In the health world, national nut day celebrates the plant-based source of our favorite fatty acids, nutrients and protein. These small, nutrient-dense powerhouses are not to be left alone! On a side note, I was infamously known around the college apartment for saying things were “nuts” (i.e. crazy).
Is that unique to the Southwest? Me? My personal jargon?
Not a clue. But, what’s totally nuts is that in a phase of life, my only dose of nut-nutrition was via the peanut butter jar (not even the “natural” kind – gasp). I did empty that jar pretty quickly, but even so, my matured and acquired taste-buds are sad for the time we missed!
Now, they are a go-to snack, oatmeal topper and trail-mix must have (what’s trail mix without the nuts?! We’re not going there.)
Here are my favorite ways to enjoy nuts:
Mixed with fresh fruit for a snack – yes, they go with anything. I’ve paired pecans + cantaloupe, walnuts + apples, pears and bananas, almonds + everything. It all works.
Topping a lunch salad or quinoa mix.
Creamed into a “butter” and, well, we know where that’s going… (fruit, oatmeal, dessert, snacking….).
Sprinkled on top of a smoothie for some extra texture and flavor.
Thrown into a pasta to make things interesting (see: Basil Cashew Pasta Salad).
Ready for something new? The Almond Board of California is riding high on a wave of new information that suggests almonds may be lower in calorie than originally thought.
I’m not suggesting we read too much into the numbers (see above: nutrient-dense powerhouse), but it’s an interesting update. Nuts get slammed by calorie counters because of their “high” value, but this food is bargain. Enjoy it, practice some portion control and you’re doing yourself a favor by choosing these over that “100 calorie snack pack”.
Here’s their idea for a creative homemade snack and/or dessert:
6 Tbs. sugar
2 Tbs. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tbs. instant coffee granules
1 egg white
2 cups whole natural almonds
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In container of electric blender, combine all ingredients except egg white and almonds. Blend 30 seconds, pulsing on and off; set aside. In large bowl, whisk egg white until opaque and frothy. Add almonds; toss to coat. Add sugar mixture; toss gently to coat evenly. Oil, or coat a baking sheet with vegetable cooking spray. Arrange almonds on baking sheet in single layer. Bake in center of oven 15 minutes. Gently toss almonds and arrange again in single layer. Continue to bake 15 minutes longer; toss gently. Turn off oven. Leave almonds in oven with door ajar 15 minutes. Remove from oven; cool completely. Store in airtight container up to two weeks.
Photo and Recipe courtesy of Almond Board of California.
Other ideas? Do tell…
Happy Nut Day!