Classic Homemade Granola Recipe

I’ve been searching for a perfect “non-flavored” granola, everything in the co-ops here trends toward “Peach Mocha” or other nonsense. My mom always made our granola growing up, but she used a lot of molasses and brown sugar for a pretty heavy granola. This recipe is part “pantry scavenge” and part attempt to make a less sweet, mellow flavored, classic granola.

In a large mixing bowl, mix up:
2 cups oats
1 cup chopped / slivered almonds
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup chia & flax seeds
1 tsp sea salt

On the stove in a saucepan, on medium heat:
3/4 cup almond butter
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tbsp vanilla
3 tbsp sunflower oil
dash cinnamon

Set aside:

Sloooooowlllllyyyy stir the warm mixture into the dry ingredients, letting it clump up and making sure to coat everything. Spread across a baking sheet (lightly oiled) and bake at 300 degrees for 40 mins. Shake/flip occasionally for even cooking. Let cool 20 minutes, then pour back into mixing bowl, add raisins.

Eat with greek yogurt and fresh blueberries and be happy.


It’s a Mystery

mystery2If you follow me on social media, you’ll know we’ve been dealing with some bad news. I’m trying to manage my grief & stress in a healthy way (eating well, 6:30 am daily elliptical and power songs) but some days (most days, to be honest) require a special kind of escapism. The kind that has 18 volumes and completely impossible happenings in other time periods and places.

I never read mysteries until we moved to Vermont – the long winters require a LOT of reading material. I started with the Amelia Peabody series, and haven’t looked back. It can be hard to find new authors who are good in a field completely saturated with really, really poor writing. Here are my recommendations for mostly female leads, mostly historical, mostly England-located, and not-quite-cozy-but-not-too-violent mysteries.

Maisie Dobbs mysteries by Jacqueline Winspear. Set in 1929 London, a former WWI nurse sets up shop as a psychologist & investigator, while dealing with the trauma of post-war England.

1. Maisie Dobbs
2. Birds of a Feather
3. Pardonable Lies
4. Messenger of Truth
5. An Incomplete Revenge
6. Among the Mad
7. The Mapping of Love and Death
8. A Lesson in Secrets
9. Elegy for Eddie
10. Leaving Everything Most Loved

Bess Crawford series by Charles Todd. Another WWI nurse, but with a quite different character to Maisie Dobbs. She continues to work as a nurse through the series, going back and forth between France and England.

1. A Duty To The Dead
2. An Impartial Witness
3. A Bitter Truth
4. An Unmarked Grave
5. A Question of Honor
6. An Unwilling Accomplice

The Kate Shackleton series by Frances Brody. Yet another WWI nurse who tracks down missing soldiers post-war to help their families, and ends up becoming a private investigator.

1. Dying In the Wool
2. A Medal for Murder
3. Murder In The Afternoon
4. A Woman Unknown
5. Murder on a Summer’s Day
6. Death of an Avid Reader

Charles Lenox mysteries by Charles Finch. Victorian gentlemen of private means turns sleuth. Happened all the time, right?

1. A Beautiful Blue Death
2. The September Society
3. The Fleet Street Murders
4. A Stranger in Mayfair
4.5. An East End Murder
5. A Burial at Sea
6. A Death in the Small Hours
7. An Old Betrayal
8. The Laws of Murder
9. Home by Nightfall

Julian Kestrel series by Kate Ross. Gorgeously written Regency mysteries that take the reader all over Europe. Heartbreakingly, this author passed away at a very young age from breast cancer right after writing her fourth book.

1. Cut to the Quick
2. A Broken Vessel
3. Whom the Gods Love
4. The Devil in Music

Crowther and Westerman mysteries by Imogen Robertson. Ultra creepy Georgian anatomist Crowther meets shockingly independent Harriet Westerman, and they reluctantly become a sleuthing team. A bit more grim than the other books here, this one definitely gets a violence warning.

1. Instruments of Darkness
2. Anatomy of Murder
3. Island of Bones
4. Circle Of Shadows
5. Theft of Life

Flavia De Luce series by Alan Bradley. Precocious pre-teen chemist in decaying English country house solves the disproportionate number of murders that seem to occur in her small village.

1. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie
2. The Weed That Strings the Hangman’s Bag
3. A Red Herring Without Mustard
4. I Am Half-Sick of Shadows
5. Speaking from Among the Bones
6. The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches
6.5. The Curious Case of the Copper Corpse
7. As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust

Dido Kent series by Anna Dean. So the idea of a Jane Austen inspired mystery series is a terrible one. But Dido is a delightful spinster aunt character and the books work, though you’ll feel some deja vu about the plots. Emma, anyone?

