Walnut Trolls and Shakes

The heat wave that recently roasted  the East Coast is over but our quest for cool, nutty drinks continues.  The Banana Walnut  Milkshake  that provided welcome relief during that period  led us to two more walnut shake recipes. So today, we asked two of our favorite nutty characters and walnut experts to evaluate the shakes. We’re glad to feature non-peanut characters for once and a blog on walnuts is the perfect occasion.

Meet Wally 1 and Wally 2. They were plain old real walnuts before their transformation in the Little NutThings lab.

two trolls_touched up_web

Not all our nuts have names; originally, we just referred to these as “the trolls” because they reminded us of favorite childhood toys and stories.

Unlike the trolls of Scandinavian folklore trolls – who were not helpful to humans – ours are eager to please though a bit shy. We could not get them to look at the camera.   We’d like to share more tidbits about trolls and troll nuts, but it seems the terms have taken on new meaning and it’s likely we’d embarrass ourselves.  So onto the tastings.

Sage and Honey Walnut Milkshake 
Wally 1:  Wonderful, the avocado and sage are perfect together. I use regular honey because that’s what we have, but love the idea of chestnut (or any nut) honey.  I like that there’s vegan option.

Wally 2: Not bad.

Honey and Walnut Spiced Protein Shake 

Wally 1:   I loved it the two times I followed the recipe and couldn’t finish it the one time I skipped steps.  I think the honey is not optional but the xanthan gum is. Take a few minutes to toast the walnuts; it’s so worth it – just toss them in a pan over heat ’til they start to brown. They toast quickly so keep an eye or two on them. I just had a shake for lunch and it was so energizing that I wish I had a house – I’d clean it top to bottom.

Wally 2:  It’s OK.  I’m ready for a desert shake now – ice cream, milk, sugar and walnuts.

You nuts! Thanks for nutthings and some pointers on Living Well and Out of the Shell.

Beach Nuts

Heat Wave

I am Hot and based on this map from The Weather Channel, there’s a good chance that you are too. Look at all that red … nearly half the US!

 weather channel pic_JPEG

Basically, (sing along  if you know the tune) We’re Having a Heat Wave; and Little Nutthings® wants to provide some relief.   First, a little visualization.

Beach Nuts

real Beach Nuts

The Beach Nuts here have the right idea but are they’re missing two key points.

1.  They need to go in the water.  Generally, coastal water is a lot cooler than the air temp.  Maybe they’re afraid of getting wet since they’re real, albeit, transformed peanuts.  But I happen to know that a little water wouldn’t hurt them.

2. Note their beverages. Generally, nothing wrong with this beverage of choice. After all, we’re big fans of Beer Nut. Only problem, beer has a diuretic effect – ever notice increased visits to the bathroom when drinking? On a hot day at the beach, you’re  already losing water due to sweating;  probably best not to increase the water loss with beer.  Save it ’til you’ve had plenty of water first.

Neil's walnut milkshake picv.2

nice, cool Walnut Shake

Speaking of drinks, this is a picture of milkshake from a friend, Neil.  Doesn’t it look cool and refreshing?  Neil bought his Walnut Shake – his picture inspired me to make my own.  Good news … it’s super easy, delicious and even good for you.  And it’s cool.

There are lots of versions of Walnut Shakes so picking a recipe was the hardest part.  Here’s one I like – a Banana Walnut Shake.


1 medium very ripe banana, frozen; wait until it ripens – a few brown spots – to freeze. Can’t wait ’til it freezes?  Use a regular banana and add a few ice cubes instead.

1/2 cup vanilla low-fat yogurt . You can also use soy milk, almond milk, or milk with a scoop of ice cream.

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

1-2 tablespoon honey


Place banana, yogurt, walnuts, and 1 tablespoon honey in a blender.

Blend on low speed until ingredients start to mix together. Then increase to high speed and blend until smooth. For a sweeter smoothie, add another tablespoon of honey. Serve immediately.

TIP: To make a frozen banana – just put it in the freezer!  Some people like to peel it first and cut into chunks. Wrap in plastic and place in freezer several hours or overnight.

I think this heat wave is expected to last a bit longer; all the excuse I need to “research’ more cool, nutty beverages.  If you have any recipes or tips … please share.  And stay cool – it’s part of Living well and Out of the Shell™.

