I love granola, but have a heckuva time finding granola in the stores that I can actually eat, because I am allergic to rice and most commercial granolas have puffed rice in them. A neighbor of mine made some at home, though, and that, combined with finding a good recipe on Sparkpeople.com, gave me the courage to try to make my own. I've tweaked it to suit me, but this stuff is awesome.
2 cups old fashioned oats
1/4 cup wheat germ (sold in the cereal section at both Target and the grocery store, and keeps forever a long time in the fridge)
1/2 cup almonds (or more, I really like them so I tend to throw in a lot)
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup pepitas, or pumpkin seeds
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup maple syrup (NOT imitation, don't skimp, use the good stuff. It makes a difference)
1/4 cup apple juice concentrate (I usually get a can and divvy it up into 1/4 cup portions, pour them into snack-size ziploc bags, and freeze. I can usually get 6 batches of granola from one can)
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup dried cherries
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Mix everything except the cranberries and cherries together in a big bowl, then spread thinly on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 35-45 minutes, stirring every ten-fifteen minutes, but making sure to spread it back out thinly each time. After it cools, stir in the cherries and cranberries, then eat it. Each serving is 1/4 cup, and my favorite way to eat it is as a topping to greek yogurt over fruit of some kind. It's so good, I usually eat it for breakfast every day, but it doesn't last long in this house.
Hug your kids extra tight tonight, extra, extra tight, and love them up, and count your blessings. Because today, I'm hugging my Trout and holding her while she cries and talks about William McQuain, her band classmate, whose body was found this morning. How do you talk to your child about the murder of her 11-year-old classmate and his mother, allegedly at the hands of his step father? HOW? No one should ever have to have this conversation, because THIS SHOULD NOT HAPPEN.
This morning Little Man came into the kitchen and grabbed his wallet out of my desk drawer where it lives when it isn't needed so I can keep siblings from stealing and help him think about his purchases so he can be intentional with his money.
"What are you getting your wallet out for?" He stood there counting his money, then muttering under his breath while I looked at him quizzically.
"Here. I have $135 saved up to give to Santa toward my iPod touch, so here's the rest, $28. It's for charity, I want you to donate it, then I'll be broke." He still believes in Santa despite the mounting evidence that everyone else over the age of eight doesn't. We know we need to tell him because he's getting teased, but aren't sure how to do it without breaking his heart. But I digress.
"Are you sure? Then you won't have anything left if anything comes up."
"Well, what charity do you want me to send it to?"
"Whatever you want. Just donate it." Then we had a discussion about how if he's going to donate his hard-earned money, it should be to a cause that is meaningful to him. We talked about his past charities (Children's Hospital, BREW Beagle rescue, and Susan G. Komen) and where we are right now, and how the son of my BFF's annoying little brother (who for a good chunk of my life might as well have been my own annoying little brother) has diabetes and the other one was diagnosed with leukemia last week.
"Yes, that. Send it all there," he said. So there it will go, along with a match from BDF and me.
If you need something to do with some of your hard-earned pennies, send them to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, for Ethan, and his dad, George. Because three year olds shouldn't have cancer, and parents shouldn't have that kind of stress, even annoying "little" brothers.
I'm starting a new feature here in the Fish Pond called Recipe Tuesday. Obviously, I'm going to post a new recipe every Tuesday, at least until I run out of recipes that people keep asking me for.
We got a huge bounty of apples at our local orchard - my favorite Matsu's, which are big and sweet like a golden delicious but still crisp, and a 1/2 bushel of Fuji seconds to make applesauce. This is one of my favorite fall recipes because it's easy, smells great when it's cooking, and is delicious. And did I mention it's easy? I got this off of Flylady's website but then tweaked it a bit after experimenting for a bit. It's a little different than a traditional recipe because all quantities are based on how many people you want to serve. I like to fill up the crockpot so I have leftovers, then freeze them.
Flylady Reader Pork Chops
1 or 2 pork chops per person (I like to use thick cut, boneless pork chops, but I've done this recipe with a whole pork loin roast and it worked great) 1 small sweet potato per person 1 apple per person (the Matsu's are great for this if you can get them) 1/2 sweet onion per person Salt and pepper Cinnamon Brown Sugar Apple juice or cider
Clean onions and slice - place in bottom of crockpot.
Clean potatoes well and slice into thick slices. Place on top of onions. Sprinkle with a bit of brown sugar and salt.
Rinse pork chops with clear running water, trim off any large pieces of fat and place in crockpot over onions, and add a bit of salt and pepper. Slice and core the apples (you can peel them if you like, but I usually just leave the peels on). Place over pork chops. Sprinkle apples with cinnamon and a bit of brown sugar.
Pour in apple juice or cider to cover 1/3 of the mixture. Set crockpot on high for 2 hours, then set to low to finish - will take a good 3 hours or more, depending on how full the pot is. The onions end up all sweet and stringy and the apples are like baked apples.
Super easy, very forgiving if you have to fudge it a bit, and yummy. Enjoy!
* I wish I had a photo, but Trout dropped and broke my camera this past weekend, of course the morning when I'd planned a big photo essay for my 18th wedding anniversary. I have a new camera now but still don't know how to use it well enough, so that'll have to wait, maybe for a future wordless wednesday.