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I am a girl that loves a sandwich.

I am a girl that loves a spicy dish.

I am a girl that tries to eat somewhat healthy.

I am a girl that gets weak in the knees for buffalo sauce.

And I am a girl that stole this marvelous (and somewhat healthy)  recipe for the best Buffalo Chicken Burgers I’ve ever had.

My friend and former boss, Tracy, posted this recipe on Facebook a while back. I promptly made it because she promised that these burgers would be a healthy alternative to the terrible fried goodness of a chicken wing (or a boneless tender, that I prefer).

These burgers seriously deliver. They are so dang good. They are moist and delicious and flavorful and spicy and savory and the list goes on and on.

Now, first I must confess. I didn’t have any ground chicken.

So I used ground turkey instead. I lurrrrrve flexible recipes. You too, non?

This recipe makes 5 burgers.

I started with a 1.2 lb package of ground turkey and a large bowl.

Dump that turkey into the bowl.

Get out some grill seasoning. You’ll need 1 Tablespoon.

I happened to have a Chipotle Rub, and it was spectacular. However, any grill seasoning will do.

Now, Tracy recommends low fat blue cheese to keep the calorie count down in her burgers. If you are watching the waistline, I would encourage you to do the same.

If however, you are wanting a more delicious burger- go for the regular old blue cheese crumbles.

I have a personal aversion to low-fat cheese. It generally tastes bad, and it often strikes me as having a weird consistency.

I also hate low-fat salad dressing, but that is neither here nor there. Just thought you might want to know.

Anywho, add in 1/4 c. of blue cheese crumbles.

And 1/4 c. of Frank’s Red Hot. Or you could use Frank’s Buffalo Sauce.

Seriously, both my husband and I really love Frank’s Red Hot. We should buy stock in the stuff.

I think it makes just about any savory dish better. OK, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit. But the stuff does make me quite happy.

Now, grab some Panko breadcrumbs. Do not attempt to substitute regular breadcrumbs in this recipe. You need the extra crunch provided by Panko.

These guys are found in the baking aisle of your grocery store right near the bread crumbs.

Add 3/4 c. of  the Panko to your bowl.

Chop up 1/3 c. of celery and toss it into the bowl.

And now add 1/4 of green onion.

If you don’t have green onions, use some chives like I did.

Bing bong for chives in the garden.

They have saved several dishes for me this summer when I need just a bit of green.

Gently mix all of the above together.

You want to mix the ingredients until they are combined. But don’t over mix the meat because it will get tough.

Five perfect burgers.

Set those burgers aside, and lets make a little blue cheese sauce to top our burgers with when they are cooked.

You’ll need two simple ingredients for the sauce.

First, 1/2 cup of low fat sour cream. Low-fat sour cream is one low-fat option that I can manage to eat. It doesn’t taste all that different from the full fat version to me.

Add 1/4 c. of those blue cheese crumbles to the sour cream and mix it up.

OK!

Let’s cook our burgers.

Before we do, I think we should follow Tracy’s suggestion to coat the outside in Panko to increase the crunchiness factor.

Those Panko breadcrumbs really do give the burgers that same crispy sensation that a fried tender or wing has.

Put a non-stick skillet over a medium flame to preheat.

I wanted to grill these burgers, but we only have a charcoal grill (I personally could never go gas- I love the charcoal flavor).

The downside of charcoal; however, is that if you are making a late dinner grilling sometimes is not an option.

Because, you know, it takes for-e-ver to heat up.

Enough about my woes.

Put a little olive oil in the pan.

And put your burgers into the pan.

After about 4-5 minutes, give them a flip.

Let them cook on the second side for another 4-5 minutes.

If you want to kick up the heat factor, baste those burgers with a little more red hot sauce.

Pull those burgers off of the pan, and start building your sandwich.

I put our burgers on a whole wheat crusty piece of bread.

And then I topped them with the blue cheese sauce, some tomato, and some sliced cucumbers.

Served up with a simple cucumber salad (can you tell that we were out of lettuce?) and a little fruit salad.

It will knock your socks off.

Want to see what my worthless sous chefs were up to?