Nut Guilty

Be Nuts and Be Happy

This week, thanks to William Falk, editor of  The Week magazine, and to the American Psychiatry Association, we feel extra confident encouraging you toBee Nuts, a directive

Mr. ‘Bill’ Falk’s editorial in the current edition begins “We are all, to some extent, crazy”[!!]  It gets even better as he explains “.. the successful, reasonably happy people I’ve known are nuts in a way that works for them…”

In other words, we should all be                                          Nut Guilty

In a related matter,  the American Psychiatric Association just released the latest version of its bible of mental illnesses, the DSM-5.  There are 15 new diagnosis, including Hoarding, Internet Gaming Addiction and Cannibis Withdrawal.   Since I’m nuts about nuts, I hope to review the 947 pages and over 300 maladies someday. For now, I”ll refer to the shorter, more accessible list of 136 phobias by Stephen Chrisomalis .

It has two terms for the fear of France – Francophobia and gallophobia and two terms for the fear of work – ergasiophobia and ergophobia, yet no mention of my main fear – dancing in public.  I am fearless dancing alone or with a toddler or a mid size dog. I can ski dive and scuba dive but become paralyzed when dancing with anyone older than 2. I thought I may just have scotophobia – the fear of being looked at – but usually, it’s the opposite.

At least I don’t have clinophobia  – the fear of staying in bed, which sounds truly awful. How can you cure anything without bed rest?

So, what makes you nuts and what are you nuts about?  Inquiring minds want to know.  Plus, we have someone who might be able to help.

Health Nut

Health Nut

And now my fellow nuts, go. Live well and out of the shell.

Or, as the



 likes to say, “Boldly go where no nut has gone before”.

(Speaking of nuts, all the Little Nutthings shown here are real nuts that we transformed in our nut shop.  Most are based on real nuts that we know personally.)
Copyright © Little Nutthings® 2008-2013



Ali living well

Two Bees or Nuts to Bees

Today we have our first DIY project, How to Make a Bee Nut, courtesy of the stellar nutty artist, Anne Wolfe. It’s a fun, easy, and timely project. The seeds, aka helicopters, from maple trees make great wings and they fall this time of year.

First, I’d like you to meet our inspiration, Alison “Ali” F. of St. Petersburg, FL. Arms wide open, laughing, carefree, surrounded by bubbles … doesn’t she exemplify the LN motto “live well and out of the shell”?
Plus, she’s wearing a Bee Nuts shirt, a gift from her grandpa.

Ali living well

Ali living well

The second most common meaning of nuts in the Urban Dictionary is “extremely enthusiastic”. And Ali appears to be the poster child for that too. Thanks, Sybil, for sharing your daughter Ali’s picture and bonus points for including the bumblebee purse in the background!!

Supplies, in order of use, for making your own Bee Nut:

1- bamboo skewer – optional but very helpful for holding the peanut while painting

Finished nail – optional but very helpful to make starter hole for skewer

1 peanut in shell

2 – maple tree seeds, aka helicopters, for wings

Tacky glue

Yellow and black acrylic paint; a tiny bit of white paint for eyes – optional

Empty can or piece of Styrofoam to hold bee while it dries

2 tiny black balls – optional for antennae. Use what you have, a bit of clay, clip from a pipe cleaner, bit of thread …

Water base sealer/glue to protect the finished bee.  We like glossy Modge Podge though any will work.

Basics: paint the nut yellow, add black stripes, a face and add two “helicopters” for wings.

Pointers: Almost any peanut will work. In our professional nut opinion, the end of the nut with the seam pointed down is best for the face. The other end, where the vine grew, makes a natural back end. Too much info? We’re nut nuts; it’s an occupational hazard.

It’s easier to hold, and work with the nut, when it is on a skewer. If a child is making the bee, it’s best for an adult to do this part. Shells have been cracked, and bees lost, when trying to insert the skewer. Make a starter hole with the nail and use the pointed end of the skewer to enlarge it to fit the skewer. Apply a little glue if needed to secure.

Now you can hold the skewer in one hand and paint the bee-to-be all yellow with the other. Allow bee to dry by placing the skewer in a cup or vase or into a scrap piece of Styrofoam.

Once dry, use the black paint to add stripes, face and a tail. We like to add a dot of white in the eyes. See pic below.

