Thursday, March 29, 2012

So much to share!

 Now that Drama is over, Ellen is coming home right after school and we are 
enjoying some fun, after school activities again! 

 Yesterday, we hit the kitchen and made some of our favorite muffins ~ Banana  and chocolate chip 
(and few with pecans for Mama) ....the recipe is on the side bar if you are interested in making them!  It is one of our favorite treats..we made 24 muffins yesterday and they are all gone! I think that is a world record at our house for muffin eating madness! 

But the real excitement in the kitchen was finally discovering a fabulous, homemade Granola recipe...I have tried various recipes off the Internet over the years and have never been completely satisfied with them.  So, thanks to my 
"Whole Foods Kitchen" E-course 
by Heather at "Beauty that Moves"   
(also on blog sidebar) I am taking right search is over!
The secret ingredient is....Refined Coconut Oil.  This stuff is fabulous and I am just discovering it.  It is wonderful to cook with and can replace butter or oil in most recipes.  As far as health properties go, it supasses just about anything you can use to cook with! 
Without further ado....let me share this wonderful treat! 

Another important ingredient is using quality rolled oats. I found the extra thick rolled oats and they really worked well, but I am sure it will be very good with any good quality rolled oats! You start by mixing the following ingredients in a large bowl:
6 cups of uncooked rolled oats
1/2 cup shredded coconut (I left that out as my children don't like it)
1/2 cup whole wheat flour - if you want to use regular that is fine too - I actually used gluten-free flour, as I am trying to cut down on gluten in our food.
1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
Optional: Dried cranberries, raisins, or types of nuts that you like! 

Next - In a saucepan, heat 1/2 cup of coconut oil;  2/3 cup of maple syrup (I used the really good stuff! expensive but worth it! ) and 2 tablespoons of vanilla (again, I use the real vanilla....I just think wholesome and natural ingredients really 
make a difference in taste!) Just cook in sauce pan until ingredients are mixed and warm.  Pour the warmed mixture from sauce pan over the dry ingredients and mix well. you like your granola on the sweet side ~ add a bit more syrup; Do you love a vanilla flavor?  Increase the vanilla!   The wonderful thing about making your own is you can make it to suit your taste! 

Now ~ spread your mixture in a thin layer on a cookie sheet, pressing into pan with the back of a spoon.  Bake in the oven at 300 degrees for 40 minutes, stirring after 20 minutes. 

The difference I found in this granola is the way it baked to perfection - it is crispy, but not too crunchy...and it holds up in cereal and yogurt (you can easily make home made yogurt too if you click on the tutorial on my sidebar!) Making yogurt is super easy to do, and you don't need any special equipment  but a sauce pan and a wooden spoon! Plus, you can make a quart of yogurt for the price of what whole milk is a no brainer! 

OK - enough about cooking...Guess what arrived in the mail ~ unexpectedly ~ yesterday!!!!!!
This copy of   Naturally Fun Parties for Kids 
by Anne Daulter and Heather Fontenot.
And, even more exciting, is the fact that they are asking me :: little ole me in Louisiana :: 
to review it! I was so surprised and thrilled as first of all it is a fabulous book to have and own,
 and secondly, what an honor!  I hope I can do it justice as this book is quite impressive.  
Anni Daulter has published several books, most notably, 
The Organic Family Cookbook, Organically Raised 
and Conscious Cooking for Babies.  
Heather Fontentenot is a mother and editor of the online magazine, 
Rhythm of the Home, and has a blog called Shivaya Naturals.
 The book is available as of March 21st, 2012 and if you want your very own copy 
you can 
click here to order!!!

I will be sharing an in-depth review shortly when I have had time to sit down, read this beautiful book from cover to cover, and complete some of the fun, cost effective, seasonally inspired 
ideas and projects it has to offer.  But, I am so excited about it, I have to give you a "quick glimpse" into the first few pages ~ it will no doubt jump-start your creative juices flowing!
Each season is perfectly described (see above) and followed with tips, tricks and ideas 
of how to make your child's (or even your own) party inexpensive, but rich 
in natural, simple but beautiful, organic style and content.