Well, this one was at least in the kitchen… but she was just hoping for scraps:

Lola couldn’t bother to come inside. She was either sunbathing or keeping guard of the tomato plant:

And finally… this guy.

So far, Henry has been a real disappointment in the kitchen. He doesn’t help me out at all. Good thing he makes up for it with his extreme cuteness:

My guy’s hair makes my life.

Happy Tuesday!

XO,
Leah

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Monday night is the night that Brad loads up our trash and puts it on the curb. We are also fortunate that we live in a neighborhood where the township workers come and pick up our yard waste.

So last night, there was a storm a-brewin’ and Brad hurried to get everything to the curb. He left the backyard with a large bag of weeds and sticks and general yard leftovers, and walked through our gate toward the front yard pulling the gate closed behind him.

Now, before we proceed with the story lets take a look at our precious pup, Lola.

This was her on Monday night while the sun was still shining.

Well, about 8 pm Brad and I were sitting down for dinner when we noticed two things:

1. A massive storm was about to start- we flipped on the TV, and there was in fact a tornado warning for our area.

2. Lola was nowhere to be found.

We searched every room in our house yelling for sweet Lola, but to no avail.

Brad popped his head out in the backyard and realized the gate door didn’t latch when he took the yard waste to the curb, and our Lola Belle saw her chance to choose her own adventure.

This isn’t the first time Lola has made an escape. She can’t help it. She is a hound, and her nose beckons her on grand adventures.

Normally, we’ll grab her leash and some treats to try and lure her home.

But we couldn’t do that last night.

The sky was black, the wind was howling, and branches were being blown about.

And all I could think about was the fact that this precious pup was out there- and she was likely very scared.

Now, I have a nasty habit of assuming the worst.

And, these days, I have slightly elevated hormone levels.

So, I stood at the front door about to go into hysterics while I pictured Lola being swept away by a funnel cloud.

Or pelted by flying lawn furniture.

Or run over by a car because visibility was so poor.

Or smashed to smithereens by a large branch.

I felt helpless that our ding-dong pup was out there on a very scary night all alone.

I begged Brad to get into his car and just go drive around the block looking for her. And yes, I was ok with him leaving in the middle of a tornado warning.

I didn’t say that I have a logical brain.

Clearly, I do not.

Brad refused to leave while the storm raged on.

I continued to bite my lip to not go into the ugly cry.

Eventually, the storm died down.

Brad grabbed Lola’s leash and some treats, and he headed out to hopefully find our beloved ding-a-ling.

I waited.

And waited.

I said a prayer.

I looked out the window.

I waited some more.

I texted some dog lovin’ family and friends to send their prayers Lola’s way.

And eventually…

Eventually, Brad walks through the door with a soaked to the bone Lola.

The minute I saw her, I was relieved.

And then I wanted to kill her.

Brad proceeded to tell me that as he searched for Lola, a neighbor walked toward him with Lola on a leash.

Apparently, Lola was mid-adventure when the storm hit.

She must have been scared because she burst into our neighbor’s house unannounced.

Our sweet neighbors graciously allowed her to take cover while they too waited out the storm.

Here is Lola after her return.

Still pretty darn wet.

But also pretty exhausted.

I like to think she was glad to be home.

But part of me knows that she likely loved every moment of her grand adventure.

Nothing like a tornado and a dog escape to take an otherwise Monday evening and turn it into a drama packed evening.

I’m hoping for a calm and relaxing day today.

I hope for the same for you, my friends.

XO,

Leah

There is only one way.

Count it.

One.

One way that our dogs play nicely together.

What is the mystery toy that brings them together, you might ask?

The rope toy.

The glorious rope toy that will inevitably end up shredded on our carpet.

They don’t last long in this house.

Lola is the instigator 99% of the time in this house. She is the puppy. The baby. The supreme ding-dong.

Miss tolerates her instigation for about 2.6 seconds.

Then, Miss gives her a warning in the form of a bark. And Lola happily trots outside to entertain herself with bird watching and chasing. Or digging holes. She really likes to dig when the ground is good and muddy.

So yeah, that’s awesome.

However, the rope toy brings out the wild child in Miss.

