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Nuts! Blogging is Hard.

The Strawberry Kitchen blog is a pandemic baby, borne from the starvation I was feeling in early 2020, when my usual creative outlet of choral singing had been stripped from me. I’ve always loved to cook, enjoy writing (actually, I enjoy having written – writers will appreciate the difference!), and I thought to myself, “this’ll be a fun and easy way to flex my creative muscle and entertain myself during COVID-19.” In those heady early days, I thought it’d be no problem at all to fire off a blog post a week.


It turns out blogging is hard work, especially if you’re your own worst critic and suffer from clinical perfectionism. So, if you’ve been with me since those early days, you’ve noticed that a post a week quickly became bi-monthly posts, then dwindled to a post a month, if I was lucky.

And now, here we are in December 2023.  I’ve been back to a full work and choral schedule for over a year, travel and socializing have returned in full measure, and the Strawberry Kitchen, I’m sorry to say, has been withering on the proverbial vine.  

This makes me feel sad, and frankly, a little guilty, because friends have told me how much they enjoy it, and my dear friend and web designer Anja built me this Mercedes website that I’ve left idling in the garage for going on 6 months.

So, I’m pledging to myself that in 2024, I’m going to TRY to go back to posting one recipe a month, but will allow myself the grace of posting much shorter, or even no, stories along with the recipes. I hope my followers, at last count at least 14 of you, will enjoy whatever I’m able to eke out between a full work schedule, extracurricular obligations, and let’s be honest, ample time for doom-scrolling.

This month we return with a Pegster classic, Rosemary Cashews, which was adapted over time from an Ina Garten classic.  Why make these nuts?  Three great reasons: 

  1. They’ve got that divine salty-sweet-spicy harmony that make all your taste buds burst into song.
  2. They’re great for entertaining.  Put a bowl out at cocktail time and watch ‘em disappear.
  3. They’re easy to make in big quantities and perfect for gift-giving.  You’ll see from the photo that this is what my neighbors will be receiving this year. Betsey, Michelle, Betsy, Aimee…try to act surprised.

Merry Christmas, friends.  As you gather with loved ones this holiday, I hope you’ll keep stress at a minimum, take it easy on yourself, and experience the true reason for the season: gorging on baked goods. 

Oh, and love.  Always, love.

Nuts! Blogging is Hard.

Recipe by Betsy OwensCourse: AppetizersDifficulty: Easy


Prep time



These salty-sweet-spicy cashews are the perfect compliment to any cocktail.


  • 1 2.5 lb. bag roasted and salted cashews (I know, this sounds counterintuitive. Trust me.)

  • 1 oz. fresh rosemary, washed, stemmed, and finely chopped

  • 5 Tbs. melted butter

  • 2 tsp. cayenne pepper (if using Indian or really good, spicy ground red pepper, reduce this to about 1/2 tsp.

  • 4 Tbs. light brown sugar


  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • Line two large sheet pans or cookie sheets with parchment paper. (Note: do not use dark or black metal sheets or pans for this recipe, which will cause nuts to burn).
  • Divide nuts into two large bowls (to allow for even and thorough mixing)
  • Melt butter, then add cayenne, brown sugar, and snipped rosemary.
  • Pour evenly over the two bowls of cashews, and mix thoroughly with spatula until evenly coated.
  • Spread cashews evenly over prepared baking sheets.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 5 minutes (voice of experience: set timer! they burn easily).
  • Remove from oven and toss with spatula.
  • Return to oven and bake about 5 minutes more (checking after 3 minutes to make sure they’re not browning too quickly…if so, remove).
  • Remove to stovetop and toss again, then allow to cool and dry thoroughly. At this point, I turn off the oven, wait about 30 minutes until oven is just a bit warm, and then return the nuts to the oven to let them continue to dry for another hour or so.
  • Store nuts in air-tight containers. Should keep for about a month.

One Comment

  1. Oh, man. Rosemary. Cashews. Yikes.


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