Saturday, February 12, 2011


A friend recently told me that expectations are just premeditated disappointments.

I've come to believe that every new parent should have that proverb tattooed to their arm. That's not to say that parenthood is a
premeditated disappointment (however much I might have thought that in the first several weeks), but simply that expectations should be held low & loose, and the art of adaptability should be mastered.

Looking back, I realize that last night was one of those times I should have had my aforementioned tattoo, but (silly me), I never learn.

Some exceedingly sweet friends offered to babysit for free so that Chris & I could enjoy an early Valentine's date together. When a special offer for half-off of dinner at a fancy downtown restaurant came up, we beamed & thought "perfect!"

Tired & cranky from a long day of staff meetings, low blood sugar & a nasty cold, I whipped up some peanut butter fudge cookie sandwiches for our generous babysitters while Chris frantically cleaned up our wreck of an apartment ('cause, really, that's the least you can do). I might have burned a hole in the ozone layer & started a small fire in the microwave trying to soften the peanut butter, but we'll skip over that small detail.

Pulling my skinny jeans out of the dirty clothes (you couldn't really smell the spit up anymore), and throwing on some heels & eye liner, I jumped in the car with my hot date, and hand in hand, we zoomed out to beautiful Yerba Buena Gardens on a lovely, warm February night.

"The waiting list has exceeded our hours of operation" was the thoughtfully diplomatic way that our restaurant host told us we might want to find somewhere else to eat. Skilled at the art of adaptation, we walked over to the movie theater next door, where we didn't recognize a single movie title. After wandering aimlessly downtown for a while, my feet reminded me (not so subtly) that I was wearing heels & that my steps were numbered.

To make a long story a little less long, we ended up taking three buses, walking barefoot through downtown with practically-bleeding feet, and scarfing down a burger & salad before limping home to lick our wounds. As we were going to bed, Chris broke out into a fever, finally giving into the family cold.

Now, had this been a first date, it would have been a disaster. However, the great thing is that we got to go to bed early, sleep in late (yes, it's 10 am and my baby is still asleep. Feel free to be jealous), wake up terribly in love (and achy, sniffly & blistered), and have homemade granola for breakfast.

And really, the whole point of my story is homemade granola. It's easy, it's versatile, and it's always there for you, in a big tub on the counter. You've already got all the ingredients you need to make a basic version right now, and if you want to throw on some skinny jeans & heels, you can run out to the store & grab a few more items to make your granola a bit sexier. Unlike a fancy dinner downtown, this is the long-term relationship you wake up next to.

Homemade Granola
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
¾ c maple syrup
1 t vanilla
2 T flaxseed (optional, sexed-up version)

4 cups Old Fashion Oatmeal
1 cup almonds (or any other nut)
½ cup pepitas (or any other nut)
½ cup powdered nonfat milk (optional, sexed-up version)
½ cup whole wheat flour (or regular white flour)
1/2 cup shredded coconut (optional, sexed-up version)
a dash or two of salt
a few dashes of your favorite seasoning (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, etc)
1 cup raisins (or any other dried fruit)

Heat in small saucepan (or even microwave): sugar, oil, syrup until sugar dissolves. Cool & add vanilla & flaxseed.

Mix remaining ingredients in large bowl and add wet to dry. Bake on greased cookie sheets well spread out (you may need two sheets). Bake 20 minutes at 300; stir well & reverse sheets. Bake another 15-20 minutes. Add 1 cup dried fruit if you like.

The granola will still be a little soft when you pull it out of the oven, and will crisp up nicely as it cools. Have fun playing around with the recipe-- it's terribly forgiving-- and try not to eat it all in one sitting ;)