Table Scraps 9/30/14

I was exhausted all the time when the peanut was a newborn but now that she’s a one woman crawling machine, hellbent on destroying our entire apartment in a single sweep?  I’m really exhausted.  I spend the whole day running after her and grabbing things out of her hands and picking her up when she’s fallen and can’t get up.  She leaves a trail of things in her wake wherever she goes:   

Wake of Destruction | omeletta.com

And she’s developed a fascinating with the trash can.  Sometimes I have to put it in the hallway outside the front door, just so she’ll leave it alone.  

 Peanut's Trash Can Friend | omeletta.com

Anyway!  I have another rando roundup of links to share…  

September 30, 2014

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I have this weird obsession with cults.  Did you know the Heaven’s Gate website is still active, and that some members stayed behind (and missed out on the ole’ Halle-Bopp Spaceship to Heaven, poor guys) just to keep it running?  Check out this Gizmodo article here. Fascinating.  

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The title of this piece says it all: “If ‘breast is best’, then why are our devices for pumping the worst?”  You already know how I feel about pumping.  A pump that makes lives easier is a win for everyone. 

“If you ever want to know what it feels like to be milked by a robot, try a breast pump”

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Stop what you are doing right this second and check out It’s Like They Know Us over at Tumblr.  An offshoot from a facebook post from one of my favorite podcasts The Longest Shortest Time, the whole tumblr mocks the ridiculous stock images you see of happy families doing completely unrealistic things.  Like trying to get work done with a baby in the house.

It's Like They Know Us (Tumblr) | omeletta.com

 Are you watching Outlander?  If not, what’s your problem?  I confess had to warm up to it a bit – it was never ever going to be as good as what I saw in my brain while reading the books – but I am continuously shocked by how good Sam Heughan is as Jamie. 

And I lovelovelove these roundups of each episode by meme: 

The Horse Thing- Outlander | omeletta.com

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I’m on a quest to create more room in this apartment, and I”ve become obsessed with ORGANIZING ALL THE THINGS.  My Pinterest board on the subject is going a little bonkers. Remember way back when I complained about Spring Cleaning vs Fall Cleaning?  The thought still stands.  When Spring comes, I have no interest in cleaning.  I have way more interest in getting OUT of the house, thanks.  But Fall, to me, means another six months of housebound-ness lurks around the corner, so I’m suddenly a little chipmunk busying herself for the cold season, dragging bags of things down to Goodwill and busting out the Pledge.  

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Sleepy Peanut | omeletta.com

via instagram, @omelettablog

Sleep is the eternal struggle here, as I’m sure it is with many families.  As soon as we get on an awesome schedule and the peanut is putting herself to sleep and I’m patting myself on the back because I’m the obviously the best mom ever, she changes it up on me and we have to rewrite all the rules.  So I loved this post from theStir about the ridiculously conflicting advice found in sleep books.  As if your brain isn’t screwy enough, running on no sleep, you then have to try to make sense of the myriad of information out there about baby sleep practices.  It’s enough to make you want to take a nap. 

“Really, the best advice I think any new mom can get is

“Do whatever works, and if it stops working, try something else.

And for god’s sake, don’t tell anyone what you’re doing.”

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That’s it for this week!  Speaking of sleep and all, it’s been rough around these parts, especially in terms of getting any rest.  A few weeks ago, the peanut got a snotty, drooly, wakeful cold, then she started crawling, clapping and pulling herself up to standing and inching around the coffee table within a matter of ten days.  It all screwed with her sleeping schedule, so I’ve just been trying to hang on for dear life.  As such, everything else got put on hold for a bit.

But I’ll be back this Friday with a regularly scheduled post- does a Pumpkin Spice Breakfast Smoothie sound good to any of you? (uh, yes.)

 

 

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Autumn Tomato-Gin Soup with Goat Cheese

Tomato-Gin Soup with Goat Cheese | omeletta.com

This tomato-gin soup, with a melty round of goat cheese on top, is pretty much synonymous with my life in these early days of autumn.  The last gasp of summer keeps fresh tomatoes on my kitchen counter, I will do anything for cheese, and the addition of gin?  Well, I’m a new mom.  Enough said. 

