The Best Granola

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I consider this the best granola recipe because it tastes delicious on it’s own, but can be the base granola for any flavor granola that you choose. It is customizable for any palate.

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We often make it on it’s own,but enjoy it with walnuts, cranberries, raisins, or whatever else we have in our cupboards.

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It uses honey as the sweetener, and a hint of cinnamon which adds real warm toasty flavor.

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Here’s a list of potential candidates for ways to transform this basic honey granola recipe:

DRIED FRUIT:

  • Dried Apples
  • Dried Apricots
  • Banana Chips
  • Coconut flakes
  • Dried Cherries
  • Dried Cranberries
  • Dates
  • Dried Figs
  • Goji Berries
  • Dried Mangos
  • Raisins

NUTS & SEEDS:

  • Walnuts
  • Almonds
  • Pistachios
  • Macadamia Nuts
  • Peanuts
  • Hazelnuts
  • Pecans
  • Cashews
  • Flaxseeds
  • Chia Seeds
  • Hemp Seeds
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Pumpkin Seeds

OTHER:

  • Chocolate chips
  • White Chocolate Chips
  • Dried Ginger

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Mix and match ingredients to make your custom granola. Or, like I said, just make and eat up this basic recipe–it’s good all on it’s own.

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The Best Granola

Ingredients:

3 cups rolled oats

3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup honey

1/4 cup olive oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

cooking spray

Any of the desired toppings listed above

Directions:

Preheat oven to 300 F and arrange rack in the middle.

In a large bowl, mix together the oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. In a separate smaller bowl whisk together the honey olive oil, and vanilla extract.

Pour the olive oil and honey mixture over the oats, scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula to get all the sweet stuff!

With a rubber spatula mix the oats and the honey olive oil mixture very well, making sure to coat the oats evenly.

Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray. Pour oats and spread evenly over the cookie sheet.

Bake for 15 minutes. Stir oats and bake for another 10 minutes. Remove oats from oven and let them cool COMPLETELY before storing. They will be soft until they are completely cooled. If you are adding anything to the granola (like nuts or dried fruit) add and mix it in now before storing. Store in an airtight container.

Love, Grey & Brianna

June: What’s Going on in the Garden

The garden is starting to look and feel like a summertime garden. I’m loving the buzzing bees, fluttering butterflies, and all the life that is out there. We’ve been eating summer squash since last week.

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…and cucumbers for two weeks.

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There are lots of tomato flowers…

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….and green tomatoes. …on the very bottom of one plant our first tomato that is turning this season: Black from Tula.

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Bug eaten borage. SONY DSCThe peppers are loving the heat we’ve been having.

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Punky little chive flowers.

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Tiny green strawberry pickin’ hands.

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Sour green strawberry eatin’ face.

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Pretty purple eggplant flowers.

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Sweet basil–the smell of summer!

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Charentais Melons!

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Tiny baby watermelon.

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Papery husked ground cherries.

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Trombone squash.

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Delicata Squash.

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…and their cute little tendrils.

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…lots of squash flowers.

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Raspberries.

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Drying onions.

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Fist full of garlic.

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…and I mustn’t forget to mention the marigolds….again. ;)

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Thanks for coming along on our little June garden tour.

Love, Grey & Brianna 

Green Chile, Summer Squash, and Quinoa Enchilada Bake

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I seriously love enchiladas…a bit more than Grey. He prefers lighter meals that don’t involve many tortillas or refined carbs, so I’m always on the lookout for inspiration to turn classic dishes into something we both can enjoy–same flavor, lighter ingredients.

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This enchilada bake was perfect the other night because 1) we’ve got zucchini and yellow squash already producing like crazy 2) it uses whole grains rather than tortillas.

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The green enchilada sauce, green peppers, and Pepper Jack Cheese are my favorite parts of the dish, while Grey enjoys the homegrown squash, onions, garlic.

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Not by coincidence, all of the above ingredients are corralled into one meal making us both happy.

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I hope this recipe makes your family happy too.

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Green Chile, Summer Squash, and Quinoa Enchilada Bake

Ingredients:

cooking spray

1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed

2 cups water

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups chopped summer squash, (ie: zucchini, yellow squash, patty pan etc.)

