Spiced Granola

I put off trying to make granola for a long time.  I wanted to do it but kept finding recipes that didn’t feel right.  Plus…  lazy ….  Finally I landed on this recipe, which felt like the proportions suited my taste; I also really like it because it gives a basic formula and then you can play around with different versions from there:

  • 4 cups oatmeal
  • 1-1/2 cups raw seeds/nuts – I use 1 cup nuts, 1/2 cup seeds
  • 1/2-1 tsp salt (to taste)
  • 1/2 cup oil-preferably coconut, but as you wish
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2/3 cup dried fruit

I wanted something more spiced than the recipe she provided, so I’ve kept fiddling until I got it to a level of spices I like.

Spiced Granola

  • 4 cups oatmeal
  • 1 cup raw cashews (or other nut of choice)
  • 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds (or other seed of choice)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2/3 cup dried cranberries (or other fruit of choice)

 

Preheat oven to 350.

Mix dried ingredients, oats through cloves, together in large bowl.  Make sure you toss the spices through it pretty well.

Separately mix together wet ingredients, oil through vanilla.  If your house is cool enough that coconut oil has solidified, melt in microwave first (takes about 30 seconds to a minute on low-ish heat).

Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients.  Mix well — it takes a while and a lot of stirring to get everything well coated and to avoid winding up with a bunch of liquid left on the bottom.

Spread parchment paper over a large cookie sheet and spread the mixture on the sheet.  Bake for 11-12 minutes.  Take out, stir and, if you wish for clumps, flatten with a wooden spoon or a spatula.  Return to oven for 11-12 more minutes.

Remove and cool.  When cooled, toss in the dried fruit.

I keep it in an airtight plastic storage container and it lasts quite well for the month or so it takes me to use this much granola.

Share Your World 5/1/17

Cee’s Share Your World this week:

Would you rather live where it is always hot or always cold?

Sausalito St near “home”

Neither.  My favorite climate — having lived mainly in northern climes — was Marin County in the San Francisco Bay Area.  We were outside the fog zone and a huge portion of the year was in the 70’s, dry and sunny.  Even the cooler rainy season was usually punctuated with warm sunny days.

I did kind of miss fall, as we really didn’t get the kind of Technicolor display with which I grew up, but otherwise, sandals-and-open window-weather for 9-10 months suited me fine!

I grew up in Michigan and spent many years in two different rounds of living in the Chicago area.  I LOVE Chicago, but they can keep the weather…

Do you prefer long hair or short hair for yourself?

Hm.  Tough one.  I’ve had both.  If I had the right shaped head and face for super short, I might go that way.  But I don’t.  I think I’ve got the next best thing, which is that I keep it long-ish and wear up in a clip in an easy style that doesn’t require much more work than short hair but lets me shape it to be more flattering.

What is your favorite month of the year?

Weeping Cherries, Lexington Cemetary

Depends on where I live.  Coin toss between April and October here in Kentucky, where I like the generally mild temperatures and lower humidity.  April here is full of flowers — more at once than most places I’ve lived — and October offers a beautiful landscape of changing leaves.  Two of my favorite sights.

What is the easiest way for your to learn something new?  By reading, by seeing and doing, in a classroom?

Depends on the subject matter.  I take things in by reading very well in general.  I DON’T take in oral information at all well so classes based on lectures were never easy for me.

In yoga I was able to take in the instructions because there was something about combining movement and suggestions that really sank in for me  When I did my student teaching for my yoga teaching certificate many of the teachers got a huge kick out of how thoroughly my teaching echoed my regular yoga teacher’s classes (they all knew him) because as I moved his words just flowed through me with the movements.  I that was almost 30 years ago and I find myself echoing him when I teach to this day.

Optional Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

I’m grateful for the lovely birthday party I attended last week and the joy of reuniting with friends in another town whom I’ve not seen for TOO long.  I’m looking forward to a fairly quiet week after a flurry of activity.  And the Derby.  I am after all the descendant of “horse people” here in the Blue Grass.  Not my life and not an arena in which I have much expertise — especially considering my heritage — but I do watch all three of the Triple Crown events.

What if the answer is not what our knee jerk says???

I’ve been participating in all the protesting and efforts to keep protections for social welfare  It’s my knee jerk position.  But I keep reading studies about the #45 base — the folks who believe him and the Republicans, think we’re lying and somehow imagine that the benefits they receive came from the GOP.

All those who study them say they absolutely do not change their minds — dialog is pointless– UNLESS something directly affects them.  So the big question that keeps running through my mind is this:  should we really be fighting to save welfare, hot lunches, after-school, etc.  Or do we need to get it that they have to actually lose stuff before they will believe a different reality?

