“Sometimes you feel like a nut. Sometimes you don’t.”

22 Oct

Did you know that today is National Nut Day? I told you there was a National Day for about everything you can think of!

In honor of this day, I decided to make a batch of Spiced Nut Mix from my online friend, Bob. Bob and I have never met. We actually became friends when we both had blogs on Vox. He’s 46 years old and had a heart attack one year ago today. Since then, he has drastically changed his diet and started exercising. He has lost 60 pounds (woo hoo!) and says he feels so much better. He follows a low-sodium and low-fat diet. He posts recipes on his new blog, Doobieville. We share ideas and things we’ve read, and we “talk” on Facebook.

One of the recipes Bob has on his blog is a Spiced Nut Mix, which makes for a great low-sodium snack mix. Mixed nuts are seasoned with his homemade Cajun Spice Mix. His spice mix recipe makes about 7-1/2 cups of seasoning, which he stores in a zippered bag to have on hand for this recipe and for flavoring other dishes. I wanted to make a smaller amount of the seasoning mix so I simply substituted the word tablespoon where he has cup. I ended up with about 7-1/2 tablespoons of seasoning mix, which is enough to make three batches of the Spiced Nut Mix. I put it in an empty spice jar that I had.

The only change I made to the actual recipe was a substitution for the Parmesan cheese, which I’m not eating anymore. I simply used the same amount of nutritional yeast flakes. The recipe does call for two egg whites, which I chose to go ahead with since I’m eating eggs (from *happy* chickens) once in a while. If you want to make it truly vegan, try using the Ener-G egg substitute. It whisks up frothy just like the egg whites in this recipe, so I have a feeling it will work. You can use any combination of un-toasted nuts. I used raw almonds, pecans and peanuts with the skin part still on. (The owner of a local health food store recommends raw peanuts with the skin on for high blood pressure.)

The end result is a crunchy mix with serious flavor — spicy with a hint of sweetness. High in protein and healthy fats, low in sodium, and extremely addictive! If I were a beer drinker, I would say these are probably pretty awesome with an ice cold beer.

You can find Bob’s original recipes on his blog. I’ve retyped it here for your convenience.

Bob’s Cajun Spice Mix
makes about 1/2 cup

1 tablespoon paprika (I used smoked paprika)
3 tablespoons chili powder
3/4 tablespoon freshly-ground black and/or white pepper
3/4 tablespoon garlic powder
3/4 tablespoon onion powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1/2 tablespoon dried oregano

Mix all in ingredients in a large bowl. Store in a zippered bag or spice jar.

Spiced Nut Mix
makes 6 cups

2 large egg whites
2/3 cup sugar
2-1/2 tablespoons Bob’s Cajun Spice Mix
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 cups mixed nuts (any combination of un-toasted walnuts, pecans, cashews, and pistachios)
1/4 cup canola oil
1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan (or nutritional yeast flakes)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with foil or parchment. Grease lightly and set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy. Gradually add the sugar, beating to a loose, meringue-like texture. Beat in the Bob’s Cajun Spice Mix, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, cayenne, and salt. Add the nuts and oil and stir well to coat evenly. Add the Parmesan (or nutritional yeast flakes) and mix again. Divide the nuts between the baking sheets, spreading evenly in a single layer. Roast for 30 to 40 minutes to a golden brown (do not allow the nuts to darken too much), rotating the sheets during cooking for even roasting. (When you remove them from the oven, they will still look a little “shiny” or “wet.” As they cool, the coating forms a crunchy crust on the nuts.)

Line a work surface with foil or parchment. After removing the nuts from oven, immediately slide them onto the foil or parchment. Cool completely. Store, refrigerated, in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.

Enjoy!

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