Homemade Granola Dawn Style

So easy and I like being able to have fresh granola and control exactly the flavors I feel like that particular week. This is my go-to recipe. The original called for more vanilla, but with prices on the rise, I am fine with just 2 teaspoons. I learned by experience not to add dates prior to cooking (they become tooth breakingly hard) or pistachios (their flavor does not improve with heat.)

Homemade Granola Dawnstyle

1/3 cup real maple syrup

1/3 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup canola oil

2 tsp vanilla

1 Tbl cinnamon

Zest of one small orange

5 cups reg old fashion rolled oats

2 cup nuts, roughly chopped (combination of almonds and walnuts)

1/4 cup raw pepitas (green pumpkin seeds)

2 Tbl flax seed meal

1 cup coconut flakes (I use Trader Joes large flakes)

After baking add: 3/4 cup golden raisins, 1/2 cup dried currants

In large bowl, whisk first six ingredients.  Pour out onto a large edged baking sheet lined with a silpat. Spread out. Bake at 325 degrees F for 30-35 minutes.  Let cool, then place in a large bowl. Add golden raisins and dried currants.  Store in airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

**Notes: do not add dates or pistachios prior to baking. Do not use waxed paper to line your baking sheet (parchment okay.)

Mix up your own flavors by substituting any combination of dried cherries, 1 tsp almond extract, hazelnuts, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, cardamom, dates, or banana chips.

Before baking and after

The Crazy English Language

Today I was browsing through old newsletters I made years ago for my daughter’s 5th grade class, and for an office where I worked.  Among my papers I found this oldie but goodie that still makes me smile…


by “Crazy English” by Richard Lederer (condensed and edited slightly)

English is the most widely used language in the history of our planet.  One in every seven human beings can speak it.  Of all languages, English has the largest vocabulary – perhaps as many as two million words.  Nonetheless, let’s face it: English is a crazy language.  There is no egg in eggplant, pine nor apple in a pineapple, and no ham in a hamburger.  English muffins weren’t invented in England, nor french fries in France.  Sweet-meats are candy, while sweet-breads are meat (and aren’t even sweet.)

Quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square, public bathrooms have no baths and a guinea pig is neither a pig nor from Guinea.

Why is it that a writer writes, but fingers don’t fing, grocers don’t groce, and hammers don’t ham?  If the plural of tooth is teeth, shouldn’t the plural of booth be beeth? One goose, two geese.  So why not one moose, two meese?

If the teacher taught, why isn’t it true that the preacher praught? In what other language do people drive on a parkway and park in a driveway? Shop by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell?  How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites?  If pro and con are opposites, is congress the opposite of progress??

When you write a letter, you say “I wrote a letter” does that mean if you bite your tongue you should say “I bote my tongue?”

We talk about certain things only when something is missing.  Have you ever seen a strapfull gown, met a sung hero, or experience requited love? Have you ever run into someone who was combobulated, gruntled, ruly, or peccable?

You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out, and in which your alarm clock goes off by going on.  If don’t is the short form of “do not,” what is won’t short for?

English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race (which isn’t a race at all.)  That is why when stars are out they are visible, but when the lights are out they are invisible.

Can you think of more inconsistencies of the English language?

Day Trip: Ferries and Baseball

This Fourth of July, my family and I decided we’d attend a single-A baseball game in Keizer, Oregon.  The Salem/Keizer Volcanoes are a single-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants, and for just $12 you can get up close and have great views. Following the game there would be fireworks.  We could have just hopped on I-5 and been there in about 90 minutes, but we chose to make a day of it and take the back roads.  It’s a lovely drive if you ever have the chance and want to see some of the Willamette Valley’s gorgeous scenery.