The peanut is in that phase of life right now where everything goes in the mouth.  The remote control and our smartphones are her nearest and dearest favorites, but when we’re at the park down the street from our apartment, ain’t nothing going to do other than a nice, crackly dead leaf that’s been lying on the ground and probably walked on by a million pairs of germ-infested shoes.  It doesn’t help that she’s started crawling this week, and is very quickly gaining speed motoring around.  It’s hard enough to keep her from digging into the bathroom trashcan while I run her bath; when we’re not at home and she has a whole park to cruise around in, I spend an incredible amount of time prying her tight little fist open and releasing something germy. I just cross my heart she doesn’t contract anything weird, keep our pediatrician on speed-dial, and tell myself that it’s all in the name of building an immune system.  (Please tell me this is rational)   

Tomato-Gin Soup with Goat Cheese | omeletta.com

Now that she’s a whole 8 months old (#HowIsThisPossible), she’s even more fun to eat with.  We eat more or less the same things these days.  I’m still keeping her away from gluten, egg whites and nuts, but almost everything else is fair game.  The other night I chopped up slow-roasted chicken and potatoes I’d made for dinner a few nights before that, heated it slightly on the stovetop, and dumped it all on her highchair tray. She carefully scooped up each and every morsel, stopping every once and a while to struggle with her sippy cup (we’re still working on that one).  I know that at some stage I’ll stop delighting in watching her eat, so I like to savor these moments as I can.  I still can’t get over how this tiny human, who doesn’t even have teeth yet, enjoys food the way that she does.

Unfortunately, one thing I’m not down with sharing with her is this soup.  ”Oh, because it has gin in it?” you might say.  Ok, well, yeah, that too.  ”Oh, because babies can’t eat soup?”  Um, no, not quite, because when we do “share” soup, I just strain out the liquid and feed her the rest.  No, I’m ashamed to admit that if I had a chance to share this with my tiny daughter, I would be loathe to, because I love it and I want it all for myself.  Mom of the Year right here, folks.    

Tomato-Gin Soup with Goat Cheese
A perfect, end-of-summer soup for the chillier days of Fall, when tomatoes are still beautifully ripe. The goat cheese is a creamy addition at the end.
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Ingredients
  1. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  2. 1 white onion, diced
  3. 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  4. 1 cup dry gin
  5. 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
  6. 2 cups water
  7. 2 large vine-ripened tomatoes, diced
  8. 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  9. 6oz tomato sauce
  10. 14oz can whole peeled tomatoes, the liquid reserved and the tomatoes roughly chopped
  11. 8 oz (about 2 handfuls) fresh spinach
  12. salt and pepper, to taste
  13. fresh chevre goat cheese, to taste
Instructions
  1. Heat the oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onions and cook until softened, about 3-5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook til lightened and fragrant, about 1-3 minutes. Deglaze the pan with gin, scraping the bottom to get any browned bits off.
  2. Add the stock and water and bring to a simmer. Add all of the tomato products and bring back to a simmer. Let simmer until the liquid has reduced by at least a third and the soup has reached a desired consistency. Then stir in the spinach and let it wilt completely.
  3. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and serve hot with rounds of goat cheese on top.
Notes
  1. This soup freezes fantastically for up to three months.
Adapted from inspired by The Splendid Table's Tomato-Gin Soup
Adapted from inspired by The Splendid Table's Tomato-Gin Soup
Omeletta http://omeletta.com/
 

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5 “Must Have” Baby Items I’m Glad We Never Got (And 5 I’m Glad We Did)

 "Must Have" Baby Items I'm Glad We Never Got | omeletta.com

Registering for baby gifts when I was pregnant was incredibly stressful for me.  Registering for wedding gifts back when we got married? That was fun.  I went CRAZY on kitchen supplies and beautiful home goods that I still lovingly admire to this day (bless you, Martha Stewart for Macy’s)  But registering for a baby?  If you choose the wrong item, it could HARM YOUR CHILD.  Hey, no pressure!  Say you get a baby item off your registry and it’s ineffective, so you leave it in the corner to gather dust.  Then one day your newly toddling kid crashes into your unused baby bathtub sitting in the corner of the bathroom, they fall and smash their face in, you take them to the ER for stitches and then CPS gets called because your kid got hurt and they have to do a home visit and the lady from CPS give you the judgey eye because your sink is full of dirty dishes and you haven’t done laundry in a month because you spend all your time keeping your kid from falling over unused baby stuff.  Now tell me how much “fun” it is to go around Buy Buy Baby with a scanner gun.  

