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When we received the invitation to an (obligation-free) birthday dinner for one of our loveliest friends, we knew we didn't want to come empty-handed.  So out came the cookbooks, and the spiced nuts from Pure Vegan felt like the right fit. We followed directions from the book precisely, but we'll give you the rough outline.

First up, the maple-ginger-tamari almonds. Equal parts grade B maple syrup and reduced-sodium tamari (the book does not call for R-S, but it's all we ever use) are whisked together with olive oil and a dose of powdered ginger. Bake until browned, let cool, et voila.

The vanilla-mint nut recipe is really a recipe for pistachios, but we had extra almonds and no pistachios on hand. (Pistachios do not last long in the MSV kitchen.)

Give the nuts a preliminary toast (about half the total time), and meanwhile, combine one part fine sea salt, one part vanilla extract, and three parts each olive oil and minced fresh mint. Toss together, pop back in the oven for the last half of toasting, and let cool. Or serve warm. Bliss.

Both recipes yield a beautiful nut that isn't too heavily seasoned. They make elegant snacks alone or can jazz up a salad. And don't forget to toss them on top of ice cream. Enjoy.