The past several mornings, we have come downstairs to find Miss waiting for us patiently (yes, poor old gal is too old and arthritic to climb the stairs at night) with the rope toy in hand. And by hand, I of course mean mouth… because, well she’s a dog.

She first attempts to engage Brad.

If he doesn’t play, she moves on to me.

If I’m busy, Lola serves as her last resort.

Miss taunts Lola with the treasured rope toy, and eventually Lola can’t stand the mocking invitation to engage any longer.

Begin Tug-O’-War.

I need to try to capture some audio of the game.

Because it sounds like we are running a dog fight club in our house.

The growling is outrageous.

And I find it a bit hilarious because both of our dogs are completely harmless.

But the rope toy brings out the warrior in them.

And victory is the only option.

They tug and pull and drag each other around the house.

Until Miss tires.

Or Lola gets distracted (which, lets be honest, happens after about 1 min.).

But for a few glorious minutes, these ding-a-lings like each other. And play together. And share the love and desire of the oh-so-incredible rope toy.

Its a rainy day here in the Nati. I anticipate a full on tug-of-war bracket-style competition by day’s end.

Jealous?

I didn’t think so.

Seriously though, how cute are our pups? I love them.

XO,
Leah

Hi Friends!

Guess what!?!

It’s snowing again!! YAY!!!

Yes, that was sarcasm.

I’ve seen enough of the white death, thank you very much.

Want to know something pathetic about me?

I was VERY disappointed (dare I say angry?) that my beloved Oprah was preempted by “Winter Storm Watch 2011”. What I really want to know is who sits around watching the 24 hour snow updates? It makes me batty.

Thank you for listening to me.

I feel better now.

I was trying to decide what we should chat about today.

And I decided I should round out the week with another vegetarian dish option… this time for breakfast or brunch. I threw in a side dish for all of you carnivores too. I’m posting this on Friday so you have a chance to gather up the ingredients prior to the official start of your weekend.

Brunch makes my life.

Holla if you hear me.

Today, I bring you crepes.

Don’t go away!! Don’t be scared!! They are easy!!

Here is what you’ll need:

A blender

1 cup of flour

2 eggs

3/4 cups milk

1/2 cup water

3 T. melted butter

Put it all into a blender.

And then pulse it. Pulse it. Pulse it. Pulse it.

That is 4 pulses at about 5 seconds a piece.

And this is what it looks like all blended.

Crepe batter is very similar to a pancake batter except much much runnier.

Because I was making a sweet breakfast crepe, I decided to add a t. of vanilla and 1/4 c. of sugar to the batter at this point.

Your crepes will still be delicious if you leave that out. If you were making savory crepes, you could add a little salt, pepper, and any herb you like.

Crepes are very versatile.

And they are also pretty bubbly immediately after blending.

So, to get the bubbles to subside and to make your crepe making easier, pop that whole blender into the fridge for an hour or so.

This step isn’t completely necessary, but it makes the batter a little easier to work with.

Truth be told, I don’t really do the refrigeration step.

But I feel I should tell you the way that crepes are SUPPOSED to be made so that someday if you have a French crepe master in your home, you’ll know every bit as much as he or she does.

Er. Something like that.

Here is the one thing that you will absolutely need for crepe making success… a nonstick skillet.

And a little bit o’ butter.

Put your skillet and butter over medium heat.

I like to use a 9″ in diameter non-stick pan because the crepes come out the perfect serving size.

For a 9″ skillet, I use approximately 1/4 c. of crepe batter for each crepe.

The recipe above made about a dozen crepes.

They are supposed to be a very thin treat.

So, pour in your first 1/4 c. (doesn’t have to be precise) of batter.

Quickly, lift the pan up to coax the batter to thinly coat the entire bottom of the pan.

Allow the crepe to cook only about 30 seconds.

Then, give the crepe a flip.

After another 30 seconds, remove the crepe onto a dry flat surface to cool down to room temperature.

Continue on with this process until all of your batter is gone.

I want to warn you… the first crepe you pour into the pan almost always is disastrous. I have no clue why this happens, but I have made several batches of crepes, and the first pour always ends up not spreading evenly and being weird. So, DO NOT BE DISCOURAGED. It is normal to have your first try go awry.

