Monday, March 31, 2014

Coconut Granola

I've been on a major granola kick lately. My first trimester, I had about a ten minute window once my eyes were open to eat before the nausea set in for the day. Now, in my third trimester, the baby practically kicks me out of bed to go find something to eat in the mornings. Luckily, once I have a huge jar of this stuff made, all it takes is a splash of milk to "make" breakfast.

These have been my favorite add-ins recently:

I stir them in with my standard granola base (recipe below) and toast them for about 10 minutes on low heat. (My hyper-sensitive pregnancy senses started noticing that over-toasted granola tastes like burned popcorn. Yuck. I use to bake granola all day to get is as crunchy as possible, but now I take it out as soon as the oats clump together and it's still plenty crunchy and the flavor is great!)

Granola Base
(makes about 2 cups)

2 cups old fashioned oats
2-3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil (or oil of choice)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large pinch of fine sea salt

1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
2. Warm your honey & coconut oil together until liquidy (skip this step if using regular oil; coconut oil is solid at room temperature).
3. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl until well-coated. Stir in any add-ins that you want (except dried fruit or chocolate chips, add those in after granola has cooled).
4. Spread mixture on an ungreased baking sheet and pinch together into clumps.
5. Bake for 10 minutes, stirring once, or until fragrant (it'll smell like delicious, warm cookies). Sometimes this is about 15 minutes for me, depending on what oven I'm using.
6. Allow to cool and store in a mason jar or air-tight container. Keeps for about 2 weeks (if it lasts that long!)


Saturday, March 15, 2014

Bits & pieces of February

Halfway through March seems like a good time to recap February, right? Looking back, we had a pretty eventful month. It was the last few weeks of my second trimester (that went fast) and it also turned out to be our last month living in California! We knew it was time to make a decision about where we wanted to settle in before the baby comes in May, and we decided to move up near my parents. This puts our plans to move to Nashville on hold for a year or two, but allows us the priceless gift of having family around as we start our own.

After much encouragement from his recruiters, Matt decided we should move up here before he has a job. Kind of a risk, but the clock is ticking on my ability to get off the couch without help up, let alone move to another state, so we went for it. His job in California was incredibly understanding and wonderful, and even offered him some part time work for the next six weeks, giving us a nice buffer while he job hunts. He has to make a few short business trips back to California, but we are so thankful to be able to transition with our same insurance & coverage. The first few days we got here, he already had a lot of activity with interviews and inquiries about his resume, praise God!

So, we made the decision to move about two weeks before we hit the road. Luckily, we only had to pack up our one, little room in the Clother's household, since everything else has been in storage since we packed up our house in April and headed off to Alabama. Easiest move we've ever had! This is about our fourth move in our 2.5 years of marriage, so we're pros at this point. I was a little slowed down by my big belly, but other than that it went really well.

Since we just went on a little getaway a few weeks ago, we decided to throw a dinner party for friends on Valentine's Day. I'm so glad we got to do that, since just a few days later we were booking Uhauls and putting in our notices at work. It was really great to spend time together, these people have been like our family down here. Lots of laughs and spaghetti were had.

Because our time was limited before we left, we decided to throw a party to make sure we got all of our goodbyes in. Matt smoked up some delicious eats, of course, and we pretty soon worlds collided as the living room filled up from friends of every area of our life down there.

After eight loyal years together, I decided to sell my car. It's dying a very slow, expensive death and probably not the best "family" car to begin with. That was the beginning of many goodbyes that week!

My last day of work was the night before we left. I was sad to leave my sweet job at Meadow, but was sent off very well by the lovely ladies there. Working in that beautiful boutique in the middle of charming, downtown Ventura was a serious highlight of my time in California.

Two twelve hour days of driving later, we pulled the Uhaul up to my parent's house just in time for hors d'oeuvres and the Oscars!

We breathed a long sigh of relief after two long weeks of work, packing and good byes. Our friends sent us off so well; we felt incredibly loved by them. Lots of precious little gifts for our baby boy that I can't stop thumbing through! So much love. We left behind a really great crowd down there, but are glad to be here.

We've settled into the downstairs apartment of my parent's house for now until Matt gets a job and we can find our own place. We are praying he finds a job this month so we can get settled into our own space before the baby comes-only 10 weeks away! How did that happen?! But whatever happens, we are just so grateful to be near family, and back in the northwest! I've been soaking up all the signs of spring around here. Frogs croaking, robins pulling worms out of the grass, blooms on the trees. I forgot how wonderful and refreshing it is to see the seasons change.

Thank you to everyone who helped us move, yet again, and to the warm welcome we received once we got here! We are very blessed.