The Gift of Granola

November 29, 2012

Tis the season for baked goodies and gifts! Why not try giving the gift of breakfast instead of dessert? This granola is not too sweet and makes the perfect breakfast or snack. I promise that your friends, family, and neighbors will beg you for more. So get to baking and spread granola cheer!

adapted from a friend’s recipe

1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
2. Mix the following in a large bowl:

4 cups extra thick rolled oats (Bob’s Red Mill)
3 cups of nuts- any combo would work but this is what I like
1 cup whole almonds (skin on), chopped
1 cup slivered almonds
1 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
1/2 cup – 1 cup coconut, unsweetened (optional)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger

3. Combine the following in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave until warm & ingredients dissolve (about 30 seconds):

1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup safflower or canola oil

4. Pour liquid over dry ingredients and toss well.
5. Spread onto a large baking sheet covered with parchment or foil.
6. Bake for a total of about 2 hours. Pull out the granola and stir gently every 20-30 minutes. Keep a close eye on the granola towards the end, as it will turn overly brown quickly.
7. Let cool completely before storing.

-Make sure all ingredients are raw – not roasted or salted. BUT, sometimes I use salted sunflower seeds and the salty sweet combination is good.
– Flax is a good addition before or after baking
– Dried fruit is nice to add after the granola cools.
-The mixture will be fairly dry and slightly sticky
-Store in the refrigerator or freezer for optimal freshness.

Here is a printable copy of the recipe Ruthie’s Famous Granola


From Our Kitchen To Hers

November 27, 2012

Many wonderful ladies contributed to this special cookbook for my dear friend Colleen’s wedding shower. The cookbook is a collection of keepsake recipes that will hopefully become special to her family. The recipes celebrate generations of family cooks and the strong memories that form in the kitchen.

I asked Colleen’s friends and family to submit their favorite recipes and to include a note on why the recipe is so loved. Over 70 recipes ended up in the book! This is not an easy project but totally worth the effort. I hope this inspires you to create something like this for a friend one day.


Easter Goody

April 5, 2012

Look at what my aunt left at our front door! How cute is this candy jar?

She used a screw top jar, dresser knob and a little paint to create this precious vessel. This is such a great gift idea for any holiday!


First Time Crafter

January 31, 2012

Ruthie did her first craft project this weekend! We made sweet party favor bags for her baptism dinner. These small white paper bags are a cinch to decorate and at $1.99/pack they are easy on the wallet.

We found small white bags, an angel pink ink pad, and a silver paint pen at the craft store. Ruthie stamped her little foot on the bags then I used small letter stamps to make her initials. I drew a sweet little cross with the silver pen to signify the event.

Costco sells the yummiest Madeleines. I filled the bags with the shell shaped cakes as a special treat for everyone who came to Ruthie’s baptism supper.

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December 14, 2011

When this beautiful envelope arrived in the mail yesterday I thought, ” wow! someone sent out really nice Christmas cards”.

Turns out that this is no Christmas card after all…I was given my very own olive tree in Le Marche Italy! In 2012, I will receive the produce of my tree as olive oil. How exciting is that? I had to share because I think it’s the perfect gift for the cook in your life.

Visit to gift an olive tree.

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October 1, 2011

Food is love. Chicken tetrazzini, pot roast, spaghetti, apple sauce, turkey chili, oatmeal cookies, gooey brownies, and chicken pot pie are among the many food gifts we have received this week. A few weeks of baby bedrest has kept me out of the kitchen and resting on the couch. Justin and I are very grateful and appreciative of these thoughtful gifts! Every morsel of food has been yummy and nourishing. So as I lay around and embrace a few weeks of relaxation, I am thankful for the many talented home cooks in my life that are treating me to their culinary gifts.

On another note, fall is here! As part of my bedrest entertainment, my mom brought over a fall project for me to supervise from the sofa. How cute is this potted pumpkin?

The idea came from this month’s Southern Living. For our first, we tried planting a festive fall plant in a hollowed out pumpkin. You can also use oasis and fresh flowers. The skies the limit! We used an orange pumpkin for starters but a white or blue pumpkin would be beautiful. I had spanish moss and winter wheat left over from past projects that we crammed in the sides to give it extra fall character. Happy Fall!


Let me start by saying my pickles were NOT good. The good news is that my friend Hilary is an expert canner and will share her successful pickle recipe soon.

On another note, about 6 years ago, during my sophomore year of college, my mom sent me this journal.

Originally the pages were blank except an opening note asking me to create a “share journal” with her while I was away at school. The idea came from my aunt Ruth who shares creative journals with her children and now grandchildren. The idea is that the two people (mother/child, friends, sisters etc.) send the journal back and forth and each time create a new page. The sky is the limit to how you fill the page! It can be a poem, drawing, funny picture, memory, craft, whatever!

Every few months I receive the journal from my mom with a new page. Here are a few that she has added to the journal-

Here are some that I have added to the book-

If you want to connect with someone far away (or near) in a creative way, please start this tradition! Journals are fun, memorable and something to treasure for a lifetime.

Happy journaling!



July 21, 2011

I have always dreamed of being a canner. Having mason jars full of tomatoes, figs, and green beans stacked pretty in the cupboard to use on a cold Atlanta day. It will happen one day! Anyone want to come over and teach me? I did give canning a whirl in honor of Leigh and little girl to-be. The Williams girls hosted a baby shower complete with homemade pickles as a favor…

The pickling cucumbers will not be ready for a taste until Sunday, so stay tuned for the result. If they are crisp, sweet and dilly, you will see the the recipe posted. If not, I have some work to do! Either way, please use this idea next you host a baby shower.

Here are two other crafts ideas from the baby girl shower.

You should definetly make these puff balls for your next soiree! The peony-like tissue paper flowers are truly easy to make and easy on the budget. Please click here for directions from the best- Martha Stewart.

Ribbon is always cute, always on sale somewhere and perfect to tie up linen napkins. Try mixing sizes and textures of ribbon. Trinkets add a festive flare to the classy napkins. These mini rattles, bottles and pacifiers came from Hobby Lobby.

Cannot wait until September 2 when Williams girl #4 arrives! Congratulations to Leigh!

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March 9, 2011

2010 was a year of weddings (11 maybe?) and so 2011 is a year of first anniversaries. If you ever want to acknowledge a first anniversary (birthday, baby, anything) in a really personal way, create your own bottle of wine. Well not the wine, but the label. My mom came up with this cute idea! She left us these surprises on our anniversary weekend getaway.

She used our save-the-date (also a vintage valentine) to create a personalized wine label. She simply removed the original label from a bottle of wine and replaced it with the personalized label. It does require some editing skills (she outsourced the work), but I think the idea is perfect for a first anniversary gift.

Thanks mom!