Thursday, April 26, 2012

Good Morning!

I'm still alive I just had an issue with the power cord to my computer so I got a new one and I'm up and running again. I feel like I'm so behind on posting pictures and documenting life. I have just felt the calling to take a little step back on my internet usage. I'm always feeling behind on the important things in life so I felt like I needed to scale back on the things that I can scale back on. It's been good for me in many ways.

Have I mentioned before how much I love mornings? I was thinking about it yesterday as we were playing in the sunlight, reading books, singing songs in our pjs and having just eaten our warm breakfast and that's when I realized that each morning feels like Saturday morning around here. I know it won't always be this way and that's why I'm soaking up this simple don't have to be anywhere phase of life.

I have two things on my mind this morning that I would love your help with.

1.) Do you have any homemade granola/oatmeal bar recipes you can share with me?  Those boxes are getting expensive now that all four family members enjoy snacking on them when we are on the go.

2.) Our DVD/VHS player finally tanked. Yes, I said VHS! Anyways, I went to store the other night to check out DVD players and saw so many options that included Hulu, Netflix and online streaming. Which brand and options would you recommend and why?

Thank you so much! You guys are always so much help.

Oh and to those of you who have emailed me asking about the measuring spoons I use they are from The Pampered Chef, as are most of the cool gadgets I use in the kitchen that make my life a little easier.

Speaking any of my local readers sell Pampered Chef?


  1. Granola Bars
    2 (10 oz) bag marshmallows
    3/4 cup butter
    1/4 cup vegetable oil
    1/4 cup honey
    1/2 cup peanut butter
    Melt together and mix with:
    1 package crushed graham crackers (1 cup)
    4 1/2 cups rice krispie cereal
    1 cup coconut
    5 cups quick oats (oatmeal)
    1 cup chocolate chips
    1 cup raisins
    Spread into 2 ungreased 9x13 pans or 1 jelly roll pan. Enjoy! no baking and it is so yummy!

    Reply Delete
  2. My niece brought me a bag of Early Bird Granola from Brooklyn, NY a few years back, and it was seriously the best I ever tasted. I saved the bag it was in hoping I could try to make it (it's made with olive oil and is a little salty). The recipe was posted on pinterest one day and I made it -- not quite as good as I'd remembered, but by far the best I'd ever made!

    I don't own a TV, so I use my laptop to watch shows from time to time. Hulu is free and fun to use to catch up on some stuff (Modern Family is a fave) and Netflix is $7.99 a month for streaming, which works well. My husband and I love docs, and there's a good selection. But I don't know how well it all works with a TV connection. Good luck and hope you like the granola :)

    Reply Delete
  3. Crunchy Granola Bars (makes 36)

    7 cups (21 oz) old fashioned rolled oats
    1/2 cup vegetable oil
    1/2 tsp salt
    1-1/2 cups whole almonds, pecans, or walnuts
    3/4 cup honey
    3/4 cup packed (5-1/4 oz) light or dark brown sugar
    1 TBSP vanilla
    2 tsp ground cinnamon (optional)

    Adjust oven rack to middle and heat to 375
    Line an 18x12 rimmed baking sheet with foil
    Combine oats, oil, & salt in large bowl and mix until evenly coated.
    Pour onto baking sheet in even layer and bake until pale golden about 30 min - stirring every 10 min.
    Remove oats and lower oven temp to 300.

    Process nuts in food processor until coarsely chopped.
    Remove 3/4 cup of nuts into a small bowl & process remaining nuts until finely ground.
    Added finely ground nuts to the small bowl and set aside.

    Combine honey & brown sugar in a small sauce pan and cook until sugar is fully dissolved stirring frequently (5 min).
    Remove from heat and add vanilla and cinnamon.

    Combine oats, nuts, & honey mixture in a large bowl and stir until evenly coated.
    Transfer mixture to the prepared baking sheet and press FIRMLY with a wet spatula into a flat, tight, even layer.
    Bake until golden 45-50 min.
    Cool in sheet on a wire rack 10 min before cutting bars.
    Cool completely before wrapping and storing.

    Sounds complicated...but it's really pretty easy after you've made it a couple times. I love the minimal ingredient list, and toasting the oats really adds flavor depth to this one. I toast the oats while I'm prepping and doing the other steps and it really cuts down on the time factor. I've thought about toasting a large quantity of oats to use for these and storing them in the freezer, but I haven't tried it yet. If all I had to do was scoop out the pre-toasted oats, this recipe would be a snap.

    Reply Delete
  4. Sorry this is long. Here is my sisters granola recipe. It is wonderful!

    This is the recipe I adapted my granola recipe from.... The changes that I do each time I added in there in bold print .... If you have any questions just ask!

