Today’s post and recipe are in honor and memory of TDS (That Damn Squirrel). For months, TDS has been perched high in our backyard pine tree. Daily, TDS would scurry out onto a branch, taunting and throwing pinecones at the dog. I can’t even begin to estimate the hours we spent trying to shush barking, all the while cursing TDS.
This weekend, TDS wasn’t quite quick enough scurrying up the tree and the dog won the final battle. It was a moment of victory and the promise of backyard peace restored. After the excitement wore off, my dog has been wandering around the house depressed and lost. Every Tom needs a Jerry…and every pantry needs some spiced nuts (TDS, these are for you).
Spiced nuts are so easy to make and add awesome flavor and texture—they’re an instant upgrade for your salads, soups and cocktail hour. My preferred nut of choice are pecans, I always have a bag in the pantry for making a fresh batch of granola when we have houseguests, but almonds are tasty, too.
Makes 2 cups
2 cups whole pecans
1 teaspoon salt (kosher or sea salt)
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon whole cumin
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon grape seed or olive oil
Heat the oven to 375
Mix all of the ingredients on a cookie sheet, using your hands to cover nuts evenly with spices. Bake for 6-8 minutes.
Serve warm (totally delicious!) or store in an airtight container, they should last for up to one week.
Note: My entire family, including the dog, are very sad about the squirrel’s passing. However, I used this as a learning experience to teach my daughters about the circle of life and how it actually exists in our very own backyard. RIP Mr. Squirrel.