Saturday, December 21, 2013

Holiday Spiced Almonds and a Festive Centerpiece ♥

Its been an exciting week. We had snow! Our first big storm of the season.  Everything is now covered in white and looks really festive. With less than a week till Christmas the anticipation is building.  My son is officially on Christmas vacation and the countdown is on.  Which is a good thing because I am running out of places to put our "Elf on the Shelf".  This morning I was standing on a chair jamming him into a curtain valance.  I had to laugh out loud.  It's been fun : )  
How do you like my centerpiece?  Earlier in the week I took my clippers outside and snipped a few branches off our Holly bush.  I also clipped some sprigs off of the big Pine tree next to our house.  I added cranberries (that I had in the freezer : ) to the bottom of a vase, and arranged all my clippings.  I really like how it came out ♥ 


I tucked the extra Pine sprigs into my fake tree.  I am loving the smell of my living room right now!  

I enjoyed being out in the yard.  I miss it in the winter.  One of the things I love is being out in the yard, planting flowers and veggies and checking on them every day.  I am looking forward to my Spring garden.  That's something that I'm going to plan out this winter. It's on my list of resolutions!

Have you been doing a lot of holiday baking? Well, if you are tired of all the sweets and want to have something on the salty side I have just the thing for you.  My holiday spiced almonds are the perfect treat! They are toasted first, then coated with honey and spices.  Finally, they are sprinkled with Sea Salt.  So good!!!

These nuts can of course be packaged up and given as gifts.  Personally, I like to have them on hand for when company comes over.  Add a bowl of these to a nice cheese plate and you've got yourself a perfect appetizer. Open a bottle of wine, put the music on, and it's holiday party time! ♥
You probably already have the ingredients on hand (love it when that happens!).  Here's how to make them.  You will need....
2 cups raw almonds
1/4 cup honey
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Sea Salt



Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a cookie sheet with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Spread the almonds on the cookie sheet.  Toast in the upper rack of the oven for 10 minutes.

In a small bowl mix together your spices.  


When the almonds are done toasting remove from the oven and drizzle with the honey.  Use a spatula to coat the almonds on both sides.  Sprinkle with the spice mixture and mix again to thoroughly coat.
Now top with a sprinkle (to taste) of Sea Salt. A few shakes should do the trick.

Return to the oven and toast for an additional  7 - 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for 20 minutes.  Store in an airtight container. 
These nuts are definitely more savory than sweet. I like it because everything I've been eating lately has been so overly sweet, this is a nice change.  Toasting the nuts first brings out a smokey flavor, and the Sea Salt give them that extra kick that leaves you wanting more.  I've heard that some people like to add a dash of cayenne pepper to the spices.  I didn't, but by all means if you want to kick it up a notch add it.  Customize the recipe to your liking! : )

You can't eat just one!
Well, time is running out.  It's almost the big day.  Just last minute preparations are left.  I went to my FINAL store last night (thank goodness!).  No more long lines! Yay! I have to decide on a Christmas Eve outfit and do my nails. No biggie!
What about you? Are you ready?????  Have a great weekend, friends! XO
" It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, everywhere you go....:" 
PS Did you know that a splash of eggnog in your coffee is delicious?!  It really is!!!! Try it!~

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