A lover of photography, I am drooling over the gorgeous photos
 that are plentiful throughout the book! 

My whole family is coming in for Easter and how perfect will it be to have our
 own Natural Spring Dying Garden Party.  

My brother with his three girls, sister and her two boys, sister - in - law 
with her two boys and girl, 
and another sister - in - law with six children under the age of 10!  
When you add that count to my three girls,  that equals seventeen children! 
I think I can have a party with that! 

 What better way to review the book then to try dying eggs with the red onions, red cabbage, fresh beets, blueberries, turmeric, coffee and Paprika as the book suggests!

I would love to photograph the whole book for you, as every page and idea is a show stopper...some of these ideas we have seen before, but they are presented in such enticing and beautiful ways here that you want to do them ALL at ONE time! 
Above is Flower Pot Cheese Bread with jam!

There are even cute, homemade ideas for invitations to each party.....this is the sleeve of an old sweater that is cut and sewn to provide an "envelope" for the invitation...which is a water colored piece of paper (any child can water-color a piece of paper! ) and then stamp, write or used press on letters to write the  word egg and party...!  This is so up my alley...I love it! I could go on, but I want to take my time and do the justice to the book that it so deserves; so please check back...
I may do a few more mini- reviews before the "Biggie"! 
Make it a great day, a great granola day! 
If you make the granola (or the yogurt...or if you get really crazy and hit my tutorial on making butter,  please drop me a comment and let me know how it turned out for you! Also, if you have a favorite granola recipe that works for you,
  please do share! 


  1. I make granola and yogurt every week and love it! My granola recipe is similar except I also add a little orange or pineapple juice to the liquids and lots of sesame and pumpkins seeds along with pecans. The yogurt I do in the crock pot using half and half.
    I can't wait to try your muffins. The wee one is staying a few days and I think this will make a fun activity in the morning.
    Oh, have you tried coconut butter? Oh my!

    1. I have tried commercial coconut you know how to make it...Please share if you do! And thanks for the orange and pinapple juice tip...I will try that along with the pumpkin children do like pumpkin seeds! But let me know about how to make coconut butter ~ I am curious now!

  2. Everything looks wonderful. You will have a wonderful time with all the children. I am envious. The granola looks grand. I use Ina Garten's recipe. It is yummy! I will certainly try your recipe out as well. Bonnie

    1. I will definitely look that up and compare! I think this might be the most children we have ever had for Easter ~ looking forward to it! Thanks for the granola tip!

  3. Coconut oil is good stuff! That looks like a fantastic book--I'm thinking about naturally dying eggs with my grade 4 class. Of course I should have been getting prepared before now, so I may go with the food colouring and water and think about it for next year.

    Glad you're getting time to do fun stuff with your kiddos, only a month and then our lives get much quieter and filled with sports. Maybe then :)

  4. Everything looks delicious! I wish I could visit and do a taste test :)

  5. i use coconut oil for EVERYTHING!!! it has so many uses in the kitchen and for personal care...i buy massive amounts of it ;-)

    and homemade granola is a fave around here too and smells so good baking in the oven!

  6. Yay! We are part of that "Whole Family" coming down to party this EAster! I can't wait to dye the eggs-- but only if we can drink coffee and eat blueberries while we use them to dye the eggs. Though I have a feeling I will be finding whole eggs in my coffee cup for a!

    Those muffins look delicious- I can't wait to try them out.

  7. I will try your recipe for granola and take your advice about the flour. My daughter is cutting back on gluten. I believe I will have plenty from your recipe to share with her. Thanks for all the wonderful comment you make on my blog.

  8. Gosh girl! You sure can pack a lot of good stuff into one post! I'm so glad I found your blog. I think I'm going to go make some granola right now!

  9. hi! just found your blog through pinterest and love the header photo (thats what caught my eye) Im in louisiana too so I will be back to check out your blog a little more. Great photos. the granola looks so yummy!


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