Glue on the “wings”. Bonus hint – no need to pour or squirt the glue. A skewer or an old chopstick works great. Stick it directly in the bottle for just a dab of glue.

Time to seal and protect your bee. Pour a bit of sealer, like the size of a quarter, into your hands and gently rub all over the bee and the wings. Add antennae and you’re done.

Two Bees

Now, go nuts and Bee Nuts. May they inspire us all to live well and with extreme enthusiasm.

Hog on Rock

VA Peanut Surprise in CA

Here’s a quest I can really get into … determine which city best exemplifies the Little Nutthings motto “live well and out of the shell”. Based on a recent trip, San Francisco gets my vote, though the study is ongoing. Suggestions welcome below.

Hog on Rock

Hog on Rock

But back to San Francisco, where the attention to all things food and drink naturally [emphasis on natural] lends itself to living well. From brief stays in the Union Square area and the Mission district, with a couple of side trips to other areas, we applied ourselves; we ate and drank and discovered new gastronomical delights day and night. An educational and especially delicious highlight was dinner at Hog and Rocks, the city’s first specialty ham and oyster bar. Full disclosure: a family member is a bartender here, but we tried hard not to let that or our amazing drinks affect our objectivity.

When “Rising Star Chef” Robin Song learned we were visiting from Virginia, he shared their latest, and perhaps best, dry-cured ham with us, Edwards Surryano from VA. And guess what accounts for its distinctive nutty flavor and wonderfully marbled meat?

Robin Song copy Chef Robin Song

A diet rich in VA peanuts!!

So I think I got the ‘living well’ part down. Next trip, I’ll work on getting further out of the shell. It might have been easier to accomplish this in one dramatic leap a few months ago. On Feb 13, public nudity without a parade permit was ruled illegal in San Francisco. Honestly, the law is unnecessary for me; I can’t imagine how much of my shell would need to crack for me to appear nude in public, in or out of a parade.

Speaking of VA peanuts — in addition to lots of gourmet Virginia Peanuts, The Virginia Shop in Olde Town Alexandria now carries four designs of Little Nutthings shirts: AstroNut, Beer Nut, Health Nut and PregNut. Bob, the owner, decided to go with the unisex style for the PregNut shirt instead of the maternity style. So if you need a Mother’s Day present and your mom doesn’t need a maternity shirt, this could be it. In any case, be sure to thank your mom for her earlier pregnancy.

‘til next time, take good care, live well and out of the shell.

Urgent non-nut Message Today

Awhile ago, a good friend suggested I watch ENDSeven, a video produced by the Sabin Institute where he works. I finally did, right after I loaded our last nutty blog on YouTube.

After seeing his video, I decided to delay a new Little Nutthings® post. Our message to “live well and out of the shell™” could wait. The realization that a massive number of fellow people cannot live well at all due to preventable diseases was more compelling. Especially now that there’s a way to eradicate them. Spreading the word is key.

The title, ENDSeven, refers to seven awful diseases that affect over a billion people – over half a billion children – who suffer needlessly with life altering, painful and preventable illnesses.

I worry about a lot of things but never about my kids getting elephantiasis, or round worm or any of these diseases. I find it easy to forget how lucky we are in first world countries. However, the video changed that. It is hard to forget and it makes it easy to help.

ENDSeven was recently released in the US version “Our Mission in a Minute”
I saw the British version “How to Shock a Celebrity”

Both are very well done, short and to the point with the same message – just different styles.  The UK version briefly shows real people with the diseases so a few scenes are pretty grim visually. Overall though, it’s also upbeat.

We can end this misery. We just need to spread the message and the vaccines. The Gates Foundation and others have donated money but more is needed. If everyone with internet access helped spread the word and/or donated just a little, we could wipe out these diseases. It would be nuts not to.

Things we can do to help end seven diseases:

  1. Help spread the word.
  2. Follow #End7 on Twitter.

  3. Go to facebook.com/EndSeven, like it and post a video on your wall.

  4. Contribute if possible – https://www.facebook.com/EndSeven?sk=app_118256921612282&app_data=donationon.

I’d love to hear which video you prefer and why if you watch both.

Next time, we’ll be back in our nutty little world.
Take care.

Did I Hear You Right?

Last week, Wordsmith featured one of our favorite words – mon•de•green (noun), the accidental mishearing of a word or lyric that gives it new meaning.

