04 February 2011

Just for fun [avocados, party hats, and cinnamon]

The other day, Jared came into the kitchen while I was making guacamole and commented on how disproportionately large the avocado seed is. It's really comic if you think about it (so are mango seeds).

He then asked if I had ever planted one.

I pooh-poohed this idea, assuming that growing an avocado tree would require far too many "special conditions." But then I looked it up . . . and I must eat my words. You can indeed sprout and plant an avocado seed with nothing but a glass of water and some toothpicks. We're trying it. (Whether it will last past the initial sprout is another question. Alas, we don't live in California, but in the snowy northlands.)


Hip Hip Hooray is a blog devoted to parties. But not just any parties: kids' parties. Cutest ideas EVER. Basically, it makes me want to open a party-planning business and wander through the world dispensing balloons, paper lanterns, and cookie jars.


Cinnamon, vanilla, and a satisfying crunch? I'm sold! In our house, these candied nuts vanish like frightened prairie dogs (and that's pretty fast). I have been craving "fancy food" lately: cucumber sandwiches, yogurt parfaits, spring rolls, all impractical and time-consuming. Why do I always make life difficult for myself? Anyhow, these fit the bill without being impractical OR time-consuming.

Spiced Vanilla Nuts
(swiped from The Nourishing Gourmet)

1 large egg white
1/3 cup raw sugar*
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne (optional- for a spicy version)
3/4 teaspoon each dried marjoram and thyme (optional- for a savory version)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups walnuts, almonds, or pecans**

1. Preheat oven to 300 and line a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan with parchment paper.
2. In medium bowl, whisk egg white until bubbly. Whisk in sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt (also the cayenne and herbs, if using). Add nuts and stir thoroughly to coat with spice mixture.
3. Spread evenly on prepared pan, trying to get a single layer (you might need two pans depending on how large yours are). Bake for 25 minutes, or until the nuts are dry and crispy. Don't let them burn! I usually stir mine halfway through.
4. Let cool, stirring occasionally to break up the nuts (they will want to stick together). Nom nom nom.

*You could use regular white sugar instead, but I like the slight crunch raw sugar gives.
**I have used halved walnuts and slivered almonds with success.

{image credit: umamigirl on Flickr}

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