Ginger Please (Ginger Granola Recipe)

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God, food, family, and travel.  Those are the things I want in life.  The things that I am passionate about and love dearly.  They are why I do what I do.  But lately I have all these feelings and thoughts swirling around inside me and I cannot seem to get my hold on them.  If what I am doing is the best.  If I should be doing something else.  If it is time for something new.  Or for something old.  I tend to question those things.  Constantly.  Mornings like this morning rock me.  To stir those doubts and cause me to look back and look forward and to feel unsettled.

But those questions won’t be answered today.  Today I will focus on sharing my latest granola recipe (and latest addiction).  Pretty much you can expect to find a steady supply of this in my house.  I go through phases but right now I am not even tempted to make any other granola.

Hands down, ginger. Every time.  Everything and anything with ginger.  Like the ginger sausage at Austin’s Elizabeth Street Cafe or the Pimms Cup at Holland House in Nashville.  So, when we were in England and I had ginger granola for the very first time, I could not contain myself.  All I wanted was to go home to my kitchen and whip up my own version.  And that is exactly what I did.  Ginger Coconut Granola to be exact.

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Ginger Coconut Granola: 

Ingredients:

  • 3 cup oats
  • 1 1/2 cup shaved coconut, unsweetened
  • 1 cup buckwheat
  • 1 cup pecans, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 cup fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 Tbs pumpkin seeds
  • 2 Tbs chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup succanat
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, plus extra for baking sheet
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 Tbs whole milk

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly oil rimmed baking sheet with extra coconut oil.  Combine oats, coconut, buckwheat, pecans, ginger, ground ginger, pumpkin seeds, chia seed, sugar, and salt in a large bowl.   Set aside.  In a small saucepan over low heat, whisk together honey, oil, milk, and vanilla until mixture is completely melted and combined.  Pour over oat mixture and coat well.   Spread out on baking sheet.  Bake for 25 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring often.  Let cool on baking sheet on wire rack for 1 ½ hours undisturbed.  Break up and store.  (I like to keep it in the freezer.)  Makes a little over 4 cups.

 

Want other granola recipes?  Check out the previous one here.

 

Austin, TX Round Two

“There are days when my soul drifts away to the thought of stayin’ in place”  Wandering Man – David Ramirez

It has been a year.  Only a year.  Twelve months time between when I first stepped foot into Austin.  If you told me I was going to be back so soon, I would have responded firmly that it was quite impossible.  Yet, there I found myself, once again in beloved Austin.  For business, but these days, business is just as delightful as if I was traveling simply to explore and wander.  The pull of Austin is strong.  Any reason seems as if reason enough.  You will always find me willing and ready.

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What to do in Austin:

Walk.  Even though we hit Austin a little later in the month then the first trip, it was delightfully so much cooler.  Which meant we spent our free time walking the streets.  Austin is an easily walkable city.  Albeit, we could have biked if we had gotten the notion in our head.  Walking is the best part of exploring.  For without it, half of the things you discovered would be completely undiscovered.

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Texas State Cemetery:  If you want history, this is the place for you.  We didn’t have time to read all the information offered or take a tour, but wandered the rows looking for a spot to sit and eat macarons.

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Oakwood Cemetery:  This is the type of place you could get lost in.  Just walking amongst the headstones and trees.  Quiet and worn.  Beautiful.

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Next time:  Barton Springs

Where to Eat + Drink in Austin:

Flat Track Coffee:  Can’t go to Austin without heading to Flat Track Coffee.  The first and the last stop heading in and out of town.

Figure 8:  Figure 8 was a recommendation, and we were delighted to stumble upon it while walking around the city.  So good we had to come back a second day.  Definite recommendation:  the cookies!  (and lattes of course)

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Salt + Time:  A discovery while walking the streets.  The most delicious salami!  We went in because we couldn’t resist.  (Confession:  I love salami)  We were embarrassingly disgusting and hated to enter an establishment dressed so casual and sweaty, but we did and were so glad to have.  After sampling their goods, we had to bring it home with us as well as make reservations for dinner the next night.  Definite recommendation:  the succotash (trust me)

Hillside Farmacy:  The perfect place to end an exhausting day.  We sat outside on the patio sipping cocktails and eating delicious fries with aioli.  So perfect.  Definite recommendation.

