Saturday, March 26, 2011

A Substitute for Pine Nuts? Plus New Kitchen Gadgets

In a previous post I lamented about the shortage of pine nuts. Well, I decided to try something as a substitute. Sunflower Nuts. I used to eat these all the time as a snack when I was in high school, but I got sick of them after a while and stopped eating them. I decided it was time to revisit them. I'm glad I did, because I found out that I love them all over again. Only this time, instead of eating them straight, I've been putting them in dishes. The dishes that I used to put pine nuts in. They are terrific in my favorite quinoa recipe (Lemony Quinoa) and in my own Tuna Pasta recipe. I discovered they are a wonderful addition to salads as well (Deliciously Sweet Salad is pictured).

I'm so happy! Of course sunflower nuts will never be as good as pine nuts, but they are a very good substitute. Not only are they ten times cheaper than pine nuts, they are very nutritious as well. Sunflower nuts (or hulled sunflower seeds) are a good source of protein and "good" fats, such as poly- and mono-unsaturated fatty acids. They also contain Vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant, and B vitamins. I buy mine roasted and unsalted and store them in the fridge.

I don't have to give up pine nuts just yet either. A very good friend of mine knows how much I love them and picked some up for me the last time she went to Trader Joe's. The nearest Trader Joe's is almost an hour away, and I have yet to visit one. I think I'll save these for my pesto sauce, the most favorite recipe that I make with pine nuts. Thanks M!

This weekend my husband I went to the kitchen store in the mall and I picked up some more kitchen gadgets. My old cookie scoop broke, so I picked out a couple of new ones to replace it. I couldn't decide which one to get, so I got both! I also got a potato scrubber in the shape of a potato and a "garliczoom." The garliczoom has a blade inside that spins as you roll it on the counter top and chops the garlic. I'm hoping this will eliminate the "garlic fingers" I tend to get when chopping garlic. Seriously, will anything get rid of the smell of garlic on your hands? I've tried rubbing them on stainless steel, lemon juice.......


  1. Great blog! I love the metal cookie scoops, my most favorite thing in the kitchen. I have them in four different sizes from small to jumbo. They are great for filling pastry bags with icing, whipped cream, or dropping filling over crusts that you don't want to break as your spread the filling across. I also use the cookie scoops to serve perfect scoops of whipped cream or ice cream too! Thanks for sharing about the pine nuts. The first time I bought them was when I was making your pesto recipe. I have made it a few times since. I will have to check out Trader Joes for their pine nuts. I haven't had sunflowers seeds since I was in the Navy. Everyone would eat them with the salty shells and them spit them out and eat the nut/seed. I may have to revisit them myself.

  2. I have never heard of the Garliczoom. What an awesome idea! Let me know if it works. I HATE garlic hands, and since we are serious garlic LOVERS, my hands have perma garlic smell. Thanks for sharing ☺ Have a great rest of the weekend Dianne!!

  3. Very interesting, I'm not a big fan of pine nuts but I love sunflower seeds. I will definitely try your Tuna Pasta recipe above. Thanks for sharing Dianne!