brazil nut chips

Brazil Nut Chips HeroGet Ready To Go Nuts

I’m not sure where Brazil nuts have been hiding my entire life. It’s likely because as a native Texan “nuts” really just means “pecans” which have been the center of my world since I was a younger me. Also surprising to me is that Brazil nuts aren’t nuts per se but seeds that hail from the Amazon rainforest’s Brazil nut tree.

Low and behold we were on a low carb diet and had ironically had just purchased a big bag of them from Costco. Even at only 2 net carbs for about 9 nuts they had a buttery good flavor but a little too bland right out of the bag for my liking. Turns out a little lovin’ from the oven transforms the nut-seeds into a rightfully righteous super snacker!

Butter and Brazil NutsFoodie Tips

❤  These nut chips are super-easy to make and eat! You might just want to go ahead and multiply the recipe so you’ll have extra for impromptu snacking or pop-ins. Jarred and wrapped with a ribbon these also make great gifts!

❤  This is a simple recipe that literally heightens the flavors that you use for seasoning. The next time we make these (oh, and we’ll be making them again) we’re eyeing some cayenne (for heat) and for herbs thyme, oregano or rosemary. You can’t go wrong!

i. Time

Total prep: About 20 minutes.

Kirkland Organic Whole Brazil Nutsii. Ingredients

1 ½ cups  whole brazil nuts, shelled
2 tablespoons  unsalted butter, melted (my Grandmother “Nanny” insisted on Falfurrias)
½ teaspoon  seasoned salt*

* A word about seasoned salt: A family favorite for as long as I can remember is Lawry’s brand seasoned salt. It wasn’t until my post-college years when I was convinced my taste buds needed more “oomph” when I switched to Lawry’s seasoned salt with black pepper. That’s what I used for this recipe and it was amazing, as always!

Brazil Nuts On The Stovetopiii. What To Do

1. To Soften The Nuts
Place the Brazil nuts  in a medium-sized saucepan. Cover with water and over a medium-high heat bring things to a boil. Simmer 2-3 minutes then drain.

2. Make Nut Slivers
While still warm shave each nut lengthwise into thin slices with a paring knife. We left the skin on for extra flavor.

Brazil Nut Slivers Dotted With Butter3. Season & Bake
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line a shallow baking pan with foil. Spread the Brazil nut slivers into the pan and sprinkle “dots” of butter all over them. Lightly season and bake until lightly browned and crisp for about 12 minutes, stirring or shaking along the way (about every 2-3 minutes). With each stirring I added a little bit more seasoning until I arrived at my preferred taste.

Brazil Nut Chips In A Baking Pan4. Enjoy
Remove the prepared nut chips from the oven and let them cool a bit. Dig in and store any leftovers in a container with a tightly-fitting cover. This just might be the perfect time to learn more about the Brazil nut with this article while you enjoy your newest culinary creation!

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook

Brazil Nut Chips Recipe

Delicious! I can eat an entire 2-cup batch by myself!

More About This Recipe
I found the recipe recipe tucked in my Mom Betty’s Black Recipe Cookbook. From the looks of the yellowed paper and because older recipes came from the black recipe book closest to when my Mom and Dad married I’d say this recipe is from the 1950s or 1960s. 

Brazil Nut Chips Recipe

The Original Scan Of the Brazil Nut Chips Recipe From Mom’s Cookbook

pumpkin bread

Pumpkin Bread Recipe From Betty's Cook NookThe Best Of Fall

It’s the most wonderful time of the year – when wearing flannel and smelling like patchouli is top of mind. Also top of mind? PUMPKINS!  🎃 There’s no better way to ring in fall’s greatness other than watching the fall favorite It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.

The Peanuts gang were probably my best friends growing up. In a time before you could record TV I never missed a show. I remember sketching Snoopy on top of his doghouse… and funny, I never thought it was odd that Snoopy slept *on top* of his doghouse rather than in it. Childhood innocence.

While your pumpkin bread is baking, come back and watch the movie below – share it with your family and friends and celebrate the way we were… and the way we are with the best of fall!

