Friday, June 3, 2011

Nut Mix

There are many recipes and other things I do with food that never make it to this blog. This is mostly because I never think about how it could be useful to someone! This past semester, however, I have found that I need should include more of these "basics" that I do everyday on the blog. Several times I have mentioned something briefly to a friend, only to learn that they are intrigued and want to know more! What seems obvious to me as "normal" dish, recipe or idea, is not to other people, so I am going to work on blogging about these miscellaneous items. After all, I am here to help :)

Topic one? Nut mix.

Getting ready to assemble!

I've been making nut mix since middle school. My mom needed something granola-like one day for her yogurt and since we are a nut-loving family, I pulled out our much used nut chopper and this is what I came up with. The recipe changes a little each time it is made, and this version is fairly different than the original. With each batch, however, the concept remains the same. Feel free to try your own nut combinations and get the flavors just how you like. I find that macademias make a creamier consistency, walnuts make a fantastic slightly bitter base, peanuts add that American flavor, pistachios add some color, almonds are a good filler and pecans make it slightly sweet.

Bowl 1: walnuts; Bowl 2: cashews and pecans;
Bowl 3: almonds and macadamias.

The ratio I generally follow goes like this:

6  :  4  :  3  :  3  :  2  :  1
Walnuts - almonds - pecans - cashews -  pistachios - macadamia nuts

My mom likes to grind flaxseed, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds and add them to the mix, but I find that this makes the nut mix a bit more powdery and not as chunky and crunchy, for my taste. Also, I believe that due to their fragile omega-3 FFAs that these seeds should be stored in the refrigerator, therefore I always keep them in separate jars and pull them out as needed from the fridge. Flaxseed especially has very fragile omega-3's and should NEVER ever be heated. This is why I never use flaxseed in baking. The heat damages the fats and makes them rancid.

Coconut, cinnamon, nutmeg, fine sea salt.

Here are some other nut combinations I've enjoyed in the past:

Walnuts - peanuts - almonds - pecans - pistachios - brazil nuts

Walnuts - cashews - peanuts - almonds - pecans - pistachios

I really like to have peanuts in the nut-mix, but I have found that peanuts (which are a legume not a nut) are particularly hard to digest and often contain a dangerous type of mold, a type of aflatoxin. Because of this, I am sure to always buy my peanuts organic. I used to be a huge peanut butter-aholic but I have since reduced my consumption and my digestion feels so much better. Now I prefer not to have peanuts. A legume, like a bean, needs to be soaked from its dry form, then cooked. Why don't we do the same to peanuts? Now if I want to have some peanuts I will make them like crispy nuts, in which I soak the peanuts for at least 12 hours and then boil them before roasting them until they are crispy.  This makes the peanut so much more digestible, with less anti-nutrients and will take care of any of the toxic mold in the peanut.

No matter what combination I use, walnuts are always the base. I love how the texture of walnuts and how they are slightly bitter, but yet have a nice mild flavor and crunch to them. The chopped walnuts also adhere really well to the cinnamon and help incorporate them into all the nuts.

Nut Mix
feeds several people breakfast for 2-3 weeks

Nuts and such:
   Sliced almonds
   Brazil Nuts
   Coconut - make sure it's flaked

   1/4 cup cinnamon
   1 Tbsp fresh ground nutmeg
   1 tsp sea salt
   Other spice ideas: cocoa powder, allspice, cloves, ginger

To assemble your mix:
1. Grind nuts** to desired quantity and mix together in a big bowl (use your hands ;).
2. Measure out spices and coconut and add to the bowl. Mix well. The mixture should go from looking like plain nuts to having a darker brownish color from the cinnamon.
3. Pour into desired container and store until further use. For optimal freshness, keep in the fridge.

** Use any kind of nuts desired. Sometimes I use every single nut I have on hand!

Close up.

When I first named the nut mix I called it "Meg's Masterpieces," since it was a master mix of a whole ton of things! It was fun to call it that for a while, but then my mom began to call it "Nut Mix" and we've been making it every month when it runs out ever since. My mom absolutely loves it and puts it at the bottom of the her oatmeal in the winter and then her yogurt in the summer. I like to add raisins, cocoa nibs, berries and bananas to it and eat it with raw milk, coconut milk or goat or greek yogurt for breakfast. It's a great grain-free way to get some crunchy protein and fat in the morning. Not to mention it's delicious!!

Happy Breakfasts!


The Grecian Garden said...

Your nut mix sounds like the perfect g-fee granola! I'm going to try this to top my almond milk yogurt! thanks :)

Anonymous said...

This sounds like a good mixture to use for nut loaf, as well. My family likes nut loaf in place of meat loaf, occasionally. Mixing in the coconut would also work, and adding herbs instead of spices would make a great loaf. I do use spices with meats, too, such as nutmeg with pork, allspice with beef, etc.

I don't understand what you mean about the coconut when you said "make sure it's flaked". Isn't all coconut flaked when you buy it, unless you buy a whole coconut?? Did you mean desiccated?

Lissi*Star said...

Yum!! Can't wait to make this! Thank you!

Jenn @leftoverqueen said...

This is a great idea - definitely useful to have around! I think you should blog more about thee kinds of tips!

Anonymous said...

Good point about the peanuts, btw!

Also I just realized that your font is PINK! Makes sense of course :)