Monday, November 30, 2015

{Homemade} Gourmet Trail Mix

I will be the first to admit I know next to nothing about tailgating and even less about healthy alternatives for snacking at the Big Game.  So when I was offered the chance to create something combining the health benefits of nuts and an easy snack to make and take, whether you are watching the game at home or from the 50 yard line, I was trepidatious.  But I was intrigued, so...

Challenge accepted.

Except... my recipe may not be as healthy as some.  After all, I do love all things delicious and sugary (with a few exceptions).  It's a problem.  Do they have meeting for sugar addicts?

My take on traditional trail mix will tantalize your taste buds - a little spicy, a little salty, a little sweet - and 100 % delicious!

{Homemade} Gourmet Trail Mix

For the Granola Clusters:

Preheat oven to 300° F (148° C)
  • 3 cups gluten-free, organic whole grain rolled oats
  • 1 cup pecan pieces
  • 1/2 cup golden flax seeds
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 egg white
  1. Combine oats, pecan pieces, flax seeds, coconut flakes, and spices in a large bowl.
  2. Beat egg white until frothy.
  3. Add syrup, oil, and egg white.
  4. Stir until completely combined.
  5. Spread out evenly on large, greased baking sheet (think jelly roll pan).
  6. Bake for 30-45 minutes, stirring around the 20 minute mark.  Check on the granola toward the minimum baking time and follow your nose to make sure it doesn't burn.
  7. For larger clusters, skip stirring and bake to the maximum time.  Be aware the mixture can burn, so keep an eye on it.
  8. Let cool completely.  Break into chunks (whatever size you want).  Set aside. 
Any leftovers can be used in yogurt or pour some milk over it = breakfast!

For the Cinnamon Roasted Almonds:

Preheat oven to 300° F (148° C)
  • 1 egg white
  • 3 tsp organic vanilla extract
  • 1/6 cup (8 tsp) sugar
  • 1/6 cup (8 tsp) brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups unblanched organic almonds
  1. In a medium bowl, beat egg white until frothy.
  2. Beat in vanilla.
  3. In separate bowl, combine sugars, salt, and cinnamon.
  4. Stir sugar mixture in egg mixture until combined.
  5. Toss almonds in sauce to coat evenly.
  6. Spread evenly on greased baking pan.
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes, stirring once, until almonds are crisp.
  8. Allow to cool.  Set aside.
These babies are so addicting!  Sweet, sugary goodness.

For the Mocha Pumpkin Seeds:

Preheat oven to 325° F (162° C)
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking cocoa
  • 1/2 tbsp instant coffee granules
  • 1 egg white (but try and use only half)
  • 1 cup unsalted pepitas (raw pumpkin seeds - shelled)
  1. Combine sugar, coffee, and cocoa in a mortar and pestle or small food processor - you'll want the mixture finely ground.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk egg white until frothy.  Stir in pumpkin seeds.
  3. Sprinkle with sugar mixture and toss to coat evenly.
  4. Spread evenly on a parchment paper-lined baking pan.
  5. Bake 20-25 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until dry/not sticky.
  6. Allow to cool in pan, then set aside.
Chocolatey, with a mellow coffee flavor.  Yum!

For the Candied Walnuts:

Preheat oven to 350° F (176° C)
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 cup walnuts (no pieces)
  1. In a medium bowl, mix together sugar, salt, and cayenne.
  2. In a small saucepan, boil enough water to cover the walnuts.  
  3. Add walnuts to water and blanch (boil) for 3 minutes.
  4. Drain well and immediately fold walnuts in sugar mixture until coated.
  5. Transfer walnuts to greased baking pan and bake for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. (Watch carefully - the sugar can (and will) burn).
  6. Allow to cool. Set aside.
These walnuts have a nice kick to balance out the sweetness of the almonds!

When everything has baked and cooled, add one 5 oz bag of dried cranberries and one 5 oz bag of dried pomegranate.  Mix gently and store in an airtight container.

All together, you get a great combination of flavors - the earthy cinnamon, sweet sugar, slightly bitter coffee, and a subtle kick from the cayenne.  Plus the tart cranberries and pomegranate = a literal party in your mouth.

Go nuts and enjoy!

And if you're looking for something a little healthier, check out the these great ideas.  You can also find more quick and easy snacks here.

    Friday, November 27, 2015

    For a Good Time, Call 8675309

    Funny Friday, November 2015
    Today’s post is this month’s Funny Friday, a regular feature published on the last Friday of every month. Funny Friday is a collaborative project. Each month one of the participants submits a picture, then we all write 5 captions or thoughts inspired by that month’s picture. Links to the other bloggers’ posts are below, click on them and see what they’ve come up with. I hope we bring a smile to your face as you start your weekend (and in this case, possibly before you take your Black Friday nap).
    Funny Friday  150 X 150.jpg
    Here’s today’s picture. It was submitted by Confessions of a part-time working mom.
    22 - Confessions of a part time working mom - November 2015.jpg
    1. I may not be a smart man, Jenn-eh, but I know what size pot to use.

