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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Granola

Yum Yum Yummmmmyy!

About a month ago I made myself a big batch of granola and I've been enjoying it almost daily since then. The recipe was my Mom's. Eating it brings back the taste of home. Crunchy and nutty and cinnamony and wholesome goodness.
If you would care to try it out, here is the recipe:

Lana's Granola

2 cups honey
2 cups oil
1 cup maple syrup
2 teaspoons salt
2 heaping Tablespoons cinnamon
19-20 cups oats
**For a little bit healthier option you could use molasses instead of maple syrup. My mom's original recipe called for molasses but she thought the maple syrup tasted better :) and it's easier to handle. 

Optional:
(you may put in as much or as little as you want - I usually just dump some in and stir it around then if it doesn't seem to be enough dump a little more in and stir until it looks like the right amount.)
1-2ish cups plain sunflower seeds
1-2ish cups other nuts (pecans, walnuts, almonds, etc.)
1-2ish cups shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 350* F. Combine honey, oil, syrup, and salt in a large pot and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and remove pan from heat and add your cinnamon, stirring and smashing clumps against the side of pot so all cinnamon dissolves. Stir in oats starting with 18 cups and adding the rest little by little. Mix in sunflower seeds, nuts, and coconut. Grease cookie sheets (the full recipe will fill 4 large size cookie sheets) and spread granola on the pans. Don't spread the granola too thick, make sure it doesn't go higher than the edge of the pan. Bake 10-12 minutes. When done it should appear golden brown and more dry, less shiny/glisten-y, most of the moisture will have cooked off.

Once it has cooled down you can store it in the container of your choice. The above jarful is the yield of the recipe split in half. It makes a lot.

Some of the ways I love to eat it are:

-Plain for a munchy snack
-With yogurt - it's especially good with the creamy texture of greek nonfat yogurt mixed in with some honey to soften the yogurt's sour taste. Add in some grapes, bananas, strawberries, other berries, raisins, craisins, all of the above or other fruit for extra goodness.
-With milk. Fruit can also be added to this one but the runny milk doesn't compliment the fruit as well as the thick yogurt does.
-With a bowl of plain fruit.

Enjoy.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Idaho

I started this post several months ago and just forgot about it, I guess. Back in October, when I first heard my parents were selling the house, I rode up to Idaho with my brother and sisters so we could make a visit. We weren't sure when the house would sell and wanted to "say goodbye" to the home we grew up in, as well as clear out some of our things they were storing for us. It was a fun, quick(always) trip.

This was the scene about 10 minutes after our arrival.  Alice was the star of the show! She is so very loved.  And after sitting in the car for 6 hours she was happy for all the excitement and attention.


While there we went to the Saturday morning Farmers' Market in downtown Boise. It was very fun to walk around and see all the different wares people were selling. So much organic, homegrown, Beautiful produce (I should have captured some of it on camera) as well as breads, cheeses, honeys, crafts and artwork. One of my favorite stands was owned by a middle aged man who had hand crafted all sorts of wooden  utensils. Beautiful, smooth, wooden spoons, spatulas, etc. On each piece he had placed a small sticker indicating the price as well as what type of wood it was. He had gathered all the wood locally and I loved seeing the different colors, grains, textures, etc. of the different types of wood. I've recently been reading a lot about trees and wood, I find it all fascinating and would like to get to the point where I'm comfortable recognizing and naming different trees and woods. But that's for another post.

The market was lovely and fun. Lots of samples of delicious food too.
About halfway through Alice had had enough and zonked out. Luckily grandpa has strong arms. We did have a stroller, I think he just wanted to hold his granddaughter :)


The next day, Sunday, we got to go to church with the family. Love going to that home ward. All the families that were there while we were growing up make us feel so loved when we come to visit. We feel like celebrities at church because so many people always come and say hello and talk to us. We're going to miss seeing all our dear old friends at church.

Alice had fun getting ready with Aunt Jessica that morning.

Also...

Here are some other pictures from our Happy Hearts Day. I couldn't post them yesterday because Alice was napping while I wrote and my camera cord was in her bedroom. I'm excited for the day when her room is not also the hallway to the rest of our apartment. When she's asleep, we're stuck.