If we want to change the tide are we really serving the greater good by blocking the GOP’s efforts?  Or would we serve better by letting them make stuff bad for a while and gaining a stampede to the left that will keep them out of power for a couple of generations?

Everyone talks like a change of the law will be permanent.  Seems to me, just as they can pass laws that take stuff away, when social democracy rules we can create new laws and programs that perhaps would serve people better. What if we need to think outside the box of social justice we’ve been in?

Cee’s Share Your World 4/24/17

English: A strawberry falling into a glass of ...

English: A strawberry falling into a glass of water. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cee’s Share Your World this week:

Wanting something to quench your thirst, what would you drink?

I keep a tumbler of water with a slice each of lemon and lime with me most of the time.  Nothing better for thirst than water.

Complete this sentence:  Never In My Life Have I…. 

liked camping.

If you could be given any gift what would it be?

I”m torn between the gift of being a great listener and the gift of being totally compassionate…

What do you do if you can’t sleep at night? Do you count sheep, toss and turn, or get up and try to do something productive?

Depends on how long it goes on and how tired I am.  If I’m not feeling too exhausted and I toss for a while I usually turn the light back on and read for a while.  If I’m super tired I just close my eyes and try to get as much rest as I can from being still.

Optional Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

We had a bunch of lovely sunny days just warm enough to open windows and enjoy the fresh air last week — always grateful for that.  This week I’m looking forward to driving down to Danville for a birthday party — I have a bunch of friends down there and I haven’t seen them in eons so, since we all know the birthday girl, I’m hoping I get to see lots of them!

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Share Your World 4/17/17

Cee’s Share Your World for this week:

When writing by hand do you prefer to use a pencil or pen?

English: Mabie Todd Swan 14k gold flexible nib

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pen.  And for a long time I used fountain pens. Got tired of having constant nib problems in a world where no one seems to repair them or sell just the nib any more but they’re really still my fave.

Would you rather be an amazing dancer or an amazing singer?

I guess since I studied voice for seven or so years, it would be singer.  No noticeable talent for dancing, but I love to watch dance, so I sure wouldn’t mind being a dancer if I suddenly developed a skill set for it.

If you were on a debate team, what subject would you relish debating?

I can’t imagine relishing debate…  I have very strong opinions but no great need to ram them down anyone else’s throat…

What are you a “natural” at doing?

I started writing poems and short stories when I was about six — basically as soon as I learned words and spelling and I’ve always written, so I guess that would qualify.  Otherwise, I spent so much of my life trying to fit other people’s expectations I feel more like I have a lot of skills I worked very hard to acquire than a lot of things at which “I’m a natural”.

Optional Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? 

I’m grateful for getting through the extra grocery shopping, planning and executing dinner for Easter and having plenty of leftovers in the freezer (I love a dinner for which all the work happened in the past and all I have to do is heat 🙂 ).  I’m looking forward to a week with no appointments!

Share Your World 4/10/17

Cee’s Share Your World this week:

Have you ever participated in a distance walking, swimming, running, or biking event? Tell your story.

Nope.  Never have.  Never will.

Name one thing not many people know about you.

I first fell in love with France when I was in elementary school.  Don’t ask me why. My aunt did some traveling around Europe so I knew of it through her — but I knew of other countries too…  Only France caught me though.  When a teacher offered a French class on Saturdays, 10-year-old me insisted on signing up.  Took French through high school.  Had a summer session at the Sorbonne after my sophomore year in college.  Just have always loved it.

What is your favorite flower?

Gardenia flower from the gardens at Monticello

Gardenia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hard to narrow it to one.  But if I have to, I’d say gardenia because I love the scent.

Things I want to have in my home (paintings, hot tubs, book cases, big screen tv etc)

A really great kitchen with at least two ovens, a really big fridge and lots of counter space.  I enjoy cooking but I like to have plenty of room and really good equipment.   The less of either or both I have, the less frequently I cook.

Optional Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

Last week I finished revising and updating one of my Kindle books and I’m grateful to have that job done.  This week I’m looking forward to finishing off the last couple of bits of formatting and get the update uploaded.

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Cee’s Share Your World 3/3/17

Cee’s Share Your World this week:

What’s something you like to do the old-fashioned way?

