To Know Her Is to Love Her: Cashews & Creativity

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Cousin Vonda and I wine tasting in California last summer!

A couple of weeks ago we visited Chicago and had a chance to stay the night with my cousin, Vonda and her husband, Rob.  Vonda and I share many of the same passions: gardening, interesting recipes, Pinterest and DIY projects.

Prior to going to a family party with many of the Tysons on Sunday, Vonda made Rosemary cashews for my cousin Laurie’s husband Alan. I’ll show you the step by step recipe in a couple of paragraphs. First, I wanted to brag on Vonda’s DIY projects!

As a lover of DIY projects, Vonda was lucky to marry a master carpenter! She recently came up with a logo for her passions and a name: North 40 Designs.

Vonda is working on making her own herb and flower boxes. She designs them and Rob builds them.  After they are built, she takes it from there.  IMG_4681

She also creates lettered framed signs from barn wood. So cool!  I bet she looks at the barns in rural Illinois with a very different eye these days – an eye of lust!  Barn wood is super popular for everything from frames to dressers to tables.  There are many different examples on Pinterest, including this article on how to clean it!

We went down in the basement, where she works, and talked about her different projects. We agreed working on these types of projects is really fun if you do one or two, but when you start selling them – it becomes a job!  You have to be in the mood to work on projects like this because they take time and positive energy.


My cousin, Diane Tyson Luecke, recently moved her son, Lucas, into a house.  Diane is Vonda’s sister.  One of Vonda’s signs now hangs in his bedroom.  Lucas loves it! Lucas looks so proud of the sign and of his new room and home!13177556_10209744177827061_8714111157845274699_n

Now on to the cashews recipe!  Preheat the oven for 375 and spread the cashews on a cookie sheet to roast for about 10 minutes.

Talk about vintage! Vonda has my late Grandma Grace’s butter dish! #jealous


While the cashews roast, get your ingredients together.IMG_4623

You don’t have to measure out each ingredient in their own bowl, but these bowls made for a pretty picture.IMG_4626

If you grow rosemary like Vonda and I do, clip some from your plant.  If not, buy some at the store.  Chop the rosemary.

Measure out all the ingredients in combine the chopped rosemary, cayenne pepper, dark brown sugar, salt and melted butter in a bowl.

Ahh, love the smell of roasted cashews! If you are using salted cashews – DO NOT USE SALT in your mix!

IMG_4629Toss the nuts in the mix and stir lightly.  Serve warm.


Click on here for the recipe.  It is a Barefoot Contessa recipe.  It’s also listed below.

You can also put in a jar and eat handfuls when you “need” them!  See the card for Vonda’s new project (North 40 designs). Very creative!  I love her passion and it was neat talking to her about her different inspirations.  I look forward to seeing what she does next.  IMG_4674

Rosemary Cashew Ingredients
1 1/4 pounds cashew nuts
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon melted butter

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Place the nuts on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes until they are warmed through. Meanwhile, combine the rosemary, pepper, sugar, salt and butter in a large bowl. Toss the warm nuts with the rosemary mixture until the nuts are completely coated. Serve warm.


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