Friday, December 23, 2011

Spice Up Your Holidays

This is the season to run around like a crazed person, apparently. Unless you choose to opt out of the whole celebrating-the- holiday thing, it seems everyone is going 90 to nothing, sitting in unavoidable traffic, shopping, writing cards, making gifts,wrapping presents, cooking and baking, not to mention getting the house ready for parties, people and/or guests.

I wasn't going to put up a tree this year but Excy wanted one, so we got a small 5-footer, and I trimmed it yesterday. The collection of nutcrackers is on the mantle. Most of the cooking and baking is done. I have managed to watch a few of my favorite holiday movies, and this year a friend came by for our 10th annual viewing of Christmas in Connecticut, giving me a break with a few hours off my feet from baking up a storm.

If my dad can't eat or drink it, he probably doesn't want it, so every year I make his favorite chocolate-pecan fudge and various other candies and cookies, which I also give out to our neighbor and newspaper carrier and postman. Excy always has more than enough to nosh on, but he always complains that we don't have enough left over. One recipe I tried this year that was a hit is this sweet and spicy pecan treat. It was easy to make and we love things spicy in this house, so I know I'll be making it again. We get tons of fresh pecans as a gift from the wonderful man we buy our hay from. He is a saint who is willing to wait for a check whenever we fall short, knowing about the Sanctuary and wishing the horses well.

Happy holidays to all of you.

Sweet and Spicy Pecans
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp each salt and chili powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch cayenne
1 egg white
2 cups pecan halves

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Spray a nonstick baking sheet with cooking spray.
Mix the sugar and spices together in a small bowl. In a larger bowl beat the egg white lightly with a fork until very frothy. Toss in the pecans and stir to coat. Sprinkle the spice mixture over the pecans and stir to coat pecans evenly. Using your fingers, one by one lift the pecans out of the bowl and transfer to the baking sheet, separating them as best you can. Discard any left-over sugar-egg mix. Bake 30 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes. Transfer to another cooking sheet, breaking pecans apart as necessary. Let cool completely. Pecans will stay fresh for 5 days if kept covered in a dry place. (They probably won't last that long, however).
Serves 8. 240 calories per serving, for those who care about such things. No cholesterol. 17 g carbs, 3 g protein, 20 g fat.


traci's mixed bag said...

Yeah, I decided I wasn't going to stress (too much) about what I can't do this year. I love that recipe. Thanks for sharing. I'm going to try it. I love the spicy sweet combo also.

Ms. A said...

Merry Christmas, Amy and Excy!

ReformingGeek said...

Spiced pecans are tasty!

I was one of the crazy ones this year. I'm ready for a break.

Merry Christmas!

Charlotte said...

Hope you had a very merry Christmas! And that recipe sounds delicious--thanks for sharing :)