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almonds

This morning I decided to have yogurt with a drizzle of honey and a few crunchy, lightly salted almonds for breakfast.   Yummy!!  I felt good because I was feeding my body something healthy, satisfying and delicious.   Those tasty nuts brought the meal to a new level, in my opinion.  I’ve eaten almonds for a long time but didn’t know a whole lot about them, so I decided to do some digging.   I already knew that they were tasty, high in fat, and supposed to be good for you.  Here is a little of what I found out.  You may be quite surprised…

Are Almonds Good For You?

Benefits of Almonds

Heart Health

Even though they are rather high in fat (containing about 49% oil), almonds are still good for you.  The calories in almonds are about 161 for an ounce.   They contain the same kinds of healthy fats found in olive oil which reduces the risk of heart disease.   Also, almonds contain vitamin E, further helping to lower bad cholesterol.   And here’s a really cool point –  The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a qualified health claim for nuts in 2003 which states, “Scientific evidence suggests, but does not prove, that eating 1.5 ounces per day of most nuts, such as almonds, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease.”

Mighty Minerals

Almonds contain potassium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus and zinc, important minerals which help the flow of blood, nutrients, and oxygen throughout the body, improving skin, bones, nails, and hair.

Diabetic Friendly

Another one of the benefits of almonds is their ability to protect against diabetes!  It has amazing properties that lessen the rise in blood sugar after eating them.

Help Prevent Gallstones

Findings show that those who eat at least one ounce of nuts each week have a much lower risk of developing gallstones.

Loaded with Protein

Almonds are concentrated in protein.   How does it compare to an egg?  Well, one-quarter cup has more protein than an egg.    One ounce has 12 percent of your protein allowance, and unlike an egg, it has no cholesterol.

Good Source of Fiber

Almonds contain a rich supply of fiber.  And we all know how important fiber is to our diets.  It helps us feel fuller and aids in moving food through our digestive system.  This helps eliminate bowel problems and reduces the risk of some types of cancers.

When you add honey to your almonds, you are really maximizing its health benefits.  Honey is loaded with so many amazing characteristics and it tastes really good.  Why not drizzle honey over your almonds or use both ingredients in cooking.  Two amazing ingredients working together to help keep you healthy.

Okay, now that we’ve answered the question, “Are almonds good for you?’ and have seen the benefits of almonds, let’s find out how to use and store them.

The almond, because of its delicate taste, lends itself well to many uses.  For instance, you can eat them as a snack, use them to enhance other foods such as salads, and you can use crushed or slivered almonds in many recipes.  You can even find almond flour in most food stores.  At the end of this post, I am going to give you a couple of delicious recipes using almonds – Honey Roasted Almonds and Ritz Carlton Spiced Almonds.  These recipes are easy to make and really yummy.  I’m sure they will be used over and over again in your family.

Since almonds are high in fat content, always store them properly in order to protect them from becoming stale and spoiled.   If your almonds are shelled, store them in a sealed container, in a cool dry place.  I store mine in the refrigerate because I find they keep fresher longer.  You can even store them in your freezer where they’ll stay good for up to a year.  Okay, here are the recipes I promised….

Honey Roasted Almonds

2 cups of unskinned whole almonds

3 Tablespoons of honey

2 Tablespoons of water

1/2 Teaspoon kosher or sea salt

2 Teaspoons butter

Directions:  Put the almonds on a foil-lined cookie sheet and roast for about 10 minutes.  Remember, they’ll continue to cook after they have been removed, so be sure to take them out on time.  You’ll be amazed at how wonderful your house will smell at this point.

While the nuts are cooling, take a skillet and put in  all the other ingredients (except salt) and stir until the mixture starts to boil (medium heat).  At this point, add the nuts and cook until they are well coated and the liquid is absorbed, then sprinkle the salt on the almonds.  Put the honey roasted almonds on the cookie sheet to cool.  Enjoy.

Here’s one of my all-time favorites.   A couple of years ago, my husband and I vacationed at the Ritz Carlton in Georgia.  The hotel placed bowls of spicy nuts in the lobby for guests to help themselves.  Theses little fellows were so good, I was embarrassed that I kept walking over to the counter and helped myself, at least 3 times 🙂   Finally, I asked the staff for the recipe, and they were very gracious to oblige.  They used pecans, but I have used all kinds of nuts with this recipe and it is always incredible every time.  Enjoy.

RITZ-CARLTON LODGE SPICED PECANS (or almonds)

1 lb. pecan halves (or almonds)
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp kosher salt

PREHEAT OVEN TO 350 DEGREES F.

Line sheet pan with parchment paper. Combine all ingredients and mix well. Arrange mixture in a single layer in pan. Bake 15 minutes, then stir.  Bake an additional 10 minutes and allow the nuts to cool 15 minutes, then stir to loosen individual pieces.

Once completely cooled, store in an airtight container.

Please try these recipes and write back to let us know how you enjoyed them.  We’d love to hear from you.

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