You know how I know it’s the holiday season?
I just watched Love Actually.
It’s not Christmas until I watch Hugh Grant’s character sing “Good King Wenceslas” with help from his baritone bodyguard.
I absolutely love that movie. It makes me laugh out loud, even when I’m the only one in the room. This year, I was lucky enough to introduce C. to it over a glass of bourbon eggnog.
Even though it’s devoid of Santa Claus or reindeer or any of the cast of typical Christmas characters, this movie has successfully jostled for a place on my list of holiday classics.
First place, of course, has long belonged to It’s a Wonderful Life. Call me a sap, but this may be one of my all-time favourite movies – not just Christmas movies. Even though it’s beautifully written, it doesn’t have to be. I would listen to Jimmy Stewart read the phone book.
The love story between George Bailey and Mary is captivating. The characters make me laugh. And the message? Call me a sap TWICE, but it really does convey something spectacular.
I watch this film every Christmas, tucked under a blanket near the woodstove in my childhood home. It’s my own personal tradition. I think I started it when I was about ten years old.
My parents would go to sleep and I’d stay up, finishing the movie around midnight before retiring to bed.
I’m already looking forward to it.
This visit home for the holidays will be my longest since I lived in New Brunswick. I can’t wait to spend time with my family and friends, visit the City Market with all of its decorations and, of course, devour all of my favourite Christmas goodies.
Among them, spiced pecans. My mom always makes them. And I can eat them by the fistful.
They go well with everything, topping baked brie, alongside goat cheese or topping a salad.
They also work well in desserts. I have garnished my Eggnog Frosting with them before. They add such a festive touch.
Plus, they’re simple. This recipe can be made in under 15 minutes, from start to finish.
This version of the classic has a bit of a kick from the cayenne pepper, but, you can always leave that out if you aren’t into spice. If any of these seasonings don’t excite you, just omit them. It’s that easy. There are no rules here (except for always using salted butter. Don’t buy unsalted. Just don’t do it).
How do you like your pecans?
- 1 1/2 cups whole pecans
- 1/4 cup melted butter
- 2 tbsp brown sugar, plus more for sprinkling
- 2 tbsp white sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp salt, plus more for sprinkling
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp cloves
- A pinch of cayenne pepper
- Preheat your oven to 350ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
- In a large bowl, add pecans. Pour melted butter overtop and stir with a large spoon. Add brown sugar, white sugar, salt and seasoning. Toss together until evenly coated.
- Pour onto your baking sheet, ensuring pecans are one, even layer.
- Bake for 10 minutes, turning halfway through.
- Remove from the oven, sprinkling with a few more pinches of brown sugar (about one more tablespoon) and a tiny bit of salt (about 1/4 teaspoon).
- Cool and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.