Friday, December 19, 2008

Breakfast Blues

Doesn't that look like a sad little breakfast? No? Well, it was, let me tell you. A too dry, too sweet, too crumbly scone thing and a few bites of yogurt with almonds and agave. You see, I've got the Breakfast Blues.

I get like this every once in a while. I wake up hungry but nothing, I mean NOTHING, sounds good. Then I'm put off by the fact that nothing sounds good, then I get frustrated because I'm hungry and I don't want to eat anything but I know I have to or else things get really ugly. I've been in this breakfast slump for about a week now. Homemade granola? Yuck. Eggs? Ick. Toast? Bagel? Cereal? No, no, no.

I had a grand idea to remedy this a few nights ago. I decided to make some sort healthy, filling, yummy muffin. Problem was I was out of eggs and leaving the apartment again sounded even worse than egg-less baking. So I searched the internet and finally decided on this scone thing, something I had made before and didn't really like. But for some reason I thought making a half batch would make it taste better (what?). Yeah, it didn't, and now I'm stuck with a tupperware full of scone and the Breakfast Blues.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Spiced Nuts

Spiced nuts are frequently my contribution to holiday parties and family gatherings. They are easy and tasty, and people gobble them up. Even people who weren't planning on eating at a party can't resist a handful of these. In that past I've made spiced pecans, but this time I used a recipe for spiced mixed nuts. They were easy to make and called for pantry items. In a rare fit of fussiness I even measured all of the ingredients. The only problem I ran into was that they cemented themselves to the cookie sheet once cooled. The recipe says to grease the pan, and I did, but apparently not enough. Next time I will douse the baking sheet in oil. After some scraping and breaking and bits of nuts all over my kitchen, the nuts were neatly packaged to take to my family holiday party. They were a hit there, naturally.

Sweet Spiced Nuts from Simple Suppers by the Moosewood Collective

1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of cayenne (I used chili powder)
3 cups shelled nuts (I used cashews, pecans, pistachios, and almonds)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease the hell out of a rimmed baking sheet.

Combine sugar, 1/4 cup water, and spices in a saucepan over medium high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, and stir constantly until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and add nuts, mixing well to evenly coat nuts in syrup. Remove nuts with a slotted spoon and spread them on prepared baking sheet.

Bake until browned, 10 to 15 minutes, stirring once (mine took longer to brown). After you've taken them out of the oven, stir again to break up clusters. Allow nuts to cool before serving.