Nutty About Sahale Snacks & Food Gal Contest

Cashews with pomegranate and vanilla.

I’m a bit nutty.

By that, I don’t mean I’ve lost my marbles. At least not yet.

I just mean I’m wild about nuts. I love their crunch, their richness, their unique shapes, and the way they make most any candy or baked good just so much better and far more interesting.

So when I recently tried some samples of Sahale Snacks, I got even nuttier, if that’s possible.

These all-natural nut blends and glazed nuts assortments are so creatively flavored. The Seattle company was founded six years ago by Josh Schroeter and Edmond Sanctis after the duo managed to climb Mt. Rainier even after subsisting on a lackluster supply of ho-hum trail mix and energy bars. When they got back down to sea level, they vowed to make something much tastier. And they named the company after Sahale Peak, which is north of the Cascade Pass in the North Cascades National Park in the state of Washington.

The glazed nuts come in three varieties: Honey Almonds, Almond PB&J, and Pomegranate Cashew (a 4-ounce bag is $5.29). The nut blends come in six varieties, each based on the flavors of a different global cuisine (a 2-ounce bag is $2.99).

Almonds with apple, flax seeds, date, balsamic vinegar and red pepper.

The Soledad Almonds Nut Blend, for instance, is reminiscent of the Mediterranean with its mix of almonds, flax seeds, dates, balsamic vinegar, and a touch of cayenne. The nuts have a fresh crunch, and the mix has sweetness, savoriness, and a whisper of heat. The flavors are almost reminiscent of a fabulous fruit stuffing for roast pork. It’s addicting stuff.

The Almond PB&J mix with dried strawberries is delightful with its salty and fruity marriage.

And the Pomegranate Cashew has real vanilla bean, giving it an almost creamy nature. It’s like the flavor of a rich vanilla milkshake in your mouth with just a faint tang from the fruit.

The 2-ounce bags of glazed nuts have 112 calories each, while a quarter cup of the pomegranate cashews has 150 calories. The nuts are available online, as well as at Andronico’s, Draeger’s, Lunardi’s, and Whole Foods stores.

Want to win some samples to try for yourself?

Or a total of four bags (2-ounce each) of nut blends, three (4-ounce) glazed nuts packages, and a Sahale Snacks apron to be exact?

To enter: Just tell me your nuttiest cooking escapade. The most amusing, original or memorable will win. The contest is open to anyone in the continental United States. Deadline to enter is end of the day, Oct. 24. Winner will be announced Oct. 26.

To get you in the nutty mood, here’s my own nut-case cooking fiasco:

I’ll never forget the time I tried to steam a whole duck.

Oh, I’ve steamed plenty of things in my life — fish, pork, chicken, veggies, dumplings — you name it. But my first attempt with a duck came years ago when I was a food writer for the San Jose Mercury News. I was testing a recipe that required the duck be steamed in a wok on high heat for an hour.

Now mind you, the directions did say you had to replenish the water in the wok periodically, which I did. But it never said what kind of wok to use. So I used the only one I happened to have in my tiny apartment back then — a nonstick one.

Things were going swimmingly. Steam was spurting out of the bamboo steamer atop my wok as the time ticked, ticked, ticked away.

It was only toward the end that I noticed something rather alarming. The once dark-colored interior of my wok was now a stainless steel color. You guessed it — that amount of heat for that amount of time had completely melted the Teflon coating away. It was then, too, that I started to notice the rather foul — as opposed to fowl — odor spreading throughout my apartment. It was a noxious chemical-like plume that refused to vanish no matter how many windows I opened or how high I turned up the exhaust fan.

I was sure it would do me in. My friends would find me prone on the floor. And it would be ruled death by duck.

Of course, I lived to tell about it. But I never ate that noxious duck. And I’ve never steamed one since.

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Date: Monday, 19. October 2009 5:15
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19 comments

  1. 1

    Nuttiest cooking escapade:

    I was 6 years old and trying to bake a batch of peanut butter cookies. Instead of adding 1/2 TEASPOON of baking soda, I obviously wasn’t reading carefully and ended up adding 1/2 CUP of baking soda. Needless to say, the batch of cookies was disposed of and Poison Control was called, haha :-D

  2. 2

    Hmm, I’ve done a lot of nutty things in the kitchen. One year I decided to prepare everything by myself for my family’s Christmas Eve dinner, and I was cooking at my Mom’s house. As I was hurrying to get a cake in the oven, I thought the batter seemed oddly thick. Then, I looked back over the recipe and realized I had mixed in exactly double the needed amount of butter. All was not lost though. I removed half the batter and added half the quantity of all the other ingredients and continued with baking the cake.

  3. 3

    One nutty thing I did was invite two hugely famous foodbloggers and their spouses to our house for a homecooked cioppino meal, using recipes we hadn’t tried before. Good thing we were successful! ;-)

  4. 4

    :-( that I don’t live in the US. I will look out for these in San Francisco when I am there next month!

