Category Archives: LIttle Nutthings

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.

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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.

Ingredients

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

Directions

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™.

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

AstroNut

AstroNut

 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

                                     

 

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.

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”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A0dccSabKas
I saw the British version “How to Shock a Celebrity”
http://www.youtube.com/user/END7TV  

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.

MIXED NUTS

Penny Marshall, one of our favorite actors – talk about a nut – recently published My Mother Was Nuts: A Memoir (New Harvest 2012). The title alone sold us on the book. In fact, we loved it so much that we created our first Little Nutthings V.I.N. (Very Important Nut) as a tribute to Ms. Marshall. The design is based on the book cover. As always, the figurine is a real nut that was transformed in the LN lab. Following is our book review.

Penny Marshall - 2nd Generation Nut

Penny Marshall – 2nd Generation Nut

We read it on a digital platform and are kicking ourselves for not enjoying this experience as an audiobook. It’s just that kind of story, because Penny is that kind of person.

The memoir tells of Penny’s childhood growing up in the Bronx with two older siblings, a largely absent father, several dogs that came and then quickly went (“to the country”, her mother said), a grandmother in residence, a grandfather who moved across the hall to live with two other elderly ladies, friends and neighbors who variously believed the family was Jewish and Catholic, and a rather distinctive, dare we say nutty, mother.

Her requirement that Penny attend classes at mom’s dance studio was not a welcome one, and the relationship would not be described as a close one. Still, the Penny’s mom was clearly an enormously influential force in the girl’s life. She worked outside the home at a time when that was a rare thing, hated cooking (and did it poorly), divorced her husband, pursued fame, however modest, with a passion, and generally seems like a pioneer of mandatory feminism. Though the portrait Penny paints of her mother is not unremittingly sunny and doesn’t give her much credit for her parenting skills (the funny bits here have an edge of sadness to them), it is illuminating and thought provoking.

The highlights, and a few lowlights, of that fabulous career are sketched out in this 320-page book, including an appearance on The “Jackie Gleason Show” in 1955 to her breakout role on “The Odd Couple”; her friendship with John Belushi and wrestling matches with Cindy Williams; marriage; divorce; marriage; the ground-breaking spinoff show “Laverne & Shirley”; and gallivanting with Carrie Fisher, Tom Hanks, Mark Wahlberg, Whoopi Goldberg, Robert De Niro, and Whitney Houston.

Penny’s rules: “try hard, help your friends, don’t get too crazy, and have fun.”

Words to live by, Ms. Marshall. As for our nutty readers, please let us know your thoughts on the book.

Live Well … and Out of the Shell™ in 2013!

Nut-trition from the Health Nut

Florence Nutingale

Florence Nutingale

Nuts can, and we believe should, play a key role in a healthy diet. A recent Google search on “nut studies” showed 27 million results. Enough to drive you nuts. Here’s a concise summary from Flo, our resident health nut and inspiration for the Little NutThings® Health Nut t-shirt.

Little Nutthings Health Nut  t-shirt
Why are nuts good for us?

They’re high in plant protein, anti-oxidants, monounsaturated fatty acids (the ‘good’ fats), vitamins and minerals. They’re cholesterol free and a great source of fiber. Studies show a variety of health benefits, including lowering blood pressure and LDL cholesterol. Peanuts are so nutritious they’re a major ingredient in Plumpy’nut™, a ready-to-use therapeutic food that has revolutionized the way childhood malnutrition is treated and prevented around the world

Pretty impressive, any down side?.
On average, nuts have have 9 calories per gram, making them the most calorie-dense nutrient. So unless you want to gain weight, don’t add nuts to your diet without subtracting a similar number of calories; for example, substitute nuts for chips or cookies. Second, remember that many processed nuts that are so handy for snacks are fried in oil and/or laced with salt, which can raise your blood pressure.

 Are the benefits the same for all nuts?
No, according to data from the University of Toronto all kinds of nuts are superfoods – but their primary health benefits, and calories, vary. Most studies indicate that walnuts, Brazil nuts and almonds provide the most healthful benefits. Personally, we love them all. Here’s the calorie count for one ounce of the 10 favorites. Note that one ounce is not very much; one ounce of Brazil nuts is only 6-8 nuts.

  1. Almonds: 169 calories
  2. Brazil Nuts: 190 calories
  3. Cashews: 163 calores
  4. Hazelnuts/filberts: 178 calories
  5. Macadamia nuts: 204 calories
  6. Peanuts: 166 calories
  7. Pecans: 196 calories
  8. Pine Nuts: 160
  9. Pistachios: 161 calories
  10. Sunflower seeds: 165 calories
  11. Walnuts: 185 calories.

Not to mention coconuts, cedar nuts, and so many more. We could go on and on about the benefits of each. The bottom line: nuts are fun and good for you! Go shell out for some soon. Just eat them by the handful, not the can full.

And as Flo says “Live Well … and Out of the Shell™”.