My husband is on a very strict diet of protein, vegetables, and ezekial bread. Do you think my meal planning might be a little challenging when it comes to variety? Absolutely. It can also get expensive.

Luke loves to snack on almonds, cashews and pistachios. He also loves to top his bread and celery with nut butter—an excellent source of protein. I don't know if you've checked out the prices on nut butters lately, but they are a little pricey, especially for our budget. Nuts are expensive which makes nut butter expensive. When we buy it off the shelf, we also pay for manufacturer overhead, shipping, stocking, and profit for both the retail chain and manufacturer. 

Lately, I've found raw and organic bulk cashew pieces at Kroger for 4.99/lb and peanuts for 2.99/lb. I recently bought cashew butter for 5.79 on sale for an 11oz jar—which I can make at home for less! When we go through nut butter as quickly as we do, the savings really add up.

Cashew pieces

All you need to make your own nut butter at home is a food processor (a good blender will work, too), nuts and a good oil (I like extra virgin olive oil for its nutritional value). I make small batches so that it stays fresh.

Directions:

Add two cups of nuts of choice to a food processor and pulse until the nuts start to form a ball. Add 1 tablespoon of a good quality/healthy oil at a time until desired chunkiness or creaminess is reached. Transfer to a clean jar and store in the fridge.

It's that easy—and easy on the pocketbook! 

Speaking of nuts, here is a great article on organic almond farmers who are challenging the U.S. Department of Agriculture to keep their crop organic and raw. "Those challenging the USDA scored a legal victory last week when a U.S.
Court of Appeals judge ruled they could proceed with a lawsuit
challenging the regulations."
This is great news for the farmers and for us who deeply care about preserving the nutrition in the crop.

Tipoftheday You will get more health benefits by making nut butter with raw nuts, but if you'd like a little more flavor you can roast the nuts in the oven first, let them cool, then make nut butter.