Category Archives: gifts

Granola!

Standard

I was amazed when a friend said she made her own granola from scratch– it seemed like a magical and mystical accomplishment. I tried it myself and it is SO easy, much less expensive and super satisfying.  I am very picky about extraneous sugar in my life, so I doctored the following recipe to make it high in seeds, nuts and yum, low in sugar/fat. After a couple tries I decided to “go big or go home” when it comes to granola so I can gift some when I make it. I encourage you to use this recipe as a reference, but experiment with your favorite tastes.

Deven’s “Go Big or Go Home” Granola 

All ingredients are local and organic when possible.

1 cup each raw pecans, almonds, walnuts, cashews
1/2 cup each sesame seeds, sunflower seeds,pumpkin seeds, flax seeds
2 lbs old-fashioned oats (naturally gluten free, but has to be processed in a gluten free facility if you are super sensitive/celiac)
1 stick butter (or equal amount sunflower oil)
1/3 cup maple syrup (or honey, I prefer maple syrup)
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1/2 cup chopped dates
1 cup raisins or dried blueberries
1/4 cup dried apples
2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice or ground cinnamon & nutmeg
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Farenheit. Spread the nuts on 1-2 baking sheet and roast for 10-12 minutes, just lightly browning them. Transfer to a board to cool and chop. Set aside.
Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees F. Pour the oats and seeds into a mound in the center of each baking sheet (2).  Melt the butter in a small pan and mix in maple syrup mixing constantly. Add the salt.  Drizzle this into the center of the oat/seed mounds. Stir well and spread in an even layer on each baking sheet. Bake the oat mixture for 30 minutes.  Let cool.
Combine the oats, dates, raisins/dried fruit, reserved nuts and spices in a huge bowl and mix. Eat, enjoy, repeat!

Voluntary Simplicity

Standard
The holiday season can be very difficult if you love it or hate it (as the music, aesthetic and mania can be pervasive).  I am one of the former, I enjoy communing with every friend and family member possible, decorating, pumping Christmas music, finding the right gifts for those I exchange with, baking cookies and sending cards.  As the world turns quieter and colder in the northern hemisphere, it could be a time to introvert and enjoy longer evenings, but the added items on my to do list seem to be distracting year after year.  A few years ago, in an attempt to slow down I tried a Voluntary Simplicity Experiment– an idea to gift experiences rather than things– and for everything that I received for a year, I would have to get rid of something else.  It felt really good and still does.  I hope you give it a try or figure out what your own Voluntary Simplicity Experiment might be.