I’m a snacker. I would rather eat ten little meals a day than three big ones. Truly, I would be fully satisfied with a snack dispenser attached to my hip like those old-fashioned coin changer belts that waitresses and gas station attendants wore back in the day when we used change and we used gas station attendants. keep the change you filthy animal (name the movie)

When it comes to snacking, Cheetos and Bugles might top the list for their most satisfying crunches and salt infusions, and if either could be classified as real food. Might as well eat carpet threads and paper towels for the same nutritional value, yet with a bit more fiber.

So, how can we have ready-made snacks that are made of real food and that are satisfying? Go nuts.

We’re big fans of nuts in this household. Confession, I have a nut drawer. True, we can’t find a place for my husband’s wine gadgets, three tools and book, because I have used all of the rightful space with every cut of every nut.

Are you thinking – she’s nuts? Are you thinking if she just gave organizational love to the other drawer there’d be room for wine gadgets? Are you thinking she needs more wine than nuts?

Walnuts alone are one of the top five best foods we can ever eat! They deserve prominence in our home and diet. Almonds second, and then just some macadamia, pine nuts, hazelnuts, cashews, etc and seeds like pepitas, sesame, sunflower, etc. to boost our other food so we’re not bored with it. It’s better than adding crushed Cheetos to a dish, although I’m tempted with this one.

Now to the recipe. Anyone been to Union Square Cafe? This New York restaurant might be known as much for their bar nuts as for their delectable modern Italian fare.They serve warmed, rosemary and cayenne spiced nuts. Well, Mother Ina went one step further using chipotle powder instead of cayenne. She was right. Chipotle powder, available at most WF stores and online, should earn a spot on your spice rack, because it adds heat with a layer of pepper smokiness.

I changed Ina’s nut combination (ouch) to reflect a healthier mix. Recently, I served these nuts at a party along with other much more impressive foods made by people far more skilled than me, and yet, guests made special mention of loving these spiced nuts. You gotta love nice friends like that.

Although I could eat these handily in a day or two, best left for future parties or future snacking.

nuts about rosemary

preptime: 10 minutes serves 8-10

baketime: 25 minutes

vegetable oil

2 c whole roasted unsalted cashews

3 c whole walnut halves

1 1/2 c whole pecan halves

1 1/2 c whole almonds

1/3 c maple syrup

1/4 c light brown sugar, lightly packed

3 T freshly squeezed orange juice

2 t ground chipotle powder

4 T minced, fresh rosemary leaves, divided

sea or kosher salt

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Brush a sheet pan with oil.
  3. Combine nuts, 2 T of vegetable oil, maple syrup, brown sugar, orange juice, and chipotle powder on the cookie sheet. Toss to coat the nuts evenly.
  4. Add 2 T. of the rosemary and 2 t. of salt and toss again.
  5. Spread the nuts over the cookie sheet, then bake for 25 minutes.
  6. Stir the nuts twice during the baking.
  7. Remove from oven and sprinkle the remaining rosemary and and 2 more teaspoons of salt.
  8. Set aside to cool, tossing occasionally to prevent sticking.
  9. Serve warm or cool.

Cook’s Options: Vary the nuts to your preference. The original recipe called for more pecans and cashews, but I prefer walnuts and almonds so I altered the measurements.

Cook’s Notes: Store in airtight containers or in vacuum sealed bags. I keep mine in the freezer and warm for 15 minutes at 325° before serving.

recipe adapted from Ina Garten, who adapted it from Union Square Cafe, by your friends at crunchtimefood.com

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