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MAPLE SEA SALT ROASTED ALMONDS

Lauren Kelp | Maple Sea Salt Roasted AlmondsHello lovelies! Are you ready for the best snack hack of your life? We recently threw a Tablemakers dinner in Phoenix were these were served as a little appetizer and our guests flipped! They are the perfect combination of salty & sweet and your life will never be the same after you try them. Seriously. xoxo,LK


Laurel here! There’s something magical about the sweet, rich aroma of roasted almonds that always makes me think of steam swirling around street-cart vendors in winter, or fancy kiosks in the mall selling fragrant cellophane bags of these little goodies. They remind me of something you’d treat yourself to or receive as a gift (in those same fancy cellophane bags or glass jars), you know? I’d always thought of roasted or candied nuts as something too special to make at home–which is ridiculous, now that I know how completely easy they are to pull off, and in almost no time at all. Can you stir things in a bowl? Can you wait twenty minutes? Perfect, then you can make these! If your pantry is stocked anything like mine, you may even have all the ingredients to make these treats already, but even if a shopping trip is required, this four-ingredient beauty won’t break the bank.

The only real secret to getting these crunchy, candied nuts just right is one I’ll share with you now (saving you from a fate like my first few overly sticky batches)…always toss them in syrup first, then vegetable oil separately. That’s it! The oil resists mixing with the liquid in the syrup and forms a kind of coating on the outside. Your result, my friend? Perfectly crunchy, not sticky, addictively delicious roasted nuts every time.

Lauren Kelp | Maple Sea Salt Roasted Almonds
The best thing about this recipe for Maple Sea Salt Roasted Almonds really is, in fact, that it’s just a gateway to other recipes. Once you know how easy they are to make ahead of time, you can discover how amazing they are on top of hearty salads, warm Brie drizzled with maple syrup, breakfast bowls of grains or Greek yogurt, chopped and sprinkled on ice cream…you name it! My favorite way to eat them is straight out of my hand, though–they’re the perfect take-along snack for the office or running errands, and they keep me from reaching for far worse alternatives (vending machine candy bars, I’m lookin’ at you).

Never know what to serve at a party? This recipe will make you look like an entertaining genius. Set out a few pre-dinner bowls of these to satisfy hungry guests the next time you’re hosting–they’re totally at home next to a good cheese plate or on a bar cart with tasty cocktails. Like all good salty-sweet things (which is basically saying ALL GOOD THINGS, because that’s my favorite category), these roasted almonds are equally at home before or after dinner. You could just as easily end the meal with passed bowls of them and call it dessert. Happy snacking!

Lauren Kelp | Maple Sea Salt Roasted AlmondsINGREDIENTS:

3 cups whole almonds
1⁄4 cup real maple syrup
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Lauren Kelp | Maple Sea Salt Roasted Almonds

INSTRUCTIONS:

– Preheat oven to 350 F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

– In a mixing bowl, toss almonds with maple syrup and half the salt.

– Add vegetable oil, toss until thoroughly coated.

– Spread almonds in a single layer on lined baking sheet.

– Bake for 20 minutes until deep golden brown, stopping about halfway through to stir with a silicone spatula and sprinkle with remaining sea salt.

– Let cool slightly, then break apart any clumped-together almonds while still a bit warm.

– When completely cool, store in airtight container for up to one month.

Lauren Kelp | Maple Sea Salt Roasted Almonds


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DARK CHOCOLATE BARK WITH SPICY TAMARI PUMPKIN SEEDS

Lauren Kelp | Dark Chocolate with Spicy Tamari Pumpkin Seeds

Ooh, hello! We are taking dark chocolate to a whole new level today with these delicious, mouth-watering, delectable dark chocolate bark with spicy tamari pumpkin seeds. It’s like magic in your mouth and it’s an absolute must if you are entertaining, giving gifts to friends, need a better snack than potato chips, or want to impress the hell out of anyone. Y’all, they are life changing.  – xoxo, LK


Hi there!Laurel here with a recipe inspired by the recent wave of mini Halloween candy bars that overtook my house. I love a tiny chocolate pick-me-up here and there, but let’s face it, there are better ways to cure that craving than a brightly wrapped block of sugar. When I’m really in need of a dark chocolate fix–which is almost every hour of the day around mid-week–I try to at least reach for a homemade treat instead of a commercial candy bar. This heart-healthy Dark Chocolate Bark with Spicy Tamari Pumpkin Seeds is an absolute winner!

It’s super easy to make, since ‘melt and stir’ are basically all the directions you need to know. With a variety of toppings, it’s made appearances around here as dessert at the end of a dinner party, as a holiday gift (try it with nuts or crushed candy canes), and even as a fancy snack at Movie Night. This version, sprinkled with vitamin-loaded, toasted salty & spicy pumpkin seeds, is one of my favorites ever!

Lauren Kelp | Dark Chocolate with Spicy Tamari Pumpkin Seeds

Hint: These Tamari & Sriracha Pumpkin Seeds are a great snack on their own, if you’re not on a chocolate kick at the moment. Salty, spicy, crunchy….they’re unbelievably good just eaten by the handful, but I’ve also sprinkled them on top of salads and bowls of soup for a little extra ‘wow’.

