Blog Archive

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Holy Granoly

I've been making this granola for several years now. It's a modified version of Megan's Granola on Once Jennifer entered our family, I started making it gluten free instead so I can share it with her.

This recipe is a great way for us to use up the dark honey we harvest each September. It's a little intense in flavor kind of like a mild molasses.

This granola is soooooooooo yummy!


  • 8 cups rolled oats
  • 1.5 cups oat bran
  • 1.5 cups unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds (the cheapest ones are in the snack packs at the store--they're salted so I just rinse them in a sieve first)
  • 1 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup finely chopped almonds (I pulse whole almonds in the food processor)
  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans (again with the food processor)
  • 1.5 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 brown sugar
  • 1/4 maple syrup (it's okay to use maple flavored syrup like Log Cabin)
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 1 cup of vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 (or more) cups dried fruit, such as cranberries, raisins, chopped apricots or apples

I used to make the granola all at once, but then we had Eddie so now I break it into parts over a whole day: measure out dry ingredients, make sauce, bake, cool, mix in fruit and package for storage...and then the dreaded clean up.
Here are all the dry ingredients.
The sauce calls for what seems like a lot of oil. But per serving it's only 1.5 teaspoons. I omitted the oil once and it stuck really badly to the foil. 
I always use my giant restaurant supply store bowls when making granola--it makes a lot!  Here it is uncooked.
I stir and rotate the pans every 6-7 minutes to prevent burning.
Dave and I like having some clumps mixed in with the loose granola so I try to cook at least 1/3 of the recipe a little longer than the rest to preserve some clumps. Even better is to use extra sauce in one portion for better clumping.
You can use any dried fruit in the granola--we usually add raisins and cranberries.
Half gallon jars are about as tall as a cereal box so it'll slide right into the cabinet next to our other cereals.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Christmas Break Trip to the Bay Area

Eddie was off of school and daycare for two weeks so we took advantage!

The first week we went down to Livermore/Mountain View. This was to visit Grandpa and Uncle but also to give Dadda some time alone to work on the Coast House. We're soooooooooo close to having a kitchen downstairs.  The 'honey do' list didn't get completed due to some water company emergencies but that's okay.  I'm thrilled to report that after a week out of town, we came home to two (almost completely) finished bedrooms downstairs.  We got to move in and hang curtains in them upon our return. YAY!!!!!

I'll have to remind myself of what we did on our bay area adventures.  Here goes:

Eddie and his classmates performed the most adorable renditions of Jingle Bells in English and Spanish at the elementary school holiday concert.  Eddie's in the green shirt. The kids sang along with a recorded tape but you could hear Eddie adding his own opera-style touches to the songs.

Right after school was out for the day, Eddie and I drove down to Livermore to my dad's house.
Eddie helped Grandpa grind up beef and potatoes for some yummy hash for dinner. My dad also made Harvard beets. I knew Eddie wouldn't want to eat them if he saw them so I made him close his eyes for a taste first. He loved them--even after he saw them. He and I ate so many that our pee was pink the whole next day!

When Eddie wasn't whining or yelling (driving Grandpa up the wall) he cuddled a bit.
 It was beautiful outside during our visit (thanks, drought) but I did struggle with keeping Eddie busy during out visit.
He did a lot of dishes...and Grandpa had to position two 25 pound sacks of lead shot on the stool to keep it from sliding out from under Eddie.

On Saturday afternoon we packed up Clifford the Big Red Truck and headed up to my dad's cabin.  Auntie and Uncle rode their bikes there and had a fire going for us when we arrived. It was cooooooold up there!  This was Eddie first time to the cabin.  My dad and his friend bought the cabin property--Far Side Ranch--when I was in fifth grade as a place to take their suburban kids to learn how to handle/shoot guns, build fires, and other wilderness essentials. 
Eddie and I slept in the Wreden's room. It was below freezing outside and not much warmer in the bedrooms but still, I found Eddie uncovered when I finally went to bed.

Eddie woke up the next morning ready to play!  But it was soooo cold outside that we kept busy inside enjoying a fire and reading books, being as quiet as possible so Auntie and Uncle could sleep in.

The most exciting thing for Eddie (besides pooping outside since the cabin bathroom is currently out of commission), was throwing rocks on the icy pond.

We cooked up a yummy gluten free breakfast once everyone was awake!

We hiked through the chaparral to see the valley. 

This is the front of the cabin. My dad and Carter (co-owner) came up on Sunday afternoon to repair the leaky roof and hang out. We had a yummy outdoor pasta lunch before we packed up and headed back to Livermore.

Eddie and I shared my mom's old room at my folks' house. It is weird to sleep in there but at least we have an attached bathroom and a heater (in an otherwise unheated house).
There were a few must-do's for our Livermore visit: visit a new park, have ice cream at Loard's, visit Deacon Dave's house for the lights display, get donuts at Donut Wheel, go sledding in the snow, and see friends. We did most of those things.

We visited two new-to-Eddie parks and got to have an ice cream date before a quick visit with my childhood friend, Ariel, at a coffeeshop.

