This recipe has been such a hit, that I have decided to only make double batches from now on. If I bring them out while guests are over, I will end up with an empty container. But I love feeding those I love, especially when it’s something that is healthy and nutritious. The Russian and Sugar Bee alone could eat the whole batch, so I can’t fault my friends for loving these nuts.
This is so super easy; one bowl and a foil-lined pan means minimal cleanup. That makes me happy. These would be awesome in the fall and around the holidays because of the flavors, but my BFF’s mom had sent her several bags of pecans harvested from their grove (Gerry’s Pecan Grove) and she shared a few bags with me this spring. So I went to work messing with a recipe from the chia seed book I’ve mentioned in previous recipes (Lemon Chia Balls and Cinnamon and Spice Sweet Potato Chips). Now I’m buying pecans all the time from Aldi just so I can keep up with our habit. I will be emailing the grove for more soon and see if I can get set up with a regular shipment. I’m thinking these would make nice Christmas presents this year. 🙂
In a large bowl, whisk together maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and sea salt. Then stir in pecans, chia seeds, and chopped cranberries until everything is well coated. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with foil and spread out in a single layer. Bake for 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.Once they are done in the oven, transfer them to waxed paper and let cool completely (if you can).Store in an airtight container…if they are not all eaten that day.
Maple Spiced Pecans
The health benefits from the pecans, cranberries, and chia seeds make this snack a great choice. Its sweet crunch is addicting and I have yet to find someone who doesn’t fall in love. This can easily be split in half if you are making this snack for one….then you would use 1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons of maple syrup.
3/4 cup pure maple syrup
1+ teaspoon ground cinnamon
A few shakes of ground nutmeg
A good shake of ground clove
1/4 teaspoon kosher sea salt
4 cups pecan halves (raw are best)
1 cup dried cranberries, chopped
1/2 cup chia seeds
Preheat oven to 325°F.
In large bowl, whisk together the maple syrup with the spices and salt. Stir in the pecans, cranberries, and chia seeds, tossing until well coated.
Lay the mixture out in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.
Transfer the mixture to a large piece of waxed paper and allow to cool completely.
Store in an airtight container in a cool place and enjoy while they last!
I have two very good friends of mine that have embarked on their own healing journey after (finally) listening to me and going to my naturopath. I have some stubborn friends…that I love to death..and their stubbornness is working in their favor. My voodoo doc is really so incredible and I’m beyond thankful for all she has done for me and my family, and now I have been witnessing the transformation within these two fantastic and important women in my life.
Their journeys are very different from mine, yet I have tried to give them all the support that I can. My journey was difficult for very different reasons and I didn’t have anyone aside from The Russian (who thought I was even crazier for a bit) and my mom who was all the way back in New York to lean on for support and understanding. I hope that I have helped raise these women up to meet their challenges as they are both very dear to my heart. For some, the natural path can be extremely difficult to walk. Especially when there are serious things to deal with.
Even though I have dietary things to follow (and I’ve been slacking lately and feel like crap), nothing compares to what these two have been dealing with. Interestingly enough, they are ridiculously similar in the way they need to eat, probably for the rest of their lives. I’m used to eating and making strange things for meals and snacks, so I always look forward to getting together with either of their families because with all of our dietary restrictions, we all eat the same way and there are no stupid questions asked like, “What are you eating these days?” or “Why can’t you eat (insert whatever)?” when trying to plan the menu and who is bringing what. No embarrassment, no feelings of needing to explain ourselves, just feelings of acceptance and a level of comfort that puts us all at ease.
So the reason for my post. These two can’t eat much these days. One of them is a lot farther along in her healing and has started adding some foods back in, but there are lots of things that will probably never re-enter her diet. And for my other friend…what a trooper she is trying to be. She keeps testing the limits of her “new” body, but finds out rather quickly that she needs to cut the crap out and find other ways to fulfill her cravings. This is where I come in. Or at least I’m hoping to.
This past May, my gym had a contest going called “The Biggest Mover.” It was to see who attended the most classes for a month or something, I really don’t remember the rules, but all you had to do was have your instructor initial a paper and then you drop it in a box on the way out. Sure, why not? The first week (I think it ran for 6 weeks), I won that week’s prize. I think that was a random drawing, but I won a nifty gym bag that I have been using since.
