March 26, 2008

Simply Good Granola

My guy loves to eat granola and yogurt for his mid-morning snack (aka second breakfast) and several months ago I carefully examined the nutritional information on the box of granola I always got for him. I was appalled at the amount of sugar that was in a serving of granola; I should have just purchased some candy bars and crumbled them up and sprinkled bits of Snickers or Butterfingers on his yogurt.

Fed up with being a slave to whatever grocer's elect to sotck on their shelves, I set forth to make my own granola and while it may not be to everyone's taste, it is good and wholesome- simply the best granola I can give to my guy.

Here's what I do:
  • Pour 8 cups of whole oats (not "quick oats") in a large pan and heat them up over medium heat
  • Once you begin to smell the aroma of toasty oats, add flax seed (whole or ground), cinnamon, and pecans or walnut pieces (or any nut you prefer- or no nuts!)- I add however much looks good and never use measurements
  • Stir well and after a few minutes begin to drizzle honey over the oats- keep adding honey and stirring the oats until it appears that most have gotten some honey on them
  • Place the oats in a large cake pan or anything that can go in an oven and bake for about 25 minutes (or until the mixture begins to brown) at 350 degrees
  • Stir the oats half-way through the baking time and take out to cool once done
  • Add raisins once the oats have cooled off a bit and store granola in an air-tight container- this will keep for several weeks, especially if you refrigerate it

See how easy that is! Of course, you can always modify a simple recipe like this.....but be sure to tell me if you do because I might want to copy you!

March 24, 2008

Simple Things Make a Difference

I am by no means a fanatical environmentalist, but I do believe I have a responsibility to help protect our natural resources and conserve when I can. Here are just a few things I do to be more eco-friendly:

This morning as I brushed my teeth for the suggested two minutes my dentist tells me to do, I turned the water off and waited until it was time to rinse to turn it back on. I do the same when I shave my legs! Was that too much information?

When I go shopping this afternoon I'll be taking along a couple of my reusable grocery bags so that I do not bring home more plastic or paper bags that I do not need.

If I can walk instead of drive to run my errands, I do. What a great way to get exercise, take in the scenery, and save on gas that now costs $3.55/gallon.

I am educating myself on buying locally grown food. This supports my neighbors and cuts down on the price of fuel to transport food.

I am also looking into cleaning only with natural products, such as lemons and baking soda. I clean all of our windows and mirrors with vinegar and water and pass on the Windex. Does anyone out there have any "recipes" for these cleaning solutions?

How about you, what do you do to be eco-friendly?

March 18, 2008

Out of Retirement....Kind Of

Tomorrow is my first day on the job at a local university where I will be responsible for coordinating their new student orientation. The job is part-time and seasonal, which means I'll only be doing this through the end of August on a part-time basis. This is ideal because I like to start something and then have an end in sight; there shouldn't be enough time for me to get bored or feel unchallenged, a problem that often arose in my previous full-time positions.

After a six month hiatus from "professional wear," I'll be slipping on slacks and a blouse and sporting a heeled shoe, along with one of three "business" bags I have retired since my semi-retirement in August. I can't say that I am excited about this part of having a job again!

March 17, 2008

Red Letter Day

Have you ever heard of the expression "red letter day?" I have on a number of occasions and it always suggests a great day, although I am not real clear on what a red letter has to do with having a good day.

I had a red letter day today - it started well and ended well. Here's what happened:
  • Got my guy off to work with a homemade lunch and sat down to a hot cup of tea while taking in the morning's news
  • Got ready for the day and off to Target I went, where I am VERY proud to say that with all of my diligent coupon clipping and careful ad watching, I saved over $23 on the total bill!
  • I conquered four loads of laundry and in between drying and folding, I answered many e-mails and went through a lot of papers and old receipts- the shredder was busy today!
  • I crossed off several little things off my forever present "to-do list"- those little things add up to a lot of time - and still had time to spare before my guy came home to make another list for another day
  • My guy came home from work earlier than usual and we sat down to a yummy dinner - goat cheese, turkey bacon and spinach omelettes, with crispy potatoes and beautiful strawberries
  • We went to the club, got in a good workout and came back and snacked on popcorn....and then a mini sundae! I know, I know, but you don't understand.....this was no ordinary sundae. We had company over on Saturday night and for dessert I rolled vanilla ice cream in crushed pecans and served it with homemade, from scratch chocolate fudge and caramel sauces. Oooohhh, it was so worth it Saturday night and it was way more worth it tonight!

