Currently Browsing: Daily Shalagh

Homemade Granola

These days, watching our food means 90% of the time, I’m abstaining from sugar and white flour. Most store-bought cereals (save shredded wheat) aren’t really a good choice then. Granola is great but store brands are either sugar loaded or too expensive. I have found a fabulous recipe for homemade granola and make this recipe sugar-free by substituting sugar-free syrup for the called for maple syrup. Accompanied by a half cup of yogurt and fruit feels good to eat. That “Yay Me” feeling of eating something good for you.

This versatile recipe comes from a cookbook that changed the way I saw living a lifestyle of wellness and cooking and eating this way daily. Written by Pam Anderson of Cooks Illustrated fame, The Perfect Recipe for Losing Weight and Feeling Great is my go to for this granola recipe, as well as pita and tortilla chips, the multi-grain buttermilk pancakes we had for breakfast, fruit salsa, roasted vegetables, and salad dressings. She’s a wealth of knowledge and I would never have had the confidence to make soup were it not for the template recipe she provides. Another post perhaps.

Granola recipe from

Great Granola

Makes 1 Quart

2 cups old-fashioned oats

½ cup wheat germ

¼ teaspoon salt

1 cup Extra Ingredients (fruit, nuts, coconut flakes)

¼ maple syrup (sugar-free syrup)

3 TBS flavorless oil

2 TBS warm water

other flavorings

  • Set oven rack to middle and set oven at 275 degrees Fahrenheit or 135 Celsius

  • Spray 13-x-9-inch (metal) pan with veg cooking spray (or just wipe oil in it).

  • Mix oats, wheat germ, salt, and extra ingredients, except the fruit, in a medium bowl.

  • Quickly heat syrup, oil, water, and flavoring ( extracts, cinnamon, or ginger) to simmer in saucepan over medium heat.

  • Drizzle over oat mixture and stir up.

  • Pour mixture into prepared pan and work the granola in your hands to create small clumps.

  • Bake for 30 minutes.

  • Stir in dried fruit.

  • Continue to bake for another 25 minutes until golden brown.

  • Let cool and serve and store in airtight tin for a month.

The original granola recipe’s extra ingredients calls for 1/3 cup chopped walnuts, 1/3 cup sweetened or unsweetened coconut, and 1/3 cup golden raisins plus 1/2 tsp cinnamon. The cherry and almond version has 1/3 cup sliced almonds, 1/3 cup coconut, and 1/3 chopped dried cherries with 3/4 tsp almond extract. There are a few more luscious combos but I end up doing almonds or cashews and craisins or raisins, maybe cherries with vanilla and cinnamon.

Granola recipe from

According to her recipe, it’s 121 calories for a ¼ cup. But since I use sugar-free syrup, it’s much less. And it’s satisfying with ½ cup vanilla yogurt and some fruit as a snack. Perhaps around 225 calories. And her tip on the sidebar of this page? Don’t skip breakfast. I usually eat this for my 3 pm snack and Eamon has it after school. Alas, Fiona doesn’t care for chunks in her yogurt but she’s never met a peach fruit cup she didn’t like. Bon Appetite.

If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

My Drinking

Mark was out-of-town and I was worn out and thin from the daughter I was beginning to now call “toddler”. Fits of crying and negativity left me hankering for a glass of wine night after night.  I “needed” my edge smoother, I thought.

But I also worried that I might have a problem. I worried that everyone else thought I had a problem. Ask an alcoholic and they’re sure everyone is one too. Ask the child of an addict and they are waiting to become one too.  Every man I ever dated, and the first one I married, had drinking or substance abuse problems. So did I have one too? The worrying about it made me want to drink my glass or two or three of wine all the more.

i-wish-i-drank-as-much-wine-as-apparently-all-my-friends-and-family-think-i-do on

I grew up witnessing my father operate in much the same mode as Stephen King described of his early work process in his book On Writing. Quantities of drinking to get quantities of writing and work done. Drink, work, and repeat. And nights in my youth were sometimes spent drinking to be drunk.

These days, I didn’t obsess all day about my next glass of wine. I wasn’t hiding my use. I just assumed that come wine thirty, it would be time to pour a glass and relax. Although, I never drank until I was falling down or slurring drunk, except maybe once in college, I worried that this casual use to calm my nerves was a problem that I was not in control to stop. I was building a tolerance and a midsection. Because most of all, I really didn’t like my wine belly combined with my post 40 something pregnancy belly.

