Pumpkin Granola with Candied Pepitas

I know, I know.  Thanksgiving is over.  Christmas came before Thanksgiving even got here.  But now that the turkey has passed us, fall seems to be gone too.

So why am I making pumpkin granola now?  Well, because it's good.

And also, I actually did make this before Thanksgiving.  But my life can sometimes be crazy-town.
I'm not a professional blogger, just a lady with a real life and a real job and a blog.

So sometimes I'm a little late.  But that's OK, because this Pumpkin Granola with Candied Pepitas is still good.  And you can feel free to eat it anytime of year.  I like it with yogurt, or in oatmeal, or just plain.

By the way, the light wasn't changing at all when I did these photos...same spot, same camera, same time.

This recipe was inspired by this and this.


Candied Pepitas
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds*)

Dry Ingredients:
3 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup sunflower seeds (I use salted)
1/2 cup flake coconut
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons wheat germ
2 tablespoons flax (ground**)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
Wet Ingredients:
3 tablespoons coconut oil
3 tablespoons pumpkin puree
3 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup chopped dried mango (I got mine at Trader Joe's)
1/4 cup raisins
The candied pepitas that you made above

How to:

Start with candy-ing your pepitas.  Mix together all of the dry spices in a small bowl and set aside.  Using a skillet over medium-high heat, melt the butter.  Add pepitas and all of the spice mix.  Stir constantly, toasting the pepitas until they turn golden brown.  Add honey and brown sugar and continue to cook while stirring for another couple of minutes.  Transfer the seeds to a large sheet tray.  Let them cool for about 10 minutes, then break them up with a spatula to avoid sticking.  Set aside.

While your candied pepitas are cooling, start the granola.  Mix all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl.  In a small sauce pan at low-medium heat, add the wet ingredients and heat until liquefied.  Once liquefied, pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix well.  Spread the mixture evenly onto an oiled baking pan (I just give mine a quick spray of canola oil) and bake at 300 for 15 minutes, stir with a spatula and bake for another 15 minutes until golden.  Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan.  Add mix-ins when baking is done.  If you want larger chunks, stir/break-up after the granola has cooled, if you want a more loose granola, stir a few times while cooling.

*I bought my pepitas at our local co-op.  They looked like this...
Gourmet Sleuth
Mine had a smoky flavor.  I'm certain I bought plain ones, so I'm not sure if this is how they typically taste or not.  If anyone has any comments regarding how pepitas should taste, please share!

**Much to the love of The Cyclist, I use his coffee grinder to grind my flax seeds.  Just dump some in the grinder and pulse until you have a powdery substance.  Watch out because they puff up upon grinding.  Make sure you clean out the grinder when you're done so your husband doesn't have flax flavored coffee.

I shared this recipe on the following sites:

Make Ahead Meals for Busy Mom's
My Sweet and Savory
hey what's for dinner Mom?

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Jenner by the Sea {Part One}

For my old lady birthday in September The Cyclist surprised me with a secret weekend getaway.  I didn't really have any idea where we were going, except that it would be on the coast.  I was told what to pack and also put in charge of packing food.  There is nothing wrong with packing an enormous cooler just to hold "snacks" for two people....for two days...right?

We left on Saturday morning and began driving west.  Eventually we reached Petaluma and later Highway 1, where we began heading north.  Of course we passed an organized ride on the way...

For those of you who have never driven down Highway 1 in or around Northern California, do it if you ever get the chance.  Although the road is pretty sketchy, the views are fantastic.

After a bit more driving we reached our destination, Jenner, CA.

We stayed at the Jenner Inn & Cottages.  The hotel was a quaint, quiet and relaxing place that I was sad to leave.

Upon arrival we broke out some brie and wine (among other tasty items)......

....and enjoyed the beautiful view from our deck where the Russian River meats the Pacific.

The first day was a sunny one, so after our snack and view admiring, we made quick and headed to the beach!

We walked out to the point so The Cyclist could fish and I could snap photos.  Here is a birds eye view of where we walked...do you see us?

The point....

I love the ocean.

It is a beautiful and peaceful place.

This guy likes it too.

The sun began to set....

....and after we watched it go down, we headed to dinner at Cape Fear Cafe, which was tasty and delicious.  So good in fact, that I forgot to bring my camera or phone and did not take any photos.

Day two involved an awesome hike to the Pygmy Forest and all around Salt Point State Park, plus another fabulous meal (photos included this time).  So be sure to check back next week for Jenner By the Sea {Part Two}.

