recipe || homemade granola

I never mind when the granola jar gets low because that just means more needs to be made, and there's little else that makes the house smell as good as it does when we bake granola. 

This is a recipe from my sweet momma, as so many of our favorite recipes are, and it continues to be passed on and on. It has become a staple in many of our friend's homes after they've tried it here. It's so simple to make and easy to add your own spin to so it can please every palate. And you can double or even triple it if you want to gift some of it or use it as favors for a shower, as we did for my little sister's wedding shower earlier this year. I mean, how cute are little mason jars filled with granola and tied with a bit of twine or ribbon?? 

So, my friends, welcome to our kitchen again. I hope that this granola feels just as cozy to you each time you make it as it does to me.

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Homemade Granola

4 cups rolled oats

1-2 cups nuts (chopped pecans, shaved almonds, walnuts)

3/4 cups shredded unsweetened coconut

1/4 cup wheat germ (optional)

2-4 tsp. milled flax seed (optional)

1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. dark or light brown sugar

1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. real maple syrup

1/4 cup canola oil

3/4 tsp. salt

1-2 tsp. vanilla

Directions

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

In a large bowl combine the oats, nuts, coconut, brown sugar, wheat germ, and flax seed. In a separate bowl combine the maple syrup, oil, salt, and vanilla by whisking together well. 

Pour onto a lightly oiled baking sheet. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes to achieve an even color.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Add dried fruit, chocolate chips, or whatever else you prefer.

Revel in the glorious smell and enjoy!

collections || recipes for rainy days

At the risk of being a complete broken record here, I'll say it again:

I love all things cozy.

In my estimation, rainy days are perched high atop the list of what makes a day cozy. Now, the very best of rainy days are when they are accompanied by cool temperatures, sweaters and flannel blankets, a classic read or a classic film, and your hands wrapped around the warmth of a mug full of something delicious. So when the first rainy autumn days make their arrival I thrill. My husband knows this so well about me that when he spots such days coming on the weather app he'll send me the forecast via text with some sweet comment about just how happy he's knows this will make me. 

I love cozy rainy autumn days.

Yes, it is true. And forever it shall remain. Those other may mock me or be shocked that I could love such a day (and they have) I will stand steadily by this love of mine.

So when I spotted some more days bearing this description in the forecast for this week and next I thought I would share with you lovelies some of our favorite rainy day recipes. Some of our go-to's when that chill in the air is accompanied by those pitter-pattering sounds. 

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Soups and stews are musts in this list. This Irish Stew is the very definition of comfort food and when you make it -- because you must -- it must be paired with a good (as in chock full of butter and other dairy products) mashed potato recipe and a crusty-on-the-outside-soft-on-the-inside bread.

This chicken gnocchi soup is like a warm hug. Our favorite roasted tomato soup recipe paired with an oozey grilled cheese. And no stew list would be complete with a nod to dear Julia's beef bourguignon. The woman was just a fountain of foodie wisdom.

Pasta. Always pasta. This spaghetti with white wine and roasted tomato cream sauce has such great flavor from those roasted tomatoes. This marinara sauce is so simple and quick and makes for a delicious combination with a warm baguette and heavy sprinkles of parmesan.

Finally, the baking. You must always have baking. The apple crisp in the picture up there we made twice in a couple weeks period. So simple and tasty, especially paired with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream. These pumpkin donuts are so good, like really really. Up the spice amount a bit and just dip them in melted butter and cinnamon/sugar if you don't want to worry about the caramel glaze and you'll be oh so happy.

My precious mama's pumpkin bread is the best of all the pumpkin breads. Just look at the amount of spices she puts in. She knows her way around a kitchen. If you like, you can make a little cream cheese/powdered sugar concoction to spread across the top of your slices of pumpkin bread and then you shall achieve pure fall bliss.

