Deliciousness and a Dream Come True

Yesterday I did some exciting things. It was a long day. I went to sleep much later than I should have, I’m paying for that today, but my adrenaline was just too high to sleep at my usual bed time. Let’s start at the beginning…

The morning began in the standard fashion. My alarm went off at 7 am. The sky was still dark. Torture. I stumbled in to the kitchen for breakfast and lots of coffee, read a little paper, did my usual morning tasks and headed off to ballet. One class later and I was done dancing for the day so I headed back home. To kill some daylight hours (until my Mom returned home to be my activity buddy) I decided to replenish our granola stash. Home made granola. Oh yes. It seems that nearly every person who makes his/her own granola swears by one certain recipe, likely his/her own, and says that is the best granola recipe ever. Well guess what, mine is really freaking amazing too. I can’t get enough. There was still a little bit left from the previous batch but I made more to guarantee we wouldn’t run out. A morning without my granola just doesn’t start off the same way. I have come to depend on it as much as coffee. Ok, maybe that is a bit of an exaggeration but you get my point. It is unbelievably simple to make and takes under 45 minutes from start to finish.

Granola

6 c. old-fashioned oats

3 c. seeds and/or chopped nuts (feel free to use your favorites. I use almonds, walnuts, cashews, pecans, and sunflower seeds)

1 heaping T cinnamon

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ginger

1/4 tsp nutmeg

2/3 c. maple syrup

1/3 c. honey

1 – 1 1/2 c. dried fruit (depending on how fruity you want it!)

Preheat the oven to 350°. Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl then add the maple syrup and honey. Make sure you mix it well. Spread the mixture evenly on a sheet pan. I split mine between 2 pans so everything has room to breathe and get extra crunchy but I’m sure it would all fit on one. Put the pans in the oven and bake for 30 minutes. After about 15 or 20 minutes give the granola a little stir so it can brown more evenly. I have found that 30 minutes is a little too long when I bake my granola on two pans. I always keep a close eye on it after the 20 minute mark. Once it is nice and golden brown it’s time to come out. Be careful it doesn’t burn. No one likes burnt granola. Trust me, I’ve done it. After you take the pans out of the oven sprinkle the dried fruit on top, split evenly between the two pans. Give each pan a gentle stir and just let it sit in the pan to cool. Once it is cool transfer your delicious granola into a container. I store mine in the fridge because it keeps it nicely crisp and crunchy. I like to keep my nuts and trail mixes in the fridge for the same reason. It’s just how I roll.

I should've taken more pictures...

Well, after I finished making (and consuming) my granola I moved on to exciting thing number 2. Camera shopping. For quite a while I have been interested in photography and have wanted to buy myself a nice camera. The time has finally come. I have saved up enough to make my dream come true. For a few days prior to yesterday I constantly read websites, got advice from my uncle, and browsed the market to find the camera of my dreams. The winner is the Sony DSLR A-580. A stunner of a choice if I may say so myself. It has an incredibly fast shutter speed so I can capture magnificent balletic moments. That was one of my main criteria because in addition to taking pictures of every day beauties and oddities I would love to take photos of ballet. Having never used a DSLR camera before I intend to take a class or workshop of some sort to familiarize myself with all the features that will be at my fingertips. There is only one slightly sadder aspect of this story. I don’t yet have the camera in my hot little hands. I went to Best Buy to look at the camera in person but they only carry the Sony A55 in the store. They have other brands too but I was most interested in Sony. I can’t really tell you why. I returned home camera-less but shortly thereafter placed my order online. That was probably beneficial however because the website that I purchased the camera from (B & H) also featured an “essentials kit” that I got. Being a first time camera buyer I am lacking a lot of knowledge and am without any materials so I just got the whole shebang right off the bat. The camera lady at Bust Buy mentioned I would need to get a few things in addition to my camera before I could get started like a memory card, case, and lens filter. Those items and many more were in this “essentials kit” so I’m thinking it was a good buy and will save me some trips to the store later. This way I can start using my camera as soon as it touches my doorstep and I rip open the box. It should arrive sometime next week. I will be waiting by the door.

It was due to my excitement from that purchase that I could not get myself into bed. Worth it? Without a doubt.

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