Saturday, February 11, 2012

Honey Roasted Cashews

Looking for something different to give your Valentine? How about Honey Roasted Cashews instead of the traditional chocolate?

I took a trip to New York in December and came across a Street Vendor selling honey roasted nuts. The aroma of the roasted nuts enticed me to buy a bag of honey roasted cashews. These were the best honey roasted nuts that I ever had. Since then I have been on a mission to find a recipe for these nuts. I searched the internet for recipes but none of them were able to recreate the Street Vendor cashews. Finally after weeks of trying to recreate the Street Vendor cashews, I think that I have come pretty close to the ones that I sampled in New York.

While the finished nuts were cooling on a baking sheet on the kitchen counter my husband saw them and just had to sample them. He loved them and couldn't resist sampling some more. In light of his glowing praise, I decided to share the recipe with all of you.

Honey Roasted Cashews:

3 1/2 cups unsalted cashews
2 1/2 tablespoons clover honey
1 1/2 tablespoons of pure maple syrup--don't use maple flavored syrup because the flavor won't be the same
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon of brown sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon of grated nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons of vanilla Demerara sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. If using raw cashews, place them on a baking pan and roast in the oven for 5 minutes. Remove pan from the oven, stir the nuts and roast for approximately 5 minutes. Check them often and remove from the oven when the nuts have a light golden color. Set aside to cool. Skip this step if you are using nuts that have already been roasted.

In a small saucepan combine butter, honey, maple syrup, brown sugar, salt, vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon. Stir to combine over low heat. After the butter has melted remove the saucepan from the heat.

Pour the cashews into a large mixing bowl and pour the syrup mixture over the cashews. Stir the nuts until all of them are coated.

Spray a large baking tray with cooking spray. Spread the nuts on the baking tray and bake for 6 minutes on the middle rack of the oven. Remove the nuts from the oven and stir. Return the tray to the oven and bake for approximately 8 minutes or until the nuts are golden brown.

Remove from the oven and pour the nuts in a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of vanilla demerara sugar over the nuts and stir until all of the nuts are coated with the sugar.

Line another baking tray with parchment paper and spread the sugar coated nuts in a thin layer onto the parchment lined tray. Let the cashews cool completely. Store the cashews in an air tight container.

Bon Apetite,

Friday, February 10, 2012

Hello Kitty Valentine's Rose Box

I just couldn't let Valentine's Day pass without doing at least one Hello Kitty project. Hello Kitty is so sweet that she seemed like the perfect choice for decorating a Valentine's Day box filled with heart shaped sugar cookies. Who wouldn't want to receive a Hello Kitty box filled with cookies?

For those of you who love Hello Kitty, I have another project planned. I don't want to let the cat out of the bag just yet. I'm sorry for the bad pun but I will tell you that it's a fabric project.

Close-up of the top of the box.

Directions for Hello Kitty Valentine's Rose Box:

Cricut Hello Kitty Greetings and Doodlecharms cartridges
Dark pink, medium pink, white, olive green and black card stock
Fiskars paper crimper
Large purple brad
Self adhesive gold rhinestone
Stickles glitter glue-Ice Stickles
Tattered Angels Glimmer Mist-Pearl
Smooch purple paint
6 Fabric Rose Buds
Martha Stewart Leaf paper punch
Foam Dots
Hot Glue Gun
White sheer wire edged ribbon
Martha Stewart Treat Boxes

1. Cut the heart from the Doodlecharms cartridge. Press the heart and the shift keys and cut the heart at 5 inches out of dark pink card stock.

2. Load the rounded edge of the heart into the Fiskars paper crimper. Press the handle and turn the knob to run the heart through the crimper.

3. Load the Hello Kitty Greetings cartridge into the Cricut machine. Cut Hello Kitty 2 out of black card stock at 4 inches. Next press the White & Fur/Bow & Nose key and cut the fur and flower out of white card stock. Press the White & Fur/Bow & Nose and the Shift keys to cut Kitty's flower out of dark pink card stock. Press the Clothes key to cut Kitty's outfit. Cut the outfit again out of medium pink card stock. Press the Clothes and Shift keys to cut the flower stem out of olive green card stock. Assemble Kitty according to the picture in the Cricut handbook. Using a dark yellow colored pencil color Kitty's nose. Use the large purple brad for the center of the flower in Kitty's hair. Apply a small amount of Ice Stickles to the flower and let it dry. Paint the flower in Kitty's hand with purple Smooch paint and let it dry. Apply a small amount of Ice Stickles to the flower and set aside to dry. Press the gold rhinestone to the center of the purple flower.

4. Place foam dots on the back of Hello Kitty and attach her to the crimped heart. Lightly spray Kitty and the heart with Pearl Glimmer Mist and set aside to dry.

5. Assemble the Martha Stewart treat box. Fill the box with cookies and slide the red cover over the box. Tie the white sheer ribbon around the box and make a bow. Use the hot glue gun to glue the point of the crimped heart behind the bow's knot.

6. Position three fabric rose buds on the left front edge of the box top. Use the glue gun to glue the roses in place. Repeat the process to glue the roses to the right front edge of the box top. Apply a small amount of Ice Stickles around the edges of the rose petals and let them dry.

7. Punch six leaves out of olive green card stock with the Martha Stewart leaf punch. Glue three leaves under the roses on the left. Extend the front leaf slightly over the edge of the box. Glue three leaves under the roses on the right.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Night Owl Scarf

Knitted lace is beautiful but I have always been intimidated by it. The beautiful lacy patterns would inspire me but the written directions always seemed too complicated-yarn-overs, knitting through back loops and increases and decreases in the same row. I decided to give knitted lace another try. A scarf seemed like a good first project because I didn't have to worry about shaping the garment. I chose Brown Sheep Nature Spun yarn and a Vine Lace pattern. The pattern is easy to knit and works well with a worsted weight yarn. For those of you wondering about the name, I decided to name the scarf for the late nights I spent knitting it (often until 2 a.m.) rather than for the lace pattern that I used.

Mozart modeling the Night Owl scarf.

This is the actual color of the scarf.

Directions for Night Owl Scarf:

2 100 gram skeins (approximately 245 yards/224 meters per skein) of Brown Sheep Nature Spun, Alpine Violet color

Size 7 knitting needles

This scarf was knit on Addi needles using a worsted weight wool.

Gauge: 5 sts per inch on Size 7 needles in Stockinette Stitch

Finished measurements: 8 inches wide and 54 inches long before blocking.

Cast on 40 stitches.

Pattern Stitch:

Row 1: Purl
Row 2: K3, *yo, k2, ssk, k2 tog, k2, yo, k1; rep from * until one stitch left, k1.
Row 3: Purl
Row 4: K2,* yo, k2, ssk, k2 tog, k2, yo, k1; rep from * until two stitches remain, k2.

Repeat Rows 1-4 until scarf measures 54 inches. Cast off.

The end and sides of the scarf will tend to curl under during knitting but blocking will take care of this. To block the scarf lay it on an ironing board and straighten the sides and the end. Lightly steam the the scarf with a steam iron. Don't move the scarf until it is cool to the touch.