As if I didn’t have enough to worry about while I was pregnant, like accidentally eating a turkey sandwich or picking up a bowling ball.

"Must Have" Baby Items I'm Glad I Never Got | omeletta.com

So without further ado, let me present to you the 5 “Must Have” Baby Items we did not need or use.

Just to add: the links to products below are affiliate links, which means I’ll get pennies on the dollar if you make a purchase through the link.  All of the opinions are my own, and none of the companies listed here had anything to do with this post.

1.  A Jumperoo.  And a Walker.  And an Exersaucer.  

Pick one and stick with it.  As soon as your kid inevitably grows out of it, it will become a useless piece of plastic.  Save the storage space and decide on one.  We have a Baby Einstein exersaucer that we lovingly call “the spaceship” and it is awesome.  At my parent’s place, we have a Bright Starts walker and it is awesome.  I’m glad we don’t have both or more cluttering up our small two bedroom apartment.

"Must Have" Baby Items I'm Glad We Never Got | omeletta.com  

2.  Shopping Cart/High Chair cover.  

I received this as a gift and then let it sit languishing in a cupboard till I gave it away.  Don’t be so  precious.  Buy some Handi-wipes (I should buy stock in that company, I have so many packets) and wipe down the nooks and crannies, then get on with your shopping or dining. "Must Have" Baby Items I'm Glad We Never Got | omeletta.com

3.  Cushioned High Chair.  

"Must Have" Baby Items I'm Glad We Never Got | omeletta.com

I say this especially because we chose Baby Led Weaning, but it applies to any parent, I think.  You don’t need a high chair that reclines (that is in fact, dangerous).  You definitely don’t need one that’s too cushioned, because cleaning it will be a pain in the ass.  The high chair we have now is completely plastic and perfectly simple to just hose down, especially after Hummus Lunch when I’m also scrubbing it out of her hair. Make sure the tray is nice and big and wraps close to their body and wide around the sides.  (And you can never go wrong with a tablecloth shoved underneath to catch spills!)

"Must Have" Baby Items I'm Glad We Never Got | omeletta.com

4.  High-Powered Breast Pump.  

First, let me say that this applies to me only because I stay home with the peanut, and I’m never away from her for long enough periods to where she needs more than one bottle of milk.  If I did, work outside of the home on a regular basis and wanted to keep breastfeeding when I was with her, then I would get a hospital-grade pump in a heartbeat.  Preferably one of those hands-free, high-powered ones that look like you’re hooked up to something the mad scientist who created Edward Scissorhands invented.  But since I need milk only so my husband or the baby sitter can take over a feeding here and there, or to mix with her oatmeal in the morning, my cheapie, single pump Evenflo machine has been fabulous.  It’s a step above a hand-powered one, and it suits me fine.

"Must Have" Baby Items I'm Glad We Never Got | omeletta.com

(When it comes to pumping?  My best advice to make sure you consistently pump enough milk is to stay on a regular schedule with your pumping and drink an incredible amount of water.  I pump every day at 10:30pm before bed (and hate every second of it, but it is what it is) and drink nine thousand gallons of water every day. #fact.  Brewer’s Yeast and oatmeal in the mornings helps, too)  

5.  Video Baby Monitor.  

Actually, we don’t have a baby monitor at all.  Believe me- when she needs me, I’ll know.  That kid has an amazing set of lungs.  It helps, obviously, that we live in an apartment with walls so thin that I can hear my neighbor tapping his toothbrush on his sink at night. The closest we come to a video monitor is the mirror hanging across the room from the baby’s crib, so when I peek in through her slightly-opened door I can see in the reflection just what she’s up to in there.  Lately I’ve caught her holding some very serious conversations with her stuffed animals.  Even when she was real tiny though, it wasn’t that difficult to tiptoe in and take a look at her and creeper-ish-ly watch her breathing.  If I had a video monitor I know I would be an obsessive freak about it and watch her like a hawk.  Try to get your kid used to sleeping with a little bit of noise, so they don’t wake up if you go in their room.  And don’t foster new-parents obsessiveness with a video monitor.  Trust me on this one. 

