It is spring, I don’t have to worry about the roads being plowed, who to call when I slide off the road, and we can all stop monitoring our thermostats. It’s time to relax and to be social.

Most weekends Suzen and I have the luxury of either entertaining at our home or visiting friends. Staying here or traveling down the road, we always look for a meal to start with some enticing twist. Even I can get tired of guacamole. I don’t want to see some over-indulged cheese-and-cracker combinations for the rest of my life. I want different. Ideally not terribly unhealthy. And a universals match for beer, wine, or cocktails.

I want nuts. Or, a faux nut. The middle treat in the picture above isn’t a nut. It’s Crispy Roasted Chickpeas. But you can pretend they are nuts.

This trio of treats is lively and portable: enjoy at home or tote to your friend’s dinner party. At the top, there are Cinnamon Pecans from the spritely new book Lunch from experienced author Gale Gand. The nuts are candied, but of course, using cinnamon and orange zest. The recipe is below and I will say that these are my favorites of the three, just by a little.

Recipes for the other two, Candied Walnuts and Crispy Roasted Chickpeas, will be in the very next post.


Cinnamon Pecans

Yield: 2 cups


  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon [truth be told, I used a full teaspoon with no “too much” impact]
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups pecan halves


In a deep saucepan, combine the sugar, orange zest, cinnamon, salt and ½ cup of water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the pecans and cook, stirring frequently, until the water has evaporated. The glaze will be shiny and transparent at first, then turn opaque and appear frosted as the water evaporates. When the nuts are completely coated with sugar crystals, quickly spread them out on a baking sheet to cool. Completely. Store the cool pecans in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

Source: Lunch by Gale Grand

Photo Information: Canon T2i, EF-S 60MM Macro Lens, F/2.8, 1/80th second, ISO-2000