Go nuts eating (and gifting) this holiday, spiced nut mix

It’s the holiday season, and the shelves of food stores everywhere advertise seasonal versions of nut mixes, chocolates, candy bark, etc. Seeing how the original, pre-packaged snack mixes are loaded with sodium and sugar, you can imagine that the holiday mixes only serve to kick those up a few notches.

I’m not going to lie to you. I go crazy for a popcorn tin, consoling myself with the knowledge that I am never gifted more than one a year. I do, however, draw the [waist] line at the pre-packaged nut mixes. Even most trail mixes (toted as being healthy) are similar to a bag of peanut M&M’s. I can’t imagine the trail you’d need to hike to blast that many calories.

Nuts are packed with great stuff your body needs, such as omega-3 fatty acids, protein, vitamin E, B and folate; unfortunately, roasting them in oil and sugar turns them into something closer to candy than a smart, nutritional snack.

When it comes to nut mixes, it’s best to make your own.

Your mix doesn’t have to last through transportation and time on a shelf in a store, so you can enjoy the same flavor without all the preservatives your body doesn’t need.

Pick up a variety of raw nuts (unsalted), dried fruit, semi-sweet morsels and cheerios, and mix up a batch of trail mix that doesn’t have a full coating of oil, sugar and salt.

To enjoy a holiday nut mix that is also great as a gift, use the recipe below.My sister shared it with me, and it is delicious. It does end up ‘roasted and coated,’ which I poopooed earlier, so I recommend that you enjoy it in moderation, but as long as you keep/share it as a seasonal treat, you can enjoy it just as I will my popcorn tin. In fact, I think you’ll win the nutritional prize over me. There is no telling what they put in that popcorn!

Holiday Nut Mix

  • 2 cups unsalted, raw nuts and seeds (walnuts, pecans, almonds, cashews, peanuts, pumpkin seeds)
  • 3 Tbsp honey
  • 1.5 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp melted butter
  • 1/2 tsp each of salt, cayenne and cinnamon

Pre-heat oven to 300F. Mix honey, sugar, butter and seasonings. Add nuts and mix well o coat. Scrape onto a 9×13, buttered pan so they are evenly spread. Bake for 2-=25 minutes, shaking pan often. Nuts are done when their skins are golden brown. Scrape nuts onto buttered foil or wax paper and let cool for 15 mins. Break apart, serve, or separate into tins/boxes to gift.

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