  5. 5

    Nate: That wasn’t a nutty thing. That was a very kind and generous thing. And the cioppino totally rocked! ;)

  6. 6

    Well, I think it happened most recently. I am a singer and I am always rushed to go to some concert or performance but I make sure enjoy making great things in the kitchen. I believe we were invited to stay in a couple’s home and I decided that I wanted to make a great cherry pie, using the sour cherries for the first time. I made the pie within an hour and was VERY proud of my self, especially the pics I took, which are on my blog, but as we cut into the pie with our guests looking at us, I cut into the pie and it was liquidy. It seemed like there was a cherry juice box in MY PIE!! Too my horror and embarrasment I realized I used powder sugar INSTEAD of CORNSTArch!!! I was as red as a cherry, for reals! Well, our hostess said we could place it in a bowl and add Ice cream, making it seem like a fruit crumble….sigh,…I felt like a crumble, but I really felt nutty..

  7. 7

    > used powder sugar INSTEAD of CORNSTArch!!!

    I did that too! I was cooking Thanksgiving dinner at someone else’s house, with an ill-equipped kitchen. I had a container with powdered sugar for whipped cream; and one with cornstarch for the gravy. This gravy tastes funny…

  8. 8

    My nutty story took place when I was twelve. Both of my parents ended up in the hospital at the same time and I was shipped off to stay with a friend. One day I snuck back home and decided to make peanut brittle (heaven knows why – I had never made it before). Things were coming along well until I discovered I hadn’t stirred it enough and the peanuts had burned. I ended up with a big pan of hot, ruined peanut brittle to get rid of. I decided to take it out into the backyard and dump it into a bunch of weeds, but I was barefoot when I did this. Sure enough, I dropped some on my foot. It burned my little toe badly enough that it blistered and I couldn’t wear shoes. So I cut a hole in my sneaker so the blister could stick out. My friend’s parents were amused when I turned up to go to church that Sunday in holy sneakers.

  9. 9

    I love Sahale snacks! So yummy!

    I don’t know what the nuttiest thing was – maybe totally forgetting the oatmeal in oatmeal cookies… wondering why the batter looked so thin, and proceeding to bake them anyway because “that must just be how this recipe is”

  10. 10

    I was making rice krispy treat for the first time. As I was mixing the marshmallow and rice krispies, I was getting really frustrated because it was so sticky and not mixing evenly. Genius me thought that it’d be much easier to mix it with my hands (which is probably true), but I forgot that melted marshmallows are hot. I shoved my hands in, immediately screamed and ran to the kitchen sink to wash them in cold water. That was the last and only time I’ve ever made rice krispy treats.

  11. 11

    What makes this sad is that it happened not too long ago…me and my friends were in high school. One day, we decide to bake brownies (from the box because we suck that much). My friend popped the batter into the oven and set the timer. 30 minutes later, we take the brownie out for frosting. I plopped a glob of frosting (from the can…don’t judge us) onto the brownie…and it just sunk. So, my friend, being the genius that she is, didn’t turn on the oven. Just for the heck of it, we threw a couple of pancakes in the brownie batter and baked it right up…well actually, it didn’t set up with all the added frosting, so we froze it, THE END

  12. 12

    Okay so we’ve all heard of the classic mistaking salt for sugar disasters right?

    This is one of them.

    It was with my boyfriend 6 years ago and I had the great idea to make a 3 course meal upon meeting his parents for the first time. Being the practical prankster my now husband is, he poured the sugar out of the canister and replaced it with a load of salt without me knowing.

    He doted all night to his parents about how good my “Ooey Gooies” were (a recipe that calls for a ton of sugar, but oh so good!), and how he couldn’t wait for dessert.

    I will never forget my mother in laws face when she bit into dessert. Bless her heart, she was trying to make it seem like they were good at first, but then she replied “Honey, I can’t have this much salt, I’ll have a heart attack” as she gently pushed the plate away.

    Looking back on it now I laugh, but then I was humiliated beyond words! I felt nutty to the millionth degree because my husband didn’t tell me it was a joke until after they left!

    I did make him call and explain to his parents right after I found out.

  13. 13

    My Lucy Ricardo moment: I was a newlywed who loved to try to cook everything for my new husband’s willing palate. We had some leftover crab and I decided to make crab enchiladas. I got home early from work and fired up the oil to lightly fry the tortillas. Right after I turned on the oil the buzzer from our dryer downstairs went off and I ran downstairs to retreive our laundry. You guessed it…

    By the time I brought up the laundry the smoke alarm was shrieking and the pan was engulfed in flames which were licking the ceiling. And our cat was crying. I put the lid on it but it just got bigger. I grabbed the fire extinguisher (handy things) and put it out in two spurts. I threw the pan in the yard and opened up all the windows and doors. There was a black layer of smoke and soot all over our house and I was now crying along with the cat.

