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Nothing like some good voodoo magic to get me back to blogging. We have found a somewhat local NAET practitioner (30 min drive as opposed to the 60 min drive I was prepared to make. Mason has had a terrible cough for months now. It has been determined by his pediatrician that it is related to allergies, which is what I suspected, but so far every last thing they have recommended has not worked. And yes, I did give it a chance! So we are trying NAET again and hoping we have results as good as when we did NAET with Maiya. Last week was brain balancing, and tonight is egg mix. We will be keeping all egg and chicken related things at least 5 feet from Mason’s energy field for approx 25 hours after treatment. Yes, we are weird. Yes, I really believe this crazy sounding stuff works. I will try to update as we go. Let the voodoo magic begin!

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Aka Mason and Maiya just happened to be wearing matching colors and no one had food on their face. “Kids, go stand over there and look cute!”

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I’m a big fan of the changing seasons. Fall is my favorite. Cooler weather, changing leaves, apple pies, cider and donuts, pumpkin spice everything.  Staying in on a gloomy day and baking is just what you do in fall. In my mind it’s required. Unfortunately for my mind, I live in a place where there is 300 days of sunshine. Have I ever mentioned how backwards I am? I LOVE gloomy days, and cold snowy days, and cool rainy days. In fact I am convinced that this state is giving me reverse seasonal depression. It has been 89 degrees the past two days. And that makes me SO ANGRY! I just want to wear pants and drink hot tea and bake things with pumpkin spice flavors. I know, poor, poor, baby. For now, I have found my compromise: making granola only requires the oven to be on for 15 minutes and if I do it at 10 pm, we won’t all melt!

I changed the original recipe a bit. Made it a little easier, cheaper, and now it’s Vegan! I didn’t have pecans, but I think it needs a nut for some more crunch. This granola gets clumpy, but it is not crunchy like the other recipe I use.

Happy Baking 🙂

Pumpkin Spice Granola

4 Cups Old Fashioned Oats

1 Cup Pumpkin Seeds (Pepitas!)

1 Cup Pecans (or whatever nut you fancy)

2 Tablespoons Ground Flax Seeds

1/2 Cup Maple Syrup

1/2 Cup Pumpkin Puree

1 teaspoon Cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon each of Cloves, Allspice, and Cardamon

or

Pumpkin Pie Spice , from the store or make your own

1. Preheat Oven to 350

2. In a 9×13 pan: Combine Oats, Flax seed, Pumpkin Seeds

3. In a small saucepan, over medium heat: combine pumpkin puree, maple syrup, and spices

4. Stir constantly, bringing to a boil

5. Remove from heat and add to dry ingredients, mixing completely

6. Bake for 15 minutes

7. Cool on a wire rack, store in an airtight container

Pumpkin Spice Granola

Here is a link to the original recipe:

http://www.thenheathersaid.com/2010/09/13/granola-is-not-scary/

We  generally like to avoid people and major goings ons during holiday weekends. This year we changed it up a bit with a STAYCATION! Are the news stations still using that word? Because I LOVE it! Isn’t it just the greatest when the news takes something that people already do and coins a cute little word for it and then uses that word so much that it must immediately be added to the urban dictionary?

“What are you doing for the holiday weekend?”

“Oh, you know, stick close to home, spend time with the kids.”  or in Newspeak  “We’re having a STAYCATION!”

Friday and Saturday we had a garage sale. Yes that did involve people coming to see us, but the key is they gave us MONEY! It is such a great feeling to clear our all of the junk from your house and end up with a clean house and some petty cash to spend.

Friday night, Clint went on a brewery tour in Denver with his friend. If you enjoy beer on any level you would love Denver. I however do not enjoy beer. While the boys were out we had pizza and wine (juice boxes too!) and ice cream sundaes. Now that is my kind of night! We also had the honor of introducing Mason’s best friend to Star Wars.

Intense focus

Sunday we  packed a picnic and took a drive into the mountains. Somehow we made a wrong turn and ended up in Tiny Town. How could we pass it up? It’s WORLD FAMOUS!

Big Ford, Little Ford

Babyzilla!

Let me tell you, if it wasn’t for the ridiculous level of excitement from the kids I would be seriously upset about the $16 it costs me. Well the kids loved it and it ended with a playground. When you are a kid, what could be better? So yes, it was worth it.

Eventually we ended up on Guanella Pass at about 12,000 feet sourounded by almost 14er mountains. Kinda makes you feel small. And a little lightheaded-damn altitude.

Patches of snow that never melt

I got this mountain!

lack of oxygen happy smile

Best part of the weekend was Sunday when we had ICE CREAM FOR DINNER! We headed over to Sweet Action in Denver and experienced ice cream nirvana. Maiya got Milk Chocolate, Mason got crazy and got a sugar cone with Brown Sugar Banana ice cream with rainbow sprinkles. Holy cow! That ice cream was like the summer version of the best homemade banana bread your Grandma ever made. I got peanut butter ice cream with chocolate covered pretzels. Clint got the winner. Stranahans Whiskey Brickle in a warm waffle cone. I don’t know who Clint thinks he is, but he got the fresh off the press hot waffle cone. I don’t know what the urban dictionary defines as a staycation, but mine always starts and ends with ice cream.

