When I started writing this post on Wednesday, it was shaping up to be a short blurb on how calm and quiet things have been around here this week and how it was exactly what I needed after a jam-packed weekend that, while loads of fun, totally wiped me out. I wanted to tell you about the birthday party we went to in Michigan, about how great it was to host friends for dinner again, and about what I cooked for dinner that night- what worked, and what didn’t. But then today happened, and that’s a better story, so I’ll tell you about that instead.
First, a bit of background: our kids both had appointments with their new pediatrician scheduled today, and I decided to do our usual grocery shopping beforehand to avoid having to take vaccine-cranky, nap-deprived kids out in public. We piddled around the produce section and chatted with the butcher (and scored some inexpensive pork belly and a duck in the process, by the way. GET TO KNOW YOUR BUTCHER, folks!), the kids made friends with a grandmotherly woman lingering over the soft cheeses, and we left with plenty of time to make it to their appointment.
I loaded my groceries and kids into the car, strapped everyone in, doled out snacks, and shut the rear driver’s side door- and it bounced back into my face. I tried again, with the same result- the door wouldn’t shut.
By no means am I mechanically inclined, but after several years of being married to an engineer, I know how to figure out things like simple locking mechanisms, so I removed my gloves and tried several times to manually lift the part of the mechanism that was stuck, but it wouldn’t budge. I tried using a key for leverage, but still no luck. After about twenty minutes of failing to fix it myself, my fingers were on fire and difficult to move, so I relented and sent my husband a photo of the unmovable lock, then called him for advice. While he and his coworkers discussed the best way to use the seatbelt to secure the door in case I couldn’t fix the lock (I love enginerds), I stepped back into the grocery store to ask for a screwdriver. Of course, customer service couldn’t give me anything or send anyone out to help for liability reasons, but one burly gentleman who looked like a blonde, live-action version of Gaston overheard me and, armed with a screwdriver, walked back to my vehicle with me while he was taking his break. All I had to do was promise not to sue him if he broke something.
Despite his brawniest efforts, Gaston had no luck. That thing was STUCK, so over the next hour and a half, I sat in the truck on the phone with locksmiths who couldn’t help, dealership shuttle services who couldn’t pick me up for hours, and service departments that kept getting disconnected, all while plying my very loud children with cured meat, grapes, cheese, and chocolate from our grocery bags in the trunk. Several kind men stopped to help, but none succeeded in fixing the lock. I finally called my husband and asked him to leave work and drive 90 minutes to come pick us up.
At this point, the kids had eaten through most of our groceries (seriously, you’d think we had been stuck in that truck for days) and were doing the potty dance, so I took them to the neighboring burger place to warm up and eat while we waited for my husband. As we walked to a table, a man reached out and touched my elbow, and quietly said “Sweetheart, you left one of your doors open.”
“Yes… that’s why we are here. The lock won’t latch, so I’m waiting for my husband to come pick us up. I can’t safely drive, especially with my kids in there.”
He stood up, walked out to my truck as my kids and I followed, curious to see what on earth he was planning on doing to my truck. He took one look at it, gently inserted his car key under the stuck mechanism, twisted his wrist and gently flicked the key… and closed my door with a friendly warning that if we opened it, it would likely happen again. This man was either a locksmith on his lunch break or an angel. I thanked him profusely, so grateful that I wasn’t staring down the rest of the day sitting at a burger joint with very tired children and could instead head home.
This may not sound like a big deal to you, but I started the day with low energy and had been dragging more as this went on; the twenty or so minutes of trying the lock with ungloved hands in 22 degree weather did a number on my fingers and joints, and the idea of having to exert any more mental energy figuring out how to keep my nap-deprived kids occupied while trying to find a way to get both my car and us to the dealer was not appealing. I’m always amazed at God’s timing on this kind of thing, and this time was no exception.
So that brings me to now, sitting on the couch, writing, while my very tired children watch “Fox and the Hound” for the first time, and we are all snacking on bananas spread with this cinnamon spiced almond butter. Almonds generally aren’t reintroduced until later in the AIP reintroduction process, but part of my family’s traditional Christmas week snacks are spiced almonds, and it would be nice to know if I can eat them or not before I get my hopes up too much. To increase my chances of not reacting poorly, I soaked the almonds overnight in salted water and then dried them in a low oven. Raw nuts contain phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors that help protect them in nature but can cause digestion and absorption problems for sensitive people; soaking mitigates these problems and makes more of their nutrients readily available for absorption. So far, I’ve had no adverse reactions, but I’d like to give it one more day before I say for sure.
This recipe is more of a template- you can swap different nuts for the almonds and try different spices, or just stick with salt. Use coconut sugar or honey in place of the maple syrup, and if you aren’t worried about digestive problems, there’s no need to soak and dry the nuts beforehand. The fats are variable, too; I used a neutral-flavored coconut oil, but try a different nut oil or even butter for variety. Depending on the nuts you use, whether you’ve soaked and dried them or not, and the consistency you want, you may need more or less fat than specified in the recipe. I kept mine a bit dry for a nut butter, but only because I like the texture of it up against a creamy banana. You can totally go super smooth with it if that’s what you want.
Want the Recipe? Get it Here: Cinnamon Spiced Almond Butter