Thursday, January 28, 2010

Yummy Recipes - Homemade Granola

Cooking is one of my very favorite things to do. I wasn't interested in cooking at all until just a few years ago. Now I can't get enough of it. I like trying new recipes and anticipating how they will turn out. I like making people happy with food, namely my hubby. I like recipes that look fancy and complicated, but don't have a million ingredients. Some of my cooking rules are, "If the ingredient list is longer than the recipe instructions, I'm not making it!" and "If I don't know immediately where an ingredient is located in the grocery store, I'm not making that recipe!" Also, I prefer to have at least 75% of the ingredients already on hand. Simple. Fresh. Tasty. Healthy. OK, 95% of the recipes I make are healthy ... you gotta indulge sometimes!

Since I love it when friends share their favorite recipes with me, I've decided to start a reoccurring Yummy Recipes post to share with you. Plus, sometimes I really have to rack my brain for something interesting to post, and this will help to fill in the gaps!

My first Yummy Recipes post is a recipe that I found on my favorite recipe blog For the Love of Cooking. Pam always has delicious recipes with beautiful photographs, everything is well-organized and all the recipes are easy to medium difficulty level. I've made countless recipes off her blog, so I'll be giving her credit often! I make Homemade Granola almost every week. My hubby prefers it to the expensive Kashi cereal. We eat it with milk and also mixed in plain or vanilla yogurt.

Homemade Granola
  • 4 cups oats
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1 cup coconut, shredded
  • 3 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup apple juice
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a silpat or parchment paper or spray with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, stir together the oats, nuts, coconut, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. In another bowl, whisk together the oil, honey, apple juice and vanilla. Pour the liquid mixture over the oat mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until evenly coated. Spread granola onto the baking sheet. Place in the oven and bake, stirring every 10 minutes for 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool completely. Add the cranberries and mix thoroughly.

Store granola in an airtight container for up to two weeks. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Finders Keepers?

Yesterday something very unexpected happened. The hubby and I were getting ready to go workout. It was yucky and misting out, so I grabbed a sporty, waterproof jacket that I rarely wear (gosh, I wonder why I hardly ever wear it ... oh right, it almost never rains here!). I put my hands in the pockets to straighten them out, and felt something in the right pocket. Intrigued, I pulled it out and it was A FAT WAD OF CASH! Not just a few ones, but fives and tens and twenties! Holy cow! I counted it up and it totaled $145! Woohoo! But wait ... where in the world did this come from? I racked my brain trying to remember the last time I wore that jacket and why I would be carrying SO MUCH cash. I never carry very much cash, let alone $145.

Then more thoughts started to flood my mind. I'm a pretty organized person, and these bills were all mixed up in no order whatsoever, and definitely not all facing the same way as I would have had them. Then the inner dialogue began ... Is this money even mine? Who else's could it be, Jenna? I don't know, did I let someone borrow my jacket? Don't you think you would have noticed $145 missing? I mean, that's a big chunk of change!

I considered this news Facebook-worthy, so I updated my status to let everyone know of my good fortune. Some of the comments were along the lines of, "I love it when that happens!" and "Gosh, I'm happy when it's just $5!" But that's the thing. This NEVER happens to me. Like I said, I'm a pretty organized person. I don't have a habit of leaving things in my pockets. I can honestly say that before this instance, I don't recall ever finding money in my pocket.

So is it mine? More than likely yes, but who knows for sure. Finders keepers, right? You're probably saying, "Geez Jenna, stop over-analyzing the situation and just enjoy your find and go shopping!" And I will end up going shopping ... boring, responsible grocery shopping. But that's OK, because it's still a great way to start off the year. Maybe 2010 will be lucky for me!

Thursday, January 7, 2010


Did that post title make you do a double-take?? Now that I have your undivided attention, I have a funny story. About my grandma. And I can tell it to you without worrying if she will be embarrassed, because she's never touched a computer in her life, and will certainly never visit my blog. Plus, I really don't think that she would mind me telling you anyway, because she is one of those great people who have no problem laughing at themselves.

So, my Grammy and my mom were grocery shopping in H.E.B. the other day. My mom was waiting her turn in line at the deli counter with several other shoppers. My Grammy walked about 20 or so feet away to pick up a bag of pita chips. (Please pause for a quick plug for Stacy's Pita Chips ... "They are delicious, try them today!" ~Jenna B.) She was debating on three different flavors ... Parmesan Garlic, Tuscan Herb and Simply Naked. She called over to my mom, "Sharon, which kind do you want?" My mom replied, "I don't care Mom, get whichever kind you want." My Grammy debated for a little while longer and then called back to my mom, "I think I'll just get naked." The deli workers behind the counter, all the shoppers waiting for their cold cuts and probably half of the store turned to stare at the 83-year-young grandma who just announced to them all that she was going to get naked. She then realized what she had said, and burst out laughing. Oh, what I wouldn't give to have been there!

And here's my pretty Grammy ...

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Post-It Note Tuesday ... Oh how I've missed you!

I am returning to Post-It Note Tuesday after a very long hiatus! Hope I remember how. Here goes nothin' ...

Monday, January 4, 2010

Christmas cubed ...

Three great Christmases again this year! Our route consisted of Seguin, then we hosted at our house, then a few days in Tyler. Some running themes were: a tacky Christmas sweater, a crazy gift exchange and The Tooth Fairy vs. Santa Claus!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

"Lions and tigers and monkeys, oh my!" (December baking adventures)

I baked and decorated a lot of cupcakes in December, but most notably, I had my first paying gig! I've just decorated cupcakes for fun in the past, but a friend offered to pay me to make themed cupcakes for her son's zoo birthday party in early December. Pretty neat, huh? A huge thanks to my mom who helped me decorate them ... it was a big job!

And some ornaments that I made for Christmas ...

She did it!

The day after we got back from our Lake Tahoe trip, my sister graduated from Texas State with a bachelor of science degree in math (yes math ... yuck!). It was a wonderful, celebratory day shared with lots of family. So proud of you, Kelsey!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Lake Tahoe Trip

Kent and I took a fabulous, much-needed vacation to South Lake Tahoe in mid-December for a few days as a belated anniversary/early Christmas/hey-you-just-deserve-it trip. The town was beautifully decorated for Christmas and is a picture-perfect place. It was exciting to see snow again after so long ... it's been at least ten years for me! We decided that we wanted more of a relaxing trip than a go-go-go trip, so we didn't ski, but we did snowmobile and, wait for it ..... DOGSLED!! The dog sledding was amazing and something that we will always remember. The dogs were Alaskan Huskies, which aren't as big and fluffy as the Siberian Huskies, which are what most people think of when they picture dog sledding dogs, but Alaskans run faster and have more stamina. They were very friendly and super gung ho about pulling our sled through the snow! They pulled us for seven miles through a picturesque valley. The snowmobiling lasted for about two hours. We went deep into the woods through narrow trails. After traveling for a few miles, the guide stopped our group and asked us to follow him up a fairly steep hill about 30 feet up. There was fresh powder on the hill, too, so with every step our feet would sink a couple of feet down. That extra effort, combined with the steep slope and the thin air, meant that we were huffing and puffing by the time we finally reached the top of the summit. But the panoramic views were absolutely worth it. In fact, we got a great Christmas card pic out of it! We would love to go back someday ... perhaps for more than a visit!