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Elizabeth Street Café:  I thought I was going to die.  You know when you go someplace and you are swooning and so in love and overwhelmed with excitement you can barely stand it?  Well, this was 100% that kind of place.  Thomas Hardy put it so well in Far From The Madding Crowd “Half the pleasure of a feeling lies in being able to express it on the spur of the moment, and I let out mine.”  How can you not die over a breakfast of a celery shrub and sticky rice with ginger sausage, poached eggs, herb salad, sriracha and hoisin?

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Thai Food Truck on Manor Road:  So, I didn’t catch the name, but I am pretty sure there is only one Thai food truck on Manor.  It is parked right by a gas station.  Hard to miss.  And so glad we didn’t.  Valerie and I were planning a progressive dinner.  Just order one meal here and then head to get tacos and share another meal.  However, even just sharing a meal, we couldn’t eat anything else.  So good.  Perfect.  Definite recommendations:  the red curry

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Anjore:  Oh my gosh.  Texas meets Indian.  Naan Croissants.  Water Buffalo culture yogurt.  Chai that is really made from fresh spices.  The list goes on and on.  Everything we bought was phenomenal.  If I lived in Austin I would hit up every market they attended to be sure.

In.gredients: Always.  Never miss out on this place.

Next time:  Micklethwait, Kerlin BBQ, Justine’s, Shhmaltz

If you couldn’t tell, this trip was 100% about eating and walking.  Two of our favorite things to do.

 

 

Meeting Marrakesh

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Morocco. Our latest trip brought me to a new city and a new country.  To a place that had never been on my top ten but one I knew I would go to eventually.  A place of romance.  Of history.  I went in search of my roots.  Of the stories I grew up on.  Of adventure.  Of exploration.

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Travel seemingly has gotten harder with time.  Life is so busy and so full that there is little time to plan, to dream, to even get excited before leaving.  It is pretty much just about showing up and seeing what you find.  (Not that I mind that…and even kind of like it.)  However, I did come prepared with a plethora of information and recommendations from friends and Instagram friends.

My family and I selected Marrakesh for no other reason than ticket prices.  They were cheap, and as we only had a handful of days, it seemed like a good option.  So Marrakesh it was.

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What to Do in Marrakech:

Walk the streets.  Just wander.  Explore.  Get lost (not really).  But get away from the center of action.  From the tourists and the main center.  I don’t think we were able to even scratch the surface of the maze of alleyways through the old city.  The best and only way to see the city.  Just be aware of landmarks.  We had no problem finding our way around.  Thankfully there was a good landmark by our riad, so it was always easy to stay oriented.

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El Badi Palace – Ruins which are now a beautiful, quiet garden of archways and tiles.

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Bahia Palace – The tiles.  The architecture.  Not to be missed.

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Next time:  La Jardin Majorelle and venturing outside of Marrakech, specifically the High Atlas Mountains

Where to Shop:

To try to describe the shops and their locations would be fruitless.  I could direct you how to wander through the streets to the places we loved and found the best deals.  But maybe that is part of the charm of Marrakech, stumbling upon your own discoveries and making your own bargains.

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Where to Eat in Marrakech:

Unfortunately, I feel like we didn’t get enough or really satisfy cravings.  There was so much to do and see and so little time.  I always recommend street food.  Especially in such a sweet country that is truly hospitable.  We only got street food twice, but loved how the men put cardboard down for us to sit on and gave us food on plastic plates which were to then be returned.  So sweet and thoughtful.  The people of Morocco truly were endearing.

La Mamounia:  Of all the wonderful places I have been, this will always leave an impression in my mind.  The service and etiquette exhibited was far beyond what I have experienced in a long time and a lesson in respect and hospitality.  The staff have been trained superbly.  Impressed to say the least.  The whole experience.  Such a treat.  We went for afternoon tea.  For history sake, both our country’s and our families.  Famous for the fact that Roosevelt and Churchill met to discuss World War II, but sentimental because my grandparents had stayed here long ago in their travels.  La Mamounia was a tranquil oasis amidst the chaos of the city.  We lounged and drank tea and eat macarons and Moroccan pastries.  One of the highlights of our time.

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I forget the name of this one, but it was perfectly located right by our riad, an easy and delicious place to eat dinner while the sun sets.  We were served a fresh juice of the day when seated along with cumin olives.  Definite recommendation:  the lamb tagine.IMG_1015

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Where to Stay:

Riad Amin:  The loveliest of riads.  So perfectly situated at the south end of the city walls, out of the center of the old city and away from all the tourists.  They were so hospitable and everything was gorgeous.  So well decorated.  So lovely.  So relaxing.  It was wonderful to come back to each day.  The welcome and care we received was beyond what we expected.  One thing of note, I don’t recommend leaving your windows open during the night.  The prayer calls were shocking the first night.  So loud and continuously throughout the night.

