Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Spiced Nuts

i have found protein is the key for me to feel full and satisfied all day. i try to eat several small meals throughout the day and make sure each meal has protein in it. nuts are a wonderful snack that give you not only the coveted protein but also healthy fats.

this recipe for spiced nuts is not only super easy, but it is the perfect balance of spicy and sweet. a 1/4 cup of these spiced nuts in the afternoon is just what you need to get you through the afternoon until dinner. i eat them with a clementine for a perfectly balanced snack - a little fat, a little protein, and a little fruit. they are also perfect on the go. i have several snack bags of pre-measured nuts in my pantry so i can grab them if i am heading out. they are a great post-workout protein recovery boost for your hard worked muscles. i'll warn you though, these are crazy addictive! i find it hard to stop at the recommended 1/4 cup serving.

i usually get my whole, raw nuts from trader joes. i find they have the best selection and the best price around. i use pecans, pistachios, cashews, and almonds because they are my favorites. but, any nuts will work in the mix. peanuts would be great and next time i want to add walnuts because they are supposed to be the most heart healthy of the already traditionally heart healthy nuts.

Spiced Nuts
makes approximately 4 cups

1 cup each of the following:
- raw pecan halves
- raw pistachios
- raw cashew halves
- raw whole almonds
(you can really use any kind of nuts here as long as they are raw since you will be roasting them - use your favorites)

roast nuts together on a cookie sheet at 350 degrees until fragrant - about 10-15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. keep a close eye on them though, they burn easily.

meanwhile in a small bowl, combine the following ingredients:
- 1 tbs brown sugar
- 1 tbs agave nectar
- 1 tbs finely minced fresh rosemary
- 1 tbs finely minced fresh thyme
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 3/4 tsp cayenne
- 1 tbs butter, melted
- 1 tbs extra virgin olive oil

when nuts are roasted, place 1/3 of them in a large bowl. scoop 1/3 of spice and butter mixture on top of the nuts and stir really well until all nuts are covered. continue in two more batches until all the nuts and spice mixture are in the bowl. make sure all nuts are well covered with the spice mixture.

pour back onto baking sheet and spread out evenly. let the spiced nuts cool completely. store in airtight container for up to one month.

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