Combining a new job, family, and being in roller derby can make for quite the hectic life. In fact it gets kind of nuts at our house.
For my job, I’ve had to hit the ground running and take in all that I can in three weeks so that I would be prepared for the first cruise ship. Part of my new responsibilities is to get out and see Juneau, to take advantage of the great place in which we live, and to enjoy some of the fun adventures visitors to Juneau can participate in.
However, a couple of these new activities go against the norm for me. Take for example, hiking. I’m not much of a hiker. In fact, I tend to avoid it like the plague. I’m a city girl. There’s nothing appealing about hiking a trail to who knows where, to see whatever scenery is out there, and then hike back. It’s hard work, sweaty, dirty, exhausting and well, let’s not forget the bears. I have a healthy fear of bears and I stay indoors, because they’re outdoors. We have an understanding. I keep to my territory and they keep to theirs.
However, it is not any surprise that about half of the visitors I encounter in my new position want to know about the hiking trails here. It is rather embarrassing to say “I have no idea, but I’ve heard…” I was hired to know these things, not to provide hearsay. So, much to my chagrin I shall be hiking this summer.
First thing, go get the hiking trails book from one of our wonderful local bookstores. Then, look for the easiest trail. Baby, steps, right? So, I head out to North Douglas and walk the short trail to the rocky beach. The skunk weed is coming up, a sure sign of spring, which is nice. It’s been a long, cold winter. Of course, I’m ever alert to any bear activity as well.
Once I get to the beach, I’m enthralled by the amazing view. And, at low tide it’s so incredibly fun! I played in the tide pools like an 8-year-old and had the time of my life. I watched boats passing by, the clouds roll in and out and just enjoyed the serenity of living in Southeast Alaska.
Naturally, if I’m going to do anything that might require that much energy, I have to bring a snack. I’m told hikers eat lots of protein and I know that nuts are a great source of protein, so I opted for my Indian Spiced Almonds. These little jewels are tasty, filling and can travel just about anywhere.
Sitting on the rocky beach, listening to the ocean waves, smelling the briny sea and feeling the mist of the air on my skin was quite probably one of the most serene moments of my life. As I crunched my spicy almonds, I cannot help but think how fortunate I am to live in such a beautiful, breathtaking place.
After my Zen-like visit to North Douglas, I start the not-so-long trek home and ponder on this hiking business. Ok, this isn’t too bad, I can do this. Maybe next time, Herbert Glacier Trail? I’ve heard it’s nice. When I tackle that, I’ll be prepared, spicy nuts in my pocket and bear spray in my hand.
This week I present a tasty, quick snack that is easy to prepare and packs lots of protein and energy, Indian Spiced Almonds.
Until next time…
Eat and enjoy,
Indian Spiced Nuts
4 cups raw almonds
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon course black pepper
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon Hungarian Paprika
3 teaspoons curry
2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground red pepper
2 – 3 teaspoons sea or kosher salt
½ cup olive oil
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine all seasonings except salt in large bowl, mix until well incorporated. Add olive oil and mix until a paste is formed. Add nuts, and stir until well coated.
Spread nuts on lined baking sheet in even layer. Heat for 10 minutes, stirring halfway through.
Sprinkle with salt while still warm. These will keep for several weeks in an air tight container.
NOTE: Don’t let the red pepper container slip and pour extra into the mixture. That tends to make the nuts pretty darned hot.