A Few Changes: Gingerbread Granola

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

-I've been a little busy as you can see...-

I'm not one for clutter. Once a year I gather up all the clothes I haven't worn in a few years, the books that I realize will never be read again for they have no great memories or adventures of our times together stitched into the bindings, and perhaps a strange and warped kettle I had in college that has survived all the previous moves. They get stacked into boxes (or tossed into a bin if it's really no good) and it goes to the Goodwill where I leave it on the step and never remember to get that yellow donation ticket for my taxes.

I don't do it for taxes, though. I do it for sanity. 

I thrive on order and am an apostle to cleanliness in the most archaic sense. It doesn't matter how beat I am when I come home, or how terribly sick I may be, or if my deadline is in, "Oh shit, I have a half hour before this is due to my editor!" I will flagellate myself on a stack of dirty dishes until they're properly stacked and each wine glass sparkles like my credit score.

I find clutter and disorganization to be a major source of stress and always have. I willingly inflict it upon myself, too. No matter how frustrated I am I will vacuum, scrub, wash, etc. Even miserably. I will bitch like no bitch has bitched before with a dishrag because it's not like my husband or roommate - god love 'em both - are gonna do it. 

I don't understand how they can so easily toss things on the floor or just let papers and boxes and folders and magazine and STUFF that never gets used pile up the way they let it do. How do these piles not build so tall they crowd in their sanity? Doesn't their shirt not being properly hung up bother them? (No.) If not, then why not?! (Because they are dudes.) All that malarky just makes me feel so claustrophobic.

Claustrophobic is a good way to describe how the blog has been making me feel. Outdated is another good word. I gave the blog a face lift four years ago and back then I seemed to like it. It was a fresh change and much easier to read. If you never saw it imagine a dark navy blue background, orange type, and clunky arrangement. The new design at the time was a revelation.

How things change... The last few months all I could see were kitschy designs and vibrant wallpapers closing in all around me. Ugly banners did not genially introduce you to the blog and my sailor's mouth, but rather blared at you like a buzzing vuvuzela. The towering and cluttered sidebars told you to look somewhere other than the content itself. 

-And let's not even get started on the STD of fonts that is Georgia. That bitch gets around.-

In addition to wanting something cleaner the blog needed to be more personal. I also wanted it to have some sort of thematic connection to my writer's website and to look more professional what with the book coming out.

So here it is. Clean, new, personal.

The blog theme was designed by Ana of Blog Milk, who crafts some stunning themes. She is kinda fucking amazing. I designed the banner with the intention of connecting to readers through my handwriting (something I feel very strongly on). 

You will notice the logo is simple and homey and doesn't make your eyes bleed. I went with a drawing because after doing this for seven years I can honestly say there is no way to photograph vanilla and garlic together and make it look half decent. 

The social media buttons are new and also personally drawn. They may undergo a second round but I like them for their uniqueness and c'est la vie. There is a new Instagram button as well, so that's nifty.

There's some other new bits and bobbles here and there. Hexcodes have been shifted, columns collapsed, and a bit of rewording for clarity.

I like it. I hope you do, too. I feel comfortable in my blog again and it makes me quite happy to say so. I've been in a state of blog ennui for a while and it's pleasant to say adieu to that. There are still a few tweaks to be made so pardon if in during your visit things wonk out a bit. I simply won't know what isn't working until thing go bollocks on someone. Apologies if that's you.

Tweaks and bollocks aside, I figure the best way to celebrate comfort is with comfort. Nooo, silly reader, I don't mean the Southern kind that comes in a bottle... but close. No, I'm talking granola. (So close to bourbon, right?)

This is a gingerbread granola. Gingerbread in that it has lots of ginger, molasses, honey, brown sugar, spices, and candied ginger to give it that classic sweet and bitter and spicy gingerbread taste. It's studded with cranberries, pepitas, and some pecans for extra crunch. Seasonally appropriate. Comforting. Outstanding drowned in some full fat yogurt with a splash of sticky and dark maple syrup because it's cold outside and why not, right?

Enjoy, everyone. There'll be no post next week because that day is Christmas and I'm taking a week off of all writing because sometimes even the writers need a vacation.


Garrett Out.

Gingerbread Granola
Makes Plenty

4 cups rolled oats
1 cup pepitas
1/3 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup flaked coconut
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
heaping 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/3 cup unsulphured molasses
2/3 cup honey
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons apple juice
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup candied ginger, minced

1. Preheat your oven to 350ยบ and adjust the top rack to the middle of the oven. Place the oats, coconut, pepitas, pecans, and spices in a large bowl and stir. Whisk together the molasses, honey, apple juice, vanilla, and brown sugar in a saucepan and place over medium heat until almost smooth.