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/3 cup chopped cilantro

1 (19 oz) can green chile enchilada sauce

1 (4 oz) can diced green chiles

1 (15 oz) can white beans, drained and rinsed

2 cups shredded Pepper Jack cheese

Salt and black pepper, to taste

1 avocado, diced, for garnish, if desired

Extra chopped cilantro, for garnish, if desired

Sour Cream or Plain Greek yogurt, for garnish if desired

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside. Add quinoa and water to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Turn the heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until water is absorbed. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Meanwhile in large pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic. Sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the summer squash and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the cumin, chili powder, and cilantro. Stir to combine.

Add the cooked quinoa, enchilada sauce, diced green chiles, and white beans to the pot with the summer squash. Gently stir until combined. Stir in 1 cup of the shredded cheese.

Pour the quinoa mixture into the prepared baking dish. Top with remaining shredded cheese. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes.  For the last minute or two, turn the broiler on HIGH to get the cheese yummy and golden (watch closely! It browns quickly). Remove from the oven, and let cool for 10 minutes. Garnish with avocado and cilantro, if desired. Serve warm.

Love, Grey & Brianna

Blueberry Picking.

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We went to one of those you-pick-blueberry farms on Friday. Which turned out to be such a fun thing to do, with an almost two-year old.

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My mom came to help too.

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We managed to fill our entire bucket, which was easy at first because Greyson was all business about blueberry picking.

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He’d pluck individual berries off the bush, and one-by-one drop them into the bucket.

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Slow…. but steady and effective.

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Before we got there, I was worried about him eating the berries before they made it to bucket, but he didn’t even think of it.

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…until he did.

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Once he realized we could just be out there eating all the berries, he was running here and there and we were trying to wrangle him into staying on track to fill the bucket.

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…and the fill the bucket he did…

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We did manage to get the job done, and keep him from eating too many in the process.

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Most importantly…We had such a fun time!

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I love the frosty color of blueberries.

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We are pretty stocked up now, so I’ll be dreaming up a few recipes to use up all these beautiful berries!

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Love, Grey & Brianna

Marigolds.

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We planted an entire bed of marigolds as an organic pest control method, and I’ve got to say, it’s one of my favorite parts of the garden right now. We grew them from seed and these marigolds are stout.

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Not like the six packs bought at the garden center. They are taller, more vibrant and a bit out of control. I love the variety of colors these heirloom seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company offers.

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I’ve been cutting them for in the house, and transplanting them here and there for color. Greyson has been plucking them and filling up dump trucks, and making this every day.

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This little yellow bowl of dirt sits here day after day and gets fresh marigolds pushed into it, which of course are all shriveled by the next day….but all the more reason to re-seed and start again.

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. Happy summer garden days.

Love, Grey & Brianna

Chocolate Peanut Butter Energy Bites

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I’ve been meaning to post this recipe for a while now…because we’ve been eating and loving this snack for a while now. ;)

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I’ve been on the hunt for good snack recipes so I could stock up the fridge and freezer with easy to grab healthy options.

It makes healthy eating so much easier when everything is already prepared and ready to go. I store these in the freezer in a sealed container.

They are especially delightful after dinner, when I’m craving some kind of chocolatey-not-so-good-for-me-snack.

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We use natural peanut butter (Adam’s is the best!) and good quality cocoa powder. Grey packs them in his lunches in a small glass pyrex container and they hold up well outside of the freezer as well.

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I can throw them together in ten minutes because there is no cooking involved.

I like them because they are super fast to make, and because they’re chocolate peanut butter….and that doesn’t really need any further explanation.

Enjoy!

Love, Grey & Brianna

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Energy Bites

Ingredients:

¾ cup pitted dates

½ cup peanuts, plus more for rolling

¼ cup natural peanut butter

2 tsp cocoa powder

Directions:

Pulse the peanuts in food processor until they are to your desired coarseness. We like ours a little more rustic ;).

Remove peanuts from food processor and set aside. Add the dates to your food processor and pulse for about 20 seconds. Add ½ cup of peanuts, peanut butter, and cocoa powder to the dates.

Blend until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Remove blade from food processor. Roll the date mixture into one inch balls. Then roll into the chopped peanuts.

Store in the refrigerator for about one week or in the freezer for up to six months.

May Things.

2015 SUMMER GARDEN

1. There are only 5 things this month, and this being one of them: Baby prep takes a lot of time….and energy. That has been the main focus of May. Scrub, clean, hang, sort, donate, toss, stock, pack, and grow a baby. Point number one, takes about 90% of the month’s focus.

2.Which brings me to point number two. We had our baby shower, and it was wonderful.

3. Mother’s day was low key. We missed church because our keys got locked in the car, harvested potatoes, and had a picnic lunch at home.