Ha!  So much!  I used to be so cool — or so I liked to think.  And now I’ve hit the stage where I’m constantly wishing this that or the other thing would go back to the way it used to be — you know, back in the “good old days”.   I never intended to become like that 🙂

A few:

  • Although I’m glad corporal punishment became verboten, I do believe in boundaries — something too many parents seem incapable of doing if they’re not allowed to smack — and I’d like to see a return to a world in which more children have some manners and respect for others.
  • I remember when the grocery store used to stay pretty much the same.  I’m so tired of spending an extra 20 minutes every few months because they’ve moved stuff all over the place again.  They sure don’t sell anything extra to me that way (which I gather is the hope) — in fact the more likely result is I wear out and leave without everything on my list…
  • I remember when you could find a style of undies or a type of shirt or yogurt you liked and just keep buying your fave.  I currently spend a lot of time in old sorry undies not because I don’t have a drawer full of newer ones, but because they quit making the ones I liked and I’ve not liked any of the hundreds of dollars worth of tries at replacements I’ve bought….  And they changed my favorite fruit-juice sweetened yogurt to sugar-sweetened long ago…  Why does everything have to change all the time???

What’s your favorite genre of book or movie?

After avoiding mysteries most of my life (early exposure to Agatha Christie, whose books I don’t care for) I started reading mysteries something like 20 years ago and that’s a lot of my reading material now.  I also enjoy TV detective shows and whodunits.

 

I also like rom coms in both books and movies — as long as they’re smartly written.  For instance, I love the English writer Jill Barth, whose romances are well written and full of well-drawn characters.  None of those designer-clad Barbies and Kens who only drive Porsches and Ferraris and carry on stilted dialogues…

How often do you people watch?

Really only if I’m waiting around for someone in a public place and I don’t have anything to read.  Which is pretty much never these days since I carry a bunch of books around on my phone’s kindle app at all times.

 

Yup, it was so long ago, that’s how everybody was dressed and there were horses and buggies…. not quite….

 

Used to do it more and I can remember sitting in many a Parisian cafe during my long-ago Sorbonne summer and just drinking everything and everyone in.

What have you only recently formed an opinion about?

Although I always kind of thought he was despicable, I never previously knew much about #45 beyond the media buzz.  Now I’ve formed some very strong opinions but I’m trying to stay in the space of peace and compassion so I won’t say what they are.

Optional Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

I’m grateful for an online neighborhood group where I found a reference to Thumbtack.com — found an excellent roofer who fixed some holes in the roof last week, for which I am even more grateful.  Today I was grateful it was done since we had a big storm and I expect to continue being grateful during predicted rain the rest of the week.

Share Your World 3/27/17

Cee’s Share Your World this week:

Does your first or middle name have any significance (or were you named after another family member)?

Leigh actually IS my middle name.  The original was Nancy Leigh.  My Mom is from Kentucky, where they at least used to use two names (less true, I notice, as it becomes more midwestern than southern).  She liked Leigh but didn’t like the usual middle names that go after so she put Nancy in front.  And yes, I grew up being called Nancy Leigh by my family and there are relatives who still call me that [it comes out a bit more like Nance uh Layeeeee 🙂 ]

Now that I’ve pondered this question, though, I’m thinking about how her father’s middle name was Burnside, after his mother’s maiden name, and my mother’s middle name is also Burnside.  Off and on I contemplate formally changing my name to get rid of the Nancy, which I never liked and Leigh Burnside doesn’t sound bad.  I’m gonna have to ask her why she didn’t do that.   SO maybe a change one day…  or possibly throwing my mother’s maiden name in the middle instead of my great grandmother’s???

Music or silence while working?

I really like music going.  When I teach yoga/movement I always have soft, contemplative music playing.  When I write it’s anything from the same stuff I use for yoga — particularly if I’m trying to reach deep — to Spotify playlists of 70’s music or jazz.

If you had a special place for your three most special possessions (not including photos, electronics, people or animals), what would they be?

Well, maybe not fair to call him a possession but if animals were allowed, Salty would be number one and he kind of owns the whole house — so we can just put him there and let him continue ruling.  After that electronics would have been on my list if allowed if only because they’re expensive and I can’t afford to replace the pieces I finally have that I love.

Photos, if allowed, would also be high on the list of items I treasure, especially old family photos.  In fact, a bunch of them right now are in some special safe place I can’t remember.  Been trying to scan photos onto computer and upload to FB and Ancestry and a bunch of my favorites are nestled in some safe haven I can’t find.   I’m way better off with clutter 🙂

Since the question doesn’t allow most of the things I treasure, I guess one would be a family ring that my grandmother had made for Mom’s 16th birthday, putting two diamonds from a ring of my grandfather’s with my mother’s birthstone, sapphire.  It’s my birthstone too so at 16 she gave it to me.  I’m not really a bling girl so I don’t enjoy wearing diamonds but I love the history.

