Nutty Goodness and A Food Gal Giveaway

Cashews roasted and flavored with the sweet warmth of cardamom.

The Bay Area’s Sara Tidhar took hard times and turned them nutty — in a wonderful way.

Six years ago after a divorce, she found herself a single mom trying to take care of her kids and still make a living. It was her son who proved the inspiration for her predicament. He suggested she sell the roasted nuts she had always made for her kids as a snack.

That’s just what Tidhar did, roasting the nuts in small batches with organic canola oil in what she calls a “secret” method that she learned from her grandmother.

Santé nuts are now sold online, and at retailers such as Lunardi’s, Gene’s Fine Foods in Saratoga, DeMartini’s Orchard in Los Altos, Piazza’s Fine Foods in Palo Alto and Chateau St. Jean Winery in Kenwood.

Candied pistachios.

The roasted, seasoned nuts come in nine varieties, including Garlic Almonds, Cinnamon Pecans, Chipotle Almonds, Candied Pistachios and my favorite, Cardamom Cashews, which brings to mind chai tea. They’re addicting to eat just out of hand. But also would be great in your favorite baked goods, tossed into salads or in stir-fry dishes.

The nuts come in 5-ounce bags ($4.99) and new 1-ounce pouches ($1.99). Each individual pouch is one serving with 180 to 220 calories, depending upon the type of nut.

Individual bags to tote in your purse, backpack or briefcase.

Contest: One lucky Food Gal reader will win a sampler of the nine different nut varieties — four of the resealable bags and eight of the single-serve bags. Entries, open to those only in the continental United States, will be accepted through midnight March 17. The winner will be announced March 19.

How to win?

Just tell me about a thing or two that drives you nutty. Best answer wins.

Here’s my own response:

“What drives me nuts are people who refuse to obey the 25 mph speed limit posted along a stretch of road fronting a number of senior facilities near my neighborhood. The worst are the older drivers, whom you think would be the first to adhere to this particular law since they’re not long for being in these facilities, themselves. The other thing that drives me a bit nutso? People who can’t tolerate ahi seared and insist on it cooked well-done through and through. Sigh. What a waste of luscious fish.”

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  • It drives me nuts when I see people throwing trash out of their cars. Most recently at a red light, I was in a middle lane and the front passenger in the car ahead of me opened his door twice–once to put a soda can on the ground, and another time to dump a wrapper!

  • It drives me nuts when I am still tired after drinking espresso!

  • What drives me nuts is going to the food section of most grocery stores and finding almost no canned, bottled, frozen item without a litany of preservatives and hard to pronounce chemicals to prolong shelf life and flavor/ color. Even bread and tortilla has a list of ingredients 2 inches wide and sea salt is so purified, it has no iodine in it! Sometimes it even has additives to make it easily flow from the shaker!

  • I love inspirational stories like this! What drives me nutty? My hubby! LOL. Well, some of the things he does like NEVER remembering to take out the trash or get packages or put his shoes away but yet he can tell you the exact specs of the new iPad that’s coming out…*sigh

  • What drives me nutty the most are the people I love! Of course: they’re the ones from whom we’re most likely to overlook the nuttiness.

    Of course, nothing -I- do drives anyone nuts!

  • I’ve been looking for a job for a while now and I go on interviews then write personalized thank you notes and then…….nothing….never a word that someone else got the job,or they were looking for a different fit.

    I’m not looking for a big song and dance just a SIMPLE email saying “thanks but no thanks” JEEZ –drives me crazy people can be so disorganized and/or just so plain rude.

    (Oh and people that text and drive or talk on their cell phone and drive, they are gonna be sorry when they hurt someone!)

  • What a wonderful story Carolyn! Thank you for sharing, and for hosting this giveaway. As always, I love reading the responses to your thought provoking contests.

    What drives me nuts? Negative people who find something to complain about no matter where they are or what they’re doing. Of course there are times to bitch and moan and I do plenty of it, but it would be a much nicer world if everyone tried to find the positive in every situation, and remembered that there are many people much worse off than them.

  • One of the things that drives me nutty are bad manners.It is so surprising the lack of manners in adults so I guess that is why a lot of children have them also. These nuts look amazing. I try to eat almonds everyday because they are so good for you. When we lived in the Sacramento area we would go downtown to the Blue Diamond Almond Factory store. Oh my they have so much to choose from.

  • These nuts look great! And I wonder what the secret family method for roasting them is! 🙂

  • I love stories like this of people down on their luck who use what they have to survive but end up becoming a big success. Well done to her. And fabulous looking nuts!

  • Swoon…I love nuts, especially spiced ones! It drives me nutty when no one in my lab cleans up after themselves…the whole place ends up a mess and no one will own up to it, and it’s just awful!

  • Kudos to her for starting her own business!! The nuts look great.
    What drives me nuts? Cell phones in cars.

  • texting while driving, really?

  • What drive me nutty is when people ask me something and then turn around and ask someone the exact same question after I just told them! Another thing that drives me nutty is when people don’t signal! Oooo and while we’re at it, drivers who sees the left lane ends and stay on that lane until the very last second to try and get in front of everyone(don’t even get me started on the people who actually let them over for that matter!) I’m done now! haha 😀

  • I’m rejecting for my complement anyone who cannot use the word compliment properly.

  • it’s funny you should ask, because i’ve just been annoyed. i hate when people don’t replace the toilet paper roll. inevitably, i will be the one left with my pants down (literally) and inevitably, there will be no replacement roll at hand. i’m not fond of the drip-dry. 🙂

  • What drives me nuts is co-workers who leave their food in the shared refrigerator well past its expiration date (as in it has obviously turned moldy or is emitting a smell).

  • NUThing drives me nutty for long 🙂

  • What drives me nutty is people that tailgate me in the slow lane. Just last night it was raining & we were on Hwy 880 North, tons of traffic after work & we’re going only about 20 mph, but the lady still kept tailgating me. I wagged my finger at her & she backed off a little bit & finally changed lanes!

  • I can vouch for myself that I am an especially lovely and ever pleasant lady, but asking me what drives me nuts is like opening Pandora’s Box. I’m not an OCD wound up crazy by any stretch of the imagination, but I do have a keen understanding of what delights me and what absolutely busts my phantom balls. I tend to get longwinded, so I will try my best to keep this brief.
    My daily life, though at times monotonous, is for the most part pretty positive. What really busts my chops happens at night. More specifically, during REM sleep. Granted, I do get very annoyed at the obnoxious “Truvia” singer and her insufferable jingles she butchers in those commercials( I don’t know why, it just does), but the inability to control movement in my dreams is what really makes me nuts. You see, from time to time I have been able to become aware in my dreams and be able to control my actions and surroundings (uhh, hello flying through a rainbow and eating mounds of cookies and ice cream and not gaining a pound!). But there are times that this simply is not possible: When you want with all of your might to run across a room to receive your chocolate treat as a reward for saving your brother from a gruesome apple orchard fire. Or when Jason Segel (yes, he is my celebrity crush)is waiting in the adjacent room to take you on your fist date but you suddenly begin to float upwards uncontrollably towards the heavens like a cruel joke played by Willy Wonka. To sum it up, it is these unfortunate dreams (nightmares?) that truly make me go nuts.

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