Cooking with Avery: Making Granola

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Making granola is simple and quick, and is something children of all ages can help make. Children as young as toddlers can pour and mix dry ingredients and experience different textures and shapes (with adult supervision, of course).  Cooking with children is also a perfect time to build language, teach new vocabulary, expose your children to math and science concepts (e.g., measuring, cause-and-effect relationships) with concrete, hands-on experiences. Did we mention it's fun and yummy, too?

1 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds (hulled)
1/2 cup  dried fruit (papaya, cherries, blueberries, or any other dried fruit)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon maple syrup
2 teaspoons oil

Mix the dry ingredients except for the dried fruit in a big bowl.  Drizzle oil and maple syrup over the dry ingredient mix and stir to coat.  Transfer mixture to a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and spread evenly.  Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes.  Let cool, then stir in dried fruit.  Store in an airtight container. Enjoy over yogurt or ice cream!

For a variety of taste, crunch and texture, you can add wheat germ, chopped nuts, raisins or other dried fruit to your granola.

Note: This recipe was inspired and adapted from a recipe at Buen Dia Family School in San Francisco.

Post by Michelle Sterling of Avery and Augustine

You can see her work and read about her two young children's first forays in cooking, art and everything in between at Avery and Augustine.

Toddler and Tween Shared Room

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Most of the time, I love my little 1920's California bungalow. But, recently I've realized our tiny home is not totally ideal. The problem is that my daughters, Denali and Olivia, have to share a room.  This doesn't seem like it would be a big issue, but there is a big age gap between them. Denali is 11 (going on 16) and Olivia is just a year old. I want them to have a space that is appealing and organized for both of them. I don't want the room to look like a nursery, or on the other extreme, like a mature teenage space either. The room does have furniture, but really no defined style. The bedding, rug and walls are grey and light pink and I do love that color combo.  But, beyond color, there isn't much else. I'm struggling to give my toddler and tween the space and design that they each need. I want their room to be a place that they both love. We need function and funk folks. 

They both have vintage beds. Denali's is a full sized metal frame from Lonnie's grandparent's farm and Olivia's crib was my Jenny Lind crib from when I was a baby. Obviously our house is also old, but I think the space needs a splash of modern and playful.

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To start, I put together an inspiration board of fun pieces that I think could help bridge this age gap in design. I think The Land of Nod has beautiful pieces that will provide my toddler and tween with the unique and quirky style that I'm looking for.  

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I ended up getting all the pieces on my inspiration board except the storage bench and the new duvet cover.  I decided there really wasn't room in the space for another piece of furniture. And after getting the adorable gold dot sheets, I was totally fine with keeping her old duvet cover.  The sheets added spunk and a fresh vibe to the bed.  

Taking what we already had and mixing in the new fun things from The Land of Nod, made all the difference.  Even though it has a lot of familiar old pieces, it feels like a whole new space. 

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I love the juxtaposition created by pairing my Grandma's vintage horse prints with the modern art pieces like The Amethyst.  I played around with the arrangement of art pieces for quite a while before I decided on this arrangement.  I think the colors and shapes play so nicely together.  

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The metal bicycle that hangs over the crib was a baby shower gift from a dear friend.  I made a little basket liner and some tissue paper flowers for it.  The bicycle goes well with the quilt my mother in law made for my baby. 

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I made a couple new pillows for the bed.  The geometric heart is my personal favorite and I'll be sharing this sewing DIY very soon.  I made a giant version of this pattern for Valentine's day, it's fun to have a miniature version that I can keep in my home all year long.  

The new leather chair is fabulous.  I really hope when my daughter moves away for college, that this stays with me.  It really added to the modern look I was hoping to infuse into the space.   An extra bonus is that it's very comfortable.

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My oldest daughter has a collection of porcelain birthday bears that her Grandma has given her.  I had them on a couple little shelves above her dresser, but I found them a new home in the corner of the room on a shelf from my Grandma's house that I refinished.  Now I'm looking at the space over the dresser thinking that a mirror would look pretty fantastic (this one in particular).

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To help with storage issues I made these under crib storage bins.  I found these two wooden drawers are a garage sale, I believe I paid $4 for each of them.  I gave them a coat of fresh white paint, added casters to the bottom, and put a fun glass pull on the front.  Now they slide easily under the crib and help keep the clutter at bay. 

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I gave their old lamp a facelift with a coat of metallic gold paint and a new shade to match the sheets.  This lamp shade is an easy DIY.  I took an inexpensive white lamp shade, did a little measuring and taping and then I painted on polka dots with metallic gold paint.  I'll be back to share this DIY with you soon.

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Here's the little shelf from my Grandma's house that I painted white for a crisp clean look.

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Post by: Jeran Oleander and Palm

Instagram Magnets for Super Cheap

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I love Instagram, yes I do! I love Instragram, how ’bout you?

I do. I adore Instagram. As a Droid smartphone user, Instagram only became available to me last summer though before that I had Insta-envy. For those who don't know, Instagram is a photo sharing app for smartphones where users can add various filters to their images giving them a unique and funky look. While the photo filter part is very fun, my favorite part of Instagram is getting a peek into the everyday life of the people I follow and my very favorites to follow are my far flung family members.
Most of my images are of my babes as we are a little wanting of sweeping mountain vistas here. :) However, the only way I was getting enjoyment was through looking at them on my phone. I wanted them in physical form and I knew we would like the magnet version.

