Hello 2015! Wow, where did the last month go? I hadn’t planned on taking a hiatus this long, but life had other plans. Is it too late to talk about New Year’s resolutions? I’m saying not – since I just set mine on Wednesday. I was at dinner with a good friend of mine Wednesday night and she was telling me she read somewhere about a happiness jar. At the end of each day, you write down something that made you happy that day. Put it in the jar. And then when you need a pick-me-up you can pull them out. Or at the end of the year go back through them all and reminisce. I’m totally stealing this idea. It’s been a rough couple of weeks and I’ve decided taking a step back and looking at the small things that make me happy each day is one way to see that silver lining in every day. So what are my happies so far? Going from crow pose directly to headstand in yoga. (I had NO IDEA I could do that!) New BRIGHT RED lipstick. Cuddles with my pup. And laughter with old friends. Maybe things are looking up already.
Now, let’s talk food. Because despite the start of this post, I’m actually here to share a new recipe today. I haven’t been cooking a whole lot recently – and I’ve been running around every morning and forgetting breakfast. I decided I needed to do something about that. Over the holidays my mom always makes her famous sweet and spicy mixed nuts. While I usually eat them with a a glass of wine, I thought I could make my own spin on them for grabbing a handful while running out the door.
For Christmas my mom gave me a bunch of flavored sugars. They’re so cute and I thought if I was going to try and make my own nut mix I would utilize this new flavored sugar. To be honest, I haven’t tried them all but I did try the ginger sugar one night with some almonds and knew it would be perfect in this recipe. And don’t worry, if you don’t have ginger sugar – you could just add some ground ginger instead. But if you can find this sugar, I highly recommend!
My mom usually makes her version with cashews, almonds and pecans. I used what I had on hand – almonds, walnuts and pumpkin seeds. I actually loved the pumpkin seeds – I wasn’t sure if they would work out but they ended up being nice and crispy. I might actually go for slivered almonds the next go-round to get them even smaller. The pumpkin seeds had a lot more flavor, and I think I could get the same result from some smaller almonds too…
This is one of the simplest recipes ever. Aside from nuts, all you need is some spices, some vegan margarine, and some sugar. And a slow cooker. Nuts in a slow cooker? Yep! The sugar and margarine get all melty and start forming clusters with the nuts. Which then end up being delicious little morsels you can pop in your mouth while running out the door. Mission accomplished.
They’re also great with wine and old Sex and the City episodes on a Friday night…and I have the girlfriends to prove it. To keep them fresh I tossed the lot into a large mason jar and they were just as delicious a week later as they were the day I made them. They’re definitely a good treat to have on hand for snacking and such. And they’re so easy to make, I might try all sorts of different spices and flavors. So if you’re looking for a perfect snack that’s a little sinful but won’t make you feel too guilty – give these a spin. And add them to your happiness jar.
Spicy Ginger Nut & Seed Mix
What You’ll Need:
- 1 cup almonds
- 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1/2 cup walnuts
- 1/4 cup Jamaican ginger sugar (or 1/4 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon ginger)
- 1/6 cup vegan margarine (or if you’re like me – just do one half of one third cup – math is hard!)
- a couple pinches cayenne pepper
- dash salt
What You’ll Do:
- Toss the nuts and seeds into a large bowl
- Melt the margarine for about 20 seconds in the microwave, and add the sugar to the melted margarine
- Add cayenne and salt to the sugar and margarine
- Drizzle the mixture over the nuts and seeds and stir
- Place everything into a slow cooker on low heat
- Let everything cooks for 45 minutes, stir, and then cook for another hour
- Spread the mixture out on a sheet of tin foil to cool
- Put the nuts and seeds in a mason jar or other air-tight container to keep fresh