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How to Make and Use Pecan Butter

How to Make and Use Pecan Butter
There are many different nut butters gaining popularity, especially since many people are sensitive or allergic to peanut butter.  If you're a pecan lover, you'll love these ideas.  Making your own pecan butter is quick and easy.  Since it lasts for up to a month in the fridge, you can use the same batch for many different recipes.

2 cups pecans
Sea salt to taste
Cinnamon (optional)

1. Toast the pecans in a large skillet for 4-8 minutes.
2. Pour them into a high-speed blender and let them cool for a few minutes.
3. Blend the pecans until creamy paste forms.  This could take 1-15 minutes depending on your blender.
4. Add the sea salt and cinnamon and blend again.  (Taste it and add more if needed.)
5. Pour the pecan butter into a jar with a sealed lid and store in the refrigerator.

After you've made your first batch of pecan butter, you can start to incorporate it into your cooking.   For a quick snack, try a spoonful and get a boost of energy.  You can substitute pecan butter for whenever you would normally use peanut butter, like pb&j sandwiches, protein smoothies, earthy sauces, and homemade salad dressings.  It would even be great in desserts, such as cookies, cupcakes, pies, or brownies.  

The possibilities really are endless, especially if you're up for some experimenting in the kitchen.  Check out the links below for more recipes, and discover the delicious ways to enjoy homemade pecan butter!

Pecan Butter Recipe

Almond Butter Brownies Recipe (Simply use your pecan butter instead of the almond butter!)

Healthy Thai Peanut Dressing (Just use the pecan butter instead of peanut butter.)

Bag-A-Nut Beginnings: A Brief History From Our Longest Standing Employee

Bag-A-Nut Beginnings: A Brief History From Our Longest Standing Employee
long time employee of Bag-A-Nut
In 1989, Bag-A-Nut officially became a company and Mr. James Dudley, the inventor of the machines, had to decide who he wanted on his team to make the company thrive.  Lisa Hendrickson had worked with Mr. Dudley when he was running Alpha Molding in previous years.  In 1992, Lisa was hired to build the newly invented Bag-A-Nut units and now, 27 years later, continues to succeed at her job.  She has a very unique perspective because she has seen the company blossom into what it is today.  She has been here from the beginning and remains the longest standing employee of the company.
   Working for Mr. Dudley was great, she said.  "He was a very hard worker, and even though he was older than us, he could outwork us."  He enjoyed seeing the machines set out before they were boxed up, just to admire the finished product.  After a long day working hard he would say to the employees "Let's just go on home."
   She explained back then the methods for assembly were a lot more tedious.  Specifically, the tag-along machines were easy to mess up.  "It was frustrating because you would spend a long time working and if it didn't turn out just right, you'd have to throw the whole thing out."
   Lisa also recalls watching Caleb Dudley, the current CEO, grow up and turn the Bag-A-Nut Old Machinescompany into the success it is today.  "When Caleb would come to the workshop at about 15 years old, he would help build the machines.  That was back when we used wooden hammers."  She said it's been quite an experience because now she sees Caleb's sons come help at the shop too.
   She has also seen the changes in the Bag-A-Nut products themselves.  She says the assembly process is much more convenient these days and as the products improve, the process of building them becomes smoother.
   When asked what she enjoys most about working for the company, she said "It's a family-owned business and they treat you like family.  They really care about their employees.  When I got hurt a few years back, they assured me I would be taken care of.  My co-workers are great and the hours are perfect for me."  She also shared she loves the Christmas parties.
   It's amazing to think about all she has seen.  She's experienced the ups and downs, watched the products continue to transform and improve, and is as dedicated as ever to making sure the Bag-A-Nut machines are always assembled correctly.
Lisa, long-time employee of Bag-A-Nut with her sister.

Sweet Gum Ball Crafts

Sweet Gum Ball Crafts
Have you ever quickly glanced at something and thought it was an eyesore, only to discover it could be turned into something beautiful?  There are many examples of this in nature.  All we need to do is look closer.  This time of year, sweet gum balls are falling in high volumes and you may consider them to be a nuisance.  However, these seed pods could actually be utilized for many different craft ideas including for holidays, home decor projects, and kids crafts!
sweetgumball craft Sweetgum balls, also cleverly nicknamed porcupine eggs, are extremely versatile.  They would look great in the fall as part of a Thanksgiving centerpiece and could be incorporated into many Christmas crafts.  For example, they could be painted and turned into unique Christmas tree ornaments, strung together to make a garland, glued together to make wreaths, or shaped into mini Christmas trees.  With a few simple crafting supplies, they can take on many different shapes, like snowmen or Christmas trees.
They can also be used in home decor projects.  Spray paint them different colors, attach them to a stem, and they look like flowers in a vase.  Lightly spray paint them white and surround a candle or fill a jar with them for a gorgeous centerpiece.
Sweetgum balls can also be great for kid's crafts because you can usually find a lot at once.  Cover them in glitter, glue them together to form different animal shapes like mice and birds, or make a heart-shaped wreath for Valentine's Day.  (Make sure to supervise since the seed pods can be prickly.)
Collect them from your backyard and save money on crafting supplies.  Bag-A-Nut has 6 Sweet Gum Ball machines to choose from in a variety of sizes and styles depending on your need.  For more ideas, search "sweet gum ball crafts" on Pinterest and be amazed at what you can create!
sweetgumball crafts
Did you know about the link between Sweetgum balls and Tamiflu? Learn about this amazing seed HERE!