Foodie Tips

  I halved this recipe and made 2 medium-sized loaves. If you’re gift-giving or a lover of loaves, go all the way!

  One small can pumpkin? I presumed it was a 15 ounce can.

  The recipe didn’t note it but I greased my loaf pans before adding the batter.

  This bread is most great served sliced and toasted with a schmear of Phildelphia Whipped Cream Cheese.

i. Time

Total prep: About 75 minutes (minus resting)

ii. Ingredients

3-⅓ cups | flour
3 cups | sugar
1 teaspoon | cinnamon
2 teaspoons | nutmeg
2 teaspoons | baking soda
1 teaspoon | salt
| cage free eggs, beaten
1 cup | oil
⅔ cup | water
15 ounces | canned pumpkin
¾ cup (2 small boxes) | raisins
¾ cup | chopped nuts (a.k.a. “pecans,” here in Texas)
to top | more pecans (optional)

Pumpkin Bread In The Works

iii. What to do

1. Measure the dry ingredients into a large bowl.

2. Add the eggs, oil, water, and pumpkin. Mix everything well.

3. Fold in the raisins and the pecans.

4. Pour the batter into two large or four small loaf pans and bake at 325°F until the bread tests done.


~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook

Pumpkin Bread Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

Peanuts Cook Book Circa 1970One of my most cherished childhood items is this Peanuts cookbook. Originally printed in 1970 it still remains in my kitchen today, almost 50 years later!

This cookbook was not mine, originally… but at the magical age of 10 I was such a fanatic about The Peanuts Gang I was able to smooth talk this cookbook out of my neighborhood friend’s kitchen and into mine!

Pumpkin Bread

A Scan Of Mom’s Pumpkin Bread Recipe

Sous Chef Note: While acquainting myself with this recipe I noticed a credit to “Barbara Harris” and took to the internet to see if I could find out who she was. Turns out Barbara was a San Antonio restauranteur who ran some popular food establishments in San Antonio and Dallas.

I found reference to Barbara’s Pecan Pie Muffins in Karen Haram’s 50 Favorite “Good Taste” Recipes – these muffins are surely a culinary cousin to the Pumpkin Bread recipe above. Karen was a food author for the San Antonio Express-News for more than 30 years so you know these recipes have gotta be tasty… I have Karen’s Good Taste cookbook printed out for my culinary archives and you can score a digital copy of her fifty favorites here > Karen Haram’s 50 Favorite Recipes.

wonderful christmas scent

A Wonderful Christmas Scent Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

Ahhhh… the holiday smells!

There’s no doubt that my Mom “Betty” loved cloves.

She cooked with cloves and even decorated with them. At the holidays Mom would make orange-clove pomander balls and you guessed it – clove gum was a special treat beyond the usual mint flavored gums.

There’s no better time of year to enjoy the aroma of all that is spice and nice than at holidaytime.

This Wonderful Christmas Scent recipe comes to us from my Cousin Julie’s kitchen. Julie has contributed several recipes to this blog and her cooking advice has helped bridge the gaps in my much younger memory since the loss of my Mom back in the 1980s. Losing Cousin Julie in October (mere weeks ago) has left a huge void in my heart that’s only filled with the love and bountiful memories she gifted those who knew her.

This holiday season I dedicate all of it to Julie’s loving memory! And as you’d expect making this Wonderful Christmas Scent recipe could be no finer way to fill my home with a memorable great scent of the holidays.

I hope you enjoy this recipe – it’s so easy to make and enjoy! And you can gift the ingredients to friends and family as an easy way for them to brighten and heighten their holiday season!

Pomander Ball With Red And Green Ribbon

An example of the holiday pomanders my Mom “Betty” would make at the holidays.

i. ingredients

3 sticks | cinnamon
¼ cup | whole cloves
| bay leaves
½ | orange, halved
½ | lemon, halved
1 quart (4 cups) | water

ii. what to do

It doesn’t get any easier than this, folks!

1. Put everything in a medium-sized pot over low heat.

2. Bring things to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Check the water level periodically to ensure it hasn’t all evaporated. You can tilt a pot lid on top to help release the fragrant mist while helping retain the water.