It has to be said, that although the day I have outlined for you sounds pretty un-extraordinary, to this Simple Girl it was a dream! Heck, any day that is lived out with the sounds of Amy Grant accompanying each key stroke, sip of tea, rolled sock, and egg whipping, is guaranteed to be a Red Letter Day!

March 15, 2008

Weekend at the Simpletons'

What does this weekend have in store for Simple Guy and Girl?

-Simple Guy works from home and Simple Girl works on her own things
-Simple Guy and Girl take a walk to get some coffee and come back home to tackle the relocation of our items to a new storage me, this is a VERY exciting thing to the Simpletons!
-Simple Guy and Girl head to dinner and get breakfast at Melrose - we share an order of crunchy french toast, scrambled eggs and hash browns

-Simple Guy and Girl get up and head to the club for a great workout (although we are not feeling guilty about last night's greasy spoon dinner)
-Simple Guy does his things around the house and Simple Girl does hers until.....
-Dinner for four at Chez Simple Guy and Girl - we love having company!

-Simple Guy and Girl go to church in the morning
-Simple Guy must work, but at least he is doing it from home
-Simple Girl will get to see her mom- perhaps will go for a walk or for tea
-Simple Guy and Girl enjoy a simple dinner together and get ready for the week

March 12, 2008


This is a tribute to a woman's whose heart is bigger than the universe and who loves fiercely, even when it's scary to and even when pain is most certainly yet to come. This is for you, dear friend Amy.

I met Amy for the first time nearly five years ago on a staff retreat, as she and I worked at the same university. Immediately, I was struck by her presence because it exudes confidence and warmth all at the same time. Sure, she was likely nervous showing up to a retreat already in session and being brand new to the team (I was, too), but you would not have known it. People like this impress me and I am drawn to them. I was drawn to Amy.

The way I see it our relationship could have gone one of these ways: 1) just professional, but friendly; 2) friendly, and slightly personal; or 3) very personal and involved in one another's lives. We chose #3 and if you knew Amy, you would understand how it would be hard not to be very personal and involved in her life. She ushers you into some of the deepest places in her heart and along the way gives glimpses of a woman who has persevered through pain and comes out shinier for her King.

Amy always has been a touchstone for me because she can see past the junk and gets to the beauty of a person or situation. She has taught me that where I may only see black, there is still light waiting to be unearthed. This is how she sees people- even those who have hurt her- and this has been life-altering for me in so many ways.

We used to tuck ourselves away in each other's offices and I will treasure the times we cried and prayed together because of the burden of a painful situation we (along with a few others) were going through in our office. Amy always was my biggest cheerleader on our team and I can only hope that I gave her the same kind of encouragement she gave me along the way in those four years we served together.

When I resigned from my position at the university I was sad at the prospect of not seeing my colleagues and students every day like I had for so long, but Amy was one of only a few people that I committed to staying in touch with because she is someone I can always see in my life. And while our communication and time together since I left at the end of August has been sparse, she is still a dear friend in all the ways that count.

Some day my guy and I may have children and already I am looking forward to their meeting "Aunt Amy" and having her whisper in their ear "What was heaven like?"

P.S. If you think of it, you might pray for Amy as she enjoys the company of her cat, Pattie, of many years for what looks to be Pattie's last weeks, as she has cancer. Amy loves Pattie dearly and this is a very difficult time for her; she is essentially losing a long-time member of her family.

