Spicy Honey Almonds

Image

Roasted almonds with honey, cayenne pepper, and salt. Yummmmmmm!

I should really start playing the lottery, because I love having days off so much! This week my days off included disc golf, reading outdoors, cooking and thrift store shopping (of course)! I am still trying to figure out a way to photograph my thrifty finds with you, my loyal followers, but in the meantime I will share this wonderful recipe.

I got some almonds today while shopping. It took me a while, mulling over the the various flavors, to pick out what I wanted. Not as awkward as picking out a cucumber (hehe), but still I was standing in the produce section for a long time. Smoked, honey, roasted, plain?? All the fun flavors were a full dollar more! Finally I picked out some honey roasted almonds, and then had an “ah-ha!” moment- I can make my own! I threw some roasted salted almonds in my cart- the cheapest option- and I was on my way.

I went immediately to my friend Pinterest when I got home, and she returned many great recipes for honey roasted almonds. For those who are living under a rock Pinterest is the kitchen-sink of all great things you can find on the Internet. Recipes, crafts, photos, tattoos, decorating and more! You can find it all on Pinterest! I found this recipe from Lemons and Anchovies. As soon as I saw ‘spicy honey almonds’ I knew this was the recipe for me. I love spicy food!

So here’s the recipe. Omit the cayenne if you don’t want heat with your sweet and add cinnamon instead!

Spicy Honey Almonds

2- 2 1/2 cups raw almonds  (I used roasted and salted and cut down on overall salt in the recipe)

1/8 cup turbinado sugar ( I used some homemade vanilla sugar instead, since that’s what I had)

1/4 cup honey

3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

3/4 teaspoon salt ( I used 1/2 tsp Hepp’s Salt Co. Aussie flake and sprinkled some Hepp’s truffle salt on at the end)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment or wax paper. I used aluminum foil and sprayed with cooking spray. Do the same if using parchment paper.

In a large bowl combine salt and sugar. Set aside.

Heat honey over low-med heat. Add cayenne and stir together with almonds until coated. Spread in single layer on baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes. Let cool slightly, then toss with salt/sugar mix. Pour almonds back onto parchment/aluminum foil placed over cooling rack, sprinkle with truffle salt if desired, and let cool completely.

Image

Delicious almonds chillin’ out!

Image

This jar will not last long, these nuts are awesome!

Store in an airtight container and try not to eat them all at once. WARNING: THESE ARE ADDICTIVE!

While it is back to work tomorrow. At least I have an awesome ( and I like to think fairly healthy) snack to get me through the day!

What is your favorite snack to get you through a long day?

Nuts to the Nutty,

J

Advertisements

RAWR…A Vacation with the Dinosaurs (and a Tomatillo dressing recipe!)

 

Image

If I was a dinosaur I would be an Allosaurus! Wall of Bones, Dinosaur National Monument

It’s been a busy couple of weeks. We just had inventory at work, which involves a lot of prep work, and both my coworkers have been on vacation/daddy leave. But finally it was my turn to vacation, so C and I took a little road trip to Dinosaur National Monument in Northwest Colorado/Northeastern Utah. There are two entrances to this park, and both are beautiful. 

We took our time on the 4 hour drive, and my wonderful husband even stopped at two thrift stores in Craig, Colorado! Among our treasures were a copy of A Clockwork Orange, a book on conversational German for my father-in-law, a coral pink button up with a subtle bird print for me, and a pair of leather Sperry Topsiders, new! Sperry is one of my favorite brands but unfortunately these were a full size too small. But for $3.50 I couldn’t pass them up and I will try to sell them at the local consignment shop!

It was a bit rainy, and C’s back hurt from being in the car for hours, so once we got to our destination we decided to get a hotel room. Score! We never stay in hotels and camping in the rain was not very appealing. Our stay also included breakfast, double score!

Image

Dino outside our hotel in Vernal Utah

While in Vernal we discovered Cafe Rio. This is comparable to Qdoba but so much better! Located in 10 states this ‘good food quickly’ eatery focuses on fresh ingredients, and it shows. C got a pork burrito, made with their homemade tortillas that are cooked in front of you, and I got the shredded chicken salad. It weighed at least 2 pounds, and in addition to chicken and lettuce it had rice, pico de gallo, guac, and the most wonderful dressing! All served on their tortilla. Tonight I recreated their tomatillo dressing, following a recipe I found from Chef in Training. Follow the link for all sorts of great Cafe Rio-inspired recipes! 

I have never cooked with tomatillo, but this is a dressing I will whip up often because it is so good! I could almost take shots of it I love it so much. But enough gushing, here’s the recipe!

Cafe Rio Tomatillo Ranch dressing

I packet dry buttermilk ranch mix (I used Simply Organic brand ranch mix)

1/2 cup mayo

1/2 cup 0% fat greek yogurt

1 cup buttermilk

bunch cilantro, chopped

2 tomatillo, husked and diced

1 large jalapeno, seeded and diced

few shakes of garlic powder

juice from 1 lime

Blend mayo, yogurt, dressing mix, buttermilk, and garlic powder until smooth. Add tomatillo, jalapeño, cilantro, and lime juice. Blend until smooth and creamy. Chill for at least 30 minutes.

