We have a small balcony attached to our new apartment. We haven’t really taken advantage of it yet except for last week, when my husband and I took out two folding chairs and a warm cup of Pumpkin Chai Tea (the mix from Trader Joe’s).
We could hear kids playing on the street, see the lights on in the buildings around us, and actually smell our neighbors cooking dinner.
We talked a lot about childhood memories, and it made me think, “Isn’t it interesting which memories we vividly remember throughout our life?”
I distinctly remember playing at my grandparent’s house with my older brother and spending way too much time sliding down their basement stairs inside of a laundry basket (I don’t actually ever remember getting hurt, so it must have been pretty successful ). I remember the intoxicating smell of their kitchen when my grandma would make fried dough, my favorite “meal.” I remember their old rotary phone in the basement that my brother and I would use to make prank calls. We thought we were so funny and that no one could tell we were just two little kids dialing random numbers and asking if they had ordered a pizza (do kids still do this with cell phones now?). I remember sitting in their backyard, eating fresh fruit, while my grandfather worked in the garden.
I’m sure that when these moments happened, my grandparents had no clue they would be the ones I’d remember for a lifetime. I know they took us to the local pool but don’t remember many specifics. I can’t tell you if they ever took us to the zoo, or what birthday parties were like to celebrate with them.
Rather, I remember the little everyday things like they were yesterday. Fresh homemade (sometimes fried) dough, sitting in the backyard, making-up games and turning the dial countless times on that old phone.
It was a good reminder to me that in 50+ plus years, when I reflect on my life, it will really be those everyday things that add-up. Potlucks we shared with our neighbors, dancing in the kitchen, evenings on the balcony sipping tea.
Another practice that has lasted with me throughout my life is slow, weekend mornings started with big, homemade breakfasts- usually pancakes. If my dad was cooking, it was fluffy pancakes the size of a dinner plate. If my mom was at the stove, we knew we could expect personalized chocolate chip pancakes shaped in the letters of our name. It was a win – win.
This has been something that I’ve loved to recreate miles away, with my husband. Eating a bowl of cereal or oatmeal on a Saturday morning just doesn’t feel right. And while I wouldn’t turn down fried dough or homemade pancakes, my taste buds have changed a bit over the years. Now, one of my favorite ways to start the day is with homemade granola.
I’ve experimented with several granola recipes before, but this has quickly jumped to the top as my new favorite. The combination of sunflower and pumpkin seeds give it the perfect crunch, while the honey adds just the right amount of sweetness. Served with Greek yogurt, this makes the perfect way to create homemade memories.
Pumpkin and Sunflower Granola
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Keywords: bake breakfast snack vegetarian oats
- 1 tbs. oil (I used olive oil; you could also use canola oil)
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 2 tbs. packed light brown sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
- 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- Greek yogurt, to serve
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
2. Mix the oil, honey, cinnamon, brown sugar and vanilla in a small bowl until smooth. In a large bowl, mix together oats, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and salt. Pour in the wet mixture to the oat mixture and stir together, until evenly coated. Spread evenly on the prepared baking sheet.
3. Bake, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and crisp about 25-30 minutes. Serve with yogurt and enjoy!
One childhood memory my husband mentioned was his grandma making gigantic batches of delicious, homemade applesauce every year. While I’m sure nothing compares to that, I couldn’t resist when Musselman’s offered to send me their new Big Cup Apple Sauce – a new, single 6 oz. single-serve cup.
They sent me the Big Cup in three flavors (Cinnamon, Unsweetened and Natural) along with a Musselman’s Big Cup mug. While I was planning to tell you about the creative ways I used these applesauces to bake with and how I enjoyed each one, before I knew it, my husband enjoyed all the flavors and gave them 2 big
The best part is that Musselman’s is offering to send all three Big Cup flavors to one Simply Life reader! To enter, do any/all of the following by October 12 and let me know in the comments (winner must have a U.S. address):