And, if you happen to have success with your first pour, please don’t tell me.

I’ll probably develop a complex.

Why doesn’t my first crepe come out perfectly?

What is wrong with me?

I guess I’m just not good enough to make the perfect crepe.

Anywho, after allowing all of your crepes to cool, stack them up or pack them up.

Cooked crepes can last in the fridge for 2 weeks when stored in an airtight bag or container.

You can freeze them for up to 6 months. When you want to use them, simply pull them out of the freezer and set them on your counter until they thaw. Then have at them!!

Here is what I topped my Sunday Brunch Crepes with…

1/2 c. of strawberry jam

1/2 c. fresh strawberries, shopped

1 kiwi, chopped

1/2 c. fresh blueberries

I popped all of that into a small saucepan, and turned the heat to medium.

I stirred it up.

And watched it cook.

Do you have any idea how good this smells?

Like candy.

I let it bubble a bit around the edges, and then I turned the heat as low as it would go to keep the sauce warm until I was ready for it.

I also chopped up another round of fresh berries, kiwi, and blueberries.

To make my crepe, I put one glorious crepe onto my plate.

And I topped it with the chopped fresh fruit.

Then I added a drizzle of my fruity syrup that has been warming on the stove.

Then I folded it up.

And then I looked at that big ol’ plate, and thought my crepe looked a little lonely.

I thought and thought about what would complete my brunch while staying within the French breakfast theme.

And this came to mind:

Croissants

1 T. of Dijon mustard per croissant

Black Forest Ham

Gruyere Cheese (the best melting cheese on the planet)

I cut my gloriously buttery croissants in half to start to build my French breakfast sandwich.

I slathered the bottom half of the croissant with the dijon mustard.

Then, I drooled a little as I piled on some of that ham.

And then I drooled a little more as I shredded the gruyere.

I seriously, seriously have a cheese problem.

I think I need an intervention.

Now, you have a couple of options. Pop those bad boys into the oven at 350 for 5-7 minutes (until the cheese gets melty) or you can pop them into a toaster oven like I did.

I wrapped up the tray that I had them on in foil so that I had one less kitchen item to clean.

Oh sweet sassy.

My dear Gussie.

Look at these mamas when they came out of the oven.

Help me.

Now, pop the lid on your sandwich.

Drizzle a little more of that fruity syrup on  your crepe.

Oh, hey there whipped cream.

You’d like to go on the crepe too?

You got it!

Top off the crepe with the slightest dusting of powdered sugar.

That is joy on a plate if you ask me.

Sure joy is full of lots and lots of calories. But, it’s brunch! And it’s the weekend!

And this meal made my morning so gloriously lovely.

And I know it will do the same for you.

Brad has been having crepes for dessert this week with the leftovers I have stored in the fridge. He pops out a crepe, puts it on a plate, spreads a thin layer of cream cheese down the center, and then tops that with some strawberry jam. He puts the whole kit and caboodle into the microwave for about 10 seconds.

I tasted his treat last night, and it is GOOD!

I just feel like before we go, we should look at that food again.

Ah.

Lovely!

And delicious!

And I think I have thoroughly forgotten about the 6 inches of snow on the ground.

Finally, I will leave you with this… my dogs have the smelliest gas on the face of the planet.

They have accosted me the entire time I have written this post.

You are welcome for that little piece of information.

It’s Friday, people!

Have a great weekend.

XO,

Leah

First, I want to start off by stating that I’m blogging while watching the show “My Strange Addiction” on TLC. Where the heck does this channel find these people?

The first lady is obsessed with eating chalk. I cannot imagine anything worse to put in my mouth- the texture alone makes me cringe. Every bite she takes makes even my toes tingle thinking about that texture. Oy.

The second guy is addicted to running. He runs 20 miles every single day. Sadly, I suffer from the same addiction (those of you that know me should be laughing hysterically right now).

The third lady is addicted to shopping. She is $85,000 in debt and spends approximately $1500 a week on clothes, shoes, and bags. Wowza.

