Sweet & Spicy Pecans


Our Miracle has arrived, and we adore our sweet little hound! Miracle was anxious for only about the first hour after arriving, then grabbed a toy, whipped her tail around in windmill fashion with utter joy and decided that she was HOME. Maybe Turbo was whispering in her ear that she was going to be happy here – I wouldn’t put it past him – he seems to have blessed Miracle’s joining our family from the first moment.

Miracle may be a tiny hound, but she’s got a big personality that is just starting to unfold. She’s a lovey hound who rolls onto her back to demand belly rubs from anyone nearby. A bit of a clown, too… She relishes in playing with her toys and is not above “discovering” new ones that are just as fun as stuffies – be it a cell phone, hat, bra, or fishing in the bathroom trash for a TP roll…life is FUN, and she is exploring every bit of it.

However, our little lady is not pleased when left alone…this week is the first time in her life when she’s been by herself, with no other neighbor-hounds in the kennel and it’s a definite shock. So, with the help of our wonderful “adoption counselor” from Greyhounds Only, Sue, we’re working through her separation anxiety to help her fully embrace her new life…and once she does – she’ll be free of that crate she so detests right now.

While we’re busy house-training the dog, it seems only fitting to fortify ourselves with some protein-rich snacks for those cold, hour-long walks trying to convince Miracle to pee outside. These sweet and spicy nuts are an addictive snack, far better than those overly-sweet cinnamon almonds you might get at a fair. Our friends Bill & Colleen gifted us with a bag of their cinnamon pecans when we were visiting them in Florida in November. We were hooked. Then, I discovered Shauna’s recipe in her new cookbook, and tried those as well. I liked both recipes, so split the difference for my own take on Shauna’s nuts – not quite as much sugar and egg white, and a tiny hit of smoked paprika for a little mystery.

I liked this recipe so well, I made up a few batches and gave them to all of our family as Christmas gifts. The day after Christmas, I received a message from my brother-in-law stating that: “There’s something wrong with the jar of nuts you gave me. I keep reaching my hand in, and nothing comes out.” If you make either of these spiced nuts, be warned that you may quickly have Brad’s empty jar problem – they are addicting!

What’s your favorite snack – nutty or otherwise? Share you favorite noshes in the comments section below…

Bill & Colleen’s Cinnamon Pecans

1 egg white
1 tsp water
½ cup sugar
¾ tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp fresh ground nutmeg
½ tsp fresh ground black pepper
5 cups pecan halves (almonds work well, too)

  1. Preheat oven to 250º. Combine sugar, pepper, nutmeg, salt & cinnamon together in a small bowl.
  2. Beat egg white with water in a large mixing bowl. Add pecans/almonds to egg white and mix.
  3. Add sugar mixture to pecans. Stir well. Spread on large buttered pan.
  4. Bake for 1 hour, cool thoroughly & store in an airtight container…maybe even on a high shelf to keep from eating the whole jar at once.

Sweet and Smoky Pecans & Almonds
Adapted from Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef cookbook
1 egg white
1 tsp water
½ cup brown sugar
3/4 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp fresh ground black pepper
½ tsp smoked paprika
¼ tsp cayenne
5 cups mixed pecan halves & almonds

  1. Preheat oven to 250º. Combine sugar, salt, cinnamon, pepper, paprika and cayenne together in a small bowl.
  2. Beat egg white with water in a large mixing bowl. Add pecans/almonds to egg white and mix.
  3. Add sugar mixture to pecans. Stir well. Spread on large buttered pan.
  4. Bake for 1 hour, cool thoroughly & store in an airtight container…maybe even on a high shelf to keep from eating the whole jar at once.

It’s a Miracle!

Dear readers, I hope you’ll hang in there for one more non-food related post before I get back to cooking up healthy stuff for you in the Whole Kitchen. This one’s not so sad, I promise.

I feel like I don’t even have the words to describe what this week has been like in our house. Losing our beloved Turbo last Sunday remains among the hardest days of our adult lives. We hunkered down on Monday to be at home and grieve, so as not to scare our co-workers with our tearful blubbering. But really, that just meant that we blubbered on Tuesday in front of our very kind and empathetic co-workers. We’ve been overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support for us on the blog, Twitter, Facebook and in person with friends stopping by, calling and checking in. It’s times like these that we realize that the world really IS full of good people.

While we miss Turbo deeply, we quickly realized that we cannot abide the empty dog bed and the sudden silence in our home. I feel untethered and restless without the scheduled dog walks punctuating each day…I’m as bound and comforted by routines as dogs, it seems. So Tuesday afternoon, we sent in our application Greyhounds Only to adopt another greyhound. And on Saturday morning, we drove to Wisconsin to meet a few hounds and to see if there was one that might be a good fit for our family. Joining us on the adventure was our friend Erika and her very brave pug, Oswin.

Worried eyes and all, Oswin was a brave pug in the face of dozens of hounds.

Erika & Larry’s three pugs have been Turbo’s best friends since day one. The little guys would happily follow Turbo anywhere, wiggling their puggy butts with joy all the way. Because we occasionally dogsit the pugs, we needed a hound that would be safe with small dogs. Oswin was volunteered as greyhound behavioral bait and provided the key vote as we visited with the hounds. In the course of an hour, we narrowed the search down to two fawn hounds who passed the Oswin test. We then led the two hounds outside to the fenced field to let both of them off leash with us to see who had the best connection with Mark and I. It took only a moment for the winner to come to us, look us straight in the eyes and claim us.
Miracle will be joining the family on Sunday, January 16!

Her name is Miracle, and by the feel of this match, I think she’s going to live up to that big name. She’s a petite, young girlie, weighing in at only 55lbs (Turbo was 70lbs). Fawn with a dusty mask on her face, she’s got liquid amber eyes and a tail that she curls up and waves around with joy when she’s with people. More than anything, it was her calm, steady presence that clicked with us. I hope she’ll be happy in our home…we’re sure glad to have her joining the family.

More than anything, we feel Turbo’s blessing on this match – how could we not with a hound named Miracle?! It’s as if he sent her straight to us…and maybe he did. Thanks, again, Turbo for being our hound for seven amazing years and helping us find a Miracle.

One more photo of our happy boy, Summer 2010.
Thanks to Lynne Liliedahl for sending us this great photo of Turbo.