Monday, December 20, 2010
This year, it felt like there was no break between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Parties, going outs, leftovers, eating, cooking, and more eating. Wait, Christmas and New Years haven’t come yet.
I’ve been baking more than ever this year. I’ve got to keep my yeast alive, you know? I can’t be the only one that’s feeling this way. If you are worried about your waist line, you must be nodding your head, too. But you don’t have to use butter just because it’s the holiday season. You can still be healthy and be merry.
Cinnamon sugar? Toffee? Honey Glazed? Tamari? Wasabi? Nah. You don’t have to stick to the standards. All you need are your favorite kinds of nuts, your favorite seasoning/spices, whipped egg whites, and just a little creativity. I used almonds and walnuts because I have stores of it. But macadamias, pistachios, pinenuts, and pecans would equally be nice.
The first flavor I made was Chinese Five Spice which is made of star anise, cinnamon, cloves, fennel seeds and Sichuan pepper. I added little bit of soy sauce to add some saltiness. The second one was lemongrass, garlic powder and sea salt. These make great gifts for beer lovers. But there is always someone in family that has a sweet tooth, so I made one more flavor – Chai spiced. Chai is not well-defined like curry. What scents and flavors does the word chai conjure? For me, it’s cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves. So, in addition to those spices, I sprinkled sugar. Some people might say it’s not sweet enough, so you just have to adjust the level of sweetness to your liking. Same as salt. Use little less for your grandpa who has hypertension, but use a little more for your dad.
This whole process may sound like a lot of work, but actually it’s not. It took less than an hour and I had three different flavors of nuts ready to be packaged.
Every type of nut is quite nutritious. Many are a good source of monounsaturated fat (heart healthy fat), fiber, protein and a variety of vitamins and minerals. But one thing you have to remember is that they are low in carbohydrate and high in fat. Whether it’s a good fat or bad fat, it still gives you the same amount of calories, which is more than the carbohydrate or protein, so remember to eat just a handful a day.
Happy Holidays and Have a Happy New Year!