wine and cat on

But if I’m a role model who says ‘No’ to her children, doesn’t that mean I should believe I have control and can obey my own No’s? Finally, I tested the waters and said,”Not this week”. Sometimes the biggest dare is to see if we really are in charge and have the guts to do something without ropes. In many cases, I think the wine was a given safety net. And I wanted to prove I could handle life without it. And I did. Every day I’d say “See, your life is calm enough to do without that anxiety queller.” And it did wonders for how much I trust myself to have restraints. And to know I’m in charge, not the anxieties or the chosen substances to appease these fears. I proved I am running the show and my fears are not. And eventually, even when I am at my most stressed, I do not think about drinking or my long departed pal nicotine anymore.

two bottles are better on

Wine drinking has reached epic casual joking heights online. So many memes casually extolling the virtues of this method of “relaxation”. It’s not the wine that is in question, it’s our assumption that everyone is “using” it in the same way. And it’s a razor wire to walk. These references are shared in the kinda way that makes you complicit for your participation in the joke. You won’t judge me if you and I are both in it together. Not enough wine in the world kinda stuff.

Wine times, in my hand now from

It is OK to be stressed out. And Moms absolutely need to figure out some way to make the stress of today OK in some way. Anxiety is a real feeling and despondency isn’t good. Talking with someone may be the better choice to work out other choices.

Grant that substance use is not abuse, yet it’s over use is also an sign that you may need to step up for your own needs and support yourself through those very real fears. Because if that box of wine is your only friend, you ain’t got any.

I didn’t believe I could kick all my fears or kick using the wine to quell the fear until I actually bravely did it. And although the first week was a tough one, the next week I said no to playing into the week’s anxieties and kicked my daily wine habit. On the weekend, I may say yes. And then during the week cold turkey again if it is an habitual action. I am the only one who knows how much and why I’ll drink now and it’s really my business but… I can tell you, I am not an alcoholic. And that certainty means so much to me in the light of what I grew up with. It really comes down to what I believe about myself and my truth is mine to know and be proud of while I live it.

The Toddler Twitch is Back

The twitch on my top right eyelid is the only outer indication of how I really feel. Well maybe a little lip chewing too. I’m sure you’d notice one or the other. At 8:38 am this morning, I was an epic failure at parenting a toddler. I had yelled “Stop” like five times by this point. Dressing her had been an all out fighting tantrum from which I’d narrowly escaped getting my front teeth whacked and deadened by her skull. Cussing at anything else that had gone wrong had brought no relief. And the rest of the day hung in my mind like a cloud of impending doom. Fiona  and the fruit salad on

The mental health facility that houses my talking doctor is adopting a new catch phrase. “It’s OK to be not OK. “ While it feels slightly better to have permission to be ‘not OK’, the yucky feeling of humanity lingers. It’s ok to have post traumatic stress disorder because even the eye doctor explaind the cause for my toddler twitch is stress.

Mothering is like an extreme sport that you’d rather be sitting in a chalet watching enjoying from afar. While I crave Happy Happy all the Time Time Time everything under control, instead I get sudden erupting chaos. She’s being really cute and suddenly she’s having a really really bad day and dragging me down with her. Negativity is a constant modus operandi. I felt despondent yesterday after the tantrum over a)putting on the coat or b)clipping her toenails or c) anything else her brain snapped over. I intended to enter a selfie challenge on Instagram and I thought this moment was far more real than the happy grinning one I ended up with. I’m human therefore I feel and am real. I resent the expectations I have of myself otherwise.

Fiona  and the fruit salad on

By 10 am, I could only hold my mental breath and resolve to keep it together until I finally get a break tomorrow. Sure I intend to create more of those breaks this week and month. Knowing that daycare is around the corner is a prize I have my eye on. But everyone then has to make it to that point without losing their stuff. I almost started crying yesterday people, because there is nothing in the world that makes you feel like a bigger loser than knowing you’ve failed to be the most calm patient considerate prepared Mommy in town, any town, at that specific moment.

Fiona  and the fruit salad on

Motherhood also requires me to consider my luckiness as compared to others unluckiness. I better be grateful every moment because she is alive. I discovered recently that someone I’d known for 30 years had lost their first born baby daughter many years ago. They’d created a foundation for their daughter and now their eldest daughter is turning 14. I was speechless. An unimaginable grief. And I am still really disliking my daughter today. It’s my apples to their oranges. There’s automatic disparity between one parent’s experience and another’s feelings. My entitlement to feeling any and all of this allows me to move through it. I can only live my life, however ungratefully, just mine once now.

Fiona in her room on

So do I really think I suck as a parent? No. Do I make lousy choices? Yes. Will my children grow up knowing that parents are fallible human beings? Yes. And hopefully that I’m a mostly nice person. Teaching them these things so they can become human beings and parents who forgive themselves, plus keeping them alive, is my job. And then letting them go out to make their own fallible human lives and choices in the places they settle with the people they’ll come to love. Soon this will all be just a distant memory. Right?