"Must Have" Baby Items I'm Glad We Never Got | omeletta.com

Here’s what I AM happy we got.  (AKA New-Parent Lifesavers)

1.  Sophie.

"Must Have" Baby Items I'm Glad We Never Got | omeletta.com

The be-all, end-all of ridiculousness of overpriced teether toys, Sophie is actually worth it.  She costs us a staggering $25-FREAKING-dollars (for a plastic giraffe, smdh) at Babies-R-Us in Manhattan, but the baby loovvvvvves her (She’s only $18 on amazon.com, thank goodness).  We’ve lost Sophie once already and had to emergency buy, so our current Sophie brought the total cost spent to $50.  I’ll be damned if Sophie someday is worth $75, so she’s on a tight leash these days. 

2.  Boon collapsible tub.  

"Must Have" Baby Items I'm Glad We Never Got | omeletta.comThis thing is awesome.  It can be flipped up on one end so you can prop up a tiny newborn with their head out of the water, or use it as a full bathtub once they can sit up (and you don’t feel like filling the whole tub with water).  When you’re done, it folds flat and can be hung behind the shower head to drip dry.  It also places the peanut in prime position to play peek-a-boo with the shower curtain.

"Must Have" Baby Items I'm Glad We Never Got | omeletta.com

 

3.  Boon silicone feeders.

"Must Have" Baby Items I'm Glad We Never Got | omeletta.com

I know, another Boon product.  I swear they have nothing to do with this post! When the peanut started teething, I asked my brother to buy me one of those mesh feeders so she could suck on a breastmilk icecube.  He bought me this by accident, and it’s the most perfect mistake.  So much so that I bought another one for back-up.  I fill it with anything that’s too messy for her to hold in her hand (watermelon, avocado, overripe banana, mango) and she eats and teethes her gums at the same time.  She’ll eat anything if it’s in this feeder.  Her eyes light up when I hand it to her.  I also credit it for helping us really get going with the whole Baby Led Weaning train.  I think it helped her make the connection between the taste of food and bringing something to her mouth by herself.

"Must Have" Baby Items I'm Glad We Never Got | omeletta.com

4.  The Mommy Hook.  

"Must Have" Baby Items I'm Glad We Never Got | omeletta.com

The Mommy Hook was a gift from a friend who had a baby about four months before we did.  She said it was super handy for her, and I totally see why.  These days, I notice it on every stroller around town.  It always has my keys and a pocket-style reusable shopping bag hooked to it, and it’s invaluable when I need a second set of hands.  The only con is that the Big Man gripes that it should be called “The Parent Hook”.  Whatever.

5.  Ergo Baby Carrier.

"Must Have" Baby Items I'm Glad We Never Got | omeletta.com

 Believe the hype. The Ergo baby carrier is the best.  This is coming from someone who has five (5!!!) baby carriers.  My Ergo is a a maroon-colored hand-me-down and it’s my go-to carrier, always.  I can sherpa the kid around town all damn day if I wanted to, and my back will never hurt, and she’ll never slip out of place.  I use the Baby K’tan wrap for doing chores around the house but as soon as we’re out, it’s Ergo time.  The only con is that I can’t nurse in it, like you can with a soft carrier, but eh.  Who cares when this thing is so comfortable. 

"Must Have" Baby Items I'm Glad We Never Got | omeletta.com     "Must Have" Baby Items I'm Glad We Never Got | omeletta.com

There you have it!  I’m sure that as the kid grows, the things that are handy will change as well.  Keep an eye out for the best newborn baby items, my next post in the series.  Anything you registered for that’s now sitting uselessly on a shelf?

