Always be Prepared

While this is the motto of the Boy Scouts, it’s also something my parents instilled in me as I was growing up. For instance, my mom always had everything you could possibly need in her purse from band aids and tissues to breath mints and stain remover. No matter what the need, you could be sure an answer was in her purse.

We also had a “safety” plan for every possible emergency from fires to strangers, and as I got older we had an escape plan for parties should they get “out of hand” or make me “uncomfortable.”  Then when I went away to college mom gave me a stash of what she called, “mad money,” to be reserved for emergencies. Of course we disagreed on what constituted an emergency – I thought bar money and a train ticket to see Mike were certainly valid situations.

My dad also imparted his preparedness wisdom too – make sure to get regular oil changes, keep a safety kit in the car, remember teenage boys have hormones (My response to dad – “So do teenage girls.” I’m amazed he ever let me out of the house after that.), never walk alone at night…the list goes on.

So where am I going with this flashback to preparedness? Well, in our last post we introduced our Uzbek sugar-coated almonds. In this post, we’re going to share our recipe for Spicy Maple Walnuts. Simply put, you will want a preparedness plan. The sweet nuts and the spicy nuts on their own are dangerous; but when combined, let’s just say you’ve been warned and I can’t be held responsible for what happens next.

My friend Beth shared this recipe with us many years ago and we still make them at the holidays today. We started by gathering our ingredients: butter, maple syrup, fresh ginger, ground ginger, salt and cayenne pepper. 

Next we combined all the ingredients in a small sauce pan with a tablespoon of water and melted the butter over low heat.

After the glaze simmered for a few minutes we poured it over our walnuts.

We then spread the walnuts on a parchment-lined baking sheet and tossed them in the oven to bake at 300F.

The nuts roasted for about 40 to 50 minutes and were stirred around every 15 minutes. When they were light and mostly dry when tossed we took them out to cool.

Now while it’s extremely tempting to pop a few in your mouth right of the oven – resist the urge. The sugar glaze is HOT. So while the walnuts cooled, we minced up some crystallized ginger. Mr. N is a big fan. At our cooking class a few weeks ago he ate nearly a bowl of the stuff (he was the only kid in class to like it too!).

We then sprinkled the ginger over the nuts and once cooled sampled our results.

How did they rank? Well, like I said, you’ll want a plan. These easily garner 4 spoons from Mike and I, and even Mr. N gave them 4 spoons. Miss A wasn’t really a big fan of the spicy nuts. She prefers her sugar loaded coated almonds.

These nuts are a fantastic contrast to the sugary almonds and when combined are downright divine. They are definitely spicy – but not in a mouth-on-fire kind of way, more in a happy-little-zingy way. Mike has already asked me to put them out of his sight. His willpower is greatly diminishing.

So, our preparedness plan? We’re having friends over tonight and these nuts will be served (alongside ChgoJohn’s Brie en Croute). Then we’ll serve the rest at Christmas. In the meantime, they will all be hidden under lock and key.

Now before I round out the post, I want to say thank you to the Fairy Hobmother who hails from the land of Appliances Online where you can find the “Best Washing Machine.” She found me over at Kay’s Pure Complex and graciously sent me an Amazon gift certificate. If you’d like to be visited by the Fairy Hobmother, just leave a comment in this post and perhaps you’ll receive a generous surprise as well – and at this time of year, who wouldn’t want an Amazon surprise?!

Now let’s start our weekends! And should you feel up to going a little nuts you can print the recipe here:
Spicy Maple Walnuts.

63 thoughts on “Always be Prepared

  1. Aimee@clevermuffin says:

    I’m really curious Kristy – what was the escape plan for when parties got out of hand? My girlfriends and I used to have key words for when we met guys at parties who were creeping us out, but I must admit it was never fool proof.

    Lovely post, as usual, these nuts look addictive. Oooo…. and guess what I got in the mail yesterday?!? My recipe rock! YAY! I’ve put it under my Christmas tree as a little present from my blogging friend (and her family). Thanks again.


    • Kristy says:

      Thank you so much Linda! This made my day! 🙂 I will definitely check it out and pass it along. Have a great week and thanks for following along on our adventures. 🙂


  2. spicegirlfla says:

    I love all your “preparedness” stories from your parents!! My dad would warn me of men…because he said he is a man and he should know!! That always made me laugh! and you bet, when I make both of your nut recipes, I will be prepared to share them immediately!! I’m already getting that feeling just by looking at them!!


    • Kristy says:

      LOL! I love it Linda. Your dad sounds awesome! And yes – be prepared for these nuts. They are really too good. I’ve successfully hidden ours for the next few days. I think anyway. 😉


  3. Courtney says:

    I really wish I was a nut person, but I’m not. But I’m always prepared, if that helps. 🙂 I finally realized that WP unsubscribed me to your posts, which is why I always end up being the last one to comment! I re-subscribed, so hopefully it’ll work better this time. Hugs!


