Sunday, November 6, 2011

LESLIE'S HOMEMADE GRANOLA, AND TODAY'S RANDOM SMILE-WORTHY MOMENTS!


  (My Dad, The Donald, back in the day, loving every moment with his precious horse)
                                      

"The ability to be in the present moment is a major component of mental wellness."
-Abraham Maslow

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In my grand attempts lately to live fully, authentically, in the present moment, here are some very random snippets of my glorious November Sunday morning that made me smile. First up, cats who actually know how to WALK ON TWO LEGS (not really, Margaret just wants out for the 10,949th time already this morning, but still, this photo is pretty cool, no?).............



And fat old cats who love lazing about in the early morning sunshine............




(And speaking of critters....check out this new dog bed I found for our mutt Willie Nelson Willard--he actually SLEEPS on it, which makes me feel so much better than thinking of him on our cold and hard wood floors. Also, see this strange little green thing on top? It's name is Greenie, and it's the ONLY toy Willie will play with, ever. Pretty funny, since this one was about 49 cents at Wal Mart, unlike the gazillion expensive toys from Petsmart that he never even sniffs! Pitiful, if you ask me.................)


Walking the dog on brisk and sunny November mornings always makes me happy, big time.....................



My favorite neighbor's house....shhhh, think they're still asleep over there! We're so glad they're home from their super cross country RV trip, safe and sound...........



More cool neighbor's homes.......this yard sign always makes me smile......



Brisk November skies...the light is just so different this time of year......



Back inside, oh how my home office makes me grin.....it's where all the "magic" happens!.............



My office's reading chair.................


Speaking of reading, here's an awesome new Elizabeth Berg novel I've really been enjoying this weekend, entitled Once Upon A Time, There Was You.  She is truly one of my all-time favorite authors...............



I've decorated a lot of my office with my old blue and white porcelain collection that I just couldn't find room for in the rest of the house.......



My great-grandmother's china that has survived so many earthquakes.....



And my most PRIZED possession of all time....seriously, I need to have this framed! Abbie made it for me when she was about 9, after we had a rather heated disagreement about something or other and she stormed off, slamming the door after her. About 10 minutes later, she came back downstairs with this in her hand, full of apologies. So very sweet! I'm smiling just thinking of the memory......

(By the way, if you can't read this, it says, "Bestest mom in the world forever award". Mmmm Hmmm!)

My little ivy topiaries always bring a smile to my face, especially when they're loving the morning sunshine like they are today......I have kept these alive since moving them here by car, from California to Nebraska, then allll the way to New York. Sheesh, that's over 10 years now ...guess I don't have such a black thumb, after all!............




I try to scatter things about our home that make me smile, and the kitchen is no exception. Loving my Williams Sonoma rooster dishtowels....you know me and my chickens!.............


My Uncle Joe gave me this beautiful antique tea cannister when I was out in California earlier this month....I will think of him forever when I see this handy little container......



And finally, I love to collect items from our travels, and this next one is especially dear to me, because my husband surprised me with this silver pineapple during a recent trip to one of our favorite cities, Charleston, South Carolina. Every time I see it, I am taken back to the fun we had there.......did you know that pineapples are the international sign of hospitality?.........



See, I told you this was a random list! I think it's so important to look around our familiar surroundings, each and every day, and really appreciate what, and who, we have in our lives. So, what made YOU smile today?

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Homemade Granola. Hmmmm, why go to all the trouble? Well, for one, it really just tastes better than most of the boxed cereals out there. And, you can totally control what goes into it, adding or deleting ingredients to suit your dietary needs and tastes. Mr. Badass BEGGED me to make this for him again the other day--he says that I used to make it all the time when Little Miss Thing was still living at home. Guess I've just gotten lazy!

I find most of the ingredients for this Granola in bulk, so it's really pretty inexpensive to make. I like to make a nice, big batch of it, sometimes even doubling the recipe, and then freezing it in large freezer bags. To begin, combine old fashioned oats, flaked coconut, pecan halves and raisins in a large bowl (or, you can use any nuts you have on hand, and maybe substitute cranberries or golden raisins. Be creative!)...........



In a saucepan on the stove, combine canola oil, brown sugar, peanut butter (buy your peanut butter up soon up soon--prices are going through the ROOF, I hear!), honey, cinnamon and vanilla over medium heat. Stir until melted and combined............



Pour over oat mixture and stir until well combined...............



Spread mixture out onto 2 rimmed and greased baking sheets......



Bake for 50 minutes, stirring each 20 minutes or so, until lightly golden brown (do not overbrown). Cool pans on wire racks, stirring once to break up clumps........



This granola makes for a wonderful breakfast, as it's full of protein from the peanut butter and pecans. We also love it as a topping for ice cream, or used in yogurt parfaits. Of course, it's best with just plain ol' milk and a spoon!............



Here's the recipe......

LESLIE'S HOMEMADE GRANOLA
Makes about 10 cups

6 cups old fashioned oats
2 cups flaked coconut
2 cups pecan halves
1 cup raisins
1 / 3 cup canola oil
1 / 2 cup brown sugar
1 / 2 cup peanut butter (regular or crunchy)
1 / 2 cup honey
3 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla

Preaheat oven to 325 degrees. Combine oats, coconut, pecan halves and raisins in a large bowl. In a saucepan, combine oil, brown sugar, peanut butter, honey, cinnamon and vanilla. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until smooth. Pour over oat mixture and stir well until combined. Spread mixture out evenly onto 2 rimmed and greased baking pans. Bake for 50 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Cool pans on wire racks, stirring once to break up clumps after 10 minutes. Store in airtight containers for up to 2 weeks, or freeze.

TODAY I'M SO THANKFUL FOR.....

***My patient husband, for teaching me how to properly create and use an Excel spreadsheet, about 10 years after the rest of the world has learned. There is NO excuse for me!

***The fun conversation yesterday with our daughter, planning our annual holiday cookie party! She tells me her friends are actually begging her to be invited--such pressure!

***That the suspicious bump on my mom's arm was squamous cell skin cancer, instead of melanoma, which runs heavily in our families. Squamous cell skin cancer is totally treatable. (In fact, I had a melanoma removed from my leg last year, but because of my eagle-eyed dermatologist, we caught it just in time...whew!).

1 comment:

  1. AHHHHH cookie party! I'm so excited!

    ReplyDelete