INGREDIENTS:

-1/2 cup raw, hulled pumpkin seeds (also called pepitas)

-1 tablespoon tamari soy sauce

-1 teaspoon sriracha sauce

-1 teaspoon vegetable oil

-7 oz. dark chocolate (I used two bars of my favorite 70% dark chocolate)

Lauren Kelp | Movie Night SnacksINSTRUCTIONS:

-Preheat oven to 350, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

-Whisk tamari, sriracha and oil together, toss with pumpkin seeds to combine.

-Spread seeds in a single layer on baking sheet, bake until seeds are toasted and liquid has evaporated (about 10 minutes, keep a close eye on these!).

-Place chocolate in a microwave-proof bowl and heat in microwave, removing every twenty seconds to stir, until just melted.

-Add roasted pumpkin seeds to melted chocolate, pour mixture out over a sheet of parchment.

-Let cool (place in fridge to set faster if you can’t wait), then break into pieces and eat!

Lauren Kelp | Movie Night Snacks


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WATERMELON BLOODY MARY

Watermelon Bloody Mary | Lauren Kelp

To be honest, I am not the biggest bloody mary fan. I know, I know, they are awesome & amazing, but they aren’t my first choice…until now! Thanks to Laurel’s delicious little twist, this cocktail might be worthy a try! – xoxo, LK


Bloody Mary lovers everywhere, forgive me…I have never been one of your tribe. It’s nearly impossible to figure out why–first of all, let me state that I LOVE brunch, and the Bloody Mary is a brunch superstar. I love tomatoes. I love spicy things. I’m even into the weirder, more esoteric ingredients you don’t see a lot outside of a good Bloody, like celery salt and Worcestershire sauce. But for crying out loud, put a tall glass of spicy-salty-tomato-vodka juice in front of me, and I’m like……meh. It’s a real problem, I’m working through it.

I started having daydreams about a beverage that would take the cool, sugary pink juice of a watermelon and add the zesty kick of fresh lime juice, just a hint of salt, and the surprise spiciness of a fresh pepper. Then it hit me…if you added a splash of vodka and a garnish to this, it would basically be a Bloody Mary. In the name of overcoming my Bloody-phobia, I mixed one up (for science!) and tried it. Then tried it again. Sweet, bright and smooth with no canned tomato flavor or limp celery in sight…I loved this pink beauty instantly! Sold. Cheers to my–and your–new favorite late summer brunch drink the Watermelon Bloody Mary!

Watermelon Bloody Mary | Lauren Kelp

INGREDIENTS:

– 2 cups watermelon cubes

– 1/4 cup sugar

– 2 tablespoons lime juice

– 1 jalapeño, stem removed (use a serrano instead if you’re feeling spicy)

– 3 oz. vodka

– pinch of salt

– Garnishes: grape tomato, jalapeño slice, fresh basil, whatever you like!

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Puree watermelon, sugar, lime juice and jalapeño in a blender or food processor, strain through mesh strainer and save the juice.

2. Add ice to cocktail shaker, top with watermelon juice, vodka and a pinch of salt.

3. Shake, pour into two Collins glasses.

4. Garnish with a skewer of tomato, jalapeño and basil.

Watermelon Bloody Mary | Lauren Kelp


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THAI ICED TEA

THAI ICED TEA | Lauren Kelp

Hello! Laurel here and I am so excited to be on board with the LK team! Do you like sweet things? How about spiced things? And most importantly, do you like them….and this part really is crucial…together? Me too! Have a Thai iced tea with me, and let’s chat about this crazy concoction.

THAI ICED TEA | Lauren Kelp

Thai food came into my life pretty late in the game. I don’t remember my first serving of pad thai, my first green papaya salad, or even my first taste of spicy, rich, coconut-milk-based tom kha kai soup. But I do remember my first Thai iced tea. Tall & frosty over ice, with hints of vanilla, the sharp taste of cinnamon and other spices hidden just underneath a strong tea flavor and powerfully sweet creaminess…..it was a game changer. It was also bright orange, and was most definitely served in a plain white Styrofoam cup with a plastic lid from my nearest Thai takeout place. I was hooked instantly on this rich, yet refreshing beverage.

Many, many years later (as in, last week), I learned that the vibrant Orange Creamsicle-like hue actually comes from yellow and red food dyes traditionally added to Thai tea blends. Why bright orange? Who knows? You may notice that this recipe doesn’t call for any dyes, which means it won’t look exactly like the Thai iced tea available from your own local takeout joint. But otherwise it’s a dead ringer for the first Thai tea I ever tried, rich in steeped tea flavor, a blend of spices and vanilla and luxurious creaminess….in other words, it’s about the smoothest thing you could pour over ice and cool off with on a hot, late summer afternoon.

THAI ICED TEA | Lauren Kelp
THAI

*FIVE SPICE POWDER: This is a tasty mix of, yes, five spices—star anise, cloves, cinnamon, Sichuan pepper and fennel seeds. It’s not expensive, so stock up for this recipe and keep it in your pantry to add interest & intrigue to stir-fries, marinades, and all kinds of other dishes

THAI ICED TEA | Lauren KelpHint: Want to take it up to yet another level? Try mixing up a batch and chilling it in ice pop molds for a perfect frozen treat.


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