2. Pour molasses mixture over oats and stir gently to combine and the oats are well coated. Spread out onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil. Bake for twenty minutes. Cool completely. (If some of the granola is still sticky and wet bake it for another 7-10 minutes.) Break into pieces and add the dried fruit. Store in an airtight container.


  1. The granola sounds divine, and I like the new look!

    Speaking of Instagram, have you heard the latest news?

  2. Totally love the new look. Am with you regarding the clutter. Heck, I'll even help someone get rid of theirs, because it brings me such a sense of peace and accomplishment!
    I love gingerbread anything, was going to make some granola to take to my son's later this week, and think I'll try tweaking this into bars. Thanks so much!

  3. LOVE the new blog look. And your comment about the STD of fonts made me cackle.

    My house is ridiculously organized and I purge twice a year. Clutter and disorder send my anxiety through the roof.

  4. This sounds wonderful! But a question...your directions mention pecans, but you have none listed on your ingrediant list! :)

    Been a silent reader of your blog for awhile now. I just love it. <3 Keep up the wonderful job, and a Merry Christmas to you!

    1. Amanda! Fixed! Thank you for the catch! Glad you came by and said hi, too. =)

  5. So happy you perfected the recipe so quickly, I can't wait to try it!

  6. I've never had homemade granola before your party and I really enjoyed it. So I'm going to have to try my hand at it now. Thanks!

  7. I really like it, and I've been feeling the same way about my blog. I just feel like I shouldn't pay someone for something I could probably figure out myself...but gah, it's so much easier to hire a designer.

  8. Delicious granola, I love to try this easy breakfast recipe.

  9. The new look is brilliant! It's simple but so pretty at the same time :) And I really love the little hand-drawn facebook, Twitter( the fav icon!) and instagram icons! Really sorry to be a spelling nazi and point out that there seems to be a s in the decent ( photographing vanilla and garlic together).

    I'm definitely going to try this recipe- have been looking for a good one for ages and this seems great, with all the spices :)

  10. Wow, Has it been four years? Amazing. Now I'm trying to remember how I found your blog but it's been too long. Time flies and all that. So, I'll be the odd one out and say I miss the color and fun of your previous layouts. :( I like the cleanliness now, but it feels too impersonal and barren. I find this a layout bit stark and clinical (can we say whiteboard in a hospital) and I hope you warm it up a bit and add some color and personality- after all, that's what I love about this blog after all - the bright colors, the beautiful photos, and the cheery, fierce personality of the writing. For god's sake don't go all tame, appropriate and corporate bland on us, we wouldn't recognize you! So just for variety, a dissenting voice from the West: bring back that beautiful color! Or don't if you really dig the changes and they make you happy! Happy Holidays and well wishes for the New Year from Phoenix Az.

    1. Thanks for the honest feedback. Personally, I like clinical white. It's neat. But we did add color in the links, some dark blues and golds to give a slight masculine feel (different, since most food blog writers and readers are women). The old one was just so distracting for me. =)

      And thank you for reading for four years!!!

  11. I'm sure you had the list of recommended blogs in the previous design, but this time they actually caught my eye and invited me to poke around. Win for me!

  12. I know exactly what you mean about needing to refresh your space - in terms of the blog, at least. I do the same thing, changing things around for a cleaner look and feel, but (oddly) I'm not so tidy about my actual living space. I hate to say it, but I, too, let things pile up and take over every once and awhile (I do eventually pack things away and clean up, though). The new design looks great!

    And as for that granola, I could use some of that stuff right now... comfort in bowl, tastes like dessert, but I can at least pretend it's healthy... perfect! Hope you have a wonderful holiday!

  13. I finally made your granola recipe this morning and all I can say is YUM! so good, thanks Garrett!

  14. Like the new format, Garrett! Easy on the (my) (old) eyes. Granola sounds scrumptious - going on my To Make list. Thank you!!

  15. I like the new layout =] And the new photo made me giggle! Tis' the kind of foodie-pun I'd try to do :P I also really like the hand-written banner.. even if the drawn vanilla-garlic makes me think of a plastic-fake-nose-and-moustache :P

    Also, I love Granola. It's easily one of my favourite things. I even love it dry, and have been known to keep a bag in my handbag for munch-emergancies. You should try savoury granola! Fabulous on salads and soups.
    Ginger is also a No.1 with me too.. so this sounds exquisite.


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