I ended up winning the whole damn thing and my prize was the basket in this picture. I was actually pretty excited about it. The loot was 4 cans of coconut water (I don’t like plain ones, but whatever), a bag of goji berries, a bag of golden berries, a bag of shelled hemp seeds, a bag of chia seeds, and a great little cookbook. I have been playing around with the recipes when I have time, and have been hopeful to give my friend some snacking ideas. This one was a big hit with my other friend’s family, and mine.
So I thought she could eat sweet potatoes, but as I was writing this, she tells me she’s going to try and pull them. WTH? I’m putting this out there for her and all my Paleo folks as they are allowed sweets, as I like to call them. I literally told her in our Facebook message, “Maybe with the spices and chia seeds, you can handle them as those additions should handle the inflammation that it casuses. Just my uneducated-i’m-not-a-doctor-but-know-some-things opinion.” Then she reminded me that she can’t do ANY seeds. BULLSH#T! So of course she will leave them out, as will any of you that need to follow the AIP (Autoimmune Protocol for anyone that doesn’t know what that means) diet. Regardless of her leaving them out, at least she can quickly and easily make a potato chip that will satisfy both the need for sweet and salty, with a crunch!
There are a few other recipes from this book that I will be sharing as I work through the book and tweak ones as I see fit. One in particular has been a BIG hit with my other friend’s family and my own, and another I have fixed up a little to be easier to work with and enjoy. Stay tuned for more tasty recipes that can be traced back to this book.
Why chia seeds? Rich in fiber, omega-3s, antioxidants, and amino acids, and almost all the carbs in them count as fiber.
A 1 ounce (28 grams) serving of chia seeds contains:
Fiber: 11 grams.
Protein: 4 grams.
Fat: 9 grams (5 of which are Omega-3s).
Calcium: 18% of the RDA.
Manganese: 30% of the RDA.
Magnesium: 30% of the RDA.
Phosphorus: 27% of the RDA.
They also contain a decent amount of Zinc, Vitamin B3 (Niacin), Potassium, Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) and Vitamin B2.
Chia can aid in weight loss as they can help reduce food cravings by preventing some of the food that you eat from getting absorbed into your system. This blockage of calorie absorption makes them a great diet helper. They can help you feel fuller faster because they absorb 10 times their weight in water, forming a bulky gel. They are often used as hydration for athletes because the “chia gel” can hydrate the body. They may reduce your blood pressure as evidence has suggested that they can reduce blood pressure. They are rich in Omega-3s, and are the richest plant source of Omega-3 (the vital fats that protect against inflammation—such as arthritis—and heart disease). In fact, they contain more Omega-3 than salmon! They can also be beneficial for diabetics because chia seeds slow down how fast our bodies convert carbohydrates into simple sugars, and studies indicate they can control blood sugar, leading scientists to believe chia seeds may have great benefits for diabetics. And they are easier to digest than flax seeds, and don’t need to be ground up. Give them a try! Add them to yogurt, smoothies, baked goods, anything that you can think of. They are annoying and a pain to clean up (not to mention they can hang out in your teeth – pet peeve!), but they are worth it!
Cinnamon and Spice Sweet Potato Chips
This is a great sweet and slightly salty, crunchy treat to replace store-bought potato chips. I go a little overboard on the spice quantities because we like flavor in this house. Figure out how spicy you want to make them. These are cheap, fast, and easy to make, and barely make it through the day in our house!
3 medium sweet potatoes (about 1 lb)
3 Tbsp EVOO
2 Tbsp chia seeds
1-2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
Pinch of ground cloves
Few pinches of sea salt
Preheat oven to 300ºF.
Peel the potatoes and slice into paper-thin disks, or however thin you can get them. A mandoline would probably be best for this. (I had success using the flat blade from my spiralizer after using a hand-held mandoline slicer last time that made the chips a little too thick and chewy.)
In a large bowl, coat the potato disks with the EVOO and chia seeds. In a small bowl, combine all the spices.
Spread the chips out in a single layer on a rimmed cookie sheet(s) and sprinkle the seasoning over them, and then sprinkle with salt.
Bake for 20-25 minutes until crisp, flipping about halfway through. (I seem to end up baking between 30-35 minutes, so the time depends on your oven and how thick they end up being.)
Store in an airtight container, if you don’t eat them all before nightfall. Enjoy!