October 22nd is National Nut Day
In our home, we consume nuts in some form or fashion almost daily. Frequently, we toss a few almonds, walnuts or pecans in our morning smoothie or breakfast waffles, prepare trail mix with a variety of nuts for on-the-go energy, roll chicken strips with a mixture of nuts, coconut and corn flakes for a delicious, crunchy coating, entertain with Sweet, Salty, Spicy Party Nuts or serve Green Beans Almondine as a side dish for dinner. Many times, we will grab a few almonds or walnuts to ease hunger while waiting for dinner. Sometimes, we add a few chopped nuts with our coffee grounds to add a rich and nutty flavor. Taken in moderation, nuts are a healthful addition for anyone who doesn’t have nut allergies.
When I was a child, my mother worked in a little shop in downtown Dallas. There was a Plantar’s store across the street where they roasted their fresh nuts all day. We could smell the intense nutty aroma as each batch was nearing completion. One of my fondest memories was when I would purchase a bag of hot, freshly roasted peanuts or almonds. The sweet taste of the warm nut meat was and still is one of my favorite comfort foods.
I’m sure your family has a few favorite methods of preparing and consuming nuts. Here are a few tasty recipes we enjoy.
Chocolate Almond Smoothie
1/2 cup almond milk
1 tbsp. raw honey, warmed slightly
2 tbsp. natural peanut butter
1 medium banana (I use a ripe frozen banana)
1 1/2 tbsp. cocoa powder
Place all the ingredients into a blender, pulse a few times and then process on high until smooth. If you don’t have a frozen banana, you might consider adding a few ice cubes to make it cold.
Occasionally, I will soak 1/4 cup of rolled oats in 1/4 cup of the almond milk overnight. In the morning, I will combine the other 1/4 cup of almond milk, the soaked oatmeal and the rest of the ingredients and then process as usual. If the smoothie is too thick, add a little more almond milk.
Basic Trail Mix
1 cup raw almonds
1/2 cup unsalted peanuts
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup craisins
1/2 cup M&M’s
This is the basic mix we usually start with and then we’ll add additional ingredients like coconut, dried blueberries, granola chunks, walnuts, pecans, pistachios or a variety of other nuts and dried fruit. This trail mix is very versatile and provides energy for busy days or exercising.
Coconutty Chicken Strips
1 1/2 cups coconut milk
2/3 cup sweetened coconut flakes
2/3 cup crushed cornflakes
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
1 tsp. Watkins Poultry Seasoning
1 1/2 pounds chicken breast, cut in 1-inch wide strips
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Put coconut milk in a small bowl, and set aside. In a shallow pie plate, combine coconut, cornflakes, pecans and poultry seasoning.
Dip chicken strips in coconut milk to cover, then roll in coconut mixture. Place strips on wire rack sprayed with Watkins Cooking Spray. Place wire rack on a baking sheet. Spray top of chicken. Bake 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350, and bake 15 more minutes. Check that coating browns but does not burn. If desired, broil 2 minutes for an even crunchier top.
Note: We like a little kick to our strips so, we add 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. Watkins Cayenne Powder and/or up to 1/2 tsp. Watkins Crushed Red Pepper Flakes to the coconut mixture.
1 (18 oz.) jar apricot preserves (such as SMUCKER’S® Apricot Preserves)
1 cup crushed pineapple
4 tsp. prepared horseradish
Mix apricot preserves and horseradish in a bowl; stir in pineapple. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Adapted from recipes found on Allrecipes.com
Sweet, Salty, Spicy Party Nuts
1 cup raw walnut halves
1 cup raw pecan halves
1 cup raw almonds
1 cup unsalted, dry roasted cashews
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp JR Watkins Purest Black Pepper
1/4 tsp JR Watkins Ground Cumin
1/2 tsp JR Watkins Ground Cayenne Pepper
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp butter
Preheat oven to 350º F (175º C). Line a baking sheet with a Silpat or parchment paper lightly coated with JR Watkins Cooking Spray.
Place walnuts, pecans, almonds and cashews in a large bowl, set aside. Combine salt, pepper, cumin and cayenne; add to nuts and toss to coat.
Heat sugar, water and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until the butter is melted. Cook for 1 minute and remove from heat. Slowly pour butter mixture over the bowl of nuts and stir to coat.
Transfer nuts to the prepared baking sheet and spread into a single layer.
Bake nuts in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Stir nuts until the warm syrup coats every nut. Spread into a single layer, return to oven and bake until nuts are sticky and roasted, about 6 minutes. Allow to cool before serving.
Adapted from a recipe found on Allrecipes.com
Green Beans Almondine
1 lb. fresh or frozen green beans
2 tbsp Watkins Original Grapeseed Oil
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1-2 cloves garlic, grated or minced
1/4 cup minced onion
1/4 cup slivered almonds
Watkins Purest Ground Black Pepper
Watkins Course Sea Salt
Remove any stem or strings from green beans; rinse and drain. Heat olive oil and butter in a large skillet on med. heat. Add onions and sauté until translucent; add garlic and green beans. Toss until evenly coated. Reduce heat to low, cover and gently simmer until green beans are al dente, approx. 8-10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with almonds and transfer to a serving dish.
Here are a few suggestions you may find useful:
You can trust JR Watkins superior quality Extracts and Spices for excellent results in cooking and baking. It’s my Granny’s secret ingredient!