This is a wreath I made early in the month at a get together with some ladies in the area. I am so happy with the way it turned out, I just think it's so adorable.

The red velvet chocolate chip pancakes. I didn't have enough red food coloring for them to be really red so once the batter was all mixed up with the cocoa powder they just looked brown. But they were so good.
I also crafted this felt heart garland as seen here with my friend Maren. It took a lot longer than we thought it would because there's a lot of little detail work. But love the result and had fun using my creative skills.








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And another photo of the hair.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

My Hair!

It's been 4 days and this is the only picture I have of it yet.

I thought you'd all like to see my new "do"

It's fun and different and clean and modern, I think.
I love it.

Thank You, Hannah, for supplying the photo.

St. Valentine's Day


The Day of Love / Lover's Day

Notice the title - it is Not just "Lover's Day." It is also "The Day of Love." An Important distinction. I don't believe Valentine's Day is only meant to be celebrated  by "lovers" . I find it sad that for some it is a negative holiday. While traditionally it has been thought of as the day to celebrate the romance in your life, probably largely pushed so by the commercial industry, I think it should be a day to celebrate ALL the love in your life - your family, friends, and neighbors. Remember in grade school when we would bring little Valentines to school for Everyone in our class, and our teacher? Why can't it be like that still?

I was reminded of all this by my sister-in-law who sent out an email about Valentine's Day yesterday. She told us that some of her friends hated the holiday and focused on the lack of romance in their lives instead of the other forms of love in their lives. She asked why it had to be a sad or angry "single awareness" day and not simply a happy day to remember the love you have for those around you.

I thought her words were a great reminder of what this hearts and chocolates and roses holiday should be all about. That being said, I hope your Valentine's Day was as fun and lively and lovey as mine!

We started off the day with eating these red-velvet-chocolate-chip-pancakes for breakfast (try saying that fast out loud - I had a hard time with it all day long) in the shape of hearts to make it more Valentine's-ey.. They were Deeeelicious! But very rich, I had a bit of a belly ache after two of them for breakfast. I also prepared these cute little heart-eggs the day before to make our plates a little more festive.



 I wanted to go crazy with festivity and dye our milk red and dye some other stuff red... not sure what, but I ran out of red food coloring with those pancakes. Oh well.

While Max was getting ready for work I made him a cute Valentine's-ey lunch with a PBJ sandwich cut into a heart shape and some conversation heart candies! I love festiveness.

That afternoon I busied myself making cute little Valentines for our family that was coming over later in the evening for a chocolate fondue party! I had so much fun cutting out heart shapes and gluing them to white paper to make lovely little cards. I wish I'd take photos of them all so I could show you how pretty they were all together with all the different shades of pink and red. I loved spending time on them thinking about some of the people I love most in my life. On each of them I wrote a little poem (the over-used "roses are red, violets are blue, you are my sister/friend/brother/husband, and I love you" one) and then one thing that I admired about that individual. Thinking about the reasons you love others always gives you a boost of happiness. To you who got a Valentine from me this year, you probably didn't enjoy receiving it as much as I enjoyed making it for you, cause it made me soooo happy!

I also made a little something special for my husband, a variation of this:



Fun idea, huh? Zero expense because we already had the deck of cards and very sentimental - who doesn't love reading a 52-item list of all the great things about yourself? And again, spending time thinking about 52 reasons why I love my lover was a definite happiness boost. I've heard so many times before that when your heart and mind are focused on other people your soul can't help but feel happy. After spending so much time focused on my feelings of love for others I couldn't help feeling light and fluffy and sunny as a cloud (a white, cottony cloud, not a gray, rainy cloud). It's similar to the idea behind one of my favorite verses of scripture, in Mosiah 2: 17, which says "...when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God." Service Always puts a smile on your face, it is forgetting yourself and focusing on others. Forgetting yourself and focusing on your Love for others is much the same thing.

