Thursday, February 25, 2016

My Vault of Memories

My mammaw has been on my mind alot since she passed away almost a year ago.

She comes to mind when I see my sons interacting. She would love to see them, and she would tell us how they remind her of my dad and my uncle. She didn't get to meet my youngest but I know she would tell me to bring him over to her and let her "give him some sugar" (pronounced soo-ga and followed by kisses all over his face.

Oh how I miss her. But I've been realizing I've missed her for longer than the year she's been with her Lord and Savior. Over the past several years, her health had declined and she was different than I remember.

I remember her cooking for us and the laugh that followed something we said. I miss her hands, nimble and quick, playing her guitar or patting her knee in time with the music. I miss going to the thrift store and to yard sales with her. She would pray before we went, and would find such great things there.

I miss how she was with my pappaw. I miss that they went to church and sat next to each other in the same spot every Sunday. When he died in 1999, she changed - or maybe it was just the first time I remember seeing her sad.

Some days I want to go back to when I was 8, when we lived close to them and visited often. When they took us places and let us eat pizza while watching Cartoon Network. When I didn't know about death and pain. When my biggest worry was how to decide what to play with after I was done with schoolwork.

I know I can't go back and I know the reunion in heaven will be much better than any of my memories. However, I'm enjoying remembering the time and carefully folding each one up and tucking it back into my vault.

After all, living in the past would mean we never moved from Washington, DC to Ohio. It would mean I wouldn't have my youngest brother. It would mean I never looked at schools in Chicago. It would mean all those friends I've made in all the places I've lived wouldn't be in my life. Lastly, it would mean I wouldn't have my husband or my children.

I would miss out on more than I would gain by living in the past. This is why I treasure my vault of memories that I can go to again and again. I can enjoy my present, adding to my vault. The future is to give me hope of more and better things and for the reunion in Heaven.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Accidental Quinoa and Oat Granola

I make granola weekly because it's one of the only things my 2 1/2 year old son will eat. A normal batch is 1/2 cup molasses, 1/2 cup canola oil, and 4 cups of rolled oats. I whisk the oil and molasses together until uniform and then stir in the oats. I spread this out onto a greased baker's half sheet and bake for 30 min at 325 degrees, stirring halfway through.

For the past few weeks, I've tried making a double batch in order to save some work. I can't help but chuckle at this right now and you'll see why in a bit. So back to the idea of saving work with a double batch. It hasn't worked the past few weeks because my husband just has a bigger bowl at breakfast.

I still hope for a week off so this morning I started with a double batch in mind. In goes 1 cup oil, then 1 cup molasses (measuring the oil in the cup first then reusing it to measure the molasses makes it come out cleanly). I whisk it together then head to the pantry for the oatmeal.

Low and behold, we're almost out of rolled oats and I have no where close to the 8 cups needed. Panicking a smidge while rummaging through the shelves, I find 4 packets of instant oatmeal, 2/3 cup red quinoa, and 1 1/2 cup steel cut oats. Still not enough for a normal ratio of coating to crunch, but it will have to do.

I stir all of this in and spread it over a greased baker's half sheet.
Then cross my fingers and hope it will be good enough for tomorrow's breakfast.
15 minutes pass, I stir the granola and flatten it back out. Mind you it's bubbling around the edges because there's too much coating, but ... whatever.

Then it's time to bring it out. It's making "giant crumbs" as my son calls them as I scrape it off the pan, but it's taking forever to cool. My curiosity about the taste overrides my fear of burning my tongue and I take a bite. It's surprisingly hearty and very good! I kinda wanted to eat it all then and there.


This should be where my story ends. Happy with my ingenuity in solving an issue and creating a new favorite whilst winning Super Mommy points to top it all. I decide to push it. I put the granola away warm, so I can ensure some "giant crumbs" stay intact for my son.

Later in the afternoon, I can't resist and want a bowl. Nothing shakes has turned into ONE GIANT CRUMB!! I hurriedly try to shake the container to break it up, turning it...upside down.

This is when some of you would be yelling at the screen, "NO...DON'T!!"

I swear I saw it happen in slow motion. The lid let loose and half of the full container comes out in scattering pieces all over my kitchen (I just found more on top of my fridge). I am able to slam it down so the other half, still one big crumb, stays in the container. I step back and my son sums it up nicely, "You made a big mess!" I love that kid and am so thankful for his comic relief.

You can see now why I chuckled in the beginning about my motive to save myself some work. As I swept the floor and wiped the counters, I wish a moral deeper than this came to me: Laugh at yourself...cause if you don't you might be taking yourself too seriously!


Accidental Quinoa and Oat Granola
1 cup oil
1 cup molasses (1/2 cup of both of these will probably be fine)
2 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 cups steel cut oats
4 packets instant oatmeal
2/3 cups red quinoa

Whisk oil and molasses until uniform and stir in grains until coated. 
Spread over a greased half baker's sheet and bake at 325 degrees for 30-35 min, stirring after 15 minutes to avoid burning.
After removing from oven stir granola to loosen from pan. 
Break into pieces and store in air tight container.