Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Apple Sauce Granola

My family loves granola. It's so easy and inexpensive to prepare, that I make it often. I've tweaked a few recipes to fit my family's tastes and dietary requirments. The results have been so well received, I thought I'd share the recipe.

3 cups rolled oats
1 cup sliced almonds (any nut can be substituted)
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup apple sauce
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup raisins, if desired (I usually leave this out)

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Mix oats, brown sugar, maple syrup, apply sauce and salt together. The mixture should be chunky. Empty oat mixture onto a 9"X13" pan and bake. Stir granola every 20 minutes until the granola is dried approximately 1 hour 10 minutes. Remove from oven and mix in raisins. Store in an air tight container. I reuse old oatmeal containers or old jam jars for this purpose.

Granola is such a versatile treat. We eat it for breakfast in a bowl of milk, or we top our yogart with it. It even makes it's way into my son's lunch box. My husbans favorite use for granola is as an ice cream topper. I love that I can tweak the recipe whenever my mood strikes. For example, sometimes, I add peanuts or craisons. Often, I leave the raisins out all together. It's always good!

Monday, February 15, 2010


My husband and I have been married a little more than ten years and in those years, we have both learned to compromise. Luckily, neither of us is particularly stubborn. One area of compromise has been our house. Everything from purchasing it, to painting and decorating it was a compromise-mostly for hubby. I'm embarrassed to admit that I've struggled in this area. Hubby likes modern or retro looking stuff. He loves Ikea. I don't. Actually I like it alright. The problem is that our house is full of free, second hand furniture. The result was a causual, country, traditional mismash of stuff my relatives all liked at one point in the last 20-30 years. How in the world does danish modern fit into the mix? To be honest, I don't know. But, I think it's about time, we added some items into our home not because they are free, but because we actually like them. I want hubby to feel like our home reflects some of his personality too. With this in mind, I suggested that that hubby decorate our family room with furniture and accessories that meets his discerning taste. Suddenly, hubby wants to help with home projects! Jackpot!

Now, where do we start?

Let's look at the current state of our family room. It contains 1 new television on a cheap pine stand, 4 small storage cubes that act as toy boxes and 1 cheap, broken armoir full of games and toys. The picture below shows the room with an old couch that long since died (via the cat) and a treadmill that I used (really!) until it broke. Apparently, it's not uncommon for the repair of exercise equipment to exceed the cost of a new one! Neither item resides in our home any longer. The small child is still here and will likely show up in random future pictures.

And here is a view of the summer kitchen (aka the brewers kitchen).
I have painted this room 3 times since in the last 5 years. The first color was a beige-the wrong beige. It looked awful. The second color was a gorgeous rust, but it was so dark that I quickly tired of it. Finally, I painted it a light blue. It doesn't really suit me, that's all I know. My biggest problem is finding a color that works well with the wood trim and the black and white tile.

After tons of discussion, hubby and I realized we needed to do the following things:
1. Paint (again)
2. New flooring (I didn't mention the water damage and iron mark yet did I?)
3. Remove the shattered tile and replace it with something. This will also involve removing a window that looks out into our garage.
4. Put in the new AC unit (which we already have)
5. Get a couch for goodness sake! Maybe even a table?
6. Come up with some sort of entertainment system
7. Come up with some sort of toy storage
8. Accessorize!

I cannot believe how excited DH is about this project. He actually agreed to go window shopping for furniture ideas this weekend. I couldn't have been excited if he asked to help me clean.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Even Terrible Pictures Help!

I know I kinda suck at taking pictures. Clearly, that hasn't stopped me. Taking pictures of completed projects helps me see what is wrong or missing. Who knew? Well, probably a lot of people, just not me.

For example, taking pictures of our dinning room made me realize that the pictures are hung too high. It wasn't obvious to me at first because I'm tall (right around 6'). Eye-level to me may be 4 or 5 inches too high. Another example was in our living room window treatments. I always liked my sheer, off-white curtains until I saw the photos. The windows were screaming for window treatments with color.

Maybe this explains why I prefer my picture not be taken.

Simple Pleasures-Kid Art

What happens when you give two kids 4 jars of finger paints, a pad of paper and hours to create? Awesome kid art! I am the proud owner of many original pieces of kid art. I just pop the paintings into a frame with a mat. Instant wall art!

I love how it keeps the house more fun and casual-just like us!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Yearning for Spring

Nothing makes me yearn for Spring like an impending blizzard. According to the weather predictions I hear, we have a 100% chance of snow this weekend. Not just a dusting of snow either. We are anticipating a blizzard! While I feel fortunate that we have a warm house to keep us safe, I cannot help but yearn for Spring. Spring means green grass and new plant growth and gardening!
I may have mentioned a time or two that my husband and I love gardening. I love the feeling of dirt on my hands and sun on my back. I often forget to wear a hat and gloves in my eagerness to get my hands dirty. I lose all sense of time when planting and weeding. My garden is my happy place. My husband must be yearning for Spring too. Yesrerday, he came home with a new house plant. That makes 8 houseplants in our livingroom/dinning room. I enjoy live plants in our home, so I was pretty happy to see our newest addition-a Golden Pothos also known as Devil's Ivy. Pothos is a common house plant. Despite this, I have never owned this variety of plant. It's supposed to be easy to maintain-low light requirements and not too much water is needed. I think this plant is just what we need to hold us over until Spring.