December 18, 2012

Apple Cranberry Walnut Salad

A phenomenal salad, especially in autumn and winter. It combines apples, dried cranberries, homemade maple-vanilla candied walnuts (or pecans if you prefer), and red onion on a bed of mixed baby greens. You can make your own dressing, but we really love Trader Joe's Champagne Pear Vinaigrette with this particular salad. It's such a perfect compliment and even has a little gorgonzola to add another dimension. We've had this many times the past few years - even my husband gobbles it up and wants more. So I finally got around to getting some (not so great) pictures and posting it. You may notice it looks a bit unfinished since it's lacking the dressing on top. I apologize, but once the dressing was drizzled... it was GAME ON 😉

Mixed baby greens
Dried cranberries
Red onion
Dressing of choice (we love Trader Joe's Champagne Pear Vinaigrette)

Dice apple, and thinly slice red onion.
Lay out the mixed greens on a plate, and top with remaining ingredients.

December 2, 2012

Maple-Vanilla Candied Nuts (5 minutes!)

Guys, these are crazy good. They're healthier (and I think tastier!) than traditional candied nuts, replacing all that refined sugar with pure maple syrup goodness. Plus there's a wonderful hint of vanilla that just sends it over the top. AND they take about 5 minutes to make. Though I feel I should toss in a warning here: I burned my tongue not once... not twice... but THREE times because they were so darn good and I was too impatient for them to cool 🙊 Once I managed to find some self-control, I put them in a sealed container for later (to sprinkle on an autumn salad with pears, apples, and mixed greens - yum!) They're awesome as snacks, and great for gift-giving too! 💛

Vegan, gluten-free, oil-free
Adapted from Ellie Krieger

2 cups nuts (I use walnut pieces)
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. salt

Heat a small skillet over med-high for 1 minute. (I use this non-stick pan.)
Add all ingredients.
Stir frequently until syrup is caramelized, about 3-4 minutes.
Remove from heat and let cool.

Note: the nuts will be quite sticky right after heating. Simply let them cool for 15-20 minutes then gently break them apart if they're clumped together. Store in a sealed container.

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