Once Max got home from work I got all fancied up (I love dressing up fancy for our dates together...it makes me feel so much more romantic!) and we went out to a delicious dinner at La Jolla Groves. A very fine restaurant. I'm convinced that because I called so early to make the reservation (like 4 weeks ago!) we got the best seat in the house! You know how in the movies the couple is always sitting int this cozy restaurant at a picturesque little table off by itself and right in front of a big window so they can look out at the romantic city at night? Can you conjure up a picture of that? Well that was Us last night. It was so perfect. We were at the very end of a longish ante-room to the main part of the restaurant, so it was  quieter and un-busy, and the whole wall beside us was one big huge window that we were smack in the center of so we could gaze out at all the twinkle lights set up in the River Woods promenade area and watch the cute couples go by. Highly romantic. Max thought I was silly for being so excited about it, but it was really awesome.

After dinner we came back home to a hyper-active Alice playing at full steam with Uncle Macsen. I think she was wearing him out a little. It's so funny, at night she gets super frenzied up and playful and bouncing-off-the-walls-ish.  Anyways, we played with her and eventually put her to bed while we waited for our other guests to trickle in (Kristin+John and Hannah) and then enjoyed a lively, yummy, chocolate fondue Fountain! party. (Man, sometimes I wish I didn't love chocolate so much) Everyone loved the fondue and everyone loved the Valentines I made them. After our taste buds and stomachs had been maxed out of rich sweetness we sat around and chatted for several hours, enjoying the company of our loved ones.

So, yes, I did enjoy a little bit of romance with a lover, but even more so I filled my day with love for others (not just 1 other) and I'm convinced that's why it was such a great, wonderful, happy, lovey day. If this isn't your norm already, I challenge you next year to try it out and see if it doesn't make your Love Day a million times better. Valentine's Day - the day to celebrate Love.


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Christmas 2011

Christmas 2011 was spent with my family  up in Idaho. It was a special time for us all to be together again since my parents moved into a new house shortly after the holiday. We treasured the time spent together again in that beloved  house and soaked up the memories of happy times that images, locations, homes can bring.

It was a great holiday. The morning after our late drive up from Provo Alice enjoyed spending some play time with her little cousin, Bryan. She thought he was so cute and loved to touch and "play" with him. We were so glad Brittany and Brent's family could make the long trip up.


On Christmas Eve, instead of the traditional all day ski outing (no snow) we spent the afternoon at Wahooz bowling, go carting, and playing all sorts of pointless yet somehow fun arcade games. Deb cooked us up a fine gourmet dinner for the Christmas Eve meal. We got out my Mom's Christmas china for the fancy meal and I had to capture the beautiful table setting. I love fancy meals. Someday I hope to purchase my own  set of fine china and an old fashioned, floral patterned silver service, just like my Grandma's.





Macsen and Shannon busy in the kitchen. We were all busily preparing for the big meal - setting the Chirstmasy table, chopping vegetables and fresh herbs, mashing the potatoes, stirring drinks, and so on.



Max and John not so busy in the living room - loving that iPad.
They were just busily preparing to Eat the big, fancy meal.
And Oh, the Christmas Tree.
Those Germans had it right when they decided to decorate a pine tree as a symbol of Chirstmas.
There's something about the deep green, bristly tree all lit up and adorned with ribbon, glass bulbs, 
and intricate, festive figurines, standing tall and proud in your home that is just so beautiful, stately and reverent.
We are excited for Christmas morning!

Which came nice and quickley, thankfully! Since Christmas fell on a Sunday the traditional morning routine was a little different. Rather than rolling out of bed and running upstairs to see what Santa brought we got all dressed up and drove down to the church building. It was a lovely service with lots of pretty Christmas music. Afterwards Deb made us the most delicious hot cocoa ever - I felt like I was drinking a candy bar. MmmmmmMmmmMmmm, it was so  good! We leisurely opened our stockings and gifts under the tree and happily watched each others' excitement over their Christmas surprises.

Alice loved her new toys! 
Thanks Grandma O for the camera! And we didn't get a picture of it but
thank you Oma and Opa for the toy keys.

 

Merry Christmas you beautiful House! May your new owners treat you well.