"It is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all." -Laura Ingalls Wilder

Monday, April 23, 2012

Updates and Laura Love

I feel like I've been posting often an excuse for my absences. This time, I promise, it's a good one. We found a place! It's a very nice mobile home which has been very well kept by it's previous owners. There is an amazing 2 car garage where my husband can have his little shop and we can also fit a couple goats in there (haha!). It sits on almost 2 acres with a beautiful view of the Maine hills. It's zoned rural/residential so we have neighbors but can still enjoy the freedom of having chickens and the like. We are actually under contract and should be closing on it near the end of May. Our home inspection came back and was very good so that takes a lot off our minds. Of course, at this same time of trying to buy a house we've had a few hiccups that have had me running around like a chicken with my head cut off.

In the last post when I said that you should always be frugal and be saving to have that cushion "just in case" I wasn't joking. We've had a couple issues these past weeks for which I'm glad we had that cushion. My husband fell asleep on his way home from work and flipped his vehicle. He is okay, just had to get some stitches, but we now have some hospital bills as well as a new vehicle that needed to be bought. After that all got taken care of we found out my car has a cracked head. Plus, money is flying out of our hands left and right for this whole home buying deal. If we hadn't had that cushion we very well may have had to put off buying a home. It's well and good to tell people that saving is key but another to tell them that it really does help when you need it.

Other than that life has been pretty quiet. The weather is getting warmer and with that comes a lot more time outside and a lot less time spent wasted on the internet. I've been trying to save now more than ever with the time coming closer that we'll be on our own again with "real" bills. I've been trying to stock up on pantry staples each week when I shop so that when we move in our pockets won't be so hard hit stuffing cabinets. We've also taken to hitting the thrift shops and Goodwill a little more often hoping for deals on things we'll need. I've spent my little bit of  "fun" cash trying to complete my set of Laura Ingalls Wilder books. I've got just over half now, after finding another at the Goodwill for 99 cents! Now that I've got the first few Laura books I've started reading them. I am so inspired the more I read. We are so spoiled these days! I know that those times were hard times full of work but I wish so badly I had been born then. Everything seemed so more meaningful but simpler. I've already learned many lessons from these books and I know that if we have children they will be a bedtime staple.

What about you? What have you been up to? Any thrift store scores you'd like to share?

Until next time,

xoxo Stacie

Monday, April 2, 2012

Homemade Granola

The past few weeks have been quiet and for that I apologize. We've been very busy looking at houses and going to loan appointments which is very exciting but also cuts into blog writing time. I'm back for now and during this new post I would love to talk about our newest obsession; HOMEMADE GRANOLA!

I love store bought, don't get me wrong, but it's pretty expensive for the small amount you get. I also find many varieties have way more sugar than I feel comfortable consuming in a food that's supposed to be "healthy".  By buying the ingredients and making it myself I end up making a whole boatload of granola for a pretty small price as well as being able to control the amount of sugar and the like. I'm warning you now if you're a new follower or reader that I am awful with recipes. I never follow them and I never write any because I NEVER measure! I just go by what looks about right and of course, what tastes right.

To start gather up rolled oats, nuts, dried fruit, maple syrup, cinnamon and oil. Seriously, that's it. I used Maine grown organic oats I picked up at my favorite health food store, raw peanuts, golden raisins, and canola oil. I usually throw in some flax seeds too. You could use another sweetener like agave nectar or honey as well and really any nut or fruit you have around. I tend to stick with canola but you could definitely try another oil although I wouldn't recommend olive because of it's strong taste.

Get a mixing bowl and add (these are all approximations, add a little more or less)
2 cups of oats
3/4 cup of your nuts
1/2 cup of your sweetener
1 tsp of cinnamon (go crazy and add cloves and nutmeg too!)
3 tb oil
Optional, 1/4 cup flax seeds

Preheat your oven to 325. After you mix all your ingredients spread the mixture on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, stir, and then bake for another 20 minutes. I usually find that the granola is still a little too "wet" for my liking so I turn the oven off and let it sit in there another 10 minutes. Once the granola comes out of the oven add your dried fruit. Again I don't measure the dried fruit I just add until the fruit to oats ratio seems right to me. Once it's cool put it in your storage container (or dive right in).

This recipe makes quite a bit although I'm not sure how many "servings" it is. My favorite way to munch it is to grab a jelly size canning jar, put in about a 1/2 cup of yogurt (local! handmade!), a handful of organic blueberries, a shake of flax meal, and a handful of granola. I throw on a screw on top and bring it to work as my mid-day snack. You could also eat it with milk as a cereal or alone as a trail mix type deal. This is just a very bare bones basic recipe you can definitely experiment to your heart's desire! I hope you enjoy it!

Until next time,

xoxo Stacie