    I thought I could clean it up before my husband got home but when I tried to wipe the walls it just spread the soot everywhere. That’s when I heard the garage door open. I braced myself and went to greet him before he could see the wreckage.

    We had just recently put a sliding glass door in the kitchen and had been trying to find out from the former owners what the paint color was so we could match the new area around the door.

    I must have had soot on my face because he immediately asked what happened. I told him I had good news and I had bad news. The good news is that we didn’t need to find out the paint color anymore, the bad news was that we had to repaint the whole kitchen now! Needless to say, he wasn’t amused. The best part of the whole thing is that I actually made crab enchiladas that night and they were awesome. Never give up! (And never leave anything on the stove unattended!)

  14. 14

    I don’t know if you will accept this as “cooking” but I was (and still am) obsessed with melted cheese as a child. I was about 6 years old and observed that my older cousin made sandwiches by sticking a piece of American cheese in between bread and sticking it in the microwave for 30 seconds. I proceeded to do that every time I wanted a snack. Then, I thought I was a genius and I could do away with the bread and just melt cheese on a plate and lick it off. I put a couple of slices of cheese on and nuked for 30 seconds. It worked! I decided to use more cheese. I put a whole big pile on and nuked it. It looked like it needed a little more so I nuked it again. It came out and I started licking it. After a few seconds, the cheese started hardening again, so I nuked it to soften it again. I licked some more and then nuked it again. By now, I’m fighting with my baby sitter who did now want me doing this and eventually the plate cracked. My mom comes home and finds me licking a broken plate.

  15. 15

    I was 13 and making my first coffee cake (the cinnamon/pecan one we all have made). My mother was busy on the phone and just kept telling me to follow the recipe…(You can read can’t you?). So I did. I got it in the oven and was cleaning up my mess. I asked her what to do with the left over coca cola that was in the bottle. “Drink it”, she told me. I told her I did not want it because it was hot….she asked why I opened it in the first place….(you guessed it)…I added 1 teaspoon coke…instead of BAKING soda!!!!! I was afraid my mother was going to choke she laughed so hard…..sheesh…

  16. 16

    My husband and I will never forget my first attempt at fried ice cream – the kind that has just a rather thin crispy coating. I didn’t have a recipe (this was actually well before recipes were easily accessible online) so I simple relied on memories of what we’d enjoyed at restaurants. Let’s just say that oil and vanilla ice cream, barely enrobed with sugar and Kellog’s Corn Flakes, do not mix! The pot of very hot oil overflowed, the stovetop was in flames, I was shrieking like a banshee and the dog was cowering in the corner. Fortunately, Mr. Noodle kept his head and put out the flames before complete disaster.

    I’ve learned that the ice cream used in those restaurant desserts are super-chilled beyond the capacity of a home freezer, which is why they can be fried with a thin coating without erupting like Mt. Vesuvius. It took me nearly 15 years before I was able to overcome the trauma and try fried ice cream again this summer. This time, I researched as if I were building a space shuttle and I made sure that Mr. Noodle was close by with a fire extinguisher. The dog was let out into the yard for safety . . .

  17. 17

    Last year I moved into my very own apartment and for the first time had to stock my own kitchen. One evening I decided to bake Herman (a cinnamon friendship bread) for my office. Since my mom always had had enough of everything, I didn’t think twice of just forging ahead and started tossing ingredients in a bowl – never mind that I was in my own kitchen now.

    My first trip down the hall – in a NYC 12-story apartment building where nobody knows their neighbors – was to beg for an egg. For my next trip I made sure to go to another neighbor, asking for a cup of milk. Once I was happily mixing away, I started to ponder the soupy consistency of my dough and upon consulting with the recipe I realized that I had switched the amounts for flour and milk. And, of course, I was now also out of flour (the last bit had been just enough!).

    At the end of my wits I called my mom who brilliantly instructed me to add instant vanilla pudding powder until the dough was a bit thicker. It took 2 1/2 boxes of the pudding powder and an extra 30 min in the oven and voila, a very moist but delicious friendship bread!

  18. 18

    once upon a time in my mother’s kitchen, I had the job of being the gravy chef…a chicken was stewing in a huge pot sunk under 5 quarts of seasoned water..being small in size, it was heavy duty to lift the pot to drain the stock. Using a stepstool, I bent over the sink and emptied the stock down the kitchen sink causing a major flood: gravy gone in a split second: I chuckled which caught the eye of the chief chef who sent me swiftly to the store for a ready-made sauce…the store was closed! what to do? I went to a friend’s house where another chicken was stewing away! They had no gravy to share! I phoned another friend also stewing a chicken! Sorry, they said…why so many people doing the same thing? a time of celebration! good things happen! my mother found another bird and so the story goes, the gravy train was up to speed and landed on the table without a splash!!!!!!!!

  19. 19

    Contest is now closed. Winners announced on Monday.

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