Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Maple Cinnamon Trail Mix

I've made three or four batches of this trail mix since the beginning of the year (when I first made this recipe) because all the ingredients are on the wheat-free, sugar-free, dairy-free, soy-free, caffeine-free diet I'm on. It's really simple. You should try it. (Do not be afraid of the loooong explanatory paragraph. That's just me being verbose. The recipe really is simple.)

Maple Cinnamon Trail Mix

(All measurements are approximate.)

2 - 2 1/2 c. rolled oats
1 - 1 1/2 c. almonds (whole or sliced...or both)
1 - 1 1/2 c. raisins

1-2 TBSP coconut oil (or you can use butter, but coconut oil is healthier)
3/4 c. maple syrup
1-2 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350. Put the last three ingredients in a small saucepan and heat until oil is melted. While it's heating, combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Pour the maple syrup mixture over the dry ingredients and stir to mix well. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, and spread the mixture over it in an even layer. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove from oven and stir. Return to oven for 15 minutes, and then stir again. If it's not done at this point, put back in the oven for another five to ten minutes and stir again. Repeat until it's done toasting. How will you know it's done toasting? It will turn a wonderful, golden-brown color, your raisins will start to puff up, and you will smell a rich, maple-y, toasty aroma. You DO NOT want a dark brown color, black shriveled raisins, and a burnt smell. That means it's overdone (duh). Ask me how I know.

I eat this plain as a quick snack, or with almond milk just like granola. I love it either way!

I have been experimenting with soaking the oats and almonds first to make them more digestible, with not-quite-satisfactory results. I mean, it's still fine, but the oats and nuts don't have quite the fabulous crunch that they do when you use them un-soaked. I'm trying to figure out the right combination of oven temperature and letting them dry out before toasting to get the texture I want.

(Learn more about soaking grains and nuts at Passionate Homemaking.)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

What can separate us?

I came home yesterday after six days of friendship, sunshine, below-zero temperatures, laughter, fun, trying new things, and experiencing the grace of God in new and unexpected ways.

I'm always a little sad on days like today. Just me, myself, and I at home feels quiet and lonely after nearly a week of being a part of a big family tripping over each other in a mountainside dollhouse. I miss someone's laugh. I miss another's hugs. I miss special facial expressions, and favorite phrases, and inside jokes, and the many hands that make a load both light and fun in the doing.

But I am comforted.

The day before we all headed our separate ways, scattering across the state and the country, I read Romans 8 in my devotions. Verses 38 and 39 have always had special meaning for me on the path God has taken me in this life, and He is using them afresh in my heart today.

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Yes, the house is a little too quiet today. Yes, I am lonely for these dear ones that I love all the more in every time we have together. What I am clinging to today, though, is the fact that I will never, never, be separated from God and His love. He is here, today, right now. He is my Friend, my Brother, and my Helper. What's more...He loves me.

I can't ask for a greater promise and a greater truth than this.