Thursday, March 20, 2014

Trail Mix, Remixed = Granola on the Cheap

I like granola every now and then - it's great on yogurt and fruit, and makes a nice little breakfast when paired with almond milk. But it's kind of expensive. 

Upon discovering the forgotten remnants of five bags of trail mix intended for Greg, I figured there's a way to make something good out of these leftovers instead of tossing them. So, I picked through them all and saved the best stuff for a stellar batch of granola. Voila! - trail mix, remixed! 

I made this recipe from about 15 recipes - switch up your ingredients however you like. The basics are oats, nuts, seeds, fruits and a binding ingredient. Spices are up to you.

You'll need:

3 cups of old-fashioned oats
1 cup (approx.) of raw almonds/cashews/hazelnuts, roughly chopped
1 cup (approx.) of seeds - pumpkin (green ones), flax, chia, sunflower, etc. 
1/3 cup (approx.) of shaved coconut
1 cup (approx.) of dried fruits - raisins, cranberries, dates
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup or honey 
1/4 cup vegetable oil 
1 Tbsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
pinch of nutmeg

To make:

Preheat oven to 350 F.

In large bowl, mix together oats, nuts, seeds and coconut. In small bowl, mix sugar, syrup/honey, oil, vanilla, salt and spices. 

Drizzle over dry ingredients and mix well. Place on large cookie sheet lined with nonstick baking pad or parchment. 

Bake for about 45 minutes, stirring gently a few times, until it's golden and smells incredible. 

Remove from oven, cool for a few minutes and then put in a big bowl. Add fruits and mix gently. Let it cool completely before putting it in a container (I just throw it in a large zipper bag). 


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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

I could give you my word as a Spaniard

"I could give you my word as a Spaniard."

"No good. I've known too many Spaniards."

Greg and I love to quote this from our fave flick The Princess Bride, since he is of Spanish heritage. Plus, it's funny to say it in public because you find out who else is in the Princess Bride Club. 

I was fortunate enough to tag along with Greg to Spain (business for him). We've been to Barcelona previously, and we're fans. 

There's something magical about standing in front of any building or park designed by Antoni Gaudi. 

Or wandering through ancient Roman architecture, losing yourself in the mazed passageways of Barri Gotic, allowing yourself to succumb to the wafting smells of tiny restaurants and dimly lit antique shops. 

Spaniards are fascinating to me anyway, but the barcelonians are a little different and hard to just group with the rest of the country. This happens with other regions too, of course. 

What I like about barcelonians ...

  • they tend to be friendlier than other European cultures
  • they're social people and enjoy all kinds of interactions, whether it's chatting over a coffee or sharing tapas
  • they're very culturally inclined, surrounding themselves with great design
  • they love their dogs - a bunch
  • they speak both Catalan and Spanish, in most cases
  • they don't get a lot of sleep (seeing as dinner time starts around 10 pm...)
  • they love to eat!

Yep, Barcelona is a pretty enjoyable place to hang out. And I think if a resident there gave me their word as a Spaniard, I'd be inclined to believe them!

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Friday, March 7, 2014

Cheating death - the flying way

Tonight, thanks to our smartphones, we saw the news that Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 bound to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur had been lost on radio contact 2 1/2 hours into flight. It was over the water. It was due to land a few hours ago. 

What scares me isn't the fact that a plane didn't land when it should have. Or that the airlines is distributing concerning statements about the status of the flight which reference the loss of radio contact and the fact that their thoughts and prayers are with all of the affected families. 

What causes me chills is that:
1. Greg had a previously planned itinerary including that specific flight
2. Greg's colleagues instead took the trip to the region 
3. Greg's colleagues had booked themselves on the earlier flight

All that has been lost so far is one of the colleague's luggage which the airlines had already put on the next flight - the flight that may have gone down. So what if he has no clothing? He is alive. 

The most frightening thing of all is that we cheated death. Greg was the one originally scheduled on the trip! But maybe God isn't done with him yet. May we all take something from this chilling moment?

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