The fourth girl is addicted to tanning. She belongs to six tanning salons and spends approximately $1000 a month on tanning alone. I don’t even know how that is possible.

Anyhow, I say all this for no real reason at all.

It has nothing to do with anything.

People are fascinating.

Know what else are fascinating?

Sweet potatoes.

Right? Fascinating.

Or not.

At the least, they are pretty darn tasty.

I dig the sweet potato and all of its lovely health benefits. But I do take issue with sweet potato recipes because they seem to usually include some sort of sugary and sweet topping. And some days I’m just not in the mood.

This recipe (if you can even call it that) is my hands-down all-time favorite way to eat sweet potatoes.

Sweet Potato Fries.

Yum-Diddy-Yum-Yum

Start with some sweet potatoes.

These two large taters fed Brad and I, and it allowed for some leftovers.

Set your oven to 400 degrees.

Don’t bother scrubbing them.

Because we’re going to peel them.

Next, is the hardest part of the recipe. Slice the potatoes into fry shape.

They don’t have to be perfect, but you want them to be approximately the same size so they cook evenly.

But, rustic is good.

Put them on a non-stick sheet pan (with sides… you know, so the oil doesn’t drip all over your oven).

Give them a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Then sprinkle on some kosher salt and pepper.

Pop them taters in the oven for about 10 minutes.

Pull them out and give them a flip.

Then, pop them back into the oven for another 10-15 minutes.

I keep mine in there for a little longer because I like it when they get all brown and caramel-y.

Pull them out of the oven. Serve them up immediately with some apple butter if you crave the sweetness.

Or you can always serve them with ketchup if you prefer the savory. That works too.

I had mine with a BLT and some pineapple.

There you have it. Easy and delicious. And pretty healthy too.

And now, because it is my blog and I can do what I want… I’m throwing in a random photo.

This is the first photo that we took of Lola.

I was sitting on a bench outside of a strip mall at a dog rescue event, and I was falling in love with this sweet little pup.

And then I took her home.

And realized that she is stubborn. And she likes to dig holes. And she is a ding-dong.

But gosh darn it. She was (and still is) cute.

Doesn’t that face just say to you, “please ma’am… take me home… I’ll be the perfect little addition… and I’ll never do anything bad… I just want to be loved”?

Maybe I need to work on my dog face interpretation.

Happy Thursday Friends!!

XO,

Leah

There are dog people.

And then there are non-dog people.

I grew up in a household of seven people, and six out of the seven of us are dog people… with the exception of my mom. She is dog tolerant. And that is about it.

Let me paint the picture for you.

Our beloved childhood dog, Skipper, lived a nice long life. And he was a good dog. When he became blind and deaf, my parents dutifully cared for him. Then he stopped eating, and they knew it was time to say goodbye.

It was a sad day for all of us. Even my dad shed a tear, which is a very rare occurrence.

Now, my mom cries at any touching movie, moment, happy news, sad news, exciting news, etc. But not one tear was shed by her for beloved Skipper.

When I asked her, “won’t you miss him?”

She replied that she’ll miss him when she’s cooking because he did scarf up any scraps.

Now, for you dog lovers that may sound cold-hearted. But my mom, I assure you, is not cold-hearted. She just doesn’t care for dogs.

So, that should provide a starting point for you to understand the rest of the story.

Fast forward…. Christmas at the parent’s house in 2010.

All 5 kids were coming home along with two spouses and two boyfriends. That makes for 11 adults in my parents home along with a bunch of drop-in friends.

Add to that the five LARGE dogs that would be accompanying my momma’s darling children on their trip home.

I thought the woman would have a breakdown.

Here is the ding-dong cast of characters.

The grumpy old lady, Miss Jackson:

Miss Ultimate Supreme Ding-a-Ling, Lola (who in this picture looks like she has a lazy eye):

Mr. Bosco, my sister’s very well-behaved (no that isn’t sarcasm… he is a REALLY good good dog) American Bull Dog:

Rosie, the rescue. And Jax, Bosco’s brother. These dogs love treats. Amen.

