The Joy of Almonds. Five Fun Facts!

Almonds

Well stuff my cheek pouches and call me Nutty! I am on a super almond kick lately. Like. Super. Now that I’m Little Miss Hansons Method and am ramping up marathon training, I find that they are the perfect snack to stash away in my purse, gym bag, car, desk, mailbox- wherever- for whenever a Serious Snack Attack strikes. Which for me lately, is practically every hour. I don’t have to tell you about Tina and nuts. Ever since that time she turned into Sherman Klump before running the Philadelphia Marathon, I’ve sort of forbid her to eat any nuts near me. Which means ALL THE NUTS for Colby. Now that’s a friend. 🙂  The happy folks over at nuts.com inspired us to write a piece on almonds. I couldn’t wait to chomp right down on it..

I guess they figured we were health nuts.
*pause*
{She’ll be here all night! Tip your server!}

I slay me.

Here are 5 Fun Facts About My Favorite Powerful Little Nut, The Almond!

  1. Peaches and almonds are cousins.  Shocker, right?!?!? Who knew! The nut that we eat (in my case, by the fist full) is the hard-shelled fruit of the almond tree. Think of it like a stone fruit. Cherry, plum, peach….ALMOND. Mind. Blown.
    Behold! Young almonds. Photo: Wikipedia

    Behold! Young almonds. Photo: Wikipedia

     Mature Almond. Photo: Wikipedia

    Behold! Mature Almond. Photo: Wikipedia

  2. Almonds are some of the lowest-calorie nuts around. YAHOO!  Almonds pack 160 calories, 9 grams of mono-unsaturated, heart-healthy fats, 6 grams of protein and 3.5 grams of fiber per 1 ounce serving. And, they’re LOADED with the antioxidant vitamin E.  That’s E for EXCELLENT. Go Almonds! They’re about neck and neck with pistachios and cashews in the calorie department. Eat ’em in moderation folks. They’re easy to binge on. RHOBH Brandy
  3. Almonds were used as a Fertility Charm.  In ancient Rome, newlyweds were showered with ‘em. LIGHTBULB. So THAT’S why at every single Italian baby shower or bridal shower I’ve ever gone to, there are little tulle pouches of almonds- Jordan Almonds specifically!!
    5 Jazzy Almonds. Photo: Pinterest.

    5 Jazzy Almonds. Photo: Pinterest.

    Total ah-ha! moment here! Traditionally, five Jordan Almonds are wrapped in tulle and tied with a ribbon.  And usually, at least in my Italian circles, there are usually 5 in a bag.  According to my very shallow internet reseach, the 5 almonds represent happiness, health, wealth, fertility and long life. They’re given in an odd number to represent the indivisibility of the marriage bond. Why fertility? Because those little guys are egg shaped. Awww. I once chipped my tooth biting into a Jordan Almond at a bridal shower. But. I still love them.

  4. Almonds are considered BRAINFOOD. Smarty pants! I’m guessing they’re considered healthy brain food because they are rich in healthy fats (omega-3 fatty acids), vitamin B6 and in the anti-oxidant, vitamin E. The 3 of which are thought to improve brain health.  Raw almonds are loaded with omega-3s. Eat up. And before you know it, you’ll be doing the New York Times crossword with a pen. (One of us does already. Hint: It’s Tina, not me.)

    Photo: Nuts.com

    Photo: Nuts.com

  5. Almonds are delicious. Duh. Especially in granola. And super especially if you make your own. Which is a snap. Just ask the Barefoot Contessa. I really dig this recipe- Cherry, Almond, Coconut, Oats, Honey…..DELISH. Use tart cherries and you’ll be rocking the whole Super Food Thing. Don’t like apricots?  Ditch ‘em. It’s your Almond Granola. You do you. That’s the beauty of homemade. Yum.
Photo: Food Network

Photo: Food Network

Homemade Granola. Courtesy of the Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 cups sliced almonds
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup good honey
  • 1 1/2 cups small diced dried apricots
  • 1 cup small diced dried figs
  • 1 cup dried (tart) cherries
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup roasted, unsalted cashews

 Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Toss the oats, coconut, and almonds together in a large bowl. Whisk together the oil and honey in a small bowl. Pour the liquids over the oat mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until all the oats and nuts are coated. Pour onto a 13 by 18 by 1-inch sheet pan. Bake, stirring occasionally with a spatula, until the mixture turns a nice, even, golden brown, about 45 minutes.
  •  Remove the granola from the oven and allow to cool, stirring occasionally. Add the apricots, figs, cherries, cranberries, and cashews. Store the cooled granola in an airtight container.
  •  (Inspired by Sarah Chase’s Open House Cookbook.)

What’s your favorite nut? How often do you snack while marathon training? Do you do the crossword puzzle with a pen?

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Whirlwind Wednesday. And a Series of Fortunate Events.

First of all. I thought today was Monday. Which is what happens when you spend a GLORIOUS 7 days away from work, drinking Heady Toppers, eating delicious FRESH food and watching your Other Half run his first marathon AND KICK IT IN THE CHOMPERS!

Oh, Hi. Boston Called. YOU JUST QUALIFIED!!

YAAAAASSSS!

YAAAAASSSS!

To say I am proud of him is a goddamn understatement. There are no words. Just love, love, love. I love him to pieces.  In fact, if I didn’t love him, I might hate him. He’s one of those Naturals. You know. The Athlete. The Dude who can do anything and loves the work that goes along with it? Yeah. That Guy. He’s My Lobster.  I am so proud of him. My heart is overflowing. Good stuff I tell ya. Actually, there have been a few Pretty Damn Good things that have happened in the past 10 Days. Here’s a Colby Good Stuff Sampler!