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Cantaloupe and Thyme Shrub Cocktail (& 10 Million Moments)

Cantaloupe and Thyme Shrub Cocktail | omeletta.com

I feel this way at the start of every September: that I turned around and BAM! Summer is (almost) over.  It’s worse than New Year’s Eve for the guilt of uncompleted projects.

We had a busy summer with a handful of deliciously lazy days.  The Peanut and I spent most of it up at my parent’s place in Northern Michigan, skipping the New York City heat and soaking up the glory that is summer in Traverse City. The Big Man spent his too-short holiday time up with us, and we capped the end of our trip with a wedding in New Hampshire before heading back to New York as a family.

We’ve been home for just over two weeks now and I’m finally feeling like we’ve settled back in; Our days are once again the scramble of Mommy and Me groups in LIC, laughably bad shiv asanas at Baby Yoga, and stroller walks to Parisi’s Bakery on Broadway in Astoria to get the best black and white cookies in the whole city (#trust).  I’ve taken up the habit of sitting on the apartment balcony for a few quiet moments after I put the Peanut to bed, and watching the sun set over the skyline of Manhattan.  I watch another day end and feel simultaneously grateful, relieved and sad.  She’s not getting any younger and neither am I; with every day that passes I love seeing her grow and yet feel sad that she’s another day away from being a little baby.  Such mom conundrum, I know.

Annnnnd that’s all for my tl;dr pensive thoughts.  Let’s see our summer by the numbers, shall we?

Out-of-town family who arrived for the Peanut’s baptism in June: 8

Miles driven from NY to MI with a fussy five-month old and my patient parents: nine billion, give or take a few hundred.

Are We There Yet? | omeletta.com

Times I pumped frantically in the car so as to feed said fussy baby: 15.

Ounces I produced: about 4. I hate pumping. 

Evenflo Single Breast Pump | omeletta.com

Bananas she devoured the first week we started solids at the beginning of July, then rubbed all over her face and hair: 6.

Extra bathtimes she has procured because of banana-hair, usually from her silicone feeder: 10.  (I think I’m on to her)

Boon Silicone Feeder | omeletta.com

Trips taken to Meijers within the first 24 hours I arrived in Traverse City: 3. 

Meijer Baby | omeletta.com

Times she has backed herself into a corner with this walker-thing (what do you call them?) and has whined until I turned her around: Probably 18.

Drawers she has successfully opened: none, thank God.  Not for lack of trying, though.

Baby Walker Trouble | omeletta.com

Cans of Vernors I drank while in Michigan: 24.  NOT ASHAMED. 

Vernors | omeletta.com

Dinners cooked completely on the grill: 400 would not have been enough

Steak Grilling | omeletta.com

Different beds/cribs the Peanut slept in over the course of the summer: 10.  Little trooper.

Milestones surpassed since June: 3.  (Of note: sitting unassisted, sleeping through the night, and shoving her face full of food).  Crawling is soooo close and I am scared.

Annnnd how many of these Cantaloupe and Thyme Shrub Cocktails I enjoyed on my parent’s back porch? Probably too many, but it was Vacation Time.  Anything goes!

Bring on the Fall!

Cantaloupe and Thyme Shrub Cocktails
A shrub can be one of two things- a syrupy cocktail mixed with rum, or an old-school vinegar-syrup based cocktail that Wikipedia tells me was popular in colonial times. Fittingly, we drank these gorgeous cocktails on Fourth of July weekend.
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Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  2. 1 small cantaloupe, very ripe
  3. 1/2 cup sugar
  4. 1 cup water
  5. 1 handful fresh thyme leaves
  6. 1.5 oz vodka
  7. 4 oz soda water
Instructions
  1. Remove the rind from the cantaloupe, seed it, and chop into a small dice. Toss with the vinegar and let sit overnight.
  2. The next day, whisk the sugar and water together until the sugar is mostly dissolved. Bring to a boil and let reduce by half. Add the cantaloupe and thyme and let simmer for one hour, stirring often.
  3. Strain out the cantaloupe and thyme, reserving the liquid for the cocktails. Combine 2 oz syrup with 1.5 oz vodka, and top with soda water. Serve poured over ice and add a sprig of thyme.
Notes
  1. The cantaloupe syrup should keep for a long time if kept covered in the fridge.
Omeletta http://omeletta.com/
 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Booze, Mama, Surviving Motherhood

