Blood Orange Granola

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Granola. I dig it.

It’s true you can easily find granola in basically every bulk section. Once you’ve tried homemade, though, you can’t go back.

Or so my taste buds tell me.

I rarely go shopping specifically for granola ingredients, but rather do a pantry clean out type of granola.

I’m calling this one blood orange only because I have some gifted blood orange olive oil that really needs to be used. My general granola strategy is to stick within a certain flavor profile. This one contains:

  • Rolled Oats (duh)
  • Shredded Coconut Flakes – unsweetened
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Sesame Seeds
  • Millet
  • Cacao Nibs
  • Maple Syrup
  • Peanut Butter
  • Coconut Oil
  • Blood Orange Olive Oil

Also, I don’t like my granola browned much at all so I choose the low and slow method of baking at about 300F for maybe 30 minutes with plenty of stirring. You will get bigger chunks if you don’t stir, but I don’t like risking getting any dark brown spots.

If you like dried fruits in your granola, leave them out until it is baked or else you will have blackened char instead of fruit.

I also really try to keep the most obvious ingredient shining through so as not to get buried under 17 kinds of nuts and fruits. I start with a bowl mostly full of oats and just start adding ingredients as I want them. Then end with any liquid sweetener and oil. I think oil is the key to making granola spectacular.

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So yummy topped with homemade cashew-almond milk!

I’m considering trying a savory granola. Any recommendations?

Peace and love,

Kristan

Sugar Cookies with Naturally Dyed Frosting + a Zero Waste Classroom Party

Taking inspiration from Going Zero Waste, and a few researching hours later, I decided to have sugar cookies and hot chocolate for our Christmas party at school.

I wasn’t going to make these cookies nor frosting vegan because I would have to make enough for 45 students and I wanted them to have more traditional cookies without the fear of a nut allergy happening in my classroom. Our Kindergarten is full day, but only every other day so I have two different classes. I actually had 2 holiday parties. 😉

I used this cookie recipe and this frosting recipe. One batch of cookie dough was plenty, but two batches of frosting were required.

The only ingredient I needed was matcha powder and luckily found it at my local herb store in bulk because I knew I wouldn’t need much. I used turmeric for yellow / gold, beetroot powder for dark pink, and matcha for forest green.

I took the easy route with hot chocolate by simply buying chocolate milk in glass from a local dairy. I needed 2 gallons, so 4 bottles total. Also, I found some beautiful Christmas mugs and placemats for the party at a thrift shop, but I would also use them if needed at other times throughout the school year.

The chocolate milk was placed into my crockpot and set to warm so that it would not be too hot for my Kinders.

We listened to classic Christmas music and I finished putting string through their ornaments. They marveled at the big black discs of music! My family always busted out vinyl for Christmas and it’s still my favorite tradition. I would like to find more kid friendly tunes à la Charlie Brown or Rudolph and Frosty music albums.

The best way to avoid waste and also avoid owning too many drinking vessels and utensils is to work in groups at different table stations and then rotate so each child eventually gets to all the stations, but just not at the same time. After I mixed the frosting, they decorated their cookies. I did pick up some colorful sixlets in bulk for their cookie decorating table.

They saved them so we could all eat them together and so I could get a picture of them with their decorated cookies.

The stations:

  1. Decorate cookies
  2. Fun and simple holiday math page
  3. Drink hot chocolate from the glass mugs
  4. ELA iPad app of my choosing

It’s important to have the other stations be independent and engaging so I can focus my energy on the station that needs my help the most. I simply wash the mugs as the students finish drinking and have them ready for the next group of kids. It requires work, but with upfront planning, it can be extremely successful and fun!

They stood in front of my holiday board and had their picture taken by me using my Mamiya RB67 and peel-apart Fujifilm. They had a blast!

Do you have any zero waste party or general classroom tips?

Peace and love,

Kristan

December Groceries

I’m trying harder to be mindful of seasonal eating. Bananas are a delicious treat, but I live in Idaho. Bananas are never in season here.

There was a sale on chocolate, so I stocked up on my favorite kinds + a baking chocolate from Dagoba. It’s in a package, but from what I’ve read is recyclable.

The cloth bags contain: fair-trade coffee, local yellow lentils (a switch from my usual green lentil variety), and rye flour to make bread.

The glass jar has chocolate peanut butter because winter is headed this way. 🙂

I bought 2 savory scones and ate the other one. This one is for my husband. It’s also in the store’s bag because I thought I had run out of bags. Turns out, I hadn’t. #zerowastefail

Then the produce is a few pears, tiny and large, oranges, zucchini, cilantro, cabbage, and a couple watermelon radishes from a local organic farm.

What I’m planning on making: lentil curry, roasted garlic cabbage, rye caraway bread, and tomato-free sauce for pasta because I refuse to buy tomatoes when they aren’t in season and I sadly did not make tomato sauce this year.

Not pictured for no reason other than a forgetful mind: honey from the bulk dispensary. I ran out after starting fermented cranberries! More on that when they are finished.

Peace and love,

Kristan