Granola for days

I’ve had  a few things consuming my life recently. A project, a thought, and a combination of the 2. At least one of them is going on almost at all times, which can be a bit disruptive to my normal productivity.

The thought has been particularly consuming, requiring research and a weighing of pros and cons before becoming action. I’ve shared the thought with a few people, and their responses have been mixed. While I have pretty much made up my mind (give or take timing), I am waiting until post-full execution to share it with the world. So be on the lookout. For those who know me, it is going to be drastic.

The combo thought/project is WEDDING. I’ve been in a lethargic state of mind regarding wedding planning the last few months, but I’m suddenly panicked that I’m behind or forgetting something, so back into the game I go. It was pretty easy to nail down the big things: dress, venue, food/beverage, photographer, etc. I’ve got those things lined up and most of the details ironed out. It’s the little things, the details, that are driving me crazy. Centerpieces, for example. I have spent hours on Pinterest, blogs, etc, trying to find ideas, and so far nothing has both excited me and/or been practical for my setup and budget.

If I’m honest, I’m not really that great at planning events. First, I don’t have a ton of experience. Second, I’m good at big picture but not little details. I feel bad that I feel so disinterested in the rest of the planning process, but it is what it is. I’m excited for the wedding, the day, the people, the memories. But I’m finding it really hard to be overly excited about following through with the rest of the planning process. Perhaps it’s just the season, but I do need to stay on top of things a bit more.

The project started the first weekend in January. It was my birthday and one of my best friends flew in for the weekend to surprise me, so naturally the rest of the weekend was a wash. He shared a blog with me a few weeks prior that I binge-read in one night. It is full of amazing inspiration and easy DIY home goods. We started the weekend with Homemade 5-Minute Powder Laundry Soap. 3-4 cheap ingredients and you only need a few tablespoons per load. And the scent is customizable. I was excited because I’ve recently had an issue with my towels not rinsing. I ran a load of towels with minimal soap on a regular cycle. As I transferred them to the dryer, I noticed they appeared to still have soap in them. So I threw them back into the wash for a quick rinse/spin cycle. Even after the second rinse cycle, they still had visible soap in them! I ran them through a second full wash cycle with no soap, and only then felt good drying them. It was ridiculous. So I was happy to try a homemade alternative. I’ve used it on a few loads of laundry and so far I am impressed. It doesn’t leave a lingering scent, but my clothes are clean and free of soap or residue. They definitely feel and smell fresh when they are dried.

The second project, which takes a bit more time, was DIY Homemade Wool Dryer Balls. This project has continued since that weekend, as I wanted to make 6 for myself, and make a set for a few other people. It helped that the wool yarn required has been on sale at my local Michael’s. This process requires making balls from the yarn, tying them into nylons (like onions), and then…. wait, does everyone get the onion reference? Or does that date me? Anyway, then you toss the string of wool balls into your regular laundry cycle. We looked up a fast set method, which required a good soak in hot water followed by a thorough drying on high heat in your dryer. I tried this and the yard didn’t felt as completely as I was hoping. So I’ve had the first set running through household laundry this last week. Once the yarn felts, you can remove the balls from the nylon, add a few drops of essential oil, and let them live freely in the dryer. And you never have to buy dryer sheets again. One person I talked to said his set had been in regular use for over 3 years and was still going strong. I haven’t done any other research on longevity, so don’t know their lifespan. But they are cheap and easy to make, so it’s not like it will be hard to replace them when the time comes.

Anyway, I have had yarn with me ever since and am especially productive during my commute to work. We carpool with other coworkers and I am never behind the wheel, so it’s a good opportunity. Oddly enough, this activity doesn’t make me car sick, which is great. That blog is full of amazing things, and I am trying one of her face cleanser recipes. So far, so good. At the very least, it is giving me creative ideas.

It was my plan to cook lots of yummy things last weekend and blog ALL of them. I cooked all the things, but life happened and I failed to take adequate photos. My meal prep was on point though. One thing I made, that doesn’t require too many photos, was granola. I love granola. Especially now that I’ve found almondmilk yogurt. It’s been a while since my last granola binge, so I thought it was time for another round. The recipe I use makes a large batch, so be prepared or half it. But it is super easy to make, customizable to your tastes and preferences, and it makes your house smell heavenly, which is never a bad thing.IMG_2571[1]

I have tried many recipes, but this photo guide is my go-to. I have my staple combo (keep reading for the details), but this guide is great if you want to experiment. I will confess, I usually go a bit heavier (ha! read A LOT heavier) on the spices and nuts. I also usually leave out dried fruit. This is partially due to preference and partially due to not keeping a good variety on hand. But you can add all sorts of things, per your personal taste.

As I mentioned, I like this with my dairy/soy-free yogurt, but I also eat it as cereal with almond or coconut milk. I’ve even added it to fall soups, particularly squash soups. It adds a nice crunch and spike of flavor. I may try it with a salad next time…. hmmm… possibilities. Okay loves, go forth and make all of the granola. Then check out Live Simply and marvel at how easy homemade products can be.

Cheers!

Whitney

Currently drinking: water with lemon essential oil

Currently eating: Granola, obviously. JK. Rosemary and Olive Oil Triscuits – addicting!

 

Whitney’s Favorite Granola

Dry Ingredients

2 cups Quick Oats

2 cups Old Fashioned Oats

3/4 – 1 cup chopped pecans

3/4 – 1 cup slivered or shaved almonds

3/4 – 1 cup dried, shredded coconut

1/2- 3/4 cup pumpkin seeds

1/3 cup hemp hearts

2-3 Tbsp chia seeds

Spices – I don’t usually measure, but I’ll try to approximate…

3-4 Tbsp cinnamon

2-3 tsp allspice

2-3 tsp ground cloves

2-3 tsp ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp cardamom – a little goes a very looooooong way, so be very careful.

pinch of salt

Wet Ingredients

1/4 cup oil – this can be any fat, but I usually use coconut or avocado oil.

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 Tbsp vanilla or almond extract. Or half and half of each. Depends on my mood.

Instructions

  1. Combine dry ingredients and spices in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Combine wet ingredients in small bowl with a whisk.
  3. Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients and toss to evenly distribute.
  4. Line a large baking sheet (preferably with some edging to prevent mixture from falling off the edges) with parchment paper and spread mixture evenly over sheet.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes at 350°F, stirring half way through.
  6. Let cool and store in an airtight container.
  7. Eat all of it. 🙂

 

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