Enjoy and Happiest Holidays from Betty’s Cook Nook!

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook

Wonderful Christmas Scent Recipe

Julie’s original Wonderful Christmas Scent recipe was recently given to me by her son, Lorin. I’d peg this to be circa 1980s-ish given the colorful ribbon design.

In the tradition of many of my posts here at Betty’s Cook Nook let’s take a stroll into the past and enjoy some vintage images of gum advertising! I focus on clove gum, since it was one of Mom’s favorites and clove is a key ingredient in this Wonderful Christmas Scent recipe.

Click the circles to view the entire ad:

julie and patrick in starburst frame

Circa 1995: This one’s for us, Cousin!

magic salt crystal garden

magic salt crystal garden recipe from betty's cook nook A Recipe With No Name

Since recently sharing out tips from the gardening section of Mom’s cookbook I’ve realized that you never know where a surprise might be hiding in her treasure chest of recipes. This recipe had no name but reading the instructions peeked my curiosity so I decided to dive in deep and make it.

I didn’t know what “bluing” was but after a few quick online clicks I landed at this site that solved the mystery. We’re gonna make our own magic crystal garden!

Flashback Fun Days

Back in my day, “fun” wouldn’t have cut it by today’s standards. 

My rock tumbler was about as much fun as watching paint dry or what’s even more exciting … watching a real rock sit still. Don’t even get me started about Pet Rocks. My G.I. Joe helicopter was attached to its clunky battery pack with a wire, not bluetooth. #NoRealFun. Board games were pretty much that – boring! There were days when it seemed like sitting and staring at the sun was just as fun, just as Grumpy Old Man would say! Let’s have a laugh:

There were a few truly fun things that broke through the mundane sea of insanity. In walks magical fun with the likes of Sea Monkeys, Ant Farms and the super melty fun of Shrinky Dinks – these were some of my childhood favorites.

I do remember seeing my first crystal garden – it wasn’t mine but it was just as cool.

I read on Mrs. Stewart’s liquid bluing website that making salt gardens became popular during the Great Depression. So much so the creations are often referred to as a depression flower or a coal garden. Good times! Let’s get to crystal gardening!

Mrs. Stewart's Liquid Bluingtips ~

  You’ll want to secure your bluing before making this garden. It was hard to find it here in Austin so I wound up ordering a 3-pack via Amazon … or  you can order it directly from Mrs. Stewart’s website. I’m going to give it a “go” in the laundry as well!

  While Mom’s original recipe calls for brick or clay pot, you can use anything porous including coal, coke (fuel), charcoal, or pieces of sponge. I decided to go the clay pot route and thought I’d try my hand at fashioning a faux cake out of a mini pot and saucer I found. So I didn’t need the sponge cut into 4 pieces noted below, which were used for blotting.

  Do not use metal or tin containers – Do use glass or plastic!

  Do not touch your crystal formation or it will crumble.
magic salt crystal garden recipe from betty's cook nook
i. ingredients

various | pieces of brick, clay pot, or sponge (anything porous)
| sponge, cut into 4 pieces (optional – see tip above)
assorted colors | food coloring
4 tablespoons | bluing
4 tablespoons | ammonia
4 tablespoons | distilled water
4 tablespoons | iodized salt
| glass or plastic bowl – the flatter the easier to enjoy

ii. what to do

Step 1. If you’re using brick, blot it with a sponge to clean it. Otherwise, skip to Step 2.

Step 2. Drop food coloring onto your base – this will create the colors!

Step 3. Mix together the bluing, ammonia and distilled water to make your solution. Pour this solution over your base material. Sprinkle your creation with salt. Mom’s recipe said it would take 6 hours to grow  but I saw results in about 20 minutes.

Step 4. To keep your garden growing you can add a little more ammonia. I read on Mrs. Stewart’s website to add more of the food coloring, solution and salt on Day 3, but experiment and adjust to your preference.