I also have a sort of alter/wall shelf full of sacred objects like a statue of Buddha I bought in Bali, a prayer stick I made, a yarn “painting” I made, other statues I love and crystals dear friends have given me.  Next to it is a good-sized statue of the “spirit of water and rain”, from some temple in the far east that I picked up years ago at a Cost Plus (now World Market I think???).  I love being able to glance at my little sacred collection, take a breath and remember divine connection.

The Never List: What are things you know you never will do?

  • bungee jumping
  • cliff climbing
  • sky diving
  • game hunting
  • long trek in deep wilderness
  • climb a mountain
  • run a marathon
  • fly a plane (unless, of course, I’m in one of those situations where the super hero has been knocked out and the pilot is dead and air traffic control is telling me I have to bring the plane in or we’re all dead — then maybe…)

Optional Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

I’m grateful for getting some good progress done last week on updating one of my kindle books. and I look forward to finishing and getting the new improved version up this week.

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Are Republicans thinking anything through? Or, where is this agenda going?

English: yosemite national park mirror lake 20...

English: yosemite national park mirror lake 2010 winter (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve spent much of my adult life having strong opinions about certain political issues but not a lot of interest in politics. I’m more of a Social Democrat or Socialist than a Democrat but I always vote for Democrats because I tend to favor taking care of people and the environment, etc. and my preferred political persuasion doesn’t have a viable party.  No reason in all that to know a lot about Republicans except a pretty strong sense they favor big business.

So I’m looking at a lot of things the Republican administration is proposing and spinning out some probable impacts and scratching my head as to what they’re up to; it doesn’t feel like they’re even serving their own interests.

I may not follow the political scene but a lot of time on my history B.A. was spent studying political science, economics and modern U.S. history regarding political power.  I continued those studies in graduate school in sociology and then learned a lot about politics after getting my J.D. and working for the Illinois Governor’s Office, so I may not be an expert but I think I’m looking at the ramifications with some degree of knowledge.

Just examining a few of the current hot issues leaves me wondering:

Get Rid of the National Parks

As I read about this one I’m pretty puzzled.  Besides the fact that those parks are a national treasure and seriously important to the environment of not only our country but the earth, the Outdoor Industry employed 6.1 million Americans and injected $646 billion into the U.S. economy–more than the pharmaceutical and automobile industries combined.  And, unlike the heavily subsidized oil and gas industry*, they receive NO subsidies from the federal government.

A great deal of their revenue arises from the millions of people who visit the national parks every year and by equipment to use for their activities.  If the parks are sold for development and there are few places to ski, hike, camp, hunt, etc., what happens to this giant industry?  They’re hopping mad but I can’t tell whether Republican’s care???

Let’s just talk about a minimal impact that causes them to lose $1 billion in revenues and lay off 5% of their employees .  Even if they have loopholes, that has to affect the taxes they pay.  That’s 300,000 people losing their jobs.  Suddenly none of those people can afford to eat out or travel or pay for anything not required for survival.  What does that do to the economy?  That’s not even exploring the 35,000 unemployed parks service employees.

Health Care

There’s a lot of fighting on the issue of the Affordable Care Act but what I’ve seen is that the only states where there have been problems and big cost hikes are the ones where they’ve used the discretionary portion of the act to enact regulations designed to screw the ACA — not surprisingly it isn’t doing well.  But I’ve also seen, for instance, an interview with a state agency representative here in Kentucky (sorry I lost track of my link to that but it was a NY Times on-line live interview) discussing how the ACA had created thousands of jobs in health care here and generated multi-millions in revenue in KY alone.

But putting that fight over whether the ACA has been a boon aside, let’s look at the proposed (and hopefully now forever defunct 🙂 ) replacement.  It takes insurance away from 24 million people.  It proposes cuts that would raise insurance rates and out-of-pocket costs for seniors and low income people.

I can’t figure out why no one seems to be talking about the impact that would have on patient lists for doctors or the millions of people who wouldn’t be able to afford to fill their prescriptions.  I can’t imagine that it wouldn’t cause significant hits to the patient rosters of many doctors, the hospital patient/bed ratios and sales for the mighty pharmaceutical industry with its army of lobbyists.

Doctors here in KY are pretty conservative so as I accompanied my mother to doctor visits over the last 7 years I’ve had to listen to more diatribes about the ACA than I can count.  I get it that they don’t like the pesky rules and paperwork — don’t even disagree that many rules are ridiculous — but do they get that in order to make money their practices require actually having some of those pesky patients?  Something to contemplate while they’re flipping burgers at a fast food chain after their practices go down….