From I-205 we exited at Stafford Road and headed south and followed signs to the Canby Ferry.  For $4 you have a quick hop across the Willamette River on a cable-drawn ferry.  They allow you to hop out of your car and onto the observation platform. The road then takes you into Canby where you turn right on Knightsbridge follow signs towards I-5.  You’ll pass by Fir Point Farm on the right which is a nice stop for a milkshake, fresh produce, or go see their pet goats climb the trees.  Continue on to the pioneer village of Butteville and maybe stop in the historic old store.  Follow signs from here to Champoeg (pronounced sham-poo-ee) and stop at the historic pioneer visitor’s center adjacent to the state park.  The large red building contains a nice little museum, free to visitors, which shows what life was like for the early white pioneers who settled the area.  An historic flood in 1861 wiped their newly built town away, but left this homestead intact, including a barn dating to around 1860.

From Champoeg, go right and then left on French Prairie Rd. Right at the stop sign, then left at the next stop sign onto hwy 219 towards St. Paul.  As it was the Fourth of July, St. Paul was filled to the brim for their annual rodeo.  As we crawled through town, the smells of barbecue filled the air, reminding me it was close to lunchtime.  Once past St. Paul, we continued down the back highway (one lane each direction) and eventually turned right on Matheny Rd then right on Wheatland Ferry Rd.  This area is filled with farmer fields growing trendy crops of hops and hazelnuts – for the craft beer and trendy foods found on all restaurant menus nowadays.  We took the Wheatland Ferry – another quick $2 ride across the Willamette near banks of the river filled with families out enjoying the holiday.

We were now on Hwy 221/Wallace Rd heading south. We took a right on Zena Rd where the views changed to the rolling hills of Polk county dotted with oak trees.  There are dozens of wineries here with vineyards growing their famous Willamette Valley grapes. We took a left onto Hwy 99W and continued south as I clicked photos out the window, then at a small little brown sign indicating a right turn down a gravel road to Baskett Slough WLR (wild life refuge.)DSCF3774

From the informational kiosk, there is no wildlife to be viewed, you must do a relatively short 2 mile hike.  I must admit, I am not a hiker.  I am fine on level ground, but my aging feet, recent knee surgery, and overweight body does not like hiking uphill.  I did manage to make it to the top with a few stops for breath, and loved the views there as I could get some better photographs.  We didn’t see much wildlife, as it was mid afternoon, but we did see an extremely slow moving snake. (I would have preferred a deer or rabbit.)  The refuge is dedicated to a local man who loved bird watching, and who was killed in the attacks of 9/11.   Notes on the hike: there is a good uphill climb.  Not for people in wheelchairs.  No jogging, bicycling, or pets allowed. There is poison oak on the sides of the trails, so do not venture off trail.  You will be rewarded with beautiful valley views.DSCF3790

Return via the way you came down the gravel road, but turn right onto 99W.  It soon intersects with Hwy 22 where you can choose to head into Salem like we did to attend the game, or you can head further south towards Corvallis, or head west towards the Oregon beaches.

We headed for the Volcanoes stadium in Keizer where we stopped for dinner, and then attended the game. On the Fourth, they do a big celebration honoring the military, then follow the game with fireworks. As an added bonus, there was a spectacular sunset while we were enjoying the game. DSCF3835

Baseball, History, Scenic Sights.

Willamette Valley has so much to offer and even locals need to remember to venture off the freeway.

The shortest path is rarely the best path.




Powerful Sculptures Depicting Emptiness and Sorrow

A friend shared a photo of a sculpture she admired as it spoke to her emptiness years after losing a teenage son to suicide. I admired the sculpture and went in search of others. These are a few artists I found that depict their view of grief, loneliness, or sorrow in sculpture, all powerful in their own way. I feel “Melancholy” by Albert Gyorgy is an amazing piece that really brings home the feeling of emptiness inside and feeling as if a part of you is missing. I am so lucky to never have experienced that feeling.

“Melancholy” by Albert Gyorgy
“Figure in Grief” by Hugo Robus
“Loneliness” by Tooarts Void
“Figure in Grief” by Hugo Robus
“Formula of Sorrow” by Vadim Sidur
“Bereavement” by Bertalan

Photographs in a New Light

Using an artistic app called “Waterlogue” I played with a photo of the Lancaster, Pennsylvania skyline my daughter had taken during her college visitations and loved the results.  It is fun to play and get my creative fix without having to drag out all my paints. Although the real thing is always better, the results are sure fun to watch appear before your eyes!