Jul 26, 2013

Spicy Mixed Nuts

My family and I traveled for what felt like the entire month of June.  We kicked off the summer holidays the week after Memorial Day with a week at the beach followed by a long weekend at a family reunion.  Throw in a couple of birthday celebrations for family and July had arrived. Successful packing for my family of 5 requires a plan with checklists and several days of preparation.  With 3 children 5 and under, road trips are always an adventure in and of themselves. Snacks are essential to survive any car trip whether to the grocery store or for vacation.  I made an effort to include snacks for my husband and I during our summer travels. Fortunately for me, he enjoys spicy foods as much as I do. There is just something about having a dance party in my mouth that brings joy to my spirit and a smile to my face.

Our go to snacks during summer travels were nuts and granola bars.  I prefer to make my own mix of nuts and homemade granola bars to not only control the ingredients, but to also keep costs down as both can be expensive to keep stocked in the pantry.

Since I like variety, I experimented with several combinations of spices and found that my favorite was the one in which I included practically all of them.  To keep the spice list reasonable, this recipe uses curry powder since it is a blend of several spices such as cumin, turmeric, ginger, coriander, and cinnamon. These are indeed spicy, but not so spicy hot that you can not enjoy them without an emergency supply of water nearby. The use of maple syrup balances the spices nicely.

3 cups of raw whole mixed nuts (almonds, cashews, walnuts, pecans)
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder (Use 1 teaspoon for more of a kick)
1/2 teaspoon of salt
2 tablespoons of maple syrup

Preheat oven to 325 degree F. Combine spices in a bowl large enough to hold all the nuts.  Add the nuts to the bowl and stir in the maple syrup.  Once the nuts are completely coated, transfer them to a spray coated or parchment lined sheet pan.  Be sure nuts are evenly layered across the pan.  Bake for 15- 20 minutes until they become aromatic. Stir a couple of times to prevent them from sticking together and to help them cook evenly. Let cool and enjoy or store in an airtight container for a couple of weeks.

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