1. Bellfield Hall
2. A Gentleman of Fortune
3. A Woman of Consequence
4. A Place of Confinement

Daisy Dalrymple mysteries by Carola Dunn. These mayyyybe are a little silly and definitely the most “cozy” of the list, but still a fun romp through 1920s England with a journalist who keeps finding dead people. Oops!

1. Death at Wentwater Court
2. The Winter Garden Mystery
3. Requiem for a Mezzo
4. Murder on the Flying Scotsman
5. Damsel in Distress
6. Dead in the Water
7. Styx and Stones
8. Rattle His Bones
9. To Davy Jones Below
10. The Case of the Murdered Muckraker
11. Mistletoe and Murder
12. Die Laughing
13. A Mourning Wedding
14. Fall of a Philanderer
15. Gunpowder Plot
16. The Bloody Tower
17. Black Ship
18. Sheer Folly
19. Anthem for Doomed Youth
20. Gone West
21. Heirs of the Body
22. Superfluous Women

Angela Marchmont mysteries by Clara Benson. I’m convinced the marketing behind these (old 1920s novels, freshly discovered!) is complete nonsense, but the books are fun, if anachronistic at times.

1. The Murder at Sissingham Hall
2. The Mystery at Underwood House
3. The Treasure at Poldarrow Point
4. The Riddle at Gipsy’s Mile
5. The Incident at Fives Castle
6. The Imbroglio at the Villa Pozzi
7. The Problem at Two Tithes

What’s missing? I’m always looking for new books to read.

The Low Profile Bed Search


I’ve been searching for a low profile bed frame since we moved here, and it’s gotten to the point where I just have to find something and take the plunge. I haven’t found anything I’m 100% sold on, probably because my dream bed is a tremendous 4 poster Shaker style bed, and our bedroom ceilings slope.

The considerations:
1. Under 43″ headboard, or easily modifiable headboard. Ish. It’s not like the plaster is straight.
2. Steel or solid wood. Preferably made in the USA. Nothing upholstered or cane, a.k.a. a giant scratching post. No engineered wood.
3. Preferably white, as we already have a lot of wood action going on.
4. Slats or a platform, so we don’t need a box spring. Finished sides (no bedskirt needed.)
5. Really, really sturdy. I have a fear of beds collapsing on cats.
6. Nothing too modern.


The contenders:
1. Room & Board Bennett Bed. We could paint it white.
2. Garnet Hill Windsor Bed. Would have to modify the headboard. Not convinced on the construction, even though it’s solid wood. Finial attachment area / visible screws would need fixing.
3. Room & Board Webster Bed. Too industrial, but it’s sturdy, made in the USA, and the right height.

And that is literally all I could find that wasn’t too modern, engineered wood, or tall. HELP.

In Praise of Being Basic


While I was in California, enough people asked me why I hadn’t Instagrammed any cocktails yet that I began to wonder if I come across as an alcoholic on Instagram. “No, you’re just…predictable.” Holly told me at lunch. “You mean basic.” I replied. I’ve come to realize I’m kind of okay with that.

Sure, there are loads of things considered ‘basic’ that are pretty icky. Coffee drinks from Starbucks probably shouldn’t be considered actual coffee. UGGs should be banned from fashion. No one over the age of 21 should be ordering a Cosmo at a bar.

But couldn’t we all use a reminder to appreciate and derive joy from tiny, attainable things? There are enough unreachable, aspirational images online that taking the joy out of the easy-to-reach stuff is not ok.

There are plenty of things I’ve seen called ‘basic’  that I find pretty dang pleasing. A short list:

  • Coffee art. It looks delicious and is evocative of cozy, slow mornings. You know when I don’t have time to see the top of my coffee? When it’s in a tiny paper cup with a lid and I’m rushing to work, which is basically all the time.
  • Doors. Since when is appreciating architecture and design a bad thing?
  • Flowers, especially peonies and roses. They grow freely in my backyard and smell good.
  • That Hozier song (ok, Sean was the one complaining about this being basic). He’s Irish and the lyrics compare love to sacrificing things to pagan goddesses. Excellent. I don’t even care.
  • Macarons (and I think le merveilleux are right behind macarons in the soon-to-be-overly-trendy-camp). They’re both gluten-free, look like cakes and cookies for fairies, and make any day better. Seriously, you’re going to judge pastry?
  • Brunch. See Coffee art.
  • White Converse. If they were good enough for your grandfather to play basketball in, they’re good enough for you to take pictures of your feet on the beach in.