Nuts for Trail Mix!

Before I launch into my next recipe I'll share some very exciting news! I'm thrilled to say that I finally have some progress to report on the installation of our solar panels!! :)  Scott and I have been waiting to hear from the state that our info has been processed and we've been assigned a 'reservation number' for the rebate. That finally came and within hours we had an appointment set up to sign the papers for the lease. At this point our three days to rescind have mostly passed, and on Monday the state will be notified that we've closed on the lease and are ready to move ahead. Bob, the 'lease guy', told me that the state usually releases the money within a week or so and then it all hinges on how fast the contractors move along!! Woohoo ~ so close, and yet it still feels like I'm dreaming... :)

Anyway, on to my recipe...Several years ago when I decided that going vegetarian (and shortly after vegan) was the right choice for me, I did some research on protein. Based on the info I had at the time I wasn't sure whether or not to be concerned about the amount and source of protein from a vegetarian diet. Would I get enough? What were the repercussions if I didn't? How would I know if I eating too much? Too little?

As with most things I researched, I realized we've been fed a lot of garbage and hype in relation to protein. Not only is it easy to receive adequate amounts of protein in a balanced vegetarian diet (with no concerted effort), but most Americans grossly overeat protein, which leads to many of the health problems we see today. As a society we eat 50%  more protein than we actually need, leading to osteoporosis, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, kidney stones and cancer. :P

I was relieved to find that it wouldn't be an issue. Eating healthy really seems to have much to do with common sense. Balance, in all areas, seems to be the secret to success and happiness. :) These are some of the great sources of plant based proteins that I found and now incorportate in our diet: whole grains, quinoa, beans, lentils, legumes, nuts, seeds, and nut butters (yes, peanut butter included, my girls probably get a days worth of protein with their peanut butter servings alone!! ;) Simple, right?

So, let's get back to nuts since they're the foundation of my Trail mix. Nuts are not only high in protein, fiber and good fats, but they've also been shown to have the capacity for lowering bad cholesterol, reducing inflammation and contributing to heart health. That's a lot of goodness packed into one little nut... ;)
In the recipe below I'll link each of the ingredients to a favorite company of mine. You'll find each nut is indeed organic. We eat almost 100% organic in my home for a variety of reasons, and nuts are no exception. Peanuts especially are very prone to fungus growth and are subsequently heavily sprayed with chemicals. Yummmm, tasty. ;)

And without further ado ~

Nutty Trail Mix
1 cup roasted almonds
1 cup roasted peanuts
1 cup roasted sunflower seeds
1 cup raw walnuts
1 cup raw, unsweetened shredded coconut
1 cup raisins
1 cup raw sunflower seeds
1 cup raw cashew pieces

Roasting Almonds, Sunflower Seeds and Peanuts
Preheat oven to 325 degrees
On 3 separate cookie sheets pour 1 cup almonds, 1 cup sunflower seeds and 1 cup peanuts.
I put all 3 sheets in together although the different nuts/seeds require different cooking times. I roasted both the peanuts and sunflower seeds for about 15 minutes, shaking every 5 minutes or so. The almonds require a little bit longer, about 20 minutes. Just a warning, don't cook the nuts until they look brown and crunchy. They will continue cooking after removing them from the oven (the almonds pop for quite some time!),  and they taste terribly dry and yucky when overcooked! ;)

Waiting for the oven to warm up...
Much of this recipe calls for raw ingredients, as foods in their natural state retain most all of their nutrients and are at their healthiest. That being said, some foods just taste better cooked! Have you ever tasted a raw peanut? They taste like raw peas... not quite the flavor I was going for! And c'mon, roasted almonds are just plain delicious! In fact, I probably lean more towards a cup and a half of almonds in this mix, they're everyone's favorite! :)

Give the roasted ingredients ample time to cool and finish cooking. Then, in a large mixing bowl add

(The seeds on the left are roasted, there's very little visual difference between the two!)

Mix well and transfer to a container for storing. We eat our way through this mix pretty quickly, but if you don't think you will, I would store this mix in the refrigerator. Nuts and seeds can and will go rancid over time (especially in the heat!).

Of course, and you'll find I say this a lot, Americans do things to the extreme. And I state that more with resignation than pride. We overindulge in most everything, nuts are no exception. A healthy serving of nuts is only about a  handful, or a quarter cup. Nope, not a whole bag of peanuts. Not an entire tin of pistachios. A handful. :)  My perfect morning snack? An orange and 1/4 cup of this mix. Perfect balance and so, so yummy!

Before I leave you all for today I'd like to pick my next Gratitude Giveaway winner. I was late last week so these seem close together, but I think I'm right on track! Today's winner is one of my most favorite blogger gals. My daughter stumbled on her blog back when we were just getting set up and she's been such treasured follower and friend. Today's winner is.... Laurie from Energy Art and Healing!! She's funny, she's real and she's on an amazing journey of self discovery. I feel priviledged just to tag along for the ride. When you get a second Laurie, please visit my Gratitude Page and pick out a free goodie. Contact me anyway you'd like and I'll get it out to you as soon as possible. Thanks Laurie for all of  your kindness and support. :)

Want to be considered for future giveaways? Just keep on reading and leaving me comments so that I know you're here. I adore receiving all of your thoughts and respond to each and every one. Thanks for taking the time to read my ramblings, you are much appreciated. :)

Happy day all!

Peace & blessings ~ Melinda