Next time I’m going to use plain ammonia instead of lemon-scented ammonia which is all I could find at HEB. My crystal garden cupcake was a little “flat” side. I’ll make sure and post updated pictures! I hope you enjoy making your own garden as much as I did!

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook

Magic Salt Crystal Garden Recipe

A scan of Mom’s original recipe for making a crystal garden!

select your yule tree carefully

♫♩♩ It’s Christmastime In The City

My Mom “Betty” had many talents in addition to being a fabulous foodie. She loved crabbing at the Texas Coast, sewing her own clothes (and clothes for us), painting, and gardening.

Mom’s black binder cookbook originated in the 1950s and its first contents were not recipes, but actually gardening tips! I decided to expand this cooking blog of her favorite food picks to include some of the gardening articles that she curated over the years. And what better way to kick us off than with some tips for how to care and feed for the freshest Christmas tree on the block?! Read the 1977 San Antonio Express-News article below for all the details!

Christmas With The Kikers

As soon as the Thanksgiving dishes were clean and safely stored away, all thoughts turned to Christmas. Each year we decorated the house with lighted garlands, hung white lights in our signature front yard mesquite tree, and we found ourselves spending more time sitting by the fire than glued to the television. The kitchen was usually rockin’ the house with wonderful smells. There was ribbon candy, a homemade gingerbread house and if we were lucky, divinity. Also dancing in the air was likely some Bing Crosby or voices singing “The Twelve Days Of Christmas” from a gathering of young and old around our player piano.

Kiker Family Christmas 1976

Kiker Family Christmas 1976

No other holiday time accoutrement could possibly top the Kiker Christmas tree. We usually scouted for the perfect tree at Wolfe Nursery on San Pedro or the Optimist Club’s Christmas tree lot in Alamo Heights. Until the year when Mom and her great friend Joyce both returned from JCPenney with our first artificial Christmas tree ever (gasp!), we had fresh green trees that were perfectly formed, full, and fragrant.

Holiday Streaker

My greatest childhood skill was my ability to run faster than the wind when Mom said dinner was ready. My parents greatest skill? Always having the Polaroid at the ready whenever I was streaking in my favorite leprechaun shoes.

This happened A LOT!

Some years we strung popcorn. In my earlier years our tree was outfitted in tiny multi-colored lights. And as the years advanced we migrated to blue spruce trees adorned with what seemed like hundreds of shiny glass-blown ornaments set among all-white lights. I still have Mom’s green felt tree skirt that was turned into a Christmas tree skirt that she wore when she ice skated as a teenager. Her waist must have been no bigger than 20 inches!

Today I’ve migrated away from live green trees to silver tinsel (shown in the video above). I find it cheaper, faster, and shinier than traditional tree trimming. But I do miss the smell of a fresh tree!

The Main Event

We usually went to Christmas Eve midnight mass at St. Pius – something that was torture for a young kid who crept in and out of consciousness trying to stay awake only to count the seconds until morning would arrive and I could score the presents I “worked” and waited for all year to finally collect! If we were lucky Mom would let us open one present before we went to bed – it was never our grandest gift but something to wet the appetite … and more importantly to keep us (me) quiet.

The next morning I was usually the first one up and I was salivating at the thought of ripping open all the presents I had been counting and coveting for weeks. Usually Mom’s Mom “Nanny” would drive over for “high-time” around 9 or 10 AM when things were in full force. Nanny would often bring her coconut ambrosia fruit salad and Mom would make a meal as grand as Thanksgiving. This was a time for the “good china,” as Mom called it.

Life was plentiful and good.

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook

Christmastime Tip ~ Why not explore more of the Betty’s Cook Nook Blog by clicking this link. You’ll find more stories and recipes perfect for the happiest of holidays! And check out our old family photos page where you’ll see me sitting on Santa’s lap on one the most frightful days of my life!

A Pic Of Mom's Twelve Days Of Christmas Glasses

A Pic Of Mom’s Twelve Days Of Christmas Glasses

A scan of my Mom Betty's "Christmas tree tips" article

A scan of my Mom Betty’s “Christmas tree tips” article, San Antonio Express-News, December 1977