We love mondegreens, we do them all the time. They make us feel extra nutty, whether we’re the speaker or listener. They can lead to parallel conversations. You might hear the doctor say that you have “very close veins” instead of “varicose veins” and wonder about his concern.

Music lyrics lead to many mondegreens. In their song “Bad Moon Rising”, did Creedence Clearwater say “there’s a bathroom on the right” or “there’s bad moon on the rise”?

Speaking of music, there are at least two current bands named Mondegreen, one in Australia and the other in Illinois. We hope they deliberately use ambiguous lyrics as often as possible.

The late, wonderful Gilda Radner had some classic mondegreens as her character Emily Litella on Saturday Night Live.
“What’s all the fuss I hear about violins on TV” … or
“What’s all this I hear about endangered feces?”

Meg, the Domestic Diva MD and wonderful food blogger, recently wrote about a mondegreen that happened while working in the hospital.

A Real Misunderstanding Among Real Nuts

A Real Misunderstanding Among Health Nuts and Unhealthy Nut

[Doctor Meg to nurse]. So we’ll keep him on this form of oxygen now and then switch him later?

[Nurse]: Yeah, when my shift is done, I’ll switch him to rest him.


Do you have a favorite mondegreen? Please share; we love them. And always … live well … and out of the shell.

All Little NutThings® characters are made from real nuts … for real nuts. Any resemblance to anyone living or dead is purely intentional.  All rights reserved. Copyright© Little Nutthings® 2008-2013

Oh, My Darling … nutty people

We’re truly nuts for you, dear nutty readers. And with Valentine’s Day this week, we have a Little Nutthing something special for you.
nuts for you_web-small

In fact, we’re so Nuts for You that we’re sharing a non-nut recipe today created by Maxine Sharkey Giammo, a natural nut, noted San Francisco bartender and future LN guest blogger.  This cocktail recipe is easy and delicious. If you can find fresh pomegranate seeds, add a tablespoon before you shake and it will make the drink bright pink!

Be My Clementine
1.5 oz bourbon or brandy
3/4 oz fresh lemon juice
1/2 oz spiced syrup (see below for recipe)
4 spiced clementine segments
spoonful fresh pomegranate seeds (optional)
ginger beer

Add all ingredients except ginger beer to shaker with ice. Shake, pour into a Collins glass and top with ginger beer.

Spiced Syrup
2 c. sugar
2 c. water
2 tbsp clementine zest
2 inches peeled fresh ginger
1 tbsp allspice berries
1 tbsp black peppercorns

1 tbsp white vinegar
fresh clementine segments (5-6 fruits)

Combine all ingredients except vinegar and clementine segments in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the sugar is dissolved. Add white vinegar to round it out. (It’s strange but it works.) Let cool, strain, and then add fresh clementine segments, which will steep overnight and absorb the spiced syrup flavor. Syrup will keep for up to one week in the fridge.

Here’s a nutty side-trip — from Valentine’s Day and a recipe with clementines to a goof of a love song. At first, Oh, My Darling, Clementine “seems a sad ballad sung by a bereaved lover about the loss of his darling, the daughter of a miner in the 1849 California Gold Rush, but as the verses continue it becomes obvious that the song is in fact a tongue-in-cheek parody of a sad ballad. For example, in the second verse we learn that Clementine’s feet are so big that she has to wear boxes instead of shoes (presumably because size 9 shoes are not available), hardly a detail that would be mentioned in a serious romantic ballad. Her ’tragic demise’ is caused by a splinter in her toe that causes her to fall and drown – clearly a ridiculous accident, but told in a deadpan style. Finally, at the end of the song, the lover forgets his lost love after one kiss from Clementine’s “little sister”. Wikipedia.  There are many recorded versions of the song, from Bobby Darrin’s and Jan & Dean’s versions in the 50’s, to Westlife’s song on Allow Us to Be Frank, to Neil Diamond’s 6 minute, rockin’ version on the Americana album last year.

So, we’d love to know … how can the Little Nutthings® blog help enrich your life?  What would you like to see more, or less, of?   Afterall, we are nuts for you, we want to please.  How can we help you to Live Well and Out of the Shell™?

As always, all Little Nutthings® characters are made from real nuts … for real nuts. Any resemblance to anyone living or dead is purely intentional. All rights reserved.
Copyright ©  Little Nutthings® LLC   2008-2013