And this is a little glimpse of what it was like with them around:

http://bshawise.tumblr.com/post/2488922266

They were relegated to the basement. Please note that is only 3 of the 5. Miss was probably on the second floor far away from the action, and I’m sure she was trying to figure out how she was the only dog last year, and this year she was sharing her favorite get away spot with 4 dogs under the age of 1. Pretty sure she hated us for bringing her. And Rosie was probably locked away- Rosie is still working on playing well with others.

Words cannot describe the chaos that 5 grown dogs can create when they are together. For the dog lovers, there were a lot of funny moments with those ding-a-lings. And for my mom, I’m sure she was wishing that she raised her children better- you know, to be those non-dog loving people that don’t bring disruptive and destructive animals into her home.

Thanks be to God for the nearby high school athletic fields. They provided the fenced in space for these dogs to wear themselves out.

Thanks be to the Dog Whisperer, Justin. For it turns out that he really isn’t a whisperer, he is just a good treat bringer and giver.

And thanks be to my momma for her gift of tolerance.

Happy Wednesday people!

Have a good one,

Leah

“Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight! For I ne’er saw true beauty till this night.”

They are separated by their families.

Even though their love exceeds all boundaries, there is one thing that keeps them apart.

They would give anything to make the boundary disappear.

Alas.

The fence.

It keeps them apart.

Well that, and their owners.

This is Riley.

Riley is Lola’s friend, confidant, love.

Riley is Lola’s everything.

How do I know?

Lola waits by the back door patiently for her love to appear. The moment he is let out, Lola must run to him. There is no option.

She is a smitten kitten.

Or Rather.

A smitten hound.

She runs to Riley.

Ears flopping in the wind.

Only to be stopped dead in her tracks by the one things that keeps her from him.

The fence.

A woman in love cannot be stopped.

Lola will not be kept from Riley.

And Lola will certainly not let material boundaries separate her for long.

Lola must only ruin our yard a little bit more to achieve her reunion with Sir Riley.

What is wrong with me?

I’m tempted to let her try.

Brad wants to fill in the hole and place one of Lola’s lovely poops on top of the hole to discourage her from digging further.

Men.

Sigh.

They just don’t get it.

Happy Monday!!

XO,

Leah

I have decided that this shall be my last post before Christmas. I’m taking the holiday season off from looking at a computer screen!

However, I couldn’t leave for the holidays without sharing pictures of the Reindog Parade that Brad, Lola, and I attended this year in Cincinnati.

The annual parade is put on by the SPCA in Cincinnati. It raises money for the fabulous SPCA that humanely cares for dogs and cats that are awaiting adoption.

If you are at all in the market for a pup, I would strongly encourage you to adopt a dog.

Here is a list of dogs available right now at the Cincinnati SPCA.

Warning: Clicking on the link will melt your heart, and it may make you  really want a new pet.

Check out the dogs.

Anyhow, for this Reindog parade, owners dress their dogs up and then they have a parade through the picturesque hills of Mt. Adams. People line the streets to watch the dogs parade around in their costumes.

Here is a sampling of what we saw:

I’m a sucker for a Great Dane. I think they are so majestic looking (I mean, when they AREN’T donning a Christmas quilt around their neck), and they all seem to be so good natured. This guy looked so happy to be decked out in Christmas gear, right?

Is it just me or do all poodles look like complete ding-a-lings? Seriously, look at that dog.

Check out this Christmas court jester. Loving life.

Then, there’s Lola. She was so embarrassed she didn’t have a special Christmas outfit.

She couldn’t bear to show her face.

It was either that, or she really hates it when we put the gentle leader on her.

Side Note: If I were Oprah, I would give away gentle leaders to all dog owners. Best. Investment. Ever.

This is a pack of angry killer dogs.

Dressed in their Scottish Tartan Plaids claiming allegiance to their homeland.

FREEDOM!!!

Er.

Something like that.

I’ll give you a dollar if you can tell me what kind of dog that is.

It looks like it would be the evil Queen’s dog in a Disney movie.

I swear to you this dog is giving me the stink eye.

He must hate the paparazzi.

I think this dog is about as precious as they come.

I bet she’s stuck up though.

She has that air about her.

Red and white sweater.

Check.

Green Scarf.

Check.

Dog in misery.

Check.

