Monday, August 20, 2012

Spicy Chili Almonds

Holy cow, it was an exhausting weekend!  It was the Can Fit Pro conference - which I'll write about later this week - and Little A was really challenging.  Adam and I had scheduled a much anticipated date for Saturday night and the girls were supposed to sleep over at my in-laws.  But Little A refused.  No amount of bribery or cajoling could convince her.  She did go to bed that evening without the usual song-and-dance, and she did sleep until 7:15am Sunday morning (I don't think she's slept past 6:30am in many, many weeks) and she even woke up in a good mood.  But that lasted for about an hour.  By the time I left the house to go teach my spinning class at the JCC, she was in full tantrum mode.  On top of all that, for some reason I've been having really crappy sleeps for the past week, so even though Little A slept in yesterday, I woke up at 5am and couldn't go back to sleep on my one sleep-in day of the week.  Blech!

If like me you feel that your weekend wasn't as restful as you would have liked, check out the inspirational story of Annaleise Carr, the 14 year old who swam across Lake Ontario and raised over $60,000 $100,000 for a camp for children with cancer.  Amazing athletic feat on top of being an amazing act of charity.

Anyways...on to food.

While satisfying my fondness for legumes, grains and leafy greens, lately I've been trying to make a bigger effort to appeal to Adam's tastes.  I've been preparing more pizza and meat dishes, as well as some of his favorite treats like garlic bread and sweet potato fries.

Although Adam has been enjoying this, he got a scare this week that has him begging me for beans.  Ha ha!  His cholesterol has gone up some dramatically in one year that his doctor sent him a letter to be careful and get it rechecked in a few months.  Now, Adam is quite certain that the change is due to the many months he spent last winter and spring travelling for work.  Spending 10 hours a day sitting in archives, he craves physical and mental pick-me-ups, which usually include chocolate and massive bakery chocolate chip cookies.  Also, the cafeteria at the National Archives in Ottawa sells a limited array of meals and most of them tend to be less-than-healthy.  Nevertheless, he's pissed.  And I can understand why.  He lives a healthy lifestyle, much healthier than most North Americans, but he's still plagued by a genetic propensity to high cholesterol.

So we reviewed his current diet to see what we could change:

Breakfast = oatmeal + whey protein (good)
Lunch = 1 hummus or pbj sandwich on whole wheat (good) + 1 turkey sandwich on whole wheat (not so good), 2 apples, 1 banana, baby carrots (all good)
Snacks = 2 chocolate protein or granola bars (not so good)
Dinner = whatever I make him (usually good)

We agreed he would cut back on the deli meat sandwiches and swap out at least one of his daily bars for some nuts.  Nuts are a great food for lowering cholesterol.  But I know my hub, and he does not love plain nuts.  I get that.  I love spicy, salty nuts too!  So I whipped these up for him to keep at work and munch on when he's hungry.  A serving is about 25 almonds, which may not look like a huge amount, but the protein, fibre and good fats are very satisfying and will take you through to your next meal.

Spicy Chili Almonds

4 cups plain almonds
1-2 tbls organic canola oil (start with one tbls and only add more as needed to coat nuts)
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste (optional)

Whisk spices into oil in medium bowl.  Add nuts to bowl and toss until well coated.  Lay nuts in a single layer on baking sheet and put in the oven at 275F for about 10 minutes (do not let them burn!).  Remove from oven and let cool.  Store in an airtight container.

This recipe has been entered in Diet, Dessert & Dogs' Wellness Weekend for this week.

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