2 Steps Forward, One Step Back

(Here’s is a story I lived during the holiday rush and then had no time to publish. But it could just as well be today without the Christmas details. If you had to send out a million cards and buy and wrap presents in bulk all year long. Then it totally be all the time. Not. Christmas is just a burden… and a joy.)

The extra holiday to do list gummed up my gears last week. I have all the stuff I usually have to do to keep my kids alive and my house and mind aligned. And then you add a full on special event plan in the middle of all of it for the month of December and the brain bogs down And then it starts to hiccup.

Chessie Zilla on

Last week I had a grocery list that started with Milk. It got added to and then I hurriedly hit the store to go shopping. And of course, wouldn’t you know, I forgot to get the milk. I wasn’t mad at myself as I have learned to almost expect these errors but that milk is still a primary ingredient in raising the little one.

So, the same day, I needed to mail the Christmas cards out and a special birthday card so we strolled up to the post office figuring I’d grab the milk at the Farm Store and lucky me, the toddler fell asleep in the stroller too. I cruise home, put the child in the crib, put the milk in the fridge, and go on about doing my laundry with the self satisfied feeling you get when you accomplish the card thing.

felling the Christmas tree with Chessie on

Two days letter, darned if that special birthday card didn’t show back up in my mailbox without postage. While I was telling the post office ladies my milk story, buying stamps and sticking them onto the Christmas cards, and buying and addressing the mailing envelope for the card, I’d neglected to purchase the postage.

Two steps forward, one step back. At least you end up having moved up a step. And your only option is to just keep going. If you stop and throw a hissy fit about the snafus that happen daily due to your humanity or someone else’s, you’ll waste a lot of time you could be spending moving forward a hopeful next step. Forget about it.

Permission is My 2015 Extra Word

The first week of January, I was getting myself  psyched up to write my ‘word of the year’ post. It’s a thing. Board that bandwagon. And then I realized, I’d already done that in November. I’d stolen my thunder.

The post was on Abundance and Opportunity.  I love these concepts and I’ve already been there, declared that. I resolved myself to this dénouement. But then I heard a word I felt was just as important to my awareness. A word I’d like to focus on as well because  focus and mindfulness is what brings “the budge”.  I had my first go round with this word when I wrote myself a permission slip to allow for my regular intentional creativity back in November too.  In Eamon's room on

The stronger scarier word that holds magic and power for me? That I need to concentrate on to be able to move aside the rusty gate that bars my progress into my future?


Every time I hit a stumbly place, a task that feels difficult or impossible, if I choose to stand there long enough and meditate on my stuckness, I usually find a lack of permission has beat me there. Like the ultimate Mother May I game, I need permission to move beyond this point. Except we’ll call her the Fear Mother.

Me : Mother May I sew those curtains for Fiona’s room?

Fear Mother : “Yes you may but you have to figure out your sewing machine’s problem or get a new one.

(Or use the iron on seam tape which I have tons of but my brain wanted to do this “the hard way”.)

So I gave myself permission to put a pair of glasses on and read the owner’s manual to that daggone sewing machine and sure as shoot, I’d been threading the bobbin the wrong way.

Permission granted to read, resolve, and then to sew.

rocking horse on

Me : Mother May I use my new pastels to draw stuff?

Fear Mother : “Yes you may but you don’t have any time so what are you talking about.” 

Me : I’ll steal the time and I’ll make up a reason to use them. (And that’s what I did).

Fear Mother : “Stop asking me. Because if you keep asking me, I guarantee you’ll never get what you want.”

See how the creative intention gets hijacked suddenly by the Fear Mother. You don’t want to be disrespectful to the Fear Mother. So you stop asking. But you keep still really wanting to do it. So then you just feel bad.

Fiona at the craft room window

I read a Facebook post by author Elizabeth Gilbert recently about fear. She said she respects her fear. It’s there for a reason so give it that respect. She’ll invite fear to come along on the trip in the van. But it is not allowed to drive.

So this is my new plan. Devote an entire page to each project and leave room for the fears to be expressed. So there’s the goal, the plan, the steps and the fears. Because it’s the unresolved problems your Fear Mother has so kindly pointed out that keep you stuck, unable even to allow yourself to express the goals and dreams you have in your heart.

Tear in the eye from Permission on

I’ll give the fears their say on paper. My hope is that the permission will then come from addressing the Fear Mother’s problems compassionately, validating them, making notes, and then solving them will create a better process for my problem solving of the future.

And here’s to never having “I don’t know how” stand in our way again. Because if you don’t know how, someone does and you just need permission to go ask them. But you also may need permission to not do anything and take some time off to be after all that doing. I am asking and giving myself permission to make this process less hard and more easy. Yes I may.

Page 1 of 11312345...102030...Last »