    2. So that's how you grow pasta!

    3. What kind of conditioner do you use?

    4. Don't ask me. I just work here.

    5. If dinner is going to be out of control, I'll stick with the antipasto.  ← (see what I did there?)

    Click on the links below and let some other bloggers make you smile:

    Friday, November 20, 2015

    Do You Understand the Words Flying Out of My Mouth?

    This conversation with Little Sasquatch:
    Me: It’s just your dad, being a douche nozzle.
    LS: Who’s a Jewish novel?
    (lots of laughter)
    Me: Your dad... umm.  Yeah, he’s being Anne Frank.
    LS: Who’s Anne Frank?
    Me: She wrote a Jewish novel.
    LS: I heard Jewish novel, not Jewish novelist.
    Guess I got owned.

    Quesadilla watching Netflix in her room.  I came upstairs.
    Me: Hey, will you go downstairs and make sure the dogs behave?
    Q: Why?  Are you going to take a shower?
    Me: No.  I thought I’d go have sex with your father.
    Q: Ew.
    Me = 1, Quesadilla = 0

    Quesadilla: I don’t have a life.
    The Big Guy: Is your heart beating?
    Q: thinking* No.  Not anymore.
    Me: Oh no.  She’s undead – double tap to the head!
    Little Sasquatch pats her twice on the head.

    Have you tried to explain how strep throat feels to someone who has never had it?  It goes a little something like this:

    The act of swallowing is like trying to shove jumbo cotton balls into a catheter.  And the pain?  It kind of feels like you’re swallowing a ball full of burrs, or pointy chips the wrong way… or whatever is equivalent to stepping on Legos.

    Little Sasquatch was acting strange and his mouth won’t stop running.  Something about pie-flavored pie.
    MIL: What have you been sniffing?
    LS: I’ve been sniffing the internet!

    I saw a post on Facebook from Tumblr about someone who made kids sing and dance for handfuls of candy until one kid busted out Bohemian Rhapsody and got the rest of the bowl.  Quesadilla made the mistake of asking what that was…

    Me: Mama, just killed a man…

    I sang most of the first verse before she decided to try and cover my mouth.  Not that it stopped me from singing.  The Big Guy took over when Q was covering my mouth, then when she tried covering his, I would sing. 

    I laughed so hard I cried and Q almost peed her pants!  Best. Time. Ever

    (as a side note, this was the day after Halloween and we were all on a sugar high)

    Now shoo fly, shoo!

    Tuesday, November 17, 2015

    Ode to Turkey Day

    Ode to Turkey Day

    Turkey meat for days
    Family dinner together
    Over-eating, full

    Wearing drawstring pants
    Embracing tryptophan fate
    Gaseous and napping

    Cowboys or Lions
    The Packers and Bears, oh my
    Afternoon football

    Christmas season near
    First decorations are up
    Only four weeks left

    Get ready for the slam!

    #ThankfulPoetry by Jules at Bergham Chronicles
    A Time for Thanks by Steena at The Angrivated Mom
    Haiku or Hai-can't: A Collection of Thanksgiving Haikus by Karen at Baking in a Tornado
    Thanksgiving Haiku by Dawn at Spatulas on Parade
    Thanksgiving Poems by Candice at Measurements of Merriment

    Ode to Turkey Day - A Poem ©Robin Allen 2015

    All rights reserved.  This poem, or parts thereof, may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including recording, photocopying, offset, or by any information storage and retrieval system without permission in writing from the author, except by reviewers who may quote brief passages to be printed in a magazine or newspaper.

    Friday, November 13, 2015

    The Road Most Travelled

    It's Friday, so ...  Blogging Challenge!  This week is Use Your Words, where participating bloggers pick 4 - 6 words or short phrases for someone else to use in a post.  The blogger must use each word/phrase at least once and each post will be unique, as each blogger gets their own set of words.  

    Here's the twist: no one knows who got their words, until now.  Make sure you stop over and visit the other blogs featuring this challenge (links at the bottom)!

    My words are: pajamas, construction, snake, gigantic, sobbing
    Submitted by: Dinosaur Superhero Mommy (Thanks, Karen!)

    Let me spin a familiar story for you, from the semi-working mind of someone half-awake:

    Have you ever sat through a construction zone, especially through a winding mountain pass?  It's a gigantic metal snake of stinking diesel and heated exhaust - enough to drive a sane person to the brink of madness.  You verbally shout and silently plead for every inch while inside you are sobbing from the injustice of precious time forcefully taken from you.  It is a terrible thing.  And it is not just you.  All around you see the muted struggle of your fellow commuters mirroring your own.

    When you finally make it to the hallowed ground that is your destination, the euphoria causes an instant wanton bliss and the urge to kiss the very pavement you cursed moments before.  Then you can finally succumb to the overwhelming need to find comfort in a set of well-loved pajamas and a deserved glass of wine.  Ignore, for the moment, the chaotic unfolding of home life, reminiscent of the hellish traffic you just endured.

    Be at peace in that moment; a calm and casual observer.  When your wine is done, face the frantic music of life and forge on, for it will surely move faster than a vehicle stuck on a mountain pass commandeered by the Department of Transportation.

    It's one concert you don't want to miss.

    Rena’s World