Vacations are good. They break up your routine, change your scenery and commitments, and allow you to explore. Being back home after a longish break is good, too. There were certain aspects of our routine that I really missed. These are just a few.
With Summer really starting to ramp up, it’s a good thing we are back. The yard was a bit on the jungly side and needed quite a bit of beating back, but that also meant our potted tomatoes were doing equally well. I was happy to notice that some of them already have buds.
The hours of yard work are rewarded with a refreshing beer on the deck. I brewed and bottled a batch before we left, giving it enough time to condition in the bottles while we were away. The resulting brew, what Northern Brewer calls its “Twisted Enkel Blonde,” is a crisp Belgian beer that is quite thirst-quenching (though some moderation might be called for – this is no Bud Light).
Our routine also includes plenty of time in the kitchen. Even though we enjoyed trying new foods out, it’s good to get back to home cooking, and there are certain “staples” that we just like to have. If you’ve been reading this blog, you may recall a recent cake recipe. I made a variation of it to have with dinner with my parents last night. This time using some freshly picked rhubarb and topped with strawberries (reduced a bit in some balsamic vinegar).
Almost weekly, I like to try out granola variations to have for breakfast. This particular version seems to be a good blend. It’s perfect in the morning with a sliced up banana and my favorite milk substitute.
I don’t really measure ingredients when I make granola (it changes based on what I might be in the mood for), but the basic recipe for this is:
- a splash of olive oil (maybe slightly more than a tablespoon)
- a glug of maple syrup
- a squirt of honey or molasses (or both)
- a heaping spoonful of crunchy, unsalted peanut butter
Gently heat above ingredients in large saucepan (on low) and add:
- 4 to 5 cups of rolled oats
- a handful of chopped raw cashews
- a smaller handful of raisins
- a sprinkling of dried cranberries
- a sprinkling of raw sunflower seeds
- a sprinkling of raw pumpkin seeds or pepitas
Once all the ingredients are lightly coated, spread on a baking sheet and bake in a preheated 300ºF oven for about 20 minutes (or until the oats are lightly toasted). I usually stir the baking granola every 5 minutes or so to keep the raisins for getting overly done. Let cool in pan before storing.
Some things are definitely worth coming back to.