Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween from the Spares!

The FE exam is over, and we (I, really) had a little free time to do something fun, so we picked up some pumpkins and got creative.  I think they turned out really great, don't you?

I made a Minion pumpkin!!!
(Google "Megamind" if you don't know who it is)
Handsome made a PowerCat pumpkin!!
Go State!!
I love candy, silly costumes and being creative!  I hope you had a wonderful evening!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Drama Queen

Handsome bought me a lovely Pink Star Fittonia plant last valentine's day.  I love having it around, especially how low-maitenance it is.  Sometimes, I forget to water it, because it doesn't need it very often and this is what happens:

It's so droopy and sad.  Even now, just looking at it makes me feel like the worst plant-momma ever!

But, I give it a good drink and in just a little while it's as perky as ever!

See, happy as can be!  Reminds me of a clip from one of my favorite (in the running for #1 all-time) movies:

If you haven't watched Megamind (and you have a dry sense of humor like me), you should go watch it.  Like now.  I laugh so hard every time I watch it!

Sunday, October 9, 2011


Just wanted to show you guys another craft I was working on for a friend.  She just picked it up, so now I can share it with you!

36" x 36" (I think), Acrylic

I wish the colors turned out a little bit better, but it's hard to photograph a painting.  The sky is not as light as it looks behind the tree (black), and the ground is dark brown.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Crafting: A BIG Bag

Hi friends, just wanted to show you what I finished last weekend (while listening to K-State win their game!).

I used a Simplicity pattern, and some pre-quilted fabric (in my favorite colors!) from Joann's that I got 40% off (still $12 a yard, though).  It's my first project with my new-to-me sewing machine that mom got me, which is exciting, but it also looks (up close) like a first-sewing-in-a-long-time project.  It will be great for a weekend or overnight bag.

See how big it is?!  (I put one of our throw pillows inside to fill it out, and there was still plenty of room.)

In other news, look at our farmer's market finds!

We made fried okra, spaghetti squash with marinara and meatballs, jambalaya with the red pepper, upside-down pizza with the green peppers, smokey sweet corn and jalapeno dip and bacon-wrapped jalapeno poppers.  We haven't cooked anything with my sugar pumpkin yet, because...

I'm using it as a centerpiece, for now!

Happy autumn, friends!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Recipe: Homemade Granola

I think I've made this recipe a hundred times.  It is magical.  Even if you don't think you like granola, you will probably like this.  Once, a friend's parent sent me a box of granola ingredients so that I could bake granola for my friend.  It's that good.  (It really happened... isn't that funny?)

This is based on Pam Anderson's recipe.  Not the anatomically disproportionate blonde TV star, but the amazing cook with great, approachable recipes.  Check out the link for many, many, many variations on her basic granola recipe.

The original copy straight from USA Weekend magazine

I'll do a step-by-step for this, mostly because I remembered to take (not so good) pictures.  So, let's begin!

Here's all that you will need, unless you are gluten-free (see my note at the bottom -- you won't use wheat germ) or diabetic (again, see notes at the bottom for what I've done).

Mix all of your dry ingredients in a large bowl.

Measure the oil into your 1/4 cup measure, you'll thank me later...

Mix all of the wet ingredients in a small sauce pan and simmer just to warm everything up and help it combine.

And if you followed my advice, the syrup with slide right out of your measuring cup!

Nothing exciting will happen in the sauce pan.  Just warm it up, the oil will still be separate from the other ingredients.

Pour the wet over the dry, and wonder how I could take such a sick picture (I left the flash on... oops!).

Stir it all up and pour it onto your greased baking sheet.

Here is where I deviate from Pam.  She suggests "clumping" it with your hands, but I found I get the best clumps if I lightly spread it out flat to cover the sheet (but don't pack it down).

After 30 minutes, add these on top.

Use a spoon to gently break up the oat mixture and mix in the cranberries.  There's no stirring happening, just gentle, gentle mixing.  You don't want to break up those clusters too much just yet.

When you're done, it will look like this.  Not stirred, just lightly rustled.  A little pushed around, ya know.  Not harassed.  Be gentle! :)

I usually let it cool on the sheet, you can also pour it out onto wax paper to let it cool.  Once cool, break up any clusters that are too big for you and store in an airtight container.

Cranberry Vanilla Almond Granola

2 cups Old-fashioned Oats
½ cup Wheat Germ
2 Tbsp Dark Brown Sugar
¼ tsp Salt
¼ cup Dark Corn Syrup
3 Tbsp Canola Oil
1 Tbsp Water
1/2 cup Sliced Almonds
1 cup Dried Cranberries
2 t. Vanilla Extract (not imitation)
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position, and heat oven to 275 degrees F (135 degrees C). Coat a 9-by-13-inch metal pan with cooking spray, then set aside.
2. Mix oats, wheat germ, brown sugar, salt and almonds in a bowl. Bring syrup, oil, water and vanilla to a simmer in a saucepan over low heat. Drizzle over oat mixture, and stir to combine.
3. Pour mixture onto prepared pan. Pat into a flat layer. Bake for 30 minutes, but check at 20. Break up layer and gently stir in dried cranberries and continue to bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes longer. Let cool. (Granola can be stored in an airtight tin for up to two weeks.) Makes one quart.

  • LIGHTEN UP:  Replace 1/2 c. of oats with 1/2 to 1 c. of rice krispy cereal.
  • GLUTEN FREE:  Replace wheat germ with pulverized oats (I put 1/2 c. of oats in my food processor and process until it turns into a fine meal.)
  • SYRUP:  Any syrup will work, really.  Pam suggests maple, but I'm cheap so I use corn syrup.
  • DIABETIC:  Use sugar-free syrup and splenda brown sugar (using 1/2 the amount).


  • REESES:  1/2 c. chopped peanuts, 1/2 to 1 c. chocolate chips (add when granola is cool), 1 T. peanut butter (instead of vanilla)
  • CINNAMON WALNUT or PECAN:  1/2 c. chopped walnuts or pecans, 1 t. cinnamon (instead of vanilla)
  • GORP:  1/2 c. chopped peanuts, 1/2 c. sunflower seeds (shelled), 1/2 c. mini M&M's (added when granola is cool) , 1 T. peanut butter (instead of vanilla)