Musings about life, love and genealogy.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Honey Nut Granola

January 30, 2015 |

Granola is an easy, healthy snack. Munch on it by the handful, tossed in your ice cream, yogurt or oatmeal or enjoy it with cold milk and fresh fruit. Made with rolled oats, coconut, agave nectar and nuts, not only is it good and good for you, it’s super easy to make.

I like the nuts finely ground, but a combination of fine and coarse nuts will give the granola a different, crunchier texture.

In less than an hour, you’ve got a wonderful, nutty, satisfying snack that, if you’re not careful, will disappear as quickly as you can make it! Enjoy!


  • 1 cup almonds or cashews
  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup agave nectar/honey mix
  • 3/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Add the oats, coconut, salt, and brown sugar into a large bowl and stir to combine.
  3. Using a food processor, blender or hand chopper (I love my Kitchen Aid chopper for this) crush the nuts until they are finely ground. Pour them into the bowl with the oat mix.
  4. Combine the agave/honey and coconut oil and heat in a small microwaveable bowl for 45 seconds. Stir to dissolve the coconut oil, then add the vanilla and almond extract.
  5. Pour the honey mixture over the oats, and stir so that they are evenly coated.
  6. Pour the oats evenly onto a parchment lined, lipped baking sheet.
  7. Bake the oats for 6 minutes then stir them around a bit. Bake for 6 more minutes.
  8. Remove from baking sheet from the oven and let the granola cool.
  9. After it cools completely, break the granola into clusters and store it in an airtight container or Ziploc bag.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Blizzard of 2015

January 27, 2015 |

An epic blizzard is pummeling Massachusetts.

Snow isn’t my cup of tea… or coffee for that matter, even when enhanced with a shot or two of Amaretto. We’re into hour 24 of the Blizzard of 2015, and the flakes just keep on flying.

And flying.

And flying.

At last measure, 28 inches of white powder had fallen and we’ve (well, mostly Jason) made three passes up and down our 200 feet of driveway trying to keep ahead of this frosty assault. Unfortunately, Mother Nature keeps winning.

Luckily for us, (hhhmmmm…) the temperatures are on the chilly side, so it’s a light fluffy snow and not the wet, pasty stuff we got a few days ago. But chilly means layers - lots of them - body-hugging Under Armor, jeans, two shirts, three pairs of heavy socks, gloves AND mittens, and my fingers were still frozen.

If I put my Pollyanna hat on, and trust me, it’s not nearly as warm as my crocheted beanie, I can always find some good news, even though it’s buried deep in this arctic edition:

  1. We didn’t have to go to work (even though there was LOTS of work to do)
  2. .
  3. Our fridge, freezer and cabinets are stocked, and lucky me, I snagged the last two boxes of chicken broth as we maneuvered our way through the masses at the local Stop & Shop on Sunday afternoon.
  4. We didn’t have to dig a plowed-in car out of a parking spot on a Boston side street.
  5. We didn't lose power.
  6. I had the chance to make some really yummy, homemade vanilla and coconut granola to keep us fortified during round after round of snow blowing and shoveling.

This record-breaking blizzard has shattered the serenity of a relatively quiet winter, which, up to this point, had only been lightly (and infrequently) dusted with snow. Be careful what you ask for, I caution the folks who have questioned where the traditional New England winter has been, because this is what we get!

Time to grab another handful or two of that granola, don my extra socks and mittens, and head back out for what I hope is the last snow blow/shovel escapade until morning.

Did I mention that we have 28 inches of snow? And that it's still coming down?

Oh, and if 28 inches wasn’t enough, the local weather gurus are watching another storm brewing for Friday, and hinting that it could bring us another measure of this madness.

I'd raise the white flag, but with all this snow, I'm not sure anyone would see it!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Oatmeal Banana Muffins

The first snowfall of 2015 is gently filtering down this morning, covering the ground and trees in confectionary sugar white.  

From my perch at the kitchen island, I sip my coffee and look dreamily at the beautiful, serene scene outside and determine it’s definitely a morning that calls for a warm, friendly breakfast - without the confectionary sugar. 

I’m a fan of oatmeal, whether it’s a bowl of overnight oats sprinkled with fresh fruit or warm and drizzled with agave nectar for a little healthy sweetness. This morning, I’m taking oatmeal in a new direction by making muffins.

These oatmeal banana muffins are easy to make and put all the healthy benefits of oatmeal in your hands - literally. There's no flour or sugar added, just the natural sweetness of bananas.

3 ripe mashed bananas 
1/2 c. shredded coconut (optional)
1 tbsp Baking powder
3 cups rolled oats 
2 eggs
1 cup Vanilla Almond milk 
1 tsp vanilla extract

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 
  • Beat the eggs in a small bowl then add in the almond milk and vanilla.
  • In a separate bowl, mash the bananas (a fork works). Stir in the oats, coconut (optional) and baking powder.
  • Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry and combine to make a thick batter. 
  • Spray a muffin pan with non-stick spray (or use muffins liners) and keep ready. I used a oversized tin that yields 6 muffins.
  • Divide batter equally into cups and bake for 20-30 minutes until the edges start to brown and the muffins are firm to the touch. Be careful not to over-bake!
  • Allow the muffins to cool completely so they turn out of the pan easily

Hubby and I are going to grab some more coffee and enjoy. 

We'll have to grab the hats, gloves and shovels soon enough.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

New Year. New Recipes.

My husband gave me the best gift this Christmas - retirement.

Admittedly, I’m a bit young for a rocking chair on the front porch and my hair is certainly anything but gray, but the notion that I am now in charge of my daily routine, whether that’s crafting, sewing, writing or volunteer work, is tremendously exciting.

My first week of "retirement" was a bit overwhelming and quietly chaotic. Without a regular routine, I was akin to a pinball - bouncing here, there and everywhere. I was still up with the sun, but 6:30 is a lot better than 5:00 am, and at the gym by 7:00 am each morning. The first floor hardwood was washed, waxed and polished. Within a few hours, to my hubby's surprise, I zipped up new window valances for the master bath and laundry rooms. Since that wasn’t enough sewing, I registered for a historic fashion workshop with Burnley and Trowbridge and decided to start on a new pair of stays (Since I lost 50 lbs., the first pair I made can’t be laced tight enough any longer.).

I even made a chocolate cake!

One of the benefits of my new-found entrepreneurialship is the luxury of time, including time to try new recipes in support of our healthy and healthy eating lifestyle. My Pinterest board is full of interesting and potential candidates, and the winners are ceremoniously moved to a Recipes I’ve Actually Made board. The latest is a healthy treat modified from a Chia Oatmeal breakfast cookie recipe I found on These fun little snacks are easy to make and surprisingly delicious.

Here goes.

1-1/2 tbsp. chia seeds
1/4 c. unsweetened almond milk
2 ripe mashed bananas
1 c. rolled oats
1/2 c. unsweetened shredded coconut
1/3 c. dried cranberries
1/3 c. carob chips
1 tbsp. sun butter (or almond butter)
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions: (Makes about 16 cookies)

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. 
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the almond milk and chia seed. 
  3. Let it sit for about 10 minutes until the chia seed have a nice gel-like consistency. 
  4. In a separate bowl, mix the oats, coconut, cranberries and carob chips together. 
  5. Stir the mashed bananas, sun butter and vanilla into the chia seed mixture. 
  6. Scoop the mixture (1-2 tablespoons worth) onto a greased cookie sheet. Press it down to form a more rounded shape. 
  7. Bake for 17-19 minutes or until the bottoms of the cookies have browned a bit. 
  8. Cool and enjoy!