    • Kristy says:

      I should check my subscriptions too. Every now and then it will unsubscribe me. Weird. And I wish I was always prepared. Well, for the most part I am. This time of year just kicks my butt though. 😉


  4. A_Boleyn says:

    “thank you to the Fairy Hobmother who hails from the land of Appliances Online”

    The Fairy Hobmother seems to be a mysterious personage. I still don’t understand how the process works but congratulations for the gift certificate. Hope you found something lovely at to use it on. 🙂


  5. Kay aka Babygirl says:

    So you got the Fairy gift :).. I’m so darn happy you did. I was sitting here like “YAY SHE GOT IT” lol. And seriously, I am definitely surprised yuor father let you out when you stated that comment lol. But onto the delicious almonds.. I LOVE THEM and will be trying this out. And by the way, my mother used to have all the remedies in her purse too lol


  6. Charles says:

    Haha, I wrote my other comment before seeing this post – walnuts… yeah baby, that’s what I’m talking about! And Mr. N and I share the same craze over crystallized ginger I see. That stuff is seriously difficult to not just guzzle! I made some ginger cookies a while back with this stuff inside – so nom, and joy of joy, finally found the stuff in France too for sale! Yay!

    Great recipe Kristy – looks like just my kinda thing – walnuts and ginger go incredibly well together 🙂


  7. Karen says:

    Congratulations for your Hobmother visit. I bet you will find a gift that the whole family will enjoy if I know you. Your nuts sound similar to a recipe I make but it has pretzels mixed with nuts. I can’t wait to try your version with the candied ginger. I think I will like it even more.


    • Kristy says:

      Never fear…Miss A, Mr. N and I seem to have developed quite an affection for brie. I have no doubt Katherine’s recipe will grace our kitchen soon too. 😉 But yes, John did have fabulous leaves. Mine…not so much. I got frustrated and tossed them out. 😉 As for the nuts, we used pecans last year – they were good too!


  8. {Santies Sunnyside Up} says:

    Ooh, this looks like a lovely snack. It might make it on the table for our first family Christmas brunch! 🙂 I loved your story, particularly about your mom’s purse. It reminds me so much of my little granny. She had and still has everything you could possibly need despite all of us insisting it is much too heavy for her to carry around these days. I always love reading your posts. 🙂


    • Kristy says:

      Yep – my mom’s purse was (and still is) like a bag of bricks. I still don’t know how she got everything in there and always kept it so organized. As for my purse, I never seem to have what I need, it still weighs a ton, and I can’t find anything in it. I need a new method. 😉


  9. ChgoJohn says:

    These nuts would be just too addictive. I don’t know how any would last for me to either package or serve to guests. I think the bit o’ spice would get to me. I hope your guests fin them equally pleasing.

    Great news about the Fairy Hobmother’s Gift and thank you for mentioning my brie recipe. I hope you all like it.


    • Kristy says:

      John your brie was a hit. Truly. It was gone in 10 minutes. Fantastic!!!! And the nuts, thankfully, were also a big hit. Now we just have to manage to hide the rest until Christmas. So far it’s not working. 😉


  10. Kelly @ Inspired Edibles says:

    Haha, what a fun post Kristy – loved the clip from Mary Poppins! Always prepared indeed… these are my kind of nuts and I just happen to have some nice fresh walnuts in the fridge just waiting to be beckoned… the ingredients are fantastic in this recipe. I have no doubt that you and your guests enjoyed… hope it was a fun night!


  11. Lisa says:

    congrats on the visit from the fairy hobmother! She visited me too! I agree with Caroline, can’t imagine my dad’s face if I had said that too about the hormones. Akward!!!! lol
    Omg, this recipe looks to die for. I can’t wait to try this wonderful recipe. So cut that Mr. N loves ginger and so cute that he’s in a cooking class. He’s definitely going to be a chef one day!


    • Kristy says:

      Thanks Lisa and congrats to you too! LOL! The look on my dad’s face was priceless. I still remember it to this day. I was such a smart aleck then. I have no doubt that Miss A will give me a similar run for my money some day. 🙂 Karma.


  12. Caroline says:

    Congrats on the visit from the fairy! Oh my gosh, I can’t even imagine my dad’s face if I told him the ‘girls have hormones too’ line. That’s hysterical. I’m pretty sure he still sees me as a 5-year-old…and I don’t see that changing any time soon, haha. Anyways, these walnuts sound incredible! I know I would be extremely tempted to eat a handful of the nuts straight from the oven. Hope you have a wonderful weekend. 🙂


  13. sallybr says:

    You are REALLY out to get me, right? Another tempting recipe for nuts… (sigh, sigh, sigh)

    I am the champion of burning myself with hot food – countless times I developed blisters at the roof of the mouth, just for my legendary lack of patience…

    gorgeous photos, the close up of the walnuts in the bowl is beautiful!


    • Kristy says:

      Thanks Sally! Nuts are just far too tempting aren’t they?! And so easy to just keep munching on, and then munching some more. 😉 And yep…I’ve had many a burn on the roof of my mouth or tongue. One of these days I’ll learn. (Hopefully.)


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