4.Memorial day was much of the same…well pretty different except for the low key part. Cousins went swimming and we had a BBQ that somehow ended up indoors.

5. I already ran out of thing to say for May because I can’t quite think clearly. There is going to be another human being in our household!


Love, Grey & Brianna

38.

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Baby clothes are washed, diapers are stocked, and this house is locked and loaded ready for a new life. I’ve got a month’s worth of activities planned for Greyson from now until the Fourth of July to make this transition easier. Our pantry is full. Our freezer is bursting at the seams with freezer meals ready to be brought out on nights that cooking is going to get thrown by the wayside.

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Since Friday, I’ve thought everyday could be our baby’s birthday, only to have it slip by as just another day. Another day of waiting to meet our new son or daughter.

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I position myself in the ready and waiting phase a bit early. For heaven’s sake, my due date is still two weeks away…and (lord forbid) could be two weeks after that.

I read a poem once that used the phrase: “gobbling mother eye.” That’s where I’m at right now. Actually, that’s where I’ve been since Greyson was born. Just the slightest thought of his little turkey face makes me want to be near him instantly.

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I am literally as near to this new baby as I will ever physically be, but my gobbling mother eyes, ears, nose, and hands just cannot wait to meet this baby. ….but waiting is exactly what will be happening for…how many days longer? I don’t know.

…until then I will be practicing patience…and I shaking out our area rugs one more time…and ooo while I’m at it, touching up the paint in our living room. Happy baby month, friends!

38 weeks and (patiently?) waiting,

Brianna

P.S. Our sweet diaper stash (conveniently located in between extra aprons and canning supplies) came from my baby shower a few weeks back. Thanks again everyone!

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<3

 

Citrus & Sesame Asian Style Salad

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I partly love salad nights because it is one of the fastest dinners to make, and partly because there is so much variation. It is not necessary to stick to a recipe word for word for them to come out right.

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If you prefer less bell pepper…add less. If you don’t like broccoli don’t add it at all. You can make any salad vegetarian my substituting beans or tofu instead of meat, or in the case of this salad, add chicken to make it a bit heftier.

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I’m always on the hunt for new salad recipes because we like to eat them for dinner 2-3 times a week.

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Hope you enjoy it! (P.S. Yes, that’s Grey and Greyson in the background–it was a mini photoshoot during dinner ;) )

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Citrus and Sesame Asian Style Salad

Ingredients:

Sesame Citrus Dressing:

  • 1⁄2 cup orange juice ( we just squeezed an orange)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1⁄2 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon pepper
  • 3⁄4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey

Salad:

  • 2 cups edamame, shelled and cooked
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 navel orange, peeled, sectioned, and cut
  • 1 cup red cabbage, shredded
  • 1 crown of broccoli, cut into florets and lightly steamed
  • green onion, thinly sliced
  • mixed greens
  • sesame seeds

Directions:

Blend all the ingredients for the sesame citrus dressing in a blender until smooth. Set aside

In a large bowl combine all the ingredients for the salad, adjusting the amount of mixed greens and sesame seeds to your preference. Tip: adding more mixed greens stretches this salad for a larger crowd.

Pour the desired amount of dressing into the bowl and toss salad well. If there is leftover dressing save to marinate, chicken, tofu, or meat. (or make more salad!)

Love, Grey & Brianna

Lady Bug Hunting.

SONY DSCIt started innocently enough, one afternoon, as Greyson and I were sitting out in the lawn. “Look buddy there’s a ladybug!” I pointed out.  Greyson, very intrigued, wanted to pinch him between his fingers to pick him up. SONY DSCI cringed at the thought of a squished innocent ladybug, so I showed him that if he just put his hand in front of the sweet ladybird the little bug would crawl all the way up his arm. …which is what he did.

…I didn’t know then that it would start a “let’s-find-a-lady-bug-to-crawl-up-our-arm movement”….every. single. day.

When I even mention going out the garden…he traces his finger up his arm to let me know he’s thinking one thing: lady bug hunting. SONY DSCWe now have countless hours invested into flipping over leaves, looking on stalks of plants, scanning the lawn, etc. all in hopes to find a little red bug.

We usually spot one within the first twenty minutes or so on each excursion…and (cringing) I still have to remind Greyson of the “crawl up the hand” technique to pick up our spotted bug. SONY DSCMy job then is to catch the little bug, off a running toddler, before it ends up in an ear or some other place it shouldn’t be.

This is our everyday.

Love, Grey & Brianna