More pics here

Sloppy Joes!

We LOVE this recipe. I am not kidding. LOVE is an understatement. You wouldn’t think Sloppy Jos could be memorable, but I disagree. The leftovers are even better. Let me tell you, these are not the leftovers that get lost in the dark corners of your fridge.

You can make this extra healthy by using lean ground turkey, doubling the red pepper and even adding grated or pureed carrot and serving it on a whole wheat bun (or crazy healthy-whole wheat pita) or you can go all out and use ground beef, top with shredded cheddar cheese and serve on a toasted onion bun (still pretty healthy). I recommend using a food processor to chop all of the garlic, onion, and veggies. Totally not necessary, but sure makes the process quicker.

Mason loves these, but gets very upset when I call them Sloppy Jos. I have to backtrack and promise that it is not the “sloppy” version. “You know Mom only makes the “Not-So-Sloppy” kind.”

Sorry, no picture this time. I always make this meal in a hurry and haven’t remembered to take a pic yet.

http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/browse-all-recipes/not-so-sloppy-joes-10000001046895/index.html

Not-So-Sloppy Joes

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon (I use at least double)
  • 4 hamburger buns, toasted
  • 1/2 cup grated Cheddar
  • 1/2 cup sour cream

Directions

  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and red pepper. Sauté until fragrant, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add the ground beef and brown, about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in the tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, salt, black pepper, and cinnamon. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened slightly, about 12 minutes.
  4. Spoon onto the buns. Sprinkle each with the Cheddar and top with a dollop of the sour cream.
The recipe is from RealSimple. I think their website and the majority of the recipes and tips are REAL AWESOME.

I am trying to get in the habit of making certain things from scratch that I buy regularly. So far hummus and granola are the big winners. Saves tons of money, easy recipes, and it turns out they taste even better than even the good-quality store-bought version. I try to make them every other week and it lasts almost that long.

I have been experimenting with lots of granola recipes and nothing ever comes out in nice clumps. Sometimes I get a few clumps, sometimes none. I like my granola in nice crunchy clumps, and really I haven’t even found a store-bought version that comes close to what I am looking for.

Luckily, I am hooked on a certain food blog-and found this almost perfect recipe. http://smittenkitchen.com/2007/10/pumpkin-butter-and-pepita-granola/

My only problem is that all granola recipes overwhelm me by the number of ingredients which turn out to be 90% optional and that nothing ever clumps right. After many fails, I have discovered that it is imperative NOT to stir the granola once it is out of the oven. I revised the recipe to make it simple and easy to read and added my secret to clumping and now it is time to MAKE GRANOLA!

Basic Granola3 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup flaked coconut (I like unsweeted wide chips, but use whatever you have or like or don’t use at all)
ÂĽ cup canola oil
â…“ cup packed dark brown sugar
ÂĽ cup honey
1 cup whole almonds
Cinnamon*
Sea salt*

Make  sure oven rack is in the middle
Pre-heat oven to 375

Stir together all ingredients.

If the mixture looks dry, add more honey. From what I understand, excess oil gets in the way of clumping, so I wouldn’t add extra oil if you like your granola clumpy.

Put the granola mixture in a pan lined with parchment paper (I use a 9×13 pyrex, but whatever fits is fine)

Bake, stirring occasionally, until golden brown about 30 minutes

Check after the first 15 minutes, and then check about every five minutes until it is to your liking. This stuff burns fast, so don’t walk away!

Place on a rack to cool

DO NOT STIR! If you want your granola clumpy, ignore all granola recipes you may have read and don’t stir it- at all. You should end up with a giant mass of granola that you can break apart into pieces.

Store it in an airtight container in the freezer. It will stay fresh and last for months, if you can possibly manage not to eat it all on the way to the freezer.

FYI
*I am very generous with cinnamon and sea salt. Start with a pinch and add what you like.

This is just a basic recipe. You can add anything you want. Just remember to stir in dried fruit AFTER baking and BEFORE cooling

Some ideas for variations:

Switch out the almonds for walnuts, add a pinch of nutmeg and some banana chips (I like mine unsweetened, but I suspect I am the only one) and you have yourself some banana-walnut granola

dried cherries and almonds

dare I say dried cherries, almonds, and dark chocolate chunks?

cranberry-walnut

pepitas and a mixture of dried fruit

sunflower seeds and dried fruit

dried tropical fruit mix and macadamia nuts

dried apples and walnuts, raisins and lots of cinnamon

dried blueberry, walnut, and flax seed

pecans and dried mango