Salty-Sweet Roasted Maple Sugar Almonds

Salty-Sweet Roasted Maple sugar Almonds | omeletta.com

I’ve officially entered into a new stage of motherhood: the Huge Diaper Bag Part. For the first four to five months of her life, I gaily traipsed around town carrying only a normal sized shoulder bag and inwardly rolling my eyes at mothers on the subway who were hoiking roller suitcases onto the train with them and rummaging around for grimy sippy cups.  Look at me then with my tiny baby nestled in an ergonomic baby carrier and my smallish purse containing only a granola bar, an extra onesie and two extra diapers!  Never, I swore to myself, will I carry some massive diaper bag that looks like the back of a family minivan after a four day road trip, with cracker crumbs spilling out the crevices and receipts fluttering out the back end.  

I cleaned out the diaper bag yesterday.  It wasn't pretty, as I showed here on instagram.

I cleaned out the diaper bag yesterday. It wasn’t pretty, as I showed here on instagram.

Then the peanut turned 6 months old and started getting into everything, and eating all the food and grabbing all the things.  She’s developed quite a talent for peeing on herself the second the diaper is off and ruining the back of her onesie and probably my jeans in the process, warranting countless costume changes in a day. Any object fascinates her and must go in the mouth immediately.  This is especially true if it is something likely covered in germs, such the edge of a restaurant table. The only way to divert her Gollum-like obsession with my phone is to hand her a poached green bean, or a rattle on the end of a string tied to her high chair, or a disposable kleenex package, or her sunhat, or my index finger to gnaw on, or freaking anything- anything!- so I can have a second to answer a text message. 

“She has a fecking death wish, this one does,” the Big Man commented this other day as she rolled vicariously around on the bed, his hand hovering in the air to catch her in case she tipped headfirst over the edge. Keeping an eye on her means being in constant motion, like a coiled spring.  I let her do her thing as much as possible while staying all times ready to jump forward and yank a dog leash out of her hand just as she’s raising it to her mouth, or catching her as she starts to roll (purposefully!) towards the stairs. She can’t even crawl yet and I’m already exhausted. 

Salty-Sweet Roasted Maple Sugar Almonds | omeletta.com

Enter these nuts. They’re the perfect thing to throw in my ginormous diaper bag and eat by the handful, giving me a short burst of energy.  Sweet and Salty, they’re easy to throw in the oven while I’m cleaning or making baby food.  And they’re a perfect thing to send in the mail to my partner for this month’s Leftover’s Club. This month I got paired up with Elizabeth from Cooking with Milton, who made me some serious badass almond butter thumbprint cookies. Elizabeth cooks with her adorable pup Milton up in Boston, MA (where I’ll be next week!) and I love her no nonsense, straightforward way of cooking.  Check out her site!

Salty-Sweet Maple Roasted Almonds
Serves 2
Salty, sweet, and perfectly crave-satisfying, these almonds are a perfect snack to give you a much-needed burst of energy.
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup slivered almonds
  2. 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  3. 1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
  4. 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  5. 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  6. 2 teaspoons pure maple syrup (don't skimp the quality on this one!)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350*F. Place the slivered almonds in a large bowl and set aside. In a smaller bowl, combine the sugar, sea salt, cinnamon and ginger and mix well. Toss the almonds with the maple syrup until coated evenly, then add in the sugar mix and toss to coat.
  2. Spread the almonds on a baking sheet in an even layer, and transfer to the oven. Bake for 10 minutes or until the almonds have browned. Remove from the oven and let cool.
  3. When cool, break up any crusted sugar and transfer the almonds to an airtight, sealed container for storage. Will keep for up to two weeks in a cool, dry place.
Omeletta http://omeletta.com/
And don’t forget to see what the others are doing this month for the Leftover’s Club as well: 


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Filed under Snack, The Leftovers Club