I have the Mister Rogers’ song, “Won’t you be my neighbor,” stuck in my head.
Why? Well, do I really need a reason? Okay, I do have a reason. Our friends recently moved into the neighborhood! I wanted to do something special for them, modern JELL-O mold style (except without the mold). Are you still following me?
I decided that a 6-pack of brewskis and homemade beer snacks would do the trick. I made these sweet and salty almonds to start. I’ll be honest, these were kind of a pain in the foot to make. As you can guess, syrup can become a sticky mess when baked but the end result is completely unique and tasty and worth the mess. Just make sure you put some aluminum foil on your baking sheet and everything will be okay. You’ll end up with sweet maple/molasses and salty soy flavored almonds – a nice accent to any beer that you are drinking.
Heck, grab another beer while you’re at it. You’ll need something to wash down all of the almonds you’re about to eat.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread almonds in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake until lightly toasted and fragrant, 7 to 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and lower the temperature to 300.
In a medium bowl, combine tamari and maple syrup. Add almonds, and toss until thoroughly coated. Line your baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly cover the baking sheet with cooking spray. Spread almonds evenly on sheet.
Roast in oven until deep brown, about 3-5 minutes. Immediately transfer to a clean baking sheet and spread almonds out, separating so nuts don't touch. Let cool before serving.
Tis the season for comfort food. During these chilly days and nights, it is easy to indulge in heavier dishes — with all the soups and chilis and bacon out there (oooh bacon, how I love thee). This dish warms the soul with its creamy, rich orzo yet the fruit and fresh herbs keep it light and fresh. It’s a dish fit for holiday meals or chilled and enjoyed on a picnic blanket with your loved one. <3
2 cups of orzo (or couscous), regular or whole wheat
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh rosemary
1 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 medium green apple, diced
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds
In a medium saucepan, add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Follow the directions to cook your orzo (you may need to add some water to your pot to meet their requirements).
While the orzo is cooking, toast your almonds until golden brown by stirring them in a sauté pan over medium heat. Remove from heat and set aside. You can also toast your almonds in the oven at 350 degrees F. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in a single layer and cool.
Once your orzo is cooked, strain the liquid out (as much as possible) and add the parsley, rosemary, thyme, apple, cranberries, and almonds. Combine and serve.
Add some fresh arugula, either cooked or uncooked, for some added greens.