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Roasted Curry Butternut Seeds

Roasted Curry Butternut Seeds

So, this past weekend I made not one, but two fully furnished cutting boards. I also made a butternut squash, and toasted its seeds. And a bumblebee costume from yellow duck tape, wire, and saran wrap (for the wings).

A productive weekend, if I do say so myself.

Now we shall see how productive this week becomes, as I sit and dream about crafting more woodworking projects. And eat crunchy, curried seeds as my mind drifts afloat.

Roasted Curry Butternut Seeds

Far too often, I quickly open butternuts, and toss the seeds without thinking twice. Yet, I’ve toasted the seeds on numerous occasions, and should know better than that by now.

Butternut nut squash seeds are tasty. They can be salty. And spicy. Or sweet. Or both. And are certainly worthy of saving.

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Spiced Nuts with Cranberries

Homemade gifts are always the best, and often ranked at the top are the edible ones. I mean, who doesn’t like receiving something pre-made and tasty that they can eat?

Nearly always a favorite are holiday cookies, but your friends and family are bound to receive plates full of those from numerous other people. So why not switch it up this year and give away some spiced nuts instead? Jar those babies up to create a special gift that’s memorable even long after digested. Your nut-loving fam. and friends will be thrilled, especially after the holidays exhaust their initial cookie cravings. Plus, by going with the nuts you’ll automatically sneak in an extra nourishing gift for your loved ones. Chock full of heart healthy fats, protein, and antioxidants, like the vitamin E that fills the almonds in this recipe, this edible gift is easily a winner.

Spiced Nuts with Cranberries

-2 cups almonds
-2 cups pecans
-1 cup dried cranberries
-4 Tbsp. butter or oil
-3 Tbsp. honey
-1 Tbsp. brown sugar
-2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
-1 tsp. cinnamon
-1 tsp. smoked paprika
-1 tsp. salt
-1 tsp. cayenne pepper

Preheat oven 300F.

In a nonstick skillet, melt butter (or heat oil) over medium-low heat. Add honey, sugar, salt, and spices. Stir until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat, and add almonds, pecans, and cranberries, stirring until nuts are coated.

Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil. Transfer nut and cranberry contents to baking sheet. Place in oven, and bake 5 minutes. Stir, and return to oven. Bake another 5-10 minutes, or until nuts are golden brown, stirring every 2-3 minutes.

Note: The sweetener can cause the nuts to easily burn. One single minute baked too long can ruin your spiced nuts and cranberries, so make sure to keep a close eye on the oven while baking.

Collard Chips

If you haven’t gotten the gist by now from my other two “green chip” posts, let me inform you now that you can turn almost any kind of leafy green into a delicious and healthy version of a chip.  I find that this is one of the best ways to introduce greens into the diets of those who may view these kinds of veggies as foreign, medicine-like substances.

While indeed greens could be praised for what may be perceived as medicinal qualities, boasting of exceptionally high levels of antioxidants, their taste certainly doesn’t have to resemble anything close to that off a chewable medicine.  In fact, turning let say, collard greens, into chips makes them almost as irresistible as chips made from America’s #1 favorite vegetable, potatoes.

Collards in particular have exceptionally high levels of vitamins A, C, and K, essential for proper immune system functioning and healthy vision, and providing anti-inflammatory properties.

Swap out those regular potato chips and replace them with collard chips (or any other green of your choice).  High in fiber and low in calories, there’s simply no comparison between baked collard chips and standard potato chips, other than their slightly addicting flavors. A perfect green app. for those upcoming holiday parties.

Collard Chips

-1 bunch of collard greens, chopped
-Garlic powder
-Red chili pepper flakes
-Salt and Pepper
-1 Tbsp. olive oil, plus more for greasing

Preheat oven to 375F.  Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly grease with oil.  Spread chopped collard greens on baking sheet, and drizzle with olive oil.  Generously sprinkle chili pepper flakes, garlic powder, and salt and pepper on top.  Bake for 15-20 minutes, stirring halfway through, until leaves start to crisp and edges turn brown.

Healthy Peanut Butter Balls

I posted this recipe awhile back during National Peanut Butter Month.  The recipe is so irresistibly good that it made it in the Temple News and is certainly worth a repeat on this blog.

Peanut Butter Balls Are Tasty and Healthy

There is finally a way to eat this satisfying snack free of guilt, and it’s full of fats that are good.

According to the National Peanut Board, Americans consume more than 700 million pounds of peanut butter per year. This accounts for a total of $800 million spent per year on peanut butter, the No. 1 use of peanuts in the United States.

grace simple savors

With its smooth texture and slightly sweet-and-nutty roasted flavor, for many people, peanut butter is tasty enough to eat straight out of the jar. Add a little jelly to the spoon, and you have the classic peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich almost guaranteed to bring back childhood memories.

There are many ways to use this popular food that go beyond the average PB&J. The following recipe creates a delicious peanut-butter-rich snack that doesn’t require much more effort than grabbing a spoonful from the jar.

Not only will this easy-to-prepare recipe save the shame of being caught with lips smacked shut and your spoon in the jar, but the few extra ingredients also add additional flavor and health benefits.

While carrots may not seem like the traditional ingredient to pair with peanuts, their slight sweetness lends the perfect compliment in this recipe. Packed with vitamin A and fiber, carrots add tons of nutrients that help stretch the calorie-dense peanut butter. Cereal adds some crunch to the cream, and the raisins add some additional natural sweetness, requiring only a touch of extra sugar to turn this recipe into the perfectly sweet-and-tasty snack.

Be sure to make extra to store in the fridge. Packed with protein and energy, these peanut butter balls make the perfect on-the-go pick-me-up or post-gym snack. Just one serving of peanut butter, about the size of one of the balls, contains seven grams of protein, essential for muscle growth and repair. Don’t let peanut butter’s fat scare you off; most of the fat in peanut butter is monounsaturated, which lowers LDL, or “bad” cholesterol. This fat has been shown to contribute to feelings of satiety, which may actually help you eat less. A study in the journal Obesity found that those who ate nuts or peanut butter at least twice a week were 31 percent less likely to gain weight than participants who did not eat peanut butter or nuts.

Unless you have Arachibutyrophobia (the fear of getting peanut butter stuck to the roof of your mouth), this recipe is going to be a treat. If you have an allergy to peanuts, replace the peanut butter with another nut butter, such as almond butter.

Peanut Butter Balls
-3/4 cup natural peanut butter
-2 Tbsp. brown sugar
-3 Tbsp. raisins
-1/4 cup shredded carrots
-1/4 cup Kashi GoLean Cereal*

*Feel free to use another cereal in place of Kashi GoLean, but pick one that is low in sugar and has a crunchy texture.

Directions:  In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients except the peanut butter.  Place the peanut butter in a small bowl and warm in the microwave for 45 seconds.  Use a spatula to help transfer the peanut butter into the large bowl.   Mix the ingredients.  Let cool, and then roll into 1 to 2 inch balls.