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What I loved most:

The people.  So gentle, kind, and hospitable.

The architecture.  I could not get enough and feel I must return to soak in more.

The tiles.  The color.  The design.  The craftsmanship.  Incredible.

Things of Note:

I don’t recommend a guide.  Let yourself wander and explore.

Be prepared to have people want to guide you and always trying to sell you things.  And honestly, as for engaging, just say no thanks and keep walking.  I don’t feel like you have to be overly rude.  But whatever you feel comfortable with.

We had heard stories about women traveling alone, but had absolutely no problem.  Just dress and act responsibly.  Use commonsense.

We were so thankful to have arranged airport pickup with our riad.  We arrived quite late at night and it was so nice not to have to try and navigate a new country in the dark with no idea of our location.

We withdrew cash at the airport but there were also ATMs in the new city as well as money change places in the old city.

 

 

Simple Summer Salad

If nothing else, I love how traveling changes you. How inevitabley you are changed. How you cannot approach life in the same way. Even if in small measures. I went to Austin.  Again.  The second time in the span of a year.  I would never have thought I would return so quickly.  But now that I have, I feel as though it must become a yearly pilgrimage.  There is so much still to explore.  To see.  To taste.  Especially to taste.  Traveling with family who enjoy food as much as I do means days spent finding the best coffee shops and restaurants. Our latest sojourn in Texas was full of emotion.  Constant overwhelming excitement.  One discovery after another of the most delightful places. I could barely stand it.  How can you not almost die over breakfasts of sticky rice with ginger sausage and poached eggs with herb salad, sriracha, and hoisin.  It was one of the best breakfasts. So perfect. So delicious. Truly a delight. Upon returning home, I couldn’t get over the herb salad. A light combination of herbs. Tarragon, cilantro, mint, basil…I am sure there were others.

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My mother, later that week after I had returned home, made salads as part of dinner. This recipe is totally based upon the delight she threw together. Not at all my own, but forever the way I will eat and make salads.  Use what is in the garden, at the market.  What you have on hand.  Mix according to taste.  Be adventurous and try something new.


Simple Summer Salad:
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Serves 4

Salad:

  • 6 cups salad greens, a mix including spicy arugula, rinsed and chopped
  • 1 cup herbs, equal mix of dill, cilantro, oregano, and mint (but throw in basil and or tarragon should you like), rinsed, stems removed
  • small bunch of radishes, washed and thinly sliced
  • freshly shaved parmesan cheese, roughly 1/2 cup or according to taste
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts

Balsamic Vinaigrette:

  • 6 Tbs olive oil
  • 3 Tbs balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

Nothing simpler than throwing a bunch of lettuce and herbs in a bowl and tossing to combine.  Add radishes, cheese, pine nuts.  Combine all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine.  Use according to taste.

*Salad bowl available at 1307 in downtown Chattanooga

English Days

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I am in love.  In love with the English countryside.  The architecture of old English farm houses.  The sheep that dot every hillside.  The slow rambles through the hills and farmland.  Traveling can be very akin to relationships.  Sometimes it is love at first sight.  Other times it takes wooing.   England has been a gentle wooing of my heart.  I have always loved my trips to England.  But this is the first time I am absolutely head over heals in love.  May the pictures speak for themselves.

We spent our time in the Cotswolds.  Specifically, Blockley.  A sweet, quiet little town.  Our days in Blockley were spent taking walks through the countryside among fields and farms, woods and villages.  But without question, my favorite place we visited was Daylesford Organic Farm.  Words cannot even begin to express how my heart felt as if it would burst with the perfection of Daylesford.  Every last detail was beautiful, as if being an organic farm was not enough.  A definite recommendation.  But more than that, it is a must visit.  A place of dreams.  Such a delightful lunch and afternoon.  The best meal and coffee we had in England on this trip.

Definite recommendations:

Places to stay:

  • Blockley – we rented a cottage
  • Daylesford Farm
  • Cheltenham – no specific recommendation, but the best city we visited full of good shops, etc

Places to eat:

Places to shop:

  • Daylesford Farm
  • Cheltenham

Churches:

Naunton Lane Evangelical Presbyterian Church

Next time:

The only town we did not have time to explore that we wished we had time for was Woodstock.  It looked like a charming town.