Archive for March, 2011

March 31, 2011

When I Think of You

I can barely believe it, but here we are on the last day of March!

April will bring many changes for both Ben and I as I say goodbye to my job at the college [and hopefully to bureaucratic desk jobs for good] and he completes his final class and moves into the world of teaching full-time.

Time is such a strange concept to me – sometimes I swear I can’t make it through a single minute [planks anyone?] and at others I look back and think holy shit, I haven’t called my best girlfriends in over six months!

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[Okay, so this photo includes more than the Oregon crew, but they’re all my favorites!]

I have some incredible college friends.  Ben and the boys from college somehow keep in touch much better than we girls do (which means I get to stay up to date with what’s happening with the guys, too).  The boys say sports allow them the opportunity to call each other much more often, but I also think it’s because the boys have taken on much less responsibility than we girls have [why is it that we’re the ones with the craziest schedules?]. Or maybe we really are just worse at calling each other…?

Nah!

In any case, I figured last week was the perfect time to send a few ladies some goodies Smile.  Along with their quinoa granola, I made a few sets of earrings to send off.  And now that they’ve received them, I can post them on the blog!

I sat down one day with nothing in mind.  But as I thought about these ladies, their pieces formed. And they were perfect.

Simple, classy, clean loop-de-loops with purple gemstone briolettes in two shades for two incredible ladies who have beautiful souls and loving, kind spirits.

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Encircled Apo earrings with simple sworovski crystals and gemstone briolettes for my grounded, worldly, and creative sister.

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And, of course, fun, vibrant, and elaborate Apo dangles with swarovski crystals and fresh water pearls for my life-loving, dynamic, and sparkling lady!

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I love you and miss you more than I can say [even if I’m not the greatest at keeping in touch].  Living in paradise is nice and all, but it makes visiting friends on the mainland more difficult than I would like Sad smile.  Thankfully, I’ll be seeing you all sooner than we think – Colorado for the Jaze wedding in less than ten weeks!!

Happy End-of-March!

How often do you catch up with your closest friends? What do you (or would you) send them when you’re thinking of them?

Aloha Pumehana. Whether you’re here to find balance, wholesome recipes or inspiration, I hope you enjoy the posts.  Please subscribe to Green Plate Dinners to receive automatic updates and be the first to read new posts!

March 30, 2011

Quinoa Granola

To me, the hardest thing about sending care packages is keeping it a secret until it reaches its destination. I’m serious.  I’ve never been one for surprises and I have absolutely no patience (I’m working on it), so the two to three days of transit to the West coast often drives me bananas.

During my Spring Break/furlough last week, Ben and I decided we were overdue to send a few goodies to our loved ones on the west coast.  We wrote notes, made up a batch of Quinoa Granola [see recipe below], as well as a few sets of earrings for my favorite ladies [which I will post soon], and sent out the packages.

IMG_5855[Everyone loves receiving packages in the mail!]

Yesterday I finally started getting word that they were received!  Woohoo!  That means I can post about it!  Haha.

This Quinoa Granola is easily Ben and my favorite granola recipe to date. I adapted it from Hungry Hungry Hippie‘s Quinoa Granola to amp up the seeds, reduce the sugar, and lessen the amount of oil a bit.  I also added a bit more brown rice syrup to try to make it clumpy, although I don’t know if that worked, so you can play around with it for clumpiness.  I used simple low-sugar dried papaya as a mix-in because it has the least amount of sugar, but you could easily substitute it for cranberries or raisins if you like.

I love the added protein from the quinoa and buckwheat, and like that it’s not overly sweet, but sweet enough to top plain, non-fat yogurt. So far the reviews have been good – Alli [click her name to view her amazing blog] says she’s been eating it out of the bag with her hands, so I’d say it was a success. :)

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Quinoa Granola

[Ingredients - this double-batch made enough to send off to friends and keep some for ourselves, so you may want to half it]

[grains]

  • 2 c rolled oats
  • 2/3 c buckwheat groats
  • 1/3 c quinoa

[seeds + nuts]

  • 4 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 4 Tbsp sesame seeds
  • 2 Tbsp flaxseed
  • 1 c raw almonds, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 c raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 c raw sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 c raw walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 c shredded coconut [I used the partially-defatted kind]

[liquids + spices]

  • 2.5 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of  nutmeg
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 c maple syrup
  • 1/3 c coconut oil
  • 5 Tbsp brown rice syrup
  • 2 Tbsp applesauce

[add-ins]

  • ~1 c low-sugar dried papaya

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Combine all the grains, seeds, and nuts in a large mixing bowl and mix well.

Combine the liquids and heat them over low heat until the coconut oil and brown rice syrup is melted.

Mix the spices into the liquids, then pour the wet ingredients into the dry.

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Mix + stir.

Spread onto a non-stick baking sheet or one lined with parchment paper.

Bake for about 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.

Enjoy! There is nothing like the incredible smell of granola baking!

Clean up is always the fun part.  This is the chaos that was my kitchen for most of Spring Break:
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I am so grateful for my friends and family.  I love being able to send care packages across the ocean!
I love you all!
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