Homemade Granola Clusters

I have made the yummiest homemade granola clusters today. Even Mr. C who said "I don't like granola" as I excitedly tell him about them and try force him to try them said they were pretty darn good.

Now I researched lots of recipes but got overwhelmed and confused by all the conflicting ideas of what to do and made my own concoction. The best part? You can totally use whatever odds and ends that are chilling in your pantry and they'll turn out GREAT!

Now these are two part, but don't be overwhelmed, it's not hard.

For the granola:

2 cups of Old Fashioned Oats (but I bet you can use steel cut also)
2/3 cup of Maple syrup
1 1/2 cups of nuts*
1/2 tsp of vanilla**
1/2 tsp Cinnamon**

*really whatever you like, I did peanuts, almonds and sunflower kernels.  My peanuts were planters (i think) so you can use any regular nuts...if you use raw I would add salt as an extra ingredient.
**but really i saw post about cocoa powder or ginger which both sounded good but i didn't have.

1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees (lots of recipes say 300 but i found it was burning my granola)
2. Mix all ingredients together. Make sure that it's all evenly coated.
3. Cook for 30 min. at 275.
4. Stir about every 10 min.

Granola Clusters:

1/2 of the recipe of granola
1/2 cup of peanut butter*
1/2 cup of almond butter*
1/2 cup of olive oil
3/4 cup of honey
1/4 cup of crasins or raisins
2 cups of cereal... I used rice krispies and fiber one cereal 
1 cup of brown sugar

*I think you can just use one or the other but I ran out of peanut butter so I used both.

1. Heat peanut butter, almond butter, olive oil, honey, and brown sugar on stove top on medium heat until all melted together.
2. Mix with dry ingredients.
3. Divide into mini muffin cups.
4. Let dry 1-2 hours.

Enjoy and try not to eat all in one sitting!


I am learning picasa!

I am a therapist. I am not internet savvy. I married a engineer. I married an engineer so that I don't have to know things about computers. But, increasingly as I blog I want to be able to post pictures. I have discovered picasa and it's true love.

Here's my two beautiful children,

my debonair husband,

and me on Mr C's birthday trip last year.

I think I love picasa (now if i could just figure out how to rotate the pic of my puppies.)
Posted by Picasa

Happy Birthday Little J!

It's little J's birthday (my sister), we just got back from Nashville seeing her and the rest of the family. I love my sister. (I will confess that we had a couple of rough patches in teenage years but, that's normal right?) This is why I love my sister...

Yes, This is disney...it is 3 am and she is totally striking a pose in a trash bag!

Now, if you are a nonrunner, FYI trash bags are normal. They will keep you warm and dry for the amount of time for the marathon to start and when it does you just tear it off and throw it away.

But only my baby sister would be striking a pose in her trash bag like she is wearing PRADA!

I laugh every time I see this picture.

Anyway, happy birthday little sister!

Now only 2 days until California...I am so excited I can barely sit still long enough to blog about it. YAY!


Disney Recap

The Walt Disney World Princess 1/2 Marathon was AMAZING! It was better than I thought it would be (and I was excited about as soon as I first heard about it). Just to clarify, no I am not a Disney freak. Mickey and the princesses are cool and all but I don't have a homage anywhere in my home to them. BUT a couple of things this one great:

1. I trained better than I ever had. I am not the thinnest I have ever been but I worked hard to do this one. You know what? It really paid off! I was mentally more prepared by my calm aura and physically more prepared. Goof wanted to go to the parks the afternoon of the race I was totally cool with it. I would have been sore but now 2 days later I am fine. (I do have a wicked cold since I didn't wear a jacket in the middle of the night in the coldest winter in florida's recorded history but hey, that's fair).

2. Having little J there was great! She struggled and i think a couple of times was ready to give up but having my little sister with me made it about 80 times better. I frequently have conversations in my head debating if it's better to run by myself or with another person. I can say Sunday I loved having that other person.

3. The people who put on the 1/2 marathon know what they are doing. I read in the pre-race book that they discourage ipods because they have so much along the way but brought my anyway. I really didn't use it. They did have something to look at or hear along the whole way. Even really boring parts they had signs up along the race that had fun facts about the princesses like snow white is so thin because it takes # amount of calories to sweep the floor. They were cute and fun to read during boring times. They had tons of character's to stop and get your picture taken with. Now, I got the girl bug from Bug's life and Jack Sparrow, not fabulous ones but I also wouldn't wait in the long lines for Mickey, Woody, or the princes.

Now a couple of reflections that weren't amazing:

I hate to complain but don't want to sell you the kool-aid without the whole truth.

It seemed disorganized at best...

The race started at 6am and my corral left at 6:21am. I had to get on the bus by 4am to get there. I was of course nervous about the fact that they stressed the last bus left at 4am. So, little J and I got on the 3:30am bus and sat around for 3 hours waiting for the race. From our hotel the race was only a couple of miles so this makes no sense on why we had to be so early.

So, at 4ish I left the random parking lot to walk for 20 min to start a 1/2 marathon?!? Yup, to be able start a distance race i walked for 20 min in the middle of the night in the dark. NOT COOL!!!!

Additionally, If you didn't have proof of previous races you were stuck in the last 2 corrals. Now at first glance this seems reasonable but let me explain the problems with this idea. This race attracts LOTS of first timers. No big deal everyone starts somewhere. The problem comes with random assignments to the last 2 corrals. For example, Little J and I knew we would be primarily walking due to her recent health problems (mono right before the vegas race in december). We were cool with this but lots of people behind of were planning on running. So, runners and frustrated that walkers are in their way and walkers are frustrated that runners are literally running them down. The other races set corrals according to your guesstimate finish time. This way everyone knows their target pace and it goes much smoother. Something Disney should think of doing.

