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Countertop Review

This time last year I was packing up our house to prepare for our down-to-the-studs renovation in our kitchen, family room, and master bath as well as the addition of a screened porch. The family room wasn't originally part of the plan, but that's a post for another time. The kitchen was where I really had to plan and scheme, and, yes even fret, to stay in our footprint and budget and to get the function and look I wanted. I love a challenge like this, though, so despite some occasional frustration with my client (aka me! ), I enjoyed the process. A key "want" of mine was honed marble countertops. There are dozens--maybe hundreds--of blog posts, articles, and showroom sites that compare various types of countertop materials and their pros and cons. I read most of them and took notes from a lot of them in the months leading up to our start date. One of the most helpful things was visiting a sweet friend's kitchen, where I was able to ask questions about cleaning, a

Off to a Great Start

I never eat any breakfast.                                                    --Lizzie Borden
Well, I think that explains a lot, don’t you?!
Breakfast, as we all know, is the most important meal of the day.  Only, Idon’treallylikeitallthatmuch.  There, I said it.  I’ve sort of grown to like it more as I’ve gotten older.  I understand and appreciate the nutrition behind its importance. It’s just that I’m not that much of a fan.  Don’t misunderstand, I enjoy a big breakfast, and I generally love brunch, but weekday breakfasts that must be made within reasonable nutritional guidelines (which is to say, without thick slices of real bacon) aren’t all that great for me.  I’m doing my best, though, in this New Year to embrace the breakfast habit--I’m making granola.
This is based on Ina Garten’s granola recipe.  The Mister loves it!  I think it’s good, too.  And, believe me, homemade granola is much less expensive than store-bought, especially if you make more than one batch.  This recipe makes about 12 cups.
The Recipe
4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
2 cups sliced almonds
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup local honey
1  cup small diced dried apricots
1 cup small diced dried figs
1 cup dried cherries
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup roasted, unsalted chopped pecans
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Mix the oats, coconut, and almonds together in a large bowl.IMG_2886
Blend the oil and honey in a small bowl, and pour into oat mixture, stir until all the oats and almonds are coated. IMG_2889Spread onto a large baking sheet and place in pre-heated oven.
IMG_2895Bake, stirring occasionally, until the mixture turns a nice, even, golden brown, about 40 minutes.  Watch carefully. 
IMG_2893While the oats are toasting, chop up the apricots, figs, cherries, cranberries, and pecans.
Remove the granola from the oven and let cool completely. Store the oat/almond cereal in an airtight container.  If you like you can add the dried fruit and store the granola together, however, the moisture in the fruit will make the granola less crunchy.
 IMG_2934We store the chopped fruit in the refrigerator and add it just before  pouring the milk in the morning.  Of course, this granola is also pretty tasty with a dollop of plain or vanilla yogurt.
What do you like to eat for breakfast?
Besides coffee, of course.

Comments

  1. I love granola. I package it up in little bundles and keep them in my car to snack on when I am hungry and out and about... It saves me $$ (so I don't run into a store and buy an over-priced whatever) and calories (so I don't run into a store and buy an over-priced whatever!)

    I like raisins, dried cranberries, nuts and a few chocolate chips in mine!

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  2. I never used to eat breakfast but in the last year or so I have started to and cant function without it! I have an emergen-c, handful of vitamins, some protein drink and an energy bar. Then I read the blogs :O)

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  3. Love granola but can no longer eat it since I am off gluten. Perhaps I'll try it when the kids are home!! Sounds delicious!!

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  4. That recipe sounds good (and that is coming from a reluctant breakfast eater). I like breakfast if I don't have to make it! Take me out, cook for me and I am all about it....me cook it, pass. I do cook every morning but only for my boys and I eat something later in the morning. Maybe I should try this! Thanks for sharing.

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  5. I have never made my own granola and I love to eat it so this is totally encouraging me to give it a try! thanks for the great recipe!
    Vanessa

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  6. I only eat fruit in the morning, with coffee, of course. I love granola, though, and have been looking for a good recipe, Think I've found it!

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  7. The Barefoot Contessa uses cashews rather than pecans, but how could a Southern girl like me not use pecans?! Also, something about cashews for breakfast just didn't seem right to me, but don't tell the Mister--he loves cashews.

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  8. Ha! Love the quote - perfect lead in to your post :)

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  9. It looks wonderful... But I've always wondered: Isn't granola extremely high in calories? Or is that store bought?

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  10. Oh yum! Ina Garten can do no wrong in our house. This recipe looks like a winner! I will definitely have to give it a try. I usually have black coffee for breakfast (I know, naughty of me), but I love brunch...and breakfast late at night.:)

    H.H.

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