March 10, 2008

March 8, 2008

Les Pommes de Terre

We like to keep things pretty simple at the Simple Guy and Girl household, but every now and then I like to jazz things up a bit in the kitchen....especially when I know that my guy will be coming home mighty hungry after a long day at the office and will need a little culinary creativity to get him psyched for the rest of the evening avec moi.

One of my most favorite meals to make is turkey burgers with potato rounds and a beautiful spinach salad with goat cheese. It's fairly easy and quick to make and it meets all the requirements for a satisfying last-meal-of-the day. So without further ado, I thought it would be fun to share with you how I make simple baked potatoes for two a little on the fancy side.

You'll need:

Two potatoes, olive oil, parmesean cheese, garlic powder, chili powder, and pepper

Slice the potatoes so that they make "rounds" and toss them in a bowl with a generous amount of olive oil. After they are amply covered in olive oil, shake in the parmesean cheese (as much as you like!), garlic powder, chili powder, and pepper and toss.

Lay them out in a single layer on a 9 x 13" pan and cook at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes (obviously all ovens are different, so be sure to watch)- flip them over half way through baking.

And voila! Tasty, crunchy, perfect potato rounds!

See how great they look with a turkey burger and salad? Oh boy, my guy is going to eat great tonight!

By the way, I'll be the very first to admit that I am not talented, nor do I have "an eye" with the camera, so please forgive me for the photos in this post; in past posts; and in future posts.

March 7, 2008

Something Old, Yet New

Remember this picture?

Remember how I commented that we wanted a more substantial piece of furniture on the back of the wall? Maybe something with a bit of storage to ease the burden of constantly trying to find one more nook to put something away in or on?

Oh, how we love a good hunt and oh, how we love the fabulous store, Scout. For there we have found many a treasure, including an 8 foot tall slendor mirror from the 60's, and there is where we found this:

Ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce you to the Simple guy and girl's household's latest addition- our very own stripped metal cabinet....we have waited months for this....and it has waited 50 or so years for us! And did you notice the storage that comes with this baby? Yippee!

Bringing this piece of furniture into our home really epitomozes our philosophy, if you will, on interior design. We are big on mixing the old with the new. I like how an older piece of furniture or other artifact can bring a sense of humanity to a room. Furnishings are more lovely when they have a past. There is beauty in age.

And while we are on the subject of interior design- it has to be said, I don't care for sets. Meaning, you won't find me picking out a bedroom set or dining room set. I like to mix and match....that's the short end of it. No offense to those of you who do like sets- we all have our own tastes and that's what makes the world go round!

Well there you have it- you got another peek into the Simple house and a little interior design blabber.

March 4, 2008

Biggest Fans?

I wanted to take this post to thank the two people I believe frequent this blog the most....even more than me! To my mom and mother-in-love, thank you for checking my blog two, three, four times a day and for e-mailing me or calling when I have not posted in a while. I figure the reason why you visit so much is probably because this is the closest you'll ever get to reading the diary of one of your children! =)

March 2, 2008

Desperately Seeking Water

Lately, I've been feeling spiritually dry and it really is all my fault. It's been a while since I read my Bible, took time to pray alone, or spent any time being quiet and alone with God. I am desperately seeking water- the kind of water that quenches the thirst that only comes with pursuing God and the only water that feeds the soul.

To be completely honest, I have somewhat reveled in my spiritual laziness because it has allowed me more time to work on my to-do lists. But who cares about those silly lists, I mean really, do they make me a better person? Do they grow and mature me? Do they equip me to be a more loving wife, daughter, or friend?

And you know what, I am so over all those devotional books that try to help you be this or that or any book that forces me to focus on one area of my life. Give me the Bible and a few good novels to crawl into bed with- now that would do me a world of good!

When I was in college, most of the adults around me promoted daily 30 minute devotionals and said that if we did any less.....well, they did not dare say what would happen if we did any less. Guess what...I am over that, too! Devotional on a stick; devotional buffet; devotional a la carte; however you package it I am bored with it and tired of being put in a devotional box.

I am desperately seeking water. I know my search is not in vain nor will it leave me unsatisfied.