It’s stock show time! Right now the National Western Stock Show is in full swing in Denver. For me this event brings back memories of some of my first experiences as Miss Rodeo South Dakota, a year in which I learned so much about myself, met so many wonderful people, and got to attend rodeos across the country and my state.
Speaking of stock shows, one of my favorite stock shows is right around the corner, the Black Hills Stock Show and Rodeo! Every year thousands dig out their cowboy boots and Wrangler jeans in the dead of winter in the Black Hills of South Dakota for the annual event.
For me the smells of the Black Hills Stock Show bring the event to life! There are no words to describe that first inhale as you walk through the doors to the rodeo arena, one of livestock, horses, and everything western. For me it brings back every single memory I have with horses and rodeo.
As a former Miss Rodeo South Dakota, my heart still skips a beat every time I see that beautiful cowgirl carrying Old Glory in the spotlight. The excitement is electrifying as fireworks spark and the horses speed by effortlessly. Rodeo holds a special place in my heart because of the wonderful people I met in the sport and the many memories I made with my family and friends.
But the Black Hills Stock Show also hosts home to an amazing horse sale, ranch rodeos, bull ridings, art shows, and 4-H youth events. Oh and we can’t forget the trade show, western shopping at its finest.
Walking into the trade show the smell of vanilla cinnamon almonds permeates the room. As a shopping connoisseur it is almost impossible to not stop and at least sample the decadent almonds but most often the sample elicits buying a few pounds to munch on the entire day.
Last year at the Black Hills Stock Show, there were no almonds! That sweet vanilla sugary scent had been eradicated from the building, so this year I’m taking it upon myself to cook up a batch at home! These almonds are a cinch to make and every cowboy and cowgirl will be asking you for more. They are sweet and crunchy, but also satisfying. They will definitely give you the energy needed to get through all of those wonderful stock show events. So this year as I travel to Rapid City for this show stopping event, I will be toting my own almonds!
Memories can have a significant power, power over our emotions and power over the choices we make for the future. Remembering those memories and sometimes the delicious smells that go with them can be a rewarding experience.
Cinnamon Sugar Vanilla Almonds
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. dark brown sugar
1/2 t. salt
1 T. cinnamon
1 egg white
1 T. vanilla
3 1/2 c. whole almonds
Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat mat. In a bowl combine sugars, cinnamon, and salt. In a large bowl whisk egg white until frothy, then whisk in vanilla. Mix in the almonds and stir to coat. Then add sugar mixture and stir to coat all almonds.
Spread almonds evenly onto a baking sheet. Bake for 60-70 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Enjoy warm or cool completely and store in an air-tight container.