Homemade Peanut Butter, yum!

One of my favorite foods is peanut butter. I mix it with chocolate, put it on bananas and apples, add it to my protein pancakes, and I love it on my toast with a little bit of cinnamon. So when I moved to New York and found how expensive it was, I decided to buy a bunch of peanuts and make my own peanut butter!

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How’s that for being resourceful? The result was delicious. I’m used to getting my peanut butter freshly ground anyways, but I’ve never tried it at home. Once you experience it fresh, you will not want to go back to regular packaged peanut butter!

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Do It Yourself: Homemade Peanut Butter

I would suggest using a food processor to make this. I used my Magic Bullet which I love so much but you can ruin it if you aren’t careful by burning out the motor. On the Magic Bullet it says to not keep blending for longer than a minute at a time so it can take a little bit longer.

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1. If you’re using a food processor, in my research I found that you can pour about 16 oz of peanuts into the processor and start to blend it all together until smooth, scraping the sides occasionally. If you’re using the Magic Bullet, take the smallest cup and use the food processor blade. Put about a cup of peanuts in the cup and screw on the blade tightly.
2. Pulse the peanuts and watch as they start to break down into a chalk like paste and gradually blend into a creamier substance. If you prefer it more chunky, stop here. If you want it more creamy, then continue to pulse. Take a break after a minute so you don’t burn out your blender!
3. You can add a little bit of canola oil or peanut oil if you want. I added a little coconut oil to my first batch and it added a nice, subtle change of flavor. You can also get crazy and experiment with different types of peanuts (I tried honey roasted which was delicious on toast!) as well as by adding in different flavorings.
4. Store in an air tight container in your fridge for up to a month. If you added oils keep in mind they may separate over time. Just mix the peanut butter around and you’ll be good!

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Now that you’ve made your own peanut butter, I bet you won’t go back to regular! I’m off to try Equinox’s “Whipped!” class, I’ll let you know how it goes after I’m “whipped” into shape!

What did you try adding to your peanut butter? What else do you try to make yourself instead of buying at the grocery store?

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Breaking a sweat in the city, without breaking the bank

      If there’s anything my first week living in New York has taught me, it would be the importance of being creative when it comes to getting in my daily exercise.  All the walking around keeps me active, but I’m one of those people who feels like my day isn’t complete unless I’ve broke a good sweat at some point. In Boise, I was used to being able to choose whether I wanted to go to the gym, hot yoga, or use some of the great outdoor activities that were literally in my backyard. Because gyms and yoga studios in the city can be quite pricey, I’ve had to think outside the box and see what was around me that I could utilize while on a budget. After a week I’ve figured out how to still get a good sweat in without breaking the bank Winking smile

How to break a sweat in the city, without breaking the bank
1. If you’re just looking for moderate exercise, try to utilize the best transportation available to you when you’re going places. Your own two feet! I set a rule for myself that if anything was around a mile or so, I refuse to use public transit. This way, even on a busy day I’m still getting in some activity.
2. Find a route or trail to run/jog/bike/walk on. This is a great way to become aware of your surroundings while still getting in a workout. It’s also an outlet to meet people.
3. Feeling ambitious? Design your own workout to do at home or in a local park somewhere. Many parks will have steps or stairs that you can use to increase your heart rate and then perform a couple of different exercises. Not sure how to design an at home workout? Try out my “Sweat It Out At Home” workout, you’re sure to break out a sweat by the end!
4. While memberships to fitness facilities can be pricey, many places will have guest or trial passes. Being in a bigger city means there are several different gyms as well as a variety of places where their sole focus is on a type of fitness such as cycling, yoga, dance, kick boxing, and many others. Try out different places and also look on social saving deals like Groupon. This will cut the cost of a fitness membership while also keeping your workout fresh and new with many different options and exercises to try.
 
Tour De Force

Source: Equinox

    To keep active I’ve been running in the park here and also have been doing my own workouts at home in addition to the excessive walking around I’ve done. Today was the first day I’ve tried out a gym in the area though. I received a guest pass to Equinox, a national club with 25 locations in the city. From the moment I walked in I was incredibly impressed with how welcoming the staff was and the amenities. There are three different levels consisting of a cardio deck, a very nice locker room (they had everything you would need to get ready after a workout including a dispenser with mouth wash in it, I’d never seen that in a gym!), a spa, and two different levels of weight rooms and more cardio.

FLEX APPEAL

Source: Equinox

Even with it being as packed as it was, which I considered a good sign, there was enough equipment to still get in your full workout and not feel as if sweaty people were all cramped together. For after your workout, there is a café that offers a variety of food and drink to help you refuel as well as a fitness attire shop. They also offer a variety of exercise classes including a several types of yoga (I’m biting at the bit to try these), diverse dance classes, Pilates, cycling, kickboxing, Zumba, sculpting and conditioning classes, and many more. The class selection was the aspect I was impressed with most because they wouldn’t have just one or two yoga and cycling classes for beginners and then experts but rather several that all focused on different goals and settings. Tomorrow I’m going to try out the “Whipped!” class which involves strength ropes, kettlebells, body bars, and more. I loved the description of the class

“Get whipped into shape with the latest modern fitness training to help you reach for results. No corners to cut- just hard work, sweat and fun using Strength Ropes, Kettlebell, Body Bar, and much more, set to the test with a clock, good music, and all that you’ve got to give.”

Should be a great class! I’ll let you know how it goes Smile

STRENGTH IN NUMBERS

                                               Source: Equinox

As for tonight, I’m taking it easy and curling up on the couch with my smiley face cup of tea and watching the Miss America pageant live! I can’t believe it’s been a year since I competed and I wish the best of luck to all the ladies!

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What are your tips for staying active while on a budget?

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