Friday, March 15, 2013

Music, My Bad Ideas, a New Pope, and Simplicity

First off, I want to be a great friend and share a little something with y’all. has the entire discography of a fantastic musician and another fantastic band up on their website.  You can (legally!) download both for freeeeeeeee (I’m thinking of Adam Sandler in Bedtime Stories here—a nod to you, Brian and Danielle).  Josh Garrels and Page CXVI are really just a bunch of musical geniuses who are sending us their music like manna for our ears.  Hope you enjoy them!

Yesterday while driving home, I thought I had a really great idea to pass the time while sitting in a little bit of traffic.  I thought it would be a good use of my time to bust out my nail file and go to town on my far too long nails.  Then I immediately had a mental image of me doing so while not paying attention and careening into the bumper of the car in front of me.  That would be a dumb idea, Tamsen.  Did you have any dumb ideas this week you want to share?

And even though I am not Catholic, here are some thoughts on the new pope:  Yay for the first non-European pope in almost 1,000 years!  Also the first Jesuit, a man who takes his vow of poverty seriously (he refused to use the appointed limo he had access to while a Cardinal in Buenos Aires.  He instead took the bus or walked everywhere), and the first Francis.  I think I may like him a LOT. 


My sister Kate sent me a wonderful quote the other day.

"Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful."  William Morris

Doesn't that make you want to go and clean out all the crap you have in your closet, basement, and garage?  I did a little cleaning myself this week.  Three purses, a t-shirt, and a pair of shoes went into the Goodwill pile.  Really?  I had no idea I had three extra purses lyng around!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Granola Round 1: Not Better than Hippie Crack

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man hippie in possession of good fortune oats must be in want of a wife batch of granola.  

Okay, I may or may not have adapted that from beloved Jane, but really, let's be honest with ourselves.  If you eat granola, you have a hippie alter ego.  I think sometimes mine looks something like this:  

(photo courtesy of

Or maybe something like this:

(photo courtesy of

My sister Kate brought me back some delicious granola from her time spent during the Peace Corps paid vacation medical evaluation in Washington, DC.  She and her medical evacuees found this great bakery that sold great granola.  AKA Hippie Crack.

**Clouds part, the sun shines, and a chorus of Hallelujah flows down from heaven** No joke.

Also on the day that she gave it to me, we were hanging out in our parent's kitchen making lunch with our younger sister Megan.  Somebody threw a recyclable item into the trash can, to which I promptly took it out and scolded the culprit.  Their responses?  In very whiny, high-pitched voices, "Oooooh, I'm Tamsen and I'm from Cotaaaaattttiiiiiii!"  And if you know anything about Cotati, you will know exactly what they mean.  They mean hippie.  For those of you in Colorado, think Boulder.

Again, I digress.

This week I was inspired by a few things to make some of my own hippie crack.  As if seeing granola prices at the grocery store wasn't enough (seriously, five bucks for 12oz?! Is anyone else as scandalized as I am?)  An abundance of oats and my rekindled love of yogurt were also inspirations.  Not to mention the fact that the Mountain High brand Vanilla yogurt was on sale this week.

I adapted a recipe from Fine Cooking (find original recipe here).  I swapped out the oat bran for wheat germ, as the store I was at gave me the inability to locate such bran, if it did indeed carry it.  I also swapped out the raisins for dried cranberries, since we already had those at home.  

I burnt it a little.  Actually, I threw out just under half of it because it was too toasty to eat.  I did make an attempt to adjust cooking time for the high elevation (5280 here in Denver), but apparently cutting down the cooking time by 25 min was not enough.  Must go the full half hour or 35 min to avoid excessive toasty-ness. Lesson learned!  

Result:  Hippie Crack > my granola.  But now that I have the secret ingredients to said hippie crack, I can make my own knock-off version!  And minus the coconut.  Yuck.  I believe that I pulled out the coconut from the original package.  And honestly, mine wasn't too bad!  Try it out for yourself if you like.