Leah thoroughly entertained.

Double check.

I shall end with this precious pup. I had to get a picture of her nails. They were meticulously painted by her owner.

I asked the owner if I could take a picture, and she happily agreed.

I swear to you, I aimed my camera at the pup, and she winked at me.

Seriously!

Look at the picture above.

She is winking.

Right?

Right.

And then.

AND. THEN.

Without missing a beat.

She lifted her paw.

To show me her manicure.

Like a lady.

Then the pup whispered to me,

“Polished nails, polished lady.”

No. Joke.

Reindog parade 2010.

There you have it.

I’m wishing you all the Merriest Christmas. Take a moment to soak in the precious time spent with friends and family. Eat lots. Love on those people in your life that you only get to see at Christmas. Build tolerance for some of those people you only have to see at Christmas. Give thanks.

And then have a safe and fun New Years.

XO,

Leah

I love food that is easy.

Just like I like my men.

Ahem.

Is this thing on?

Hello?

I love food that takes less than 10 minutes to prepare, yet is delightfully delicious.

And that is why I love this little granola recipe. The original recipe came from a magazine (Real Simple, I think) a few years ago. I have modified my little recipe card each time I have made this granola, and I now think that it is perfection.

If I do say so myself.

Preheat your oven to 350.

And grab these ingredients:

4 c. Oats (NOT the quick cooking kind)

1 c. Sliced Almonds (or any other nut if you prefer it more)

1/2 c. Unsweetened Coconut (find it in the baking aisle)

1/4 c. sunflower seeds (the original recipe called for pumpkin seeds, which you may just have on hand this time of year)

1/2 c. maple syrup- PLEASE use the REAL and GOOD stuff- no Mrs. Butterworths here, I beg you

2 T. oil

1/2 t. salt

1 c. dried fruit

Now, here comes the very challenging and precise part of this recipe.

Take everything that I mentioned above and dump it into a Tupperware bowl- preferably one that has an air tight lid.

I’ll stop for a moment and state that you can use any dried fruit that you prefer. I have made this with raisins, cranberries, and apples. This time around I used 1/2 cup dried pineapple and 1/2 cup dried cherry flavored cranberries.

That dried fruits section at the grocery store (usually either by the canned fruits or by the salad toppings- think croutons and nuts) has more choices than one would think possible. So, have at it!

Ok, I interrupt your viewing of the granola building once again. I’m stepping on my soap box.

Please, please, please, forever please use REAL maple syrup. Yes, I know it is expensive. But there is a reason for that. Real maple syrup is harvested from a maple tree. Fake syrup is harvested from high fructose corn syrup.

The difference in flavor is overwhelmingly better.

Just ask my daddy-o.

He is a syrup snob.

Once you’ve topped your mix off with the salt and oil (use canola or vegetable), mix it all up and pour it out onto a sheet pan. Pop it into the oven for 15 minutes.

In the meantime, wipe out your Tupperware container. When the granola is finished, this will be your storage container.

After 15 minutes, pull out your granola and toss it up. Make sure you get everything that was on the bottom rotated up to the top.

Then, stick it back in the oven for another 10-15 minutes.

At 10 mintues, start checking on it. You want it to be a golden brown, but not a dark brown!

It should look just about this color when it is ready.

Put your finished and slightly cooled granola into your storage container.

Now, you can eat this a million different ways.

I often will pack a small bag of it to nibble on while I’m at work.

I’ll also toss some on cottage cheese, ice cream or yogurt (as seen below).

Brad will pour some into a bowl, and top it off with milk to eat the granola in place of a bowl of cereal.

You are only limited by your imagination.

That sounds like a line from an after-school special.

Of course, thank you to my loyal Sous Chef. She faithfully caught ever little oat that flew off of my pan and onto the floor while mixing.

Have a happy Tuesday.

It is fall, and it is crisp outside yet sunny. Doesn’t get better than that.

XO,
Leah

The homestead is like the Wild West with these two cowgirls around.

This happens many times a week.

It cracks me up every time that Lola stalks Miss.

I have recipes galore to share in the next couple of days, so come on back now- ya hear?

Happy Monday Peeps!

LW

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