Saturday, January 14, 2012

Crispy Almonds

I made these yesterday for a new mom who is off dairy and gluten right now for her little one's comfort.  They are delicious, highly addictive because of their crunch and flavor, and are a nutrient-dense snack.  For optimum digestion and nutrient availability, you should always buy your nuts raw, soak them for the day or overnight, and then dry them in a low oven.  Here's a basic recipe that shows you how.  You can (and should!) use this method for any other kind of nuts you use around the house, including pumpkin seeds, walnuts, and pecans.  The Nourishing Cook, or any other food blog that follows the traditional food preparation techniques researched in the Nourishing Traditions cookbook, will also have basic recipes for crispy nuts.  The beauty of this method is that it is "set it and forget it".  Put your nuts on to soak in the morning, then some time in the evening, drain and rinse them, put them on a cookie sheet and let your oven do the magic overnight.  Easy peasy!

Crispy Almonds

by Kim

These nuts are a staple at our house. We use them in cookies, desserts, nut butters, and more! Make a large batch, keep half in the pantry and then freeze the rest to preserve the good fats in the nuts and prevent them from going rancid.
Here are some great recipes that use crispy almonds as one of the ingredients:
Almond Coconut Chocolate ‘Milk
Hazelnut Almond Shortbread
Gluten Free Almond Cookies
Almond Nut Butter

Crispy Almonds

Difficulty:  Easy

Yield & Notes:  Makes 4 cups


4 cups almonds, preferably skinless [TNC: I used almonds with skins because I couldn't find skinless almonds]
1 Tablespoon sea salt
filtered water


Mix nuts with salt and water and leave in a warm place for at least 7 hours or overnight. Drain in a colander and rinse with cool water. Spread on a stainless steel baking pan and place in a warm oven (no more than 150 degrees) for 12 to 24 hours, turning occasionally, until completely dry and crisp. Store in a mason jar in your pantry.

Luscious Lentil Soup

This is my "go-to" soup.  It is simple, hearty, healthy, and every bit as luscious as its name suggests.  I've made it for my family, friends, and church functions and it has always had rave reviews.  The base recipe is from an internet search that I printed out long ago and it indicates it was "Exported from MasterCook".  So that's the best reference I can give for this right now.   This is a blended soup, so you don't have to worry about how pretty your chopped veggies are, as long as they are consistent in size to cook evenly.  Enjoy!

Luscious Lentil Soup (mom_of_4 comments in italics)

8 c chicken stock or water  (Definitely chicken stock! but as in any soup, water will do if necessary.  Sometimes I only use 6c liquid if I want it to be thicker.  Often I use 4c stock, 2c water.  Saved potato water from boiling potatoes is a delicious substitute too!)
4 medium carrots - sliced  ( I like a small dice, because they blend better in my hand blender)
4 celery stalks - sliced  (same here)
1 medium onion - chopped
1 leek - chopped  (I almost never have leeks in the house, but it is a lovely addition if you have one)
1 tbsp fresh parsley - chopped  (Again, for some reason, don't have this around very often.  It is good without, but very nice with)
1 1/2 c red lentils
1 tomato - chopped  (This soup is best with nice fresh tomato in it.  I can't explain why, but I've used canned diced tomatoes and it is still good, but it is truly "Luscious Lentil Soup" when you use fresh.  One large or two medium.)
30 ml garlic - crushed  (Or 2 nice large cloves, minced)
1 large bay leaf
1/8 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp ground thyme  (Or a generous pinch of dried thyme leaves, crushed between your fingers)

Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan.  (Start your onion, carrot, celery, and garlic in some fat to "sweat" for a few minutes.  Bacon fat is a perfect flavor layer in this soup, but olive oil or butter will do.  Salt your veg with sea salt.  Add tomatoes, stock/water, lentils, and herbs.)  Cook over medium heat 45 minutes.  Puree 2 c soup in blender.  Mix with remaining soup in pot.  Heat thoroughly and serve.  (It is so much easier to use a hand blender if you have one.  Whirl it up until it is the texture you like.)  Makes 8 servings.

Variations:  Serve with lemon wedges for added zest.  Or add 1 tbsp miso for extra flavor.  (I have never tried this.  I never have miso around the house.)

Monday, January 2, 2012

Crock Pot Split Pea Soup

I don't know about you, but as soon as I'm in the vicinity of a bone-in ham, I'm negotiating for that lovely, meaty ham bone to make stock.  In my world, ham stock is like gold, considering you have to buy a pricey ham to get it.  I turned my first litre of this year's Christmas ham stock into split pea soup, and I have no regrets.  In the absence of ham stock, a couple of smoked ham hocks will do the trick for a successful pea soup.

I love this recipe from Southern Food  It's no-fuss, no-muss, and delicious every time.  (mom_of_4 comments in italics)

Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup Recipe

Cook Time: 8 hours

Total Time: 8 hours


  • 1 (16 oz.) pkg. dried green split peas, rinsed  (a 450g package)
  • 1 meaty hambone, 2 ham hocks, or 2 cups diced ham  ( I have used 4c ham stock + 2c water instead, but have made it before with ham hocks.  In my crock pot I can turn a meaty hambone into 3L of stock - it gets more mileage that way.)
  • 3 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 ribs of celery plus leaves, chopped
  • 1 or 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped, or 2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
  • 1 tbsp. seasoned salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh pepper
  • 1 1/2 qts. hot water (see comment about about using ham stock)


Layer ingredients in slow cooker in the order given; pour in water. Do not stir ingredients. Cover and cook on HIGH 4 to 5 hours or on low 8 to 10 hours (it has a better mushier texture around 10 hrs) until peas are very soft and ham falls off bone. Remove bones and bay leaf. Mash peas to thicken more, if desired. Serve garnished with croutons. Freezes well. (save some cooked ham to cut up and add to the soup if you have used ham stock instead of ham hocks)
Serves 8.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

Hello friends and family.  If you are interested, you can find my New Year's letter here at my other blog.  I love the start of a new year!  May you and your family come into the fullness of God's blessings in 2012.