And how did the pharmaceutical industry fail to squawk about the potential damage to their sales?  How many jobs could be lost in that sector if a new health care act at some point leaves tens of millions of people unable to afford to fill a prescription?  How much in revenues?  Between health care workers, medical supplies employees, and the pharmaceutical industry how much revenue and how many jobs would be lost all told?

Travel Bans and Out-of-Control Border Guards

Very shortly after the first travel ban I began hearing the travel industry started suffering losses as soon as it was issued.  I’ve followed along a bit as more and more stories spread about an eminent French historian, a celebrated Australian children’s book author, a bunch of Canadian church volunteers and an Italian rock band all being either harassed, refused entry, or literally taken in handcuffs back to a plane and sent home.

People from other countries are cancelling travel plans to the U.S. and opting to go elsewhere — a 17% drop since the ban was issued.

The losses so far are quite large.  New York alone is expecting at least a 2% dip and a loss of $900 million in revenues this year.  Altogether it’s estimated $185 million dollars in travel bookings were lost in the first week of the ban. Times’ Money estimates $10 billion/year in revenues could potentially be lost because of the perceptions and fears generated by all of this.

Given that the U.S. airline industry has been teetering on the brink of bankruptcy off and on for a couple of decades I’ve been quite surprised to see little speculation as to whether they can survive.   They make $160 billion in revenues and employ 545,000 people according to a Columbia University study.  Though they’ve recently been making profits, how much loss could they absorb before landing in bankruptcy — or needing a government bailout?

Back to Head Scratching

I’ve been looking into more issues like this but these three give you the idea.  A lot of the Republican Administration’s agenda has probable adverse effects on various industries.  Just from these three the potential to lose billions in revenues and put a million or more out of jobs is great.  I realize Republicans for whatever reason seem to be mainly interested in shoring up the dinosaur industries like oil & gas, coal,  and traditional utilities but why would politicians who favor in general taking care of big business cavalierly launch efforts that will so adversely impact a number of humongous industries and potentially leave millions without jobs?

You can spin on out from there that with giant unemployment sales of goods and services also go down, companies start downsizing and laying people off.  The ripple effects are potentially mind boggling.

How does any of that serve Republicans?  Big business in general? What am I missing?


*Don’t even get me started on their preference for the nuclear industry which is HEAVILY subsidized by the feds; the only reason nuclear comes out looking cheap is because it receives such huge subsidies.  I used to do nuclear power plant cases as a lawyer so this is one where I assert I DO know.

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Share Your World 3/20/17

Cee’s Share Your World for this week:

How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are? 

It would depend on whether I could know what I know now.  I kind of like 30 in terms of having some maturity but still a sense of life unfolding — but I’d only want to go back there if I could take all the growth and clearing and spiritual progress with me.  It would be phenomenal to be young and know what I know…

So, you’re on your way out and it’s raining. Do you know where your umbrella is or do you frantically search for it all over your apartment/house?

I keep a couple of folding ones in the car, which lives in an attached garage, and we keep a couple more spares in the garage.  So no, I generally feel secure about having an umbrella if a storm blows in while I’m out and about.  I have at least one coat with a hood for each season as well, so if I think there’s a chance, I usually go out wearing “protective gear”.

Do you recharge your energy by going out with friends for a good time or by spending with quiet time alone?

Contemplation

Contemplation (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Generally I recharge more alone.  I will say that when I visit California and hang out with my friends there — all of whom are people with whom I’ve shared deep experiences at spiritual workshops — our deep conversations and closeness fill me up in a way I can never quite get alone.

I can also enjoy a quiet lunch or coffee with one other person and deep conversation.  But generally I find crowded restaurants draining.  Around here people seem to like to get together in groups more than one on one and I usually find groups draining too — unless we’re getting together to do some kind of ceremony or practice so everyone’s energy is focused and in a calm space.  That energy of two or more gathered can be quite amazing and good for a recharge.

Name three things you and your spouse, partner or best friend  to have in common.

Don’t have a spouse or a partner and I’ve never been a “best friend” person.  I generally have a bunch of people with whom I have close relationships, each with its own cherished nuance. These days I’d say the most frequent thing in common with close friends is spiritual journey.  And a love of good food is a common bond.  Music another…

Optional Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

I’m very grateful that it seems our freezing nights last week didn’t kill any of our already-blooming plants or trees.  I’m looking forward to the return of somewhat warmer weather this week.

 

 

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