Running along Lake Champlain

    1. I went to a ‘Ladies Only Wine and WOD’ sponsored by Lululemon! Can you even stand it? One of my dear friends is into CrossFit and her box (I know. That sounds filthy.) was sponsoring a ladies only CrossFit night with wine, paleo grub and Lululemon. And she brought me! I’ve dabbled in CrossFit several times and if it wasn’t so damn expensive where I live, I’d be sipping the organic cool-aid. But alas. I also love shoes. And wine. And delicious IPAs as you’ll read about shortly. So there’s that. CrossFit Bethany hosted it and it did not disappoint. Such a great community of people. Very welcoming. Very friendly. There are some jacked broads there (Exhibit A. Below). Bethany Cross Fit!It was awesome. Vikki and I partnered up and had a blast.  Running, box jumps, rope work, abs, all sorts of stuff. Oh? And Wine. And Shopping. (Hello Vinyasa Scarf!) And my girl Vikki. I see why she loves it so much there. All of the Ladies I met were fantastic and so was the wine. Great. Time. Thanks Vik!

      Victorious!

    2. I was finally matched with a buddy! Tina posted about I Run 4 a little while back (here) and if you aren’t familiar with them, I strongly encourage you to check them out. Salt @ Run Salt Run and I were both matched the same week! I know she’s equally as excited. It’s such an amazing group. Here is the link to their website: Who I Run 4 . They pair a special needs “Buddy” with a “Runner.”
      My First Official 5 mile run. #IRun4Wyatt

      My First Official 5 mile run. #IRun4Wyatt

      Your job as the runner is to dedicate your runs to your Buddy and interact with them via IR4’s closed Facebook Group. It’s an incredible community. I can tell you that I have been paired with an amazing little boy named Wyatt. I am already forging a wonderful relationship with his family. And I’ve gotta say, there hasn’t been a single mile I’ve run since “meeting” him where I haven’t thought about his smiling face. My miles have meaning. It is so fulfilling. Sign up. It’s worth the wait.

      Mile 3. Grafton, Vermont is gorgeous.

      Mile 3. Grafton, Vermont is gorgeous.


    3. Leon James and Evil Beagle might be getting a BROTHER!  So this happened as I was running the trails in my neighborhood. Yup. He happened. Chocolate Boy We ran right into one another. I encountered a big, handsome, chocolate lab swimming with a stick in his mouth on the trails. Of course I stopped and chatted with his Human and got the scoop. Long serendipitous story short: I need a running buddy, he needs a home.  It was love at first sight. Note: It’s not that Leon James and Evil Beagle, Pearl Anne, don’t want to run with me, they totally would. Only if I walked. And they ate gobs of treats. L. James is recovering from 2 -yes TWO- knee reconstruction $urgerie$ and Pearl Anne is….well?  Let’s just say this: Girlfriend don’t like to work out. They’re also both 11 years old and the thought of losing one? STOP. I know we’re crazy. But deal with it. I’d rather be an Old Crazy Dog Lady than an Old Crazy Cat Lady any day of the week. Cross your paws that it goes through! Squeeeeeee!
    4. We scored a case of Heady Topper. boooyaYup. In another, The Stars Are In Alignment Moment, we happened upon a delivery of Heady Topper as we were leaving Burlington, Vermont. After asking what all the hub-bub was about (then turning to each other and fist-pumping when we heard why) we immediately hopped in line and waited for our Liquid Gold. You can’t get the stuff outside of Vermont. And then not all of Vermont. It wins all sorts of ‘Best Beer’ Awards. The result: TWO FREAKING CASES OF HEADY TOPPER! For those of you who aren’t beer fans, this is the equivalent of finding a unicorn blowing bubbles while riding a T-Rex. IT NEVER HAPPENS. Fear not, we filled a cooler, loaded it with ice, and gingerly transported our cases of beauties across state lines. TO DRINK. ALL. SUMMER. We also drank them in Burlington… 

      Heady Topper and Focal Banger. CHEERS!

      And even ate them in DELICOUS PRETZEL FORM at the Burlington Farmer’s Market… 

      Heady Topper Jalapeno Pretzel Bliss.

      In short, ALL THE HEADY TOPPER. Happiness. 

    5. We ate great food in Burlington, Vermont

      Asparagus Porn.

      It wasn’t all kick ass beers and tacos. Although I would perfectly content if that were the case. A few notable eating establishments in Burlington:  Hankering for tacos? Run to El Cortijo. Kitchsy. Cool. Not too hipster. And MY FAVORITE joint for good beer and tacos. I love that little spot. It’s hard not to binge on tacos and ‘chos there. Trust me.  

      Revolution Kitchen.

      Next fave: Revolution Kitchen which, in addition to having another of our favorite beers on tap, Lawson’s Sip of Sunshine, has DELICIOUS vegetarian grub. Like really good and not completely typical. The staff couldn’t have been more charming.  And guacamole filled wonton “nachos.”  For real. *drools* We dig it.   

      Jazzy!

      Last? Hen of the Wood. INNOVATIVE and delicious. Even the ice cubes were cool. Everything here is done with intention. It’s fantastic- organic, sustainable and locally sourced. We had these insane Apple cider fritters with some sort of delectable goodness on them and we swooned. Shit was GOOD. And? I took zero food pictures. Which in hindsight, was a Rookie Blogger move. What the hell do I know?  My other half would have thrown a fork at me if he heard: “But Babe, It’s for the BLLLLLLLOG!” one more time. He loves me. 

So that’s what’s been going down. Take time to recharge. The past week and a half has been such a reboot for me. I’d highly recommend it if possible. Drinking, eating and running for and with people I love. Now that’s Good Stuff. 🙂

How was your long weekend? Have you ever been a spectator at a marathon? Or does it make you antsy? Name you favorite beer: GO! 

Who doesn’t love a Street Performer?