Valentine’s Day Special – the video personal that led to my wife Kendra

Today I’m dipping back into the personal electronic archives to share a little Hank Huckle Valentine’s Day history – it’s the exact video personal I posted that brought me to my now wife Kendra! Well, actually it was also due to a little intervention from some folks in our mutual church group, but this video is the first time Kendra saw me and it made her go full team ahead across the romance ocean. But, that’s just Kendra’s way.

Now, as to the slightly embarrassing video, I’m just going to take a deep breath, and get right to it…

Honestly, it’s a little funny to look back at. I was so young, serious, and naive back then. I was trying so hard to appear business-like, I almost don’t recognize myself! I’m such a different person with my wife Kendra in my life, even though we spend so much time apart — she’s frequently visiting her family back in her homeland and bringing them suitcases of canned goods. This is a little bit of an aside, but Kendra’s family loves Jiffy Mix cornbread and canned SPAM so much, and they just have a hard time getting it fresh in their home country. Have you tried fresh SPAM? Anyhow, Kendra frequently heads out there for a visit, food drop, and a traditional multi-day canned food banquet. That’s just the way they do things.

So, on this Valentine’s Day, I not only want to salute my special lady, but I also want single out all you who might still be looking for your romantical connection. As my video proves, your Valentine will find you no matter how serious and cheese filled your video profile might be. So keep fighting the good fight and may cupid’s arrow find its mark through your tangled life forest!

In the meantime, treat yourself to some quality Valentine’s chocolates. You deserve them.


Nutella Recipe for Realz (aka – chocolate hazelnut spread)

There are few guilty pleasures I enjoy more than a flaky piece of baguette lacquered with a thick layer of hazelnut chocolate spread. While the commercial Nutella recipe is certainly delectable, when you try this home crafted version you’ll get a whole new appreciation for this treat! For one, you actually taste the rich hazelnuts (my favorite nut!) and if you use a quality cocoa powder, you’ll get a whole different chocolate profile that with the commercial versions.

The basic recipe I came across on the sugoodsweets blog was simple and delicious. And I even found a short, cute litte video that showed how to do it all in a food processor:

The chocolate hazelnut spread ingredients:

    2 cups whole, warm roasted hazelnuts
    1 cup powdered sugar
    1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
    up to 1/4 cup vegetable or nut oil
    1/2 tsp vanilla extract

You really don’t need to add that much oil, if any, and I reduced the amount of sugar on my second batch a little bit, just to get more of the nut flavor I love. But you can experiment to your heart’s delight. Sugoodsweets has a second more elaborate recipe, but I opted for the simple version. I can’t make enough of this stuff to keep Kendra happy, and the guys down at the book shop have been eating it up during our afternoon snack break. Once you make this yourself, you likely won’t want to go back to that famous commercial spread!


Rice Krispie Treats Recipe, with Poet!

With his sister Hero (star of the snack cake episode), Poet is the other half of my dynamic local lemonade stand duo that serves up some of the most reliably delicious street treats you will find. Poet is largely responsible for ringing the “lemonade gong” which announces when their stand is open for business. Luckily, he agreed to stop ringing it one recent weekend morning after I invited him and his sister to share their recipes on video, which worked out really well for all of us!

Poet says the secret to crafting really good rice krispie treats is to make sure you get your marshmallows nice and completely melty, but to be careful not to burn them. I also learned that if you coat your spatula in a little bit of vegetable oil, it makes all the difference when you’re pressing the finished gooey puffed rice ball into your greased pan. No sticking bits! But I have to say that eating these fresh out of the pan reminded me how wonderfully simple a great dessert treat can be.

Poet’s Rice Krispie treats:

Rice Krispie Treats Recipe:

    3 Tbs. butter
    4 Cups mini marshmallows (or 1 package of regular marshmallows)
    6 Cups Rice Krispies
    buttered 9×13 pan

Spicy Nuts Recipe!

Who can resist a tantalizing bowl of spicy nuts? Barring any severe nut allergies, I’d wager the answer is that nobody can resist spicy nuts! Especially these magical nuts spiced by my men’s group friend, Alex. Alex has been doing all kinds of nut spicing over the years, and I think he’s come up with a winning recipe. It’s simple, not too fussy, and goes great with a little bit of bourbon or other evening beverage. My wife Kendra can’t get enough of these nuts.

The secret to this recipe, I think, is to get your nuts nice and toasted in the oven before anything else. When your house starts to smell like nuts, you know you’re on the right track. Don’t burn them though! That would be the wrong track. Once the nuts emerge from the oven, Alex tosses them in a pan with spices and bourbon mixed with sugar and vanilla which helps give the whole mixture a delicious sweet & spicy combo. You’re going to love Alex’s nuts!

Here’s Alex showing how it’s done:

Spicy Nuts Recipe:

    1.5 Cups raw pecans
    2 Tbs. Macadamia nut oil. (or peanut or vegetable will do in a pinch)
    Splash of sesame oil
    1/4 Cup Bourbon
    2 Tbs Sugar
    1 tsp. vanilla extract
    Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper

One thing about serving nuts is that you really need the right dish. Kendra and I got this monkey nut dish as a gift once, and we just love the way the monkeys lord over the nuts in the bowl below.

A lovely nut dish, with monkeys.

A lovely nut dish, with monkeys.

You can also use the bowl for fruit if you’d like, but really, it’s about spicy nuts!