These carmelita bars. Gracious, they are yummy. These with a fresh cup of coffee and you'll be closing your eyes and making all the "mmmmm" sounds with the best of 'em. I discovered these bars on pinterest a few years ago and tried them on a whim for a Christmas party for J's work. They were devoured and highly requested afterwards. A favorite was born.

Lastly, the biscotti recipe from my lovely friend, Rachel's. She lives in Minnesota now and I miss so much our long chats over cups of coffee and pieces of fresh biscotti while our littles play. But I love how making a recipe like this stirs up memories and so many reasons to be thankful.

I think that's why recipes become dear to us. Along with the fabulous tastes and the comfort of spending time in your kitchen you build memories around recipes as you share it in that moment in time with family and friends. Sometimes tears fall into a bowl of soup, sometimes you come close to choking on a bite of pumpkin bread because you're laughing just that hard, sometimes you share news or clink celebratory wine glasses together over a plate of pasta, but always, you are building up those memory blocks. Then the next time you are trying to think of something warm and wonderful to make you find yourself drawn to that particular recipe because it's so much more than a good blend of ingredients.

Stay cozy, lovely ones, and Bon Appétit!

 

6 years old


There you are, my six year old girl. 

It's absolutely true, what they say. You blink and, in that instant, 6 years have gone by.

6 years ago, at 6:41pm, they handed you to me for the first time, laying you right down on my chest. I close my eyes now and I can see that moment like a home video in my mind. I remember what I felt to hold you that first time, taking in every aspect of you, and feeling so giddy about your head of hair.

You were beautiful. You were here. You were ours.

As they rolled me out of the delivery room, moving me into recovery, with you snuggled next to me and your daddy walking right beside us, I just remember the greatest sense of peace and a very special kind of gratitude coming over me. 

To be given your daddy and then for us to be given you? Utter grace.

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And now we are here, opening the door to your 6th year. I can't wait to see what's on the other side. Something tells me it's going to be a rather wonderful year.

The other day daddy and I asked you what you were most excited about in turning 6 and you responded, without a moments hesitation, "Holding my baby brother." Sweeter words I've never heard.

Soon you will get to do just that. You will get to hold the answer to the quiet prayers you've prayed and the tender hopes you've carried. Daddy and I couldn't be more ready to see that moment. I know it's going to be just like the one I described on the day you were born. Utter grace.

And you, sweet Little Bit, are going to be the loveliest big sister. With all the plans you are already forming and communicating to us about what you are going to do with baby brother and teach baby brother and show baby brother, I know all the more that this little boy is so very blessed to have you.

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My mind is playing all the memories from this past year of your life like a slideshow as I write this to you, Little. We have seen the Lord work in boundless ways in you. Through the heartaches and the struggle, the victories and the celebrations, the many many "new things" you have tried and done, the countless ways you've been brave, the deep thoughts you've begun to have and slowly shared with us, the ways you've stepped out of what is comfortable to you, the ways you've loved those around you and learned to  respond when they love you, the beautiful truths that you are mulling over in your heart, the way you gently speak truth to us, the hundreds of times you've helped, and the desire that you have for all people to know God. It has been stunning to watch Him work so masterfully in your heart. I pray that so soon your heart comes to know His love for you is best, His knowledge of you is the deepest, and His desire for that eternal relationship with you is the greatest hope.

I love seeing all the pieces of you come alive even more with each year, all the characteristics and qualities of you that God knit together inside of me in just the way He had always planned. Those pieces of you are a tool He uses daily in my life -- you challenge me, you encourage me, you inspire me, and through you He shows me so much grace. Utter grace.

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To have you as my daughter, my hour by hour sidekick, my little companion, is to have a tangible picture of that utter grace looking right at me, with expressive blue eyes and the most contagious belly laugh. It's beautiful.

So on this, your 6th birthday, know this, my darling Anna Kate: I am so very thankful for you, so very proud of you and forever changed by being your mama.

Happy Birthday, my Bit!!

I love you with all my heart.