The first day of school after the summer vacation was always somewhat bewildering. Each time, it arrived abruptly but was, nonetheless, one of the highlights of the year. It was wonderful to reunite with familiar faces that looked bright and excited, and the prospect of making new friends motivated more than the academic challenges that were inevitably ahead. Books and classrooms had the scent of potential; everything was possible. New garments and sharp pencils appeared to empower everyone to reform and succeed.
I feel the same way now, while uploading this post, except that the gap between the previous semester and today was far longer than a regular summer break. My sabbatical from blogging was filled by a military style schedule and duty, and it wasn’t until last week I was able to make a short trip to Southern Europe and fully relax. In the pictures, the Atlantic Ocean lashes the shores of Spain.
When I was an exchange student in Chicago eons ago, peanut butter sandwiches were a lunch-box staple at school. I don’t think it is as popular anywhere else as in America. Almond butter is nutritionally similar but has nominally less saturated fats and a bit more calcium and iron. It is also a better source of vitamin E and magnesium. Perhaps the biggest difference is that peanuts are often over cropped and susceptible to fungi called aflatoxins, which gnaw the immune system. If not organic, peanuts are likely pumped with pesticides.
The benefit of making your own nut-butter is that you can regulate the sugar intake and additives. Use honey, maple or agave syrup to sweeten it, and a pinch of Himalayan salt for a balance. Almond butter is so thick that you can roll sweet balls from it and coat them with carob or chocolate. Plain, you can add it to the salad dressing, smoothies, soups and baking. For a stronger taste, toast the almonds with skins.
The first day of school would be a fiasco if I had to do all the talking. Instead, I would like to know how you are doing. What are your recent realizations, hopes and needs? What is new in the blogging sphere? How can I serve you?