Saturday, May 18, 2013

Gluten Free Salted Caramel Granola

I wanted to share with you my latest gluten free go-to. Smoothies are great, but eventually you can get burned out on them every day. I looked up a few different granola recipes, but I didn't have all of the ingredients on hand, and I didn't want to go to the store. So even better, this is the lazy gal's homemade granola. 
 Granola is so easy to make, and really satisfying.
 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. honey (local is best)
2 egg whites
pinch of salt
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Mix it well with a whisk to break up the brown sugar.

Add 2 cups of gluten free old fashioned oats and about 1/2 cup chopped almonds. Stir well until all of the oats are coated.

Here's the good part... I heated up my Fleur De Sel Caramel Sauce in the microwave (because I store it in the fridge) for about 30 seconds. I wanted it to be easy to mix into the oats. This brand is gluten free and from Trader Joe's. Add 1 Tbsp. (more if you like) and stir it all up again.
 I line my baking sheet with parchment or a baking liner that's nonstick. Spread it out as much as you can.  Bake at 325 for 35 minutes. Check it at about 30 minutes, as all ovens are different. You want it to get beautifully browned and toasted. Pull it out of the oven and let it cool completely.
 This is one of my favorite ways to eat it... as cereal with Vanilla Almond Milk, topped with berries.
Store it in an airtight container. I like to use my Weck jars that I got from Crate and Barrel. It even looks pretty on my open shelf. Enjoy!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Vintage Revamp with Crate Shelf DIY

I've been thinking about changing a few things up in my house lately. Actually, I've started a list for summer projects. Planking the inset wall behind the tv is at the top of the list, and my mess of a bedroom is a close second! 

This week has kind of made me stir crazy. I was sick over the weekend and it was so terrible that it left me really weak for the first half of the week. Then one of my daughters got it, and now my other daughter might have it. We've had lots of movies and what seems like non-stop couch time.

I decided today that I would use my time cooped up at home to make a few changes with stuff I already had. 
 First up, I wanted to mount this BIG (it's much bigger than it looks in the photo) crate on the wall as a shelf. The problem was, there was a phone jack mounted to the wall here. We don't even HAVE a home phone anymore because we just use our cell phones.

I decided to try to remove it. In the past, I just covered it up with various things that didn't have to sit flush to the wall. It was easier than I thought!

I used long screws and a stud finder to mount the shelf securely to the wall. You find studs in the strangest places when hanging heavy things, so my screws are actually dead center through the crate back wall. If my metal tray wasn't in the photo, you would see the screws.  I bought that huge frame at a junker's paradise in Capitola. The cream chalkboard I'd made awhile back and never used.

 I then started pulling stuff from other places in the house to arrange the crate. It's tall so it looks weird if there isn't color going up high inside it. I planted some succulents in an old floral tin that I thrifted last week.
 Here's kind of a wide angle of my dining room. It's actually bigger than it looks, so I guess I didn't stand far enough back.
 I scored some old glass milk bottles at a yard sale last week and they came in this small crate. I turned it on its side and put it on the kitchen counter. I found that cute little blue jar at World Market and I use it to store my chia seeds for smoothies.
 I bought this little old mint tin at a thrift store a couple of weeks ago. It makes the perfect quirky planter for a succulent.

I feel like I'm finally starting to make my house look the way I feel on the inside. It might be a little strange to some people, but I just LOVE old stuff mixed with new. You don't have to wait around for your bank account to allow for you to make your house the way YOU want it. You just have to think outside the box.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Teacher Appreciation Lunch with The Planing Mill

This week is teacher appreciation week. If you know that we home school, you might be surprised to know that we actually HAVE teachers. We belong to a charter school and we are blessed by the wonderful teachers who guide us parents through teaching our children at home. They also put a lot of hours and effort into the electives and trips that they offer, to enrich learning at home. Since we are not a "traditional" school, we don't have a PTA to organize special things like this for the teachers. I wanted to do SOMETHING, so I put out a message in our school Facebook group to see if any other families wanted to help out. A group of us set out to host a great lunch for our teachers, and it happened to coincide with finishing up the STAR testing for the week. Bonus!
 I ordered the food from The Planing Mill, in Visalia. If you're local and you haven't tried it, seriously, wait no longer! Everything there is fabulous! A little further down, you'll see some close up of the food.
 For dessert, they had a White Chocolate Raspberry bundt cake with cream cheese frosting.
 Are these flowers not gorgeous? I took my blue mason jars to my friend who also volunteered to help, and she CUT all of these flowers from yards with the permission of various friends. They are SO beautiful.
 Each teacher got a little tiny bag  stamped with "thank you", and inside was a See's candy box and a info magnet from the catering restaurant.
 This first box is an enormous Antipasto Misto. I can't even tell you how bad I wanted to snag a piece! ;)
 I also ordered a BIG Greek salad, and two Artisan pizzas.
I think it turned out GREAT, thanks to the families for stepping up to appreciate some teachers and to The Planing Mill for some FABULOUS food!