Friday, 9 December 2011

SmartCooks interpretation of Grandma Parkins Nuts 'n Bolts recipe

December 2011

SmartCooks here.

Time flies...

A little hiatus ... work intruded on my blogging life (!), my new top-end (yahoo) MacPro turned out a nifty project that kept me captive for weeks (more on that in the coming days), and life has gone on fast forward to get ready for the 'Week That Will Be'. 

Re holidays, I say Bring 'em on!  I'm ready.  I have lists, an Excel Planning Schedule and a Calendar of what needs to happen day to day.  Those of you who know me well won't be surprised...  Our gorgeous (small) Christmas tree is lit up indoors (a cat has already tried to climb it), the lights outside are merrily twinkling on the 50th B-day surprise tree, gifts are either already bought or in production, and every-one and -thing is booked to make the festive season well... hectic ... but a planned hectic-ness. 

Appetizers.  Munchy food.  Not the highest calorie festive snack but not the lowest either.  I'm talking about the 'Parkins Family' version of Nuts 'n Bolts, passed on down from grandmother to mother to sons to daughters-in-law.  There are dozens upon dozens of versions of Nuts 'n Bolts out there in recipe-land.  American sites tend to favour using Bugles, or small Ritz Bites crackers and Wheat, Corn or Rice Chex but the more enlightened websites suggest going with the 'Canadian' version and using Cheerios and Shreddies for a better flavour.  ('O Canada'! I say)  

The variations in recipes are endless in terms of the salt/low salt and lower calorie ideas: salted/unsalted peanuts, salted/unsalted butter or margarine or vegetable oil.  Condiment choices are equally confusing i.e., Accent powder, garlic and onion powder (not salt), paprika or not, etc.  Innovate.... Finally, there are endless cute ways to package them up (e.g., baskets, boxes, Martha Stewart bags (!), etc) and present as hostess gifts, holiday presents or enjoying at home.

Making Nuts 'n bolts can be pitched as a couple and/or kids participatory event.  Husband and I buy all the ingredients and I set him up with his own set in one corner of the kitchen to make a batch while I do a second batch in another corner.  This is maybe a tad stressful for him at the outset but we eventually get into the swing of it and make 4-6 batches a year and then package them snugly in freezer-friendly containers and thereby avoid temptation to eat them all before the Big Week.  

So, here is Grandma Parkins version, with my interpretation of salt/no salt etc

Ingredients for 1 Batch
1 cup Cheerios
1 cup Shreddies
1 cup salted peanuts
1 cup pretzel sticks

1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp celery salt
1/2 tsp onion salt
1/2 tsp paprika
1 T Worcestershire sauce


Melt butter and stir in seasonings in one bowl.  Mix cereals, peanuts and pretzels and pour seasoned butter over the mixture.  Coat evenly by stirring.  Pour into a roasting pan or pan with sides and spread out.  I suggest no more than 2 batches in oven at a time. 

Bake at 200 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes and then stir.  Continue to bake for one hour, stirring every 15 minutes.

Cool.  Package.  If made in advance of holiday festivities, freeze and dole out judiciously. 

Bet you can't eat just one handful! 


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