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Beautiful Living: A Healthy Spin on Holiday Snacking

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Marinated Olives and Barbecue Spiced Snack Nuts

Marinated Olives and Barbecue Spiced Snack Nuts are easy, healthy nibbles to have on hand for holiday guests.

Every time we turn around, there seems to be another creative Houstonian making magic. This time, it’s Terri Havens, who just published Beautiful Living: Cooking the Cal-A-Vie Health Spa Way, and the magic is truly beautiful.

With help from cookbook sage Roni Atnipp (of Stop and Smell the Rosemary, Perfectly Aged: 40 Years of Recipes and Stories from The Taste of Texas, and Luby’s Recipes and Memories: A Collection of Our Favorite Dishes and Heartwarming Stories fame), Terri created a sumptuous book of recipes that are at once delicious, healthy and stunning. You can feel the luxury of Cal-A-Vie, the spa that she and her husband John own, as you flip through the pages of this “coffee table cookbook.” 

Cindy Burnett, in her “Page Turners” column for The Buzz, reviewed Beautiful Living (hint: it’s glowing). And as we’ve done in the past, she and I had fun working together as she focused on the book and I on the recipes. So, to the recipes…

All of the recipes in Beautiful Living are built on the foundation of staying true to a healthy lifestyle. That’s one thing a lot of us (me) forget to pay attention to during the holidays. But with recipes like those in Beautiful Living, that doesn’t have to be the norm.

Just one example: Barbecue Spiced Snack Nuts and Marinated Olives. They’re terrific snacks to have on hand during the holidays, whether you’re planning to have people over or whether they just drop in. And these snacks happen to be healthy.

We made the nuts and olives both, and while both are delicious, the olives are truly addictive. The ingredients are simple, and there’s hardly any prep, but they taste like much more than the sum of the recipe’s parts. Which is exactly the kind of thing we need to be making right now: simple, yummy and healthy too. Not to mention, when you make them, you bring a little bit of Cal-A-Vie luxury home. 

Terri Havens will be signing copies of Beautiful Living, Saturday, Dec. 14, from 1-3 p.m. at Kuhl-Linscomb and Dec. 18, 10 a.m.-12 p.m. at Studio 106.

Barbecue Spiced Snack Nuts

Ingredients, Barbecue Seasoning Mix:

½ cup coconut sugar
½ cup smoked paprika
¼ cup garlic powder
¼ cup onion powder
¼ cup celery seeds
3 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons dried mustard
3 tablespoons dried thyme
2 tablespoons dried basil
3 tablespoons sea salt

Recipe directions:

Mix all ingredients together. Set aside. Store in an airtight container.

Ingredients, Spiced Nuts:

8 teaspoons coconut oil, divided 
½ cup walnut halves
½ cup pecan halves
½ cup whole cashews
½ cup whole hazelnuts
8 teaspoons of Barbecue Seasoning Mix, divided

Recipe directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a skillet over medium heat, add 2 teaspoons coconut oil. When hot, add only the walnut halves and 2 teaspoons of the Barbecue Seasoning Mix. Stir 1 to 2 minutes until lightly browned. Remove and then add 2 teaspoons coconut oil, pecan halves, and 2 teaspoons seasoning mix, then stir 1 to 2 minutes and remove. Repeat the process for the cashews and hazelnuts. Then mix all the nuts together. Place on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 5 minutes. Remove and cool. Store in an airtight container.

Marinated Olives


1 cup whole Kalamata olives, pitted
1 cup whole Picoline olives, pitted
1 cup whole Castelvetrano olives, pitted
2 cups extra-virgin olive oil (or enough to cover olives)
1 tablespoon red chili flakes
2 garlic cloves, sliced
9 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf

Recipe directions: 

In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients and mix thoroughly. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. When serving, drain the olives to remove the excess olive oil.

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