Chika Griswold is an Edina mother of three who prides herself on making wholesome food at home. She makes her own almond milk, yogurt, bread and cheese straws, among other things. Nuts are a natural extension of her efforts and are at the heart of her paleo and vegan roasted nuts business, Num Nuts.
“To be honest, I was kind of against the name,” Griswold says.
“It’s a cheeky play on words that gets your attention,” Jeff Griswold, Chika’s husband, says. Jeff came up with the name. “And of course the play on words is funny.” He’s referring to the slang term “numb nuts,” which is defined in the Urban Dictionary as “a person of severely limited intellectual prowess.” Nevertheless, the name is ironic for someone like Chika, a person of extremely broad culinary talents, who thinks Num Nuts is more than just a cheeky name.
This cottage snack-food business started in Chika’s kitchen two years ago. “I would look for mixed roasted nuts and I would never be able to find something that I really liked,” Chika says. “They were always too salty or too sweet. I thought, ‘How hard could it be to make it?’ ” Chika looked for nut recipes on the internet and found many recipes that fit a paleo diet—the popular diet derived from what is thought to be the regimen of prehistoric humans–high in fruit, nuts, lean meat and has no grain or processed food.
“I just started throwing things together, adding different kinds of nuts and omitting nuts that my family didn’t like,” Chika says. She would bring her nuts to parties or give them away as hostess gifts. “My confidence grew. A lot of people were actually telling me that I should do something with this and that I had something that was really special,” Chika says.
She became a registered cottage food producer and certified food safety manager so she could sell the nuts she makes in her home kitchen. Num Nuts also sells a paleo version of granola that Chika calls “gravel.” “We kept wanting to call it granola,” Jeff says. “But it’s paleo. It’s not granola. It’s something else. And so the idea of gravel came to mind. Because it’s paleo and gravel’s in a cave.”
Gravel can be used like regular granola: in trail mixes, mixed with yogurt, with fruit or raisins thrown into it. “I actually have it like a cereal with my almond milk every morning. You can also put it on apples or fruit,” Chika says.
In addition to gravel, Num Nuts sells mixed nuts with cashews, pecans, and almonds. Num Nuts debuted at the Morningside Holiday Market in 2016 and Chika hopes to be at the Linden Hills Farmers Market this spring. Num Nuts are sold in glass jars for $16. Smaller bags of nuts called “nut sacks” may also soon be available. To order, visit numnuts.biz or call 612.308.9036.
As for the name, Chika has thought about changing it. But now she says, “I’m stuck with it. I like it now. I think it fits us, too. I think we’re trying not to take things too seriously. And you definitely remember the name.”
Nut Gravel Fruit Crisp
(Serves 4 to 6)
4 cups diced fruit (we suggest apples and mixed berries)
1 tsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. maple syrup
2 Tbsp. arrowroot powder
2 Tbsp. almond flour
1 cup Num Nuts Nut Gravel
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a shallow pie dish or ovenproof skillet, toss the fruit with lemon juice, maple syrup, arrowroot powder, and almond flour, and distribute evenly. Sprinkle Nut Gravel all over the fruit.
Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving. Serve as is or with coconut cream, whipped cream or ice cream.