Finally, The happily ever after party (very cute name) was not so happily ever after. It was promptly stopped at 10:30am. This is a problem because lots of ladies were still finishing up. Therefore, no party for the walkers =(. Disney needs to look at the fact that they were targeting a nonprofessional crowd and needs to accommodate to those who race just for the fun of racing!


Disney DAY!

Today is THE day! Today little J (my sister) and I head to sunny florida for the disney princess half marathon. This will be little J's first half marathon due to her unfortunate incident with mono. Little J was supposed to run Vegas with me but got sick and was stuck on the side line =(. So, We are doing it disney style! Our mom, goof, and my cousin, D will meet us down there to cheer us on and join in the fun. Little J's scared but I know she can do it. We pushed ourselves at the local huntsvegas running trail last week to 10 MILES! That's little J's record up until now but all will change Sunday. This morning I attempted to channel my therapy life and lead her through guided imagery of the race but she just rolled her eyes at me. Power of positive thinking people! When we tell ourselves we can do something and truly believe we will carry ourselves further than we have ever imagined. SO, on Sunday send prays and good thoughts to God. I know he will carry us through.


March Meal Plan

Well, I am seriously trying to figure out how to post my google calendar but failing. A couple of things to help using a monthly meal plan. If you do something constantly. Make an event and have it repeat every week. For example, Sundays we eat with our church bible study, Wednesdays we eat leftovers, and Thursdays Mr. C cooks. I don't plan what he cooks so every Thursday it just says Mr. C cooks. After those days are in place then put out any days traveling or have things planned. For example my sister's birthday is on March 12 (Happy Bday Jenni!) and we are out of town alot so I put those in there. From there create your plan. A couple of ideas do easy dinners for weeknights or crockpot. I use Year of Slow Cooking blog just about every Tuesday. I also have a delicious cookbook where I tag recipes I like or want to try. I will look at them at the beginning of the month for help. My general plan is to cook on Mondays and Saturdays since I am home and have time. Crockpot on Tuesdays so dinner will be ready when we get home and do something easy on Fridays. Here is an example of this month for me:

Mon Mar 1 steak/ barbeque tofu, collard greens, cornbread

Tue Mar 2 veggie soup/beef stew

Wed Mar 3 scrounge

Thu Mar 4 kyle cooks= kung pow hot dog

Fri Mar 5- Sunday, March 7 orlando

Mon Mar 8 spinach cream cheese lasagna

Tue Mar 9 slow cooker orange tofu, rice, Asian broccoli sides/ pineapple chicken

Wed Mar 10 scrounge

Thu Mar 11 kyle cooks

Fri Mar 12 mushroom and steak quesadillas, refried beans, guacamole

Sat Mar 13 - Sun, March 14 nashville

Mon Mar 15 Black bean/ polenta bake chicken polenta bake

Tue Mar 16 digornio

Wednesday, March 17-Tue Mar 23 We will be in San Francisco on Vacation!

Wed Mar 24 potato/cauliflower soup

Thu Mar 25 kyle cooks

Fri Mar 26 baked ziti from freezer

Sat Mar 27 patty melts with butternut squash fries

Sun Mar 28 Dinner at Life Group

Mon Mar 29 mung bean dal

Tue Mar 30 Alfredo chicken stew

Wed Mar 31 scrounge

FYI, Mr. C is a carnivore and I am herbivore. This is why you sometimes see more than one meal. If you are both on the same page no need to make 2 meals!

Prep day Today!

I just talked about my prep day. Well here is the breakdown:

mashed potatoes in muffin pans


egg sandwichs for breakfast

quesadillas, refried beans/ burritos if time

chop celery and carrots and lettuce for salads

cream cheese spinach lasagna
for freezer

lots of mix ins

Homemade Granola

Something new...prep day, monthly meal plan, pantry challenge

I LOVE to coupon. I think it's in my genetics. My mom used to coupon when I was little. She would proudly proclaim how much she would save a trip. I would be amazed at this. WOW $20 free.

Now I have been couponing for about 6 months. Mr. C was very supportive and proud...until the last 2 months. I may have spent WAY over my budget and there is food everywhere! I mean duck as you open the cabinet because you don't know what might hit you. So, this month we are doing things a little differently.

1. I have been meal planning for about 3 months. It's been going ok. We sort of follow it. It goes better than if we had not been trying to use one. I read in one of my cheapo blogs to use google calendar. This is a great idea. With google calendar you can give something a label and then in the details link up recipes so when that day comes along you have everything there for you. Also google will email you the day before so you can remember if you have to get anything or go to the store, so on.

2. We are going to do a "Pantry challenge." Lots of blogs did this in January to kick off the new year. We didn't. We really had no reason to try. BUT now we do. 1. We need to control this act of defying death everytime we near the kitchen cabinets. Also, we are REALLY going places this month. I'm going to Florida. Kyle and I are going to California for a whole week and there is a Nashville trip in there. Now I am going a whole month without shopping (and I do believe that the Lord will give me strength in this venture!) and will save money so we're not so stressed about it constantly.

3. The final key to pulling off this month challenge is a freezer cooking day. I think this is the third key element to making the pantry challenge workable. I first learned about it here: Basically you make a meal plan and spend a whole day cooking and putting together recipes to make life easier to stick to the meal plan. I did this last month for the first time. It worked really well. Last month I made muffins for breakfast , homemade veggie broth from Fresh from the vegetarian slow cooker, homemade mushroom soup, and beans in the crock-pot and I froze all of them. It was hard work but went well and we have been using these items throughout the month. I intended to make applesauce but didn't end up having enough apples.

These three things are my food plan. Post to follow on specifics