Sunday, March 21, 2010

candied walnuts

i've been working out with garage jonny (my trainer) and it's been paying off; i am feeling stronger but still not seeing huge results.  i have to send him my food diary every week and last week was just plain BAD.  i gave him all the excuses of why i was home, why i felt the need to get pizza for lunch and have bagels everyday for breakfast, and why i had to have 6-7 beers over the course of a day and night on saturday, because, it was a st. pattys day festival after all!  when you have to start writing down everything you eat, it gets embarrassing... especially when you're not the only one reading it!

garage jonny said that diet is 65-75% of weight loss - so cutting out those horrible habits is really the only way to see results!  i asked if i could still have my brie and cheese once a week, and he said yes in moderation, but rather than suffer all week and give myself a "day off", i should find things i like to eat through the week so i don't lose all the momentum i gained during the week just by pigging out on sundays!

i've never been a salad person but lately i've found one that i love to make.  i take baby greens, scallions, strawberries, goat cheese crumbles and candied walnuts, and make simple italian dressing (the cruet with balsamic vinegar, a spice packet, oil and a little bit of water).  i've been paying more money for the candied walnuts until today, where trader joes ran out of them and i realized i'd have to make for myself.

they are REALLY easy and much healthier for you than the version you can buy in the store, directions are below along with my final product:


Candied Walnuts Recipe (courtesy www.SimplyRecipes.com)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups raw walnut halves
  • 1/8 teaspoon coarse salt

Method

1 Preheat oven to 350°F. Use middle rack in oven. Lay walnuts out on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 5 minutes. Test for doneness. If not quite toasted enough, toast for 1 or 2 more minutes. Be careful not to burn. Remove from oven and let cool in pan on a rack.
2 Pour sugar into a medium saucepan with a thick bottom. Have walnuts nearby, ready to quickly add to the pan at the right time. Cook sugar on medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon as soon as the sugar begins to melt. Keep stirring until all the sugar has melted and the color is a medium amber. As soon as sugar is melted and the color is a medium amber, add the walnuts to the pan, quickly stirring and coating each piece with the sugar mixture.
3 As soon as the walnuts are coated with the sugar mixture, spread them out on a rimmed baking sheet, lined either with a non-stick mat, or parchment paper. Use two forks to separate the walnuts from each other, working very quickly. Sprinkle the nuts with the salt. Let cool completely.
Makes 1 1/2 cups.

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