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Sweet J really likes the Instagram magnets. I actually had to remove them from the refrigerator for a time because he was pilfering them and hiding them all over the house.
His favorite hiding place is right underneath the fridge.

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Here's what you need:
-printed Instagram images
-ruler
-cutting blade
-adhesive backed magnets – I used these which I bought for $6.90 (4-4" x12" magnet strips).

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First, print the Instagram images. I used Photoshop to make a image grid. To coordinate with the magnets I purchased, I resized the images so each was 2" x2". On a 8.5" x11" piece of paper, 12 images fit with plenty of margin space. Don't have Photoshop? There are a number of other programs you can use that allow you to dictate the image sizes. Work with what you have.


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Once the images are printed, trim away the excess paper. Again, with the magnets I purchased in mind, I cut it down to a 2-image column with 2 1-2 image stacks. Cutting it this way made the next step very simple. If you want to add a clear coat to protect the printed image, add it before cutting the images apart. It's less work that way. :)


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Peel away the cover on the magnet's adhesive and carefully stick down the images. Cutting it as I did made this step a cinch.

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Using a sharp cutting blade, cut out each individual magnet. Trim away any excess magnet which again, because of the measurements used, there shouldn't be much.

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That's it! Real Insta pics for all to enjoy.

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If you have trouble choosing which images to print like me, just print a bunch. It's so easy and cheap, why not have a lot, right? I was able to get 12 magnets from each sheet and after doing the math, the price for each magnet is around $0.14 – pretty darn good.

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Are you on Instagram? Come say hello! Find me @thisheartofmineblog.
Take care.

Cinnamon-Sugar Doughnut Muffins

Good morning. Have I got something sweet for you.

My mom shared this recipe with me a couple of months ago. After telling her about some delicious cinnamon-sugar muffins we'd eaten and loved, she told me I would love these as well. But I brought the recipe home, filed it away and sort of forgot about it until last week when I got a craving for cinnamon and sugar and remembered this recipe.

W.O.W.

I think my eyes kind of bugged out of my head when I took the first bite. Delicious doughnutty taste coated in buttery cinnamon sugar. They even have a little bit of a crispy edge, too. Seriously, these will rock your world. If you are anything like me and have high standards for doughnuts (fresh, delicious, perfect), I am bestowing the power to make your own without the requirement of a deep-fry. The recipe is listed below. It's very easy to put together.

Once the batter is put together, scoop it into a greased and floured muffin tin. Make sure to only fill 2/3rds full. For a mini-muffin cup, approximately 1/2 Tbsp scoop was just right. I didn't measure each scoop, just eyeballed it. You can use a regular or mini-muffin pan.

Update: Greasing and flouring the tins is a must, unless you like doughnut muffin bits. Update: A small cookie scoop fills the mini muffin cups perfectly so use it to speed up the process. If the scoop gets clogged with batter, rinse it with cold water and continue.

Bake in a 350° oven for 20-30 minutes, until golden brown.

Update: The muffins may be done at 15 minutes.

These mini-doughnut muffins were perfectly done at 19 minutes. When I use the oven, I methodically set the timer at or below the lowest cook time recommended to avoid over-cooking things. This method is a result of 'experience'. As you can see, not all of my scoops were exactly even.

Let the doughnut muffins cool for 5-10 minutes in the pan. Then loosen the muffins in the pan with a knife.

Remove them.

Next, the doughnut muffins are dipped in butter and rolled in cinnamon and sugar.

Not pictured are my buttery, cinnamony, sugary fingers. Mmmmm! It's the little things I tell you.

Update: You can make the batter the night before and refrigerate it overnight. Prep the pans and bake like the recipe says, making sure to watch the cook time to avoid over-baking.

Cinnamon-Sugar Doughnut Muffins
recipe from my mother

Makes 12 regular sized muffins and approximately 60 mini-muffins.

Ingredients

Muffins:

  • • 1/3 cup shortening
  • • 1 cup sugar
  • • 1 egg
  • • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • • 1/2 tsp salt
  • • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • • 1/2 cup milk
  • • 1/4 tsp vanilla

Coating:

  • • 10-12 Tbsp butter (1 stick plus 2-4 Tablespoons more)
  • • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • • 2 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Instructions

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream shortening and sugar together. Add in the egg and combine well.
  2. In a separate bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg together. Measure out the milk and vanilla in another separate bowl/measuring cup.
  3. Alternately add the flour mix and milk mix to the egg mix in the mixer.
  4. Scoop batter into greased and floured muffin pans and only fill 2/3 full.Use a small cookie scoop with the mini-muffin tin to expedite the process.
  5. Bake at 350° for 15-20 minutes, until lightly browned. Timing depends on the size of muffin tin you use.
  6. Allow to cool in the pans for 3-4 minutes. Remove from the pans.
  7. Dip the muffins in butter and roll in a mixture of cinnamon and sugar.

Thank you notes can be sent to my mom.

Take care.

Post by Amy C :  this heArt of mine