Almonds and Olives

Last night I had cheetos and beer for dinner. That’s right, Mr. trying to lose weight, eats no processed food, sustainable, local, organic ate a snack created in a lab. My excuse was that my wife was sick and, when I was at the store buying the ingredients for a delicious but gentle risotto, she called and requested cheetos. If I didn’t know better I would have thought she was pregnant. Of course she ended up eating two or three and I had two or three handfuls. The beer was my idea.

This brings me to my point. I believe that if you try to abstain from any activity 100% of the time you will fail. Obviously, I am not referring to alcoholics. That is a disease and needs to be treated as such. I am talking about the new year’s resolution, or the conscientious decision not to eat meat or chicken, or the need to reduce fat or carbs. If you decide to change any lifestyle routine or habit, it’s important to be realistic. You should never drink soft drinks, but is the occasional coke going to kill you? Of course not. So, if you say to yourself: “I’m going to try not to drink coke most of the time but I am not going to beat myself up or go back to my 6 pack a day habit if I break down and have one every now and then.”

A nutritionist friend of mine calls this the 80% plan. Decide to change your eating lifestyle and know going in that you will try to stick to it 80% of the time. You will have a greater chance of actually making it a lifestyle change for the long term and ultimately succeed in your goal. This approach also helps with one’s sanity. I find traveling a challenge when it comes to eating. It’s hard to order in restaurants and sometimes the limitations of airports, hotels and long working hours can make eating anything, let alone healthy and nutritious, next to impossible. But, if dinner ends up being the ingredients of a mini bar one night, it’s not the end of the world and it is certainly not the end of your conviction to make important changes.

Snacking is another one of those issues. It is generally not a good idea because most snack food is processed, horrible junk. This presents a particular problem when you have guests over and want to serve them a little something before dinner or with drinks and don’t want to share the reserve of cheetos that you have hidden in the bottom of the cupboard. Here is a simple snack that costs very little and is extremely easy to put together. I have made complicated and exquisite meals for guests and at the end of the night what they want is the recipe for this snack.



  • 8 oz.Marcona Almonds
  • Olive Oil
  • Fresh Rosemary (dried in a pinch), finely chopped
  • Sea Salt
  • 6-8 oz. Pitted Kalamata Olives


  • Sauté Pan
  • Chef’s Knife

There are actually two ways to make this dish. The easiest is to buy the marcona almonds (Spanish, white almonds) already packaged with oil, salt and rosemary from Trader Joes. If you can’t find them then here is what you do:

  1. In a sauté pan, heat a tablespoon or less of olive oil. Sunflower oil will also work. Toast the almonds, rosemary and a healthy pinch of sea salt for a couple of minutes. You really only want to warm the nuts and coat them with the oil and herb.
  2. In a bowl or several ramekins combine equal parts nuts and olives.

There are many variations of this snack. Just about any nut will work as will different olives. Try this one first. The saltiness of the nuts with the savory olives make a perfect combination.

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