    4 cups rolled oats
    a scant 2 cups (6 oz.) sweetened, shredded coconut*( I use red mill unsweetened coconut and rehydrate it and then add two tablespoons of honey to slightly sweeten it)
    a heaping 2 cups (7.25 oz.) sliced almonds*
    ½ cup (4 oz.) vegetable oil (I use coconut oil)
    1-2 cups of chocolate chips
    4T flax seed meal
    2/3 cup (7.25 oz) honey
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    ½ teaspoon sea salt or 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    *Sorry for the imprecise measurements here. Originally, I used 2 cups of coconut and 2 cups of almonds. I now use my digital scale when I measure out these dry ingredients, so the 6 oz. of coconut (which comes out to be 1.8 cups) is accurate and the 7.25 oz. of almonds is accurate, but I’ve never used my dry measuring cups to figure out precise dry measurements. If this is your first time making this and you want to play is safe, just measure out 2 cups of each the coconut and the almonds. Next time around you will know how to adjust the quantities to get the sweetness right for you.
    1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. In a large bowl, combine oats, coconut( I don't add the coconut to the mixture until I pull out the granola halfway and do the first mix)almonds, flax seed meal and chocolate chips and gently stir or toss with your hands to mix well.
    2. In a small saucepan, combine oil, honey, vanilla and salt and heat for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring to emulsify slightly. (Note: I don’t even bother heating this anymore — I just whisk it really well and then pour it over. It is a little harder to incorporate into the oats if you don’t heat it up, but I hate having to clean an extra pan. A quick zap in the microwave might be a good option? I don’t own one so I can’t advise on time.) Pour the oil mixture over the oat mixture and with a spatula stir until evenly coated.
    3. Spread mixture onto a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and stir well, (this is where i add the coconut) bringing the oat mixture closest to the edges into the center and pushing the center mixture towards the edges. Return to the oven and bake for 10 more minutes, checking when 1 to 2 minutes remain. Be very careful at the end: the coconut will burn easily, leaving the granola with a bitter, burnt taste. Remove pan from the oven, place on a cooling rack and leave undisturbed until completely cool, at least one hour.
    *when I cook mine I cook it for 10-15 minutes at 350 and then pull it out, add the coconut, smash it back down and put it back in at 350 for another 10-15 minutes. Then I turn it to 225 and cook it for another 20 minutes. Then I turn the oven off and let it sit there for at least an hour.


    Reply Delete
  5. i would start by saying i LOVE your blog and i think it would be super awesome if you did a house tour!! i LOVE your style!! i sell pampered chef!! but off the top of my head, i just recently found you, can't think of where you are from! my website is if you have a question, feel free to email me or give me a call, all my info is on there!!

    Reply Delete
  6. Low-Fat Granola
    4 cups rolled oats
    ½ - ¾ cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
    ¼ cup unsweetened coconut, shredded (optional)
    ¼ cup sunflower and/or sesame seeds
    ¼ cup brown sugar (optional, can increase honey by ¼ cup to substitute for brown sugar)
    ¼ tsp. salt (optional)
    2 tsps. ground cinnamon
    ¾ - 1 cup apple juice concentrate, thawed
    1 Tab. vegetable oil (optional)
    4 Tab. honey
    2 Tab. pure vanilla extract
    ½ cup dried blueberries or dried cranberries
    1/3 cup dates or raisins
    1/3 cup thinly sliced dried apricots

    1. Preheat oven to 300˚F. In a large mixing bowl, stir together oats, nuts, coconut, seeds, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon.

    2. In a small bowl, mix apple juice concentrate, oil, honey, and vanilla extract. Use a whisk and whip honey into the juice mixture until totally dissolved. (Note: Use 1 cup of apple juice concentrate if you prefer a clumpier granola. If you like it more like individual pieces of oats, use ¾ cup juice.)

    3. Drizzle juice mixture over the cereal and stir to coat evenly.

    4. Spread the mixture onto a large baking sheet with sides. For even baking, be sure the granola is not more than 1 inch thick. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes, stirring every 5 to 7 minutes. Add the dried fruit and bake an additional 5 minutes. The granola should be crisp and golden. Do not overcook after adding the fruit to prevent the fruit from hardening. Sometimes I soak the dried fruit in hot water for 1 minute and then drain off the water just before adding to granola to keep the dried fruit moist and better blend the flavors with the granola. Let cool. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator or freezer.

    5. Serve the granola with milk and top with additional fresh fruit, if desired. Makes 5 cups.

    Reply Delete
  7. The Marathon Mom blog (she has 7 or 8 sons) has the BEST granola bar recipes- and a lot of them are no-bake. Her blog is: themarathonmom . com I discovered her a few weeks back via Pinterest, and all I can say is don't blame me if you eat the entire pan in a sitting :)

    Your blog is wonderful!

    Reply Delete
  8. Please see
    Sandy has a granola recipe which looks yummy but I am allergic to nuts so I can't eat it.

    Reply Delete
  9. 2 C rolled oats
    3 T cocoa powder
    10 pitted dates
    1/2 cup dried, sweetened cranberries
    1 T vanilla
    2-3 t cinnamon

    Soak dates and cranberries in water for 30 minutes. Put 2-3 T of the date water and everything else in a food processor and process until a clump starts to form. Press into the bottom of a 9x9 brownie pan. Slice and serve!

    If you really want them 'to-go', slice and place bars on one sheet of Glad Press N Seal with sticky side facing up. Place a Press N Seal sheet sticky side facing down on top of the bars, seal around each bar with your finger and cut apart each individually sealed bar. Not very eco-friendly but travels well with kids. ;)

    Reply Delete
  10. We use a Roku LT to replace cable tv. It's super easy to use and only uses two cords (power cord and a/v cable OR HDMI). You do need a credit or debit card to set it up, but you aren't ever charged for anything that you don't buy and you can use a PIN to prevent accidental purchases.
    We use ours to rent movies from Amazon and to watch Netflix and HuluPlus which both require a monthly subscription (about $9 each). It will also stream Pandora radio (free) and has several free and paid "channels" that you can subscribe to.
    I haven't tried any of the other players on the market, so I can't say if it's the best out there or not. I chose the Roku because it was the cheapest option at 50 bucks, has only two cords, and is only the size of a hockey puck.

    Reply Delete
  11. Thank you for all of your recipe's. We have been trying a few and are enjoying them.

    Reply Delete