Homemade Nutella

A friend of mine lives on a hazelnut and blueberry farm in Oregon.  As I was thinking about just how cool that is, I asked her if she could send me hazelnuts.  I was half joking and half serious.  I don’t even remember giving her my address, but I guess I did because a few weeks later I found myself with a HUGE bag of unshelled hazelnuts.  I wasn’t planning on heading back to my college dorm just yet when I got them, so I proudly traipsed across campus with my very large package of nuts (teehee) to the utter puzzlement of my friends.

Sadly, motivation to crack unshelled hazelnuts is harder to come by than I thought, so these hazelnuts sat through my senior year of college, graduation, summer, a move back home, a year of internship, and yet another graduation.  The bag had dwindled slowly over the year and a half, but it wasn’t until a week ago that I decided it was time to finish them up and put them to good use.

Ladies and gentlemen, when life gives you hazelnuts, you simply HAVE to make Nutella.

Homemade Hazelnut Spread…from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite

Nutella!

Ingredients:
2 cups chopped toasted hazelnuts (filberts)
1/2 – 3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder
1/8 cup canola oil

Directions:
Place hazelnuts in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Process until nuts start to clump together in a ball. This will take some time (about five minutes), so be patient. Add powdered sugar and cocoa powder and process again for 2 to 3 minutes, until mixture turns dark and ingredients are well combined. Now, slowly drizzle in enough oil to make a spread. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4 to 6 weeks. Yield: 2 cups.

This recipe is courtesy of: http://oneperfectbite.blogspot.com/2011/02/homemade-hazelnut-spread-world-nutella.html#.Ujpy9dJ1_E0.  and it’s absolutely delicious.

Tips:  I toasted my hazelnuts in the broiler for a few minutes (watch them they burn quickly!).  I also reduced the sugar to 1/2 c from the original recipe and thought it was perfectly sweet enough.  Also add the canola oil in as a drizzle to avoid adding to much.

How I ate my Nutella – On apples, pears, on a rice cake topped with banana, and on whole wheat toast….and now sadly it’s gone.

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Seasons Change

Fall is my absolute favorite time of year. Leaves changing beautiful shades of burnt orange and red, the smell of crisp, cool air, and pumpkin flavored everything. It’s a sign that the world is in need of rest, like a cool down and recharge phase, and ironically the phase where people pick up back into work, school, and routine.

Fall always seemed to be my season of change. The season where I would start a new school year, a new sports season, a new job.  It was the time where I pressed the go button and didn’t stop until Thanksgiving and then Christmas, usually ending up with a stuffy nose and a cough as a result.  Summer is for relaxing on the beach, and Fall is for scarves, lattes, soccer games, evening shifts, and homework.

This is my first Fall since I was four that the seasons changed but my mindset and my schedule didn’t.  I have no school, no job, no tests, no homework, and emptying bank account, and more time than I know what to do with.  I can’t remember the last time I could say that.  It has been a wonderfully frustrating ride of unemployment, but beyond that a beautiful time of rest and self discovery.

For so long, my school and work driven life was so defined by everything I was involved in.  I was busy and I liked that.  It made me feel like my life meant something.  It isn’t until your busyness is taken from you that you are forced to wonder who you are outside of what you do.  I always dreamed of when the time would finally come when I would have nothing hanging over my head. It’s here, that freedom, yet I found myself in that “grass is greener” mindset that somehow I was a more complete human being when I was an overworked, under-slept, well-rounded student.  What a lie.

Among the many things I have learned in this season, the most important is this: I am no better than anyone else.  Somewhere deep inside I thought of people who remain jobless for months at a time and never thought I would be that person.  I worked too hard for that to happen to me.  Many interviews and job applications later, here I am.  I passed judgement on people in the twenty-somethings living at home with their parents after college.  Staring at the clouds and rainbow on my wall painted when I was 12, here I am.

Success isn’t something we rub a magic lamp for.  It doesn’t even come through how busy we were or how hard we worked beforehand.  God defines our success; He IS our success.  For now, I sleep, I read, I cook, I run, I job search, I tweak my resume, I interview.  I wake up frustrated beyond belief some days and others I am filled with more peace than I have ever known.  A job will come, I know that.  My schedule will change and I will enter a season of utter busyness once again.  But for now, I’m thankful that in this changing season, my life hasn’t changed, but I have.