I reviewed all of the places we visited, just click the following links:
Jenner Inn & Cottages - Yelp, TripAdvisor
Cape Fear Cafe - Yelp, Urbanspoon

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Feelin' frazzled? Me too!

Hey everyone!  Happy Veterans Day to some of you lucky people who get the day off!  I'm at work today.

So far on my Monday:

  • Before leaving work I DIY'd Otis Brown a cone of shame.  Here is the video in case you want to do this while attempting to get ready for work too.
  • I determined that my recently gunky eyelashes are a result of accidentally buying waterproof mascara.  Seriously, what is the point of this stuff?  Does. NOT. Come. Off.
  • It is 3:00 and I'm just eating lunch!

Anyway, I'm finding all of these things quite funny today.  They go hand in hand with an e-mail from Circle of Mom's this morning saying they've featured my article.....about almost never feeling balanced in my life!

You can check out the article here.  Have a great day!
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Please Vote Yes on 37 (label genetically engineered foods!)

OK, OK.  I know we're probably all sick of the political talk at this point.  I am.

Anyone who knows me personally will tell you that I don't talk politics.  I just don't.  I know in my gut where I stand and I don't believe in wasting precious energy to debate my positions.  It is great that in our country we are entitled to our own opinions and have the right to vote upon them.  

That being said, me posting something political on this blog, or publicly stating any political opinion at all, is way out of the ordinary.

So here goes....I hope you vote today.  I hope you did your research and will vote or have voted on every single initiative, measure, proposition and office that you can vote on.  If you are living in California, I seriously hope you vote Yes on 37.  In my opinion, there is something inherently wrong when giant manufacturers are willing to put up such a heavy fight against labeling foods that contain GMO's (genetically modified organisms).

My love of food and strong belief that we should try and eat as much locally grown and organic food as possible is why I'm sharing this post.  The following was written by a good friend of ours.  I believe he says it the best, so please read and vote YES ON 37!!  (P.S.  Thanks for writing my blog post for me today Mr. Bestie!)

I've been in the food business for over 20 years, specifically the natural products industry. I've seen plenty of shenanigans in my career, but nothing as bad as what the opponents are pulling on CA Prop 37.
So to lay it out, first why would the likes of Monsanto, Dow, Bayer, Cargil and BA
SF pull together millions to fight this bill?
Why would Coke and Pepsi join forces and spend more than $3m combined on keeping the public in the dark?
If GMO's are so great, then why don't these companies put "made with GMO's" on their labels?  Why doesn't Sprite have Lebron and Kobe pimp it out? Why doesn't Tony the Tiger say they're great? Why doesn't Snap, Crackle and Pop sing about how fantastic GMO's are? 
Because there not!
I know plenty of small family farmers, not the actors that are in the no on 37 commercials, but real farmers, that actually save their tomato seeds to plant the following year, real farmers that can't afford to spray more round up, real farmers that prefer growing a variety of tomatoes, rather than the largest tomato with more water than flavor.

So here are a few tidbits that the 47 million dollar "no on 37" campaign hasn't addressed:

-GMO's - are inventions, they are patented, so therefore you have to pay for them each year. Yes, this means that farmers that are purchasing GMO tomatoe seeds cannot save seeds from their tomatoes and re plant them next year. They have been modified to not re-germinate.
-The Most common GMO seed is "RR". This means round up ready. They have modified these seeds to withstand huge doses of Round Up. And yes, this is from the same company that makes round up. So now they can sell big agri-farms seeds that are immune to Round up, followed up with crop dusters of Round up, and well Bakersfield can you say holy asthma attack!
-Cost of the Bill... This will not drastically increase the cost of your grocery bill! Companies have plenty of time to find new "non GMO" ingredients, or if they are stupid enough and they want to continue selling GMO products they have plenty of time to sell through existing packaging and change their labels to include "May contain GMO's". 

This prop may not mean much to you, or you may have been scared by the attack ads that it's going to run up your food bill. But the hard reality is if your truly concerned with the supposed extra cost, look up how much chemotherapy is costing nowadays. Ask your kids if they want to use an Asthma inhaler for the rest of their life, ask the water plant how much extra they spend to clean the chemicals out of our water, or go ask a farmer what they think of paying royalties for seed.

If you took the time to read my post, then you know me well enough to trust me more than Monsanto, Dow, Kraft or Coke. Vote YES on 37!!!

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