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It’s been a busy couple of weeks. Several events may have warranted posts of their own but I haven’t had time to get them written. Instead I’ll share a few of the highlights through pictures. I feel like I should be speed-talking through these photos like an auctioneer but here goes:

I headed to California (ALONE!) for a long girl’s weekend with my mom. During that weekend….

I did the Color Run in San Diego – photographed here post-race with LaDorna, PE teacher at the last school I taught at and grandmother of a former student of mine:

Post Race visit and lunch with my grandparents (aren’t they cute?) They’ve been married 67 years!

Then we hit up the San Diego Zoo (why not?)

After a day of rest (aka Pajama Day) we spent our last day at Disneyland (that’s a secret from the girls! shhhh…) 

A few days after returning, a very dear friend from Hong Kong days arrived. Liz and I have known each other since 6th grade but hadn’t seen each other in two years. Isn’t that a shame? Here we are outside in the freezing cold admiring the sunset on the mountains. This is pre-six-person snowball fight where she attempted to put snow down my back. Traitor. Um, I mean, “Love you Lizzie!”

Liz’s husband is a film editor and documentary film maker. If you ever watch Nova on PBS I’m sure you’ve seen some of his films. (In fact, one of them was nominated for an Emmy!) Who better to introduce our kids to the fine art of movie making? Trinity wrote, casted, directed, and presented her first film – A stop-motion animation called “The Wild.” Actually, we all had fun chipping in with various parts. I  must look into getting video capability on my blog to share the movie, but here are a few “making of” action shots:

Liz and Lilly make the best trees ever to be placed in a diorama: 

The night sky:

Setting the scene:

Getting priceless tips from the master:

Final editing:

That night she was already asking if we could make another movie the next day. Andy has decided that if she decides to go to film school we’ll be sending Liz and Rob the bill. 🙂

Seeing as how things won’t be slowing down for the coming holiday season, I thought posting a breakfast or snack that is easy to grab and go made the most sense. I’m sure your life is as busy as mine! Maybe having these on hand will make mornings a little less hectic. These granola bars would also be great to give to friends or co-workers as a home-made Christmas gift.

Maple Granola To Go

makes 24 servings – modified from the Food Network Kitchen’s cookbook.

  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 2 cups of a variety of dried fruit (I use 1/2 cup each of chopped apricots, dates, blueberries, and cranberries)
  • 1/2 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 cup green pumpkin seeds (pepitas). If you can’t find them, you could use sunflower seeds – raw and unsalted.
  • 1/2 cup chopped pistachios (you could really use whatever you like)
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds, or sliced almonds
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 5 large egg whites, lightly beaten
  • a good pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 225 degrees F.

Place the oats, dried fruit, flaxseed, pepitas, pecans, almonds, and salt in a large bowl.

In a small saucepan, over low heat, melt the butter with 1/4 cup of the maple syrup. Remove pan from heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Pour the mixture over the oat mixture and stir until it is evenly coated.

Spread the mixture onto two baking sheets. Bake until golden brown, about 1 1/2 hours, stirring every 30 minutes. Remove from the oven but leave the oven on.

Pour the granola into a large bowl. Add the remaining maple syrup and the egg whites. Stir to coat evenly. Spray 24 muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray. Divide the mixture evenly between the muffin cups (about 1/3 cup in each) and press firmly with the back of a spoon. Bake for 45 minutes or until set. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before removing the granola. It will last up to 1 month at room temperature in an airtight container.