!

I have found one at whole foods that I like but it is two hours away and so I stock up when I get the chance.  

I almost always have almonds on hand so I decided to make my own.  I can control the quality of the ingredients and add additional flavors if I want.  Win win!

Almond butter is actually pretty easy to make and all you need is a food processor or a high powered blender.  Add the almonds to the food processor and turn it on.  It takes about 18 to 20 minutes to get a nice creamy almond butter and all you have to do is use a spatula to scrape down the sides about every minute.  

My typical breakfast consists of a large mug of hot lemon water followed by a breakfast bowl with apples, almond butter and cinnamon.  The almond butter and cinnamon combination is so good that I decided to pair the two in the almond butter itself!

My breakfast almost always consists of those three ingredients but sometimes I like to add a little something extra.  Banana, coconut, seeds, nuts, and berries all make good additions.  Today I topped my apple with my cinnamon almond butter, cacao nibs and goji berries.  Yum!

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Nov 05, 2014

 

I have been sharing a lot of recipes calling for pumpkin purée lately but not all of them are created equal.  Most of them are loaded with pesticides and put in cans lined with toxic chemicals.  The good news is you can easily make it at home!  Here are the steps to do so...

 1) Cut the tops off of the pumpkins, slice them in half and scoop out all the seeds.

 

2) Cut the halves into wedges.

 

3) Roast in the oven at 350° for 45 minutes to an hour.  Until easily pierced with a fork.

 

4) Using yours hands or a knife, peel the skin away from the flesh. 

 

5) In a high powered blender (I use a Vitamix) or food processor blend the pumpkin until it's completely smooth.  If the pumpkin is a little dry you can add a splash of water.

 

Now it is ready to be used in your favorite fall recipes or frozen for later use.  Sometimes I put mine in ice cube trays and once frozen I move them into a container and store until I need some pumpkin.  This homemade purée really makes a big difference  from the canned stuff and you know that all that is in it is pumpkin.  It doesn't get much better than that!

After getting a lot of good feedback on my Vegetable Stock recipe I have considered doing more posts covering kitchen basics.  I would love to hear your thoughts on this in the comments below!

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I never really understood the whole pumpkin craze that arose at the beginning of every fall.  The only pumpkin I would usually see came out of a can and ended up in a pumpkin pie, which I never really liked. 

The last couple of years I have been getting in the kitchen and experimenting with this seasonal vegetable and I am really growing to love it.  Here is another seasonal treat that is great for replacing your overly sugared and processed store bought cereals and granolas. 

This is a little more savory than most granolas and it is another reason I like it so much.  It is great for breakfast with homemade almond milk or as I have it here: served over a banana with a dollop of almond butter and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

As the days get shorter and the temperatures drop it is a perfect time to get inside and try some new recipes.  But still take some time to enjoy the autumn colors.  Bundle up and go for a hike!  We went exploring in the Dolly Sods this weekend.  Even though a lot of the trees had already lost their leaves it was a beautiful fall day to be outside. 

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The information on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any health condition or disease. It does not replace medical advice from a licensed professional.