smack your lips together and call it good


While I wish I could write today about all of the trimmings and goodies I’d be preparing for Thanksgiving, I can’t, since I am not cooking at any one of the three Thanksgiving celebrations we are attending—the moms and grandmas own this, and until we have wee ones of our own, I am totally fine with being fed by tried-and-true turkey-day champions!!!

So I’m going to write to you about snacking instead.

We rarely buy packaged snack-food to keep around our house (unless you’re counting Hot Tamales).

Hence, when I’m home and feeling a tad bit snickety-snackety, I usually run out of options and have a few handfuls of cereal.

This gets old after a while, not to mention how it depletes my supplies of workday-morning breakfast fare.

I was hunting around in my cabinets to think of what kind of small bite I could come up with that wouldn’t completely destroy any positive, nutritional efforts I may have achieved that day (save for the Hot Tamales) and it struck me:  trail mix!

This recipe comes by way of a friend and I swear it is so sweet and crunchy and good you pretty much forget that it’s reasonably good for you.



1–Take out your favorite granola cereal and measure out 2 cups.

2–To that, add 3/4 cup pecans, 3/4 cup almonds, and 1 1/2 cup flaked coconut.

3–Spice it up with 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. ground ginger, and 1 tsp. salt.

4–Add a can of sweetened condensed milk and 1/4 cup vegetable oil.  Mix it up and make sure your delicious mixture is evening coated.

5–Spread out the goodness on a cookie sheet and bake at 300 for 60-75 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.

**NOTE:  I thought this part would be annoying, because, hey, who wants to have to get up from whatever it is they’re doing every fifteen minutes, but indeed, ’twas not.  I merely set my timer, and while the trail mix was baking, I washed up some dishes, put clothes away, swept, etc, etc–on my report card, this would be called ‘uses time wisely!’ :-)**

6–When it’s all said and done, remove the mix from the oven and stir in 1/2 cup gold raisins, 1/2 cup dark raisins, 1/2 cup dried cherries, and 1/2 cup dried cranberries. Let it cool and store in an air-tight container. (Mama Jackie suggests a screw-top jar–like a mason jar—in lieu of a ziplock or tin)

Smack your lips together and call it good.



other things to do with rice krispies


Almost everyone I know who is from Virginia has lived in Richmond at some point in their lives, myself included.  (Ok, I’m not really “from” Virginia, but since I’ve lived here for a decade, I can count, right?)

So, circa 2004, I had just moved to Richmond for a teaching job and was armed with books.  I  scored an awesome apartment, and had daydreams of swanky dinner parties dancing in my head.

And circa 2004, all the people in my social circle were vegetarian, and I had not yet learned their ways.

Most luckily, circa 2004, I met someone who would become one of my best friends in this lifetime:  the awesome and famous LeighAnn-oh-Ramma.

my surrogate Richmond/Carolina family

She and her bass-playing, premiere-chef hubby were both veggie circa 2004. Fresh from Boone, North Carolina, we all played music together, explored the city together, and–most frequently–ate together.

LeighAnn is the most loving, generous human being I know.  She is my surrogate family, she is a sister, and she is frickin hilarious.  My husband believes that being around LeighAnn brings out my truest Punky nature, and I’m ok with that.

….and my replica of a Hallmark card is over, and here is where I would like to share with you a very vegetarian-friendly recipe that my dear LeighAnn shared with me:  her mama’s granola recipe, first sampled on a crazy night after  the Avett Brothers show around Christmastime at The Orange Peel in Asheville, NC.   Circa 2008.

(non-vegetarians will enjoy this happy snack, by the way)

It is sweet and delicious and it is


1–Preheat your oven to 350, like usual

2–Mix 3 cups uncooked quick oats and 2 cups of Rice Krispies together and spread’em out on a non-stick cookie sheet (make sure it’s a real cookie sheet, one that has sides).  Bake for 10 minutes and stir it just one time, one time.

3–IN THE MEANTIME, mix yourself up about 6-7 T of honey, 1 tsp. canola oil,  1/4 cup apple juice, and 1/2 tsp each of ground cinnamon, ground ginger, and vanilla extract.

4–CAREFULLY spoon your cereal mixture back into a bowl and add about 1/4 cup slivered almonds and mix the sucker up.

NOTE: I am incredibly clutzy, spaztic, clumsy–insert favorite adjective for “not careful” here.  And while I feel silly admitting this, thought you oughta know in case you, too, are like me:  I had a hard time pouring this back into a bowl without making a ginormous mess.  If you can identify, just take a deep breath, go carefully and slowly, and whatever you do, do NOT let go of the cookie sheet!

5–Pronounce the honey and cereal mixes husband and wife by pouring the honey mixture over the cereal mixture, stirring until one and the same (coated).

6–Pour it all back in the pan and bake for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally and making sure the cereal along the sides doesn’t burn!

7–Stir in 1/4 cup dried cranberries and 1/4 cup raisins, cool it off, and set it in an air-tight container.

NOTE:  I love dried cranberries, so I just went ahead and added more.



TOTAL yum.