Amaranth “Happiness” Candy

(Amaranth “happiness” candy)

A very good friend has been complaining about being single. Her objection to spinsterhood (plus one cat) stems mostly from the fact she feels as though she has done everything expected in life – education, job, own home, own car – and yet there is still one thing that remains so elusive – a relationship. Commit to doing all the right things and happiness will follow? So not true, she grumbled.

I guess I could’ve given her the spiel about how some things take time. That we often place greater value on what we don’t have, rather than what we already have. I could’ve said a million things and sprouted enough catch phrases to fill three self-help books, but it seemed as though this was one of those times where all you’re expected to do is listen. If we’re lucky, age and experience eventually fills in the gaps where advice from friends have failed.

I was once lucky enough to work for an amazing chef whose technique still influences me to this day. There was a piece of advice she gave me out of the blue one day, that really stuck with me (though I didn’t realise it at the time). She said, Never be afraid to ask for what you’re worth. It has taken almost five years for this to sink in. It wasn’t about suddenly gaining a measure of self-worth. I think I finally remembered that I had value.

No one is going to evaluate you like a piece of furniture or a 3-bedroom house. Self-worth is something you have to price for yourself, not forgetting that happiness does not automatically follow.

Incidentally, I know a good looking 30-something female with a steady career and wide circle of friends who is looking for a similar guy with a long term relationship in mind. Know any one suitable? Drop me a line.

Amaranth “Happiness” Candy :
(recipe from My Sweet Mexico by Fany Gerson)

1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans
1/2 cup lightly toasted peanuts
1/2 cup dark raisins
1/2 cup lightly toasted pumpkin seeds [I used sunflower seeds]
8 ounces chopped piloncillo [I used 200g brown sugar]
1/2 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice
4 ounces puffed amaranth seeds [I used 120g]

Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Combine the pecans, peanuts, raisins and pumpkin seeds in a bowl and spread on the prepared pan.

Combine the piloncillo, honey and lemon juice in a medium pot over medium heat and cook until the piloncillo has melted and the mixture has thickened slightly, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the amaranth seeds, stirring quickly to mix everything well. Pour into the pan with the nuts and seeds, and carefully press down with slightly damp hands (so you don’t burn yourself) to compact the mixture.

Allow to cool completely, 30 to 40 minutes at least, then invert onto a cutting board. Cut the mixture into the desired shapes with a sharp knife. If it seems to be sticking to the knife, simply dip the knife into hot water, dry, and continue cutting.

Tags: , , , , ,


  1. Rosa said,

    July 31, 2011 @ 7:08 pm

    Healthy and addictive!



  2. leaf (the indolent cook) said,

    July 31, 2011 @ 7:14 pm

    Well, I can see why it’s called happiness candy – a healthy portion of this would make me very happy indeed! May we all find positivity and contentment in our lives. 🙂

  3. Hannah said,

    July 31, 2011 @ 10:08 pm

    The non-food part of this post cut right into my throat, for after spending most of my life not minding being single (to be honest, I was too caught up in disliking myself to care), it’s now something that makes me feel abnormal and unhappy at times. You absolutely did the right thing in just listening, and not spouting platitudes. Feel free to add “… and a 20-something lady in Canberra” to your list too 😉

    Now, the food part…. OH MY! I’m such a sucker for interesting grains and, even more so, nuts and seeds and, even more so, anything sweet, so yes yes yes! I would like all of this, please 🙂

  4. Anita @ said,

    July 31, 2011 @ 10:11 pm

    What a great message. I’ve been struggling with that same challenge myself this week. I’m a third year medical student on my surgery rotation, and I got yelled at all week for doing different things incorrectly. My mom said to me that if I center myself and understand that I will one day get the hang of all this, any amount of discouragement from other people won’t be able to affect me in a negative way.

    I’ll be trying the recipe soon, thanks!

  5. Y said,

    July 31, 2011 @ 11:33 pm

    Hannah : Sorry to hear that. It’s hard, as in the case of my friend who, as time goes on, finds herself increasingly surrounded by people/other friends in the process of starting their own families – something she very much wants.

    Anita @ : Yelling seems to be a natural response in my line of work too. You just have to roll with the punches some times, I’ve come to realise 🙂

  6. Scott at Real Epicurean said,

    August 1, 2011 @ 7:06 am

    Happiness I could do with – something never to be refused, so I’ll give this one a go.

  7. Mir said,

    August 2, 2011 @ 8:17 am

    Nutty goodness that I will need in a few days 🙂 Some things takes time, other thing happens when you least expect it.

  8. Julia @ Mélanger said,

    August 2, 2011 @ 10:38 am

    Self-worth? If only we could all could calculate our own self-worth accurately. I think this fluctuates between different people more than the stock market at times! But it’s so important, and drives so much of your life. But as you say, not necessarily producing happiness. Unlike this candy though, of course! 🙂

  9. InTolerantChef said,

    August 2, 2011 @ 9:28 pm

    Self worth is such a tricky issue isn’t it, I wish we had a definite recipe for that one! I’ll have to settle for some happiness candy instead!

  10. Emma said,

    August 2, 2011 @ 11:40 pm

    Yes, this is a tricky one. I’m sure all the accomplishments (education, job, house) could pile up and feel like nothing, if there is no one to share it with – and you let it get to you. I’ve been in that place before. But wait! She has a cat! I can say with certainty that my cat got me through those difficult times; I hope she feels similar about hers:)

    For awhile I was so convinced I was going to be a crazy old cat lady, rambling about dryer lint and clipping coupons, all in a few months’ time. But life has a funny way of moving along, and I am still coupon-free. I hope the best for your friend!

  11. mademoiselle délicieuse said,

    August 4, 2011 @ 12:56 am

    It’s hard and intriguing and fascinating the number of things which we beat ourselves up about. You make the best of plans and life has a way of just happening and bringing along unexpected sadness and the most unexpected happiness as well. If we knew when, how and where our significant events would occur then it would all be very boring, not to mention it would rob us the chance to dream of unexpected things.

  12. Annie said,

    September 4, 2011 @ 7:59 am

    IMO opinion the secret to happiness is to be happy. Happiness is internal. Maybe your friend needs to be happy alone before she can find the right mate. I think this is often the case.

    Also I think some people have standards that are impossibly high…for other people. ;D

    And finally, some of us just don’t meet the right man until we are a bit older. Maybe this is a question of waiting for the men to mature!

  13. Sweet Hampers said,

    September 7, 2011 @ 11:37 pm

    True, if you want to be happy then be happy. Your job, your bank account and other people cant make you happy its only you who can do that for yourself.

RSS feed for comments on this post · TrackBack URI

Leave a Comment