Visiting Deacon Dave's almost didn't happen--but we braved a crazy long line while Eddie did the pee-pee dance the whole time. (If I'd had someone with me I would have been able to find a place for him to pee but since I was alone--as I was most of the trip--he had to hold it. I offered for us to leave and find a potty but he was determined to see the lights.)

Eddie stood still just long enough for a picture before we bolted back to the car.
When we heard that one of my friends, April, was stuck at home with the flu, Eddie and I decided to pick up some Thai food and her favorite hot-and-sour soup to deliver to her house. She mentioned it was her hubby's birthday and they'd have to miss out on celebrating because of her flu. So we picked up a dozen donuts and delivered half of them to her house so they could have a small celebration.  It felt good to do something nice with Eddie--he was a little confused why we couldn't stay to play with her kids but I think he sort of figured out the charity.

Visiting other friends just fell between the cracks--the effort involved in finding suitable times was too much for me toward the end.

We also cancelled the snow trip, which we'd planned to do with Uncle after Christmas. There just wasn't enough snow to justify a whole day's driving to and from the Sierra.  Hopefully there'll be a significant storm at SOME point this winter so we can get some frozen play time logged.

My dad has been on a fermentation kick lately. He told me that the sauerkraut was ready so I suggested that he corn some beef so we could have Reubens one night. While the meat was smoking, Eddie and I made a batch of caraway rye bread.
Homemade Reuben sandwiches!  Blurry, but gooooooooood.
We ended our visit to Livermore a little earlier than planned. It was clear that loud, rambunctious Eddie had worn out his welcome in my dad's usually-quiet house. Karma-wise, I'm not sure what I did in previous lives to deserve to have a child with two sets of grandparents who are um...not as kid-accommodating as I'd like. Everyone loves Eddie, of course, but as an active young boy his energy requires a lot of 'directing.' And I was just plain tired of having to control it in order to keep my dad from grumbling. I'm working on reducing my intense jealousy toward alllllll my friends with parents who eagerly (or at least willingly) babysit and hang out with their grandkids. Mamas and Daddies need a friggin' break sometimes!  That they don't have to pay for. Especially at other peoples' houses. Grumble grumble grumble.

So...we headed to Uncle's apartment in Mountain View on Christmas Eve!
Cartoons were watched...

We went on a 9-mile Christmas Day bike ride through the Googleplex and along the bay trail.
I don't know what I was thinking, but I totally forgot to bring along snacks for this ride. Our first stop on the ride was to the grocery store for dinner fixings so we ended up nibbling on the green beans during a break.
Eddie, Uncle, and Auntie. It was 65F on Christmas--a lovely day for a ride.

Eddie, Uncle, and Auntie on the bay trail. Our goal was to go see NASA (in the distance on the left) but Eddie was getting tired so we headed home instead.
Eddie has totally outgrown his bike but that didn't stop him from zooming around.
 Dyani and Brice invited us over to share their Christmas dinner with her parents and grandmother. We really enjoyed the roast goose and veggies, plantain stuffing, warm veggie quinoa salad, and Aunti's homemade egg nog ice cream. The wine and Auntie's guava cordial were the icing on the cake.  Or maybe sitting at the table and singing Christmas carols in French and English was the best's hard to say!
Eddie and Batiste were two peas in a pod. I couldn't believe that they both sat at the table for nearly the whole meal!  Letting them have some play time was much-needed for Eddie, who was definitely getting tired of hanging out with just me by this point on the trip. The boys played pretty well together, with regularly spaced bouts of whining/crying when one wanted the toy the other was playing with. 'Tis the age.
Batiste, Kateri, and Eddie.  Eddie used those bells to sing Cascabel (Jingle Bells in Spanish) for everyone at the table!
The day after Christmas we went on another bike ride to return some Redbox movies. Auntie was working from home that day and we wanted to keep the place quiet for her. As soon as we got back, we went in the hot tub--one of my favorite things to do at Uncle's house!
Sunny and warm!  I should have packed shorts.
 At the Coast House, we didn't yet have a living room set up. It was SUCH a treat to sit on the couch at Edward's and watch movies with Edward and Jennifer after Eddie was in bed. We watched two holiday movies: The Family Stone and Four Christmases. We'd all seen them before but sometimes familiarity is just what you want.
After the van was packed up on Friday, Eddie and Uncle played cars in the living room for a bit.
Dave and I made an arrangement with Santa that he'd not visit our house until we got home.  Santa said it was fine since Gualala is sooooooooo out of the way anyway. Eddie knew this, so he was an eager helper on our drive back up the coast. He was such a good boy on our Costco run--I think he knew he needed to be extra good so that Santa would actually come.
Eddie insists that we use a giant orange flatbed cart at Costco. He likes it because he can hop on/off unassisted whenever we need to load something onto the cart. I can completely trust him to get those two gallon packs of milk out of the fridge compartment and put them on the cart unassisted. I get some glares from fellow shoppers when I stand at the cart while Eddie gets the milk but he likes it, I swear!  See what an independent kid he is?  A 40 pound kid holding a 25 pound sack of sugar. So sweet, hahahaha.  
Overall it was a good trip, if not completely exhausting for me. But the goal was to let Eddie see Grandpa and Uncle (check!) and to give Dave some time to work on the house without Eddie trying to "help" (check!).