Yummmy!

But I digress. Back to the dinosaurs!

Image

The Wall of Bones

Image

The Wall of Bones

Image

View from the Wall of Bones

After a restful night sleep at the hotel and a (subpar but free) breakfast buffet we headed into the park. There is a large building built around the wall of bones, which is pretty impressive. I’m sure I would have learned a lot from the Ranger if it wasn’t for the 30 or so preteens on a school trip having a great (loud) time. Needless to say we didn’t spend much time gazing at the bone wall!

Image

We continued on our way driving through the park. The scenery was amazing, and there were lots of petroglyphs along the way. There is also an old homestead at the end of the Utah side of the park, where in 1913 a woman built a cabin and lived alone for almost 50 years. She must have been a pretty strong lady!

Image

Image

Image

 

After exploring the homestead it was time to be heading back to our homestead. But first we drove the 30 miles or so on Harpers Corner Road to the Colorado part of the park. No fossils on the Colorado side, but we saw a lot of antelope, some amazing scenery, and only 2 other people! We took a nice 2 mile walk out to a beautiful vista at the end of the park. It was a great way to end our visit to Dinosaur National Monument!

Image

Harper’s Corner Road, Dinosaur National Park. Dinosaur, CO. My dear husband made me take my sunglasses off, I couldn’t see so I look a little squinty!

Image

Harper’s Corner Road, Dinosaur National Park. Dinosaur, CO.

While we didn’t have much time to really get into vacation mode we were able to see a lot and spend some quality time together. I love exploring new places with my husband, and can’t wait for our next adventure together!

Where have you been lately? And where are you going next?

Enjoy your adventures,

Image

AAAH, a T-REX!!!! Oh wait, it’s just a bunny. I had a moment with this little critter, I just love bunnies so much!

Family Ties (and no, we are not talking about Steve Urkel!)

Image

I stole this from my sister’s Facebook. My nephew Gavin waves as he leaves for Afganistan.

 

I have been thinking about family a lot lately. My oldest nephew has just been deployed to Afganistan, he’s a helicopter mechanic that in my mind is still such a young boy. I can’t believe he is 22, it makes me feel so old. I did have the absolute joy of spending time with him this winter while he was doing some high altitude training here in Colorado. He went snowboarding for the first time ever, and we had dinner. It was so fun to spend time with him and his crew. Here are a few pics from our time together:

Image

Gavin’s first time snowboarding. Auntie J works at a snowboard shop, so he got a good rental and a lesson!

Image

Matt, Gavin, myself and Jay at Moes BBQ, Eagle, CO.

 

 

My thoughts and prayers will be with these boys, and I hope yours will be too! I am so thankful that I have family giving so much for our country, and I appreciate all the risk they take to keep our country safe. Love you Gav, stay safe!

I also got an email today that made me think about my grandmother. I received an email from BeautySage.com about Mother’s Day, listing some great gifts. The first thing listed was a Lily of the Valley perfume from C.O. Bigelow. While this didn’t make me think of my mother it did make me think of Grammy Dot, who passed away last year. My Stepdad’s mom, Grammy Dot was my real Grandma. Even though I was a granddaughter by marriage and not blood she never treated me as less than my cousins who were related by blood. Even my friends called her Grammy Dot. Every day after school we would go to the farm to feed the horses and cattle and visit with Grammy D. She always had cookie jars filled with oatmeal cream pies, swiss cake rolls, and donut holes. And she had candy dishes with Canada mints, those pink wintergreen candies. Usually we would find her doing a crossword puzzle and sitting with her beloved cats, and after I visited with my horses I would spend an hour or so with her and my cousins, Aunt, Uncle, and Dad Dave. Those are some of my favorite memories of childhood.

Grammy always smelled like Lily of the Valley, they were some of her favorite flowers. My Mom grows them in her garden, and would bring Grammy bouquets occasionally. Whenever I think of Gram I think of Lily of the Valley. When she passed away a little over a year ago, after a thankfully brief illness following a stroke, I went home for her funeral. My cousin Travis spoke at the funeral about how he would always remember her smell, and I feel the same. She always wore a great Lily of the Valley perfume. While visiting her house after the funeral I found the perfect thing to remember her by, a Lily of the Valley candle that was on her mantle. I smell it and it reminds me of Gram. I haven’t been able to burn it, because I want to hold onto her smell forever.

Image

Gram’s Lily of the Valley candle

 

When I got the email from Beauty Sage today I immediately got out my credit card and placed an order. I can’t wait to get my Lily of the Valley perfume, and I am sure I will tear up as soon as I smell it, just like I do with the candle. Grammy Dot was such an amazing woman, and she will always be missed. I just hope wherever she is that she is surrounded by Lily of the Valley, and that she is playing with her kitties. She is greatly missed down here, although her laughter will never be forgotten!

Image

Ok, I am such a facebook thief. This is from my Aunt Louise Roy’s photos, and it is one of my favorite photos! Grammy’s hands and autumn leaves.

 

 

Image

This is another favorite photo of me and Gram, taken by Aunt Louise.

 What are your favorite memories of loved ones? Leave me some stories in the comments below!

love and lily of the valley,

J