Wondrous Wet Wednesday

PM PreK means Levon spends his mornings with Mama.  Today was a great one.
PM PreK means Levon spends his mornings with Mama. Today was a great one.

Our morning outing started with disappointment.  The plan was to pick up DVDs at the Ossining Public Library that Levon would watch while I met with someone at Quimbaya.  I’d forgotten that on Wednesdays the library doesn’t open until 1:00.  So, my 5-year-old was just going to have to be polite and patient during my meeting.  (That’s what little boys are known for, right?) By the time we got to Quimbaya the rain was torrential and our parking spot was on Church Street—all the way across the Sassinoro triangle and up half a block.  We waited in the car a few minutes for the rain to let up.  Then I scolded myself for being so ridiculous as to think walking that distance from my car to Quimbaya was an inconvenience.  Heck, when I lived in Manhattan and Queens as a young adult, I would have considered this distance from a subway exit to my destination to be unbelievably close.  Something about living in a home that frequently requires getting in a car and driving someplace, a place that often provides a parking lot, shifts ones expectations of “convenience”. Walking down Main after an inspiring conversation with a fantastic woman in our community, during most of which Levon quietly and slowly ate a bowl of ice cream, I gave him a choice.  If we turn left, we get in the car and go to Stop n Shop.  If we turn right, we walk to the Joseph G. Caputo Center and see an exhibit.

Levon tells me the story of his favorite painting, the Magical Parrot.
Levon tells me the story of his favorite painting, the Magical Parrot.
Help!  I can't get out!
Help! I can’t get out!

Yippee!  We turned right.  Perhaps it was the spring blooms and brilliant greens glistening from rain that had thankfully taken a break that prompted my greater than usual appreciation of the beauty of the aqueduct path—this tucked away little patch of nature that meets history and ingenuity, right in the heart of our village.  Upon arriving at the Caputo Community Center, we were treated to two exhibits.  The first was paintings  by senior citizens who study art every Thursday at the community center.  The second was the Sing-Sing Prison exhibit.  I was relieved that Levon passed right by Old Sparky, and instead we spent some time discussing the Croton Aqueduct and looking at the model which helped him make sense of this landmark in engineering.

On Sunday Eric and I visited the Firehouse Gallery.
On Sunday Eric and I visited the Firehouse Gallery.

On this gloomiest of days, my heart sings with gratitude that I live in Ossining.  Right now our village is bursting with art:  the remarkable Bicentennial Sculpture Exhibit; the rotating Ossining Art Council exhibits at The Firehouse Gallery at 117 Main Street; the Ossining School District Art Exhibit at the library illuminating the talents of our youngest community members; and the exhibit at the Caputo center showcasing the talents and passions of Ossining’s senior community members.

Paxton's Self Portrait on display now is his first public showing.
Paxton’s Self Portrait on display now is his first public showing.

Sometimes I write because I want to let others know about an upcoming event.  Sometimes I write because I want to be on the record with my position.  Sometimes I write to try and convince others to see things my way.  Today I write for me.  Today I write because I sometimes hear myself starting to sound like a bureaucrat, a small thinker, a pessimist.  Today I write to wash away the negativity and nay-saying that I hear so often from folks who feel disappointed in their village and tell me their concerns in hopes that I’ll fix them.  Today I write to nourish my determination with the optimism and joy that was shared with me by the woman I met with this morning at Quimbaya.  Today I write.

Gearity Granola

This recipe is our family’s submission to Ossining’s 2013 Bicentennial Cookbook.

In our home we most often eat granola with plain yogurt and fresh fruit—pears, peaches or berries taste the best.  It’s a breakfast treat we call shebang.  You could also just poor milk over it, or sprinkle some on ice cream.

We used to buy granola from the farmers market.  When they raised the price from $5 to $6 a bag, it was time for me to learn to make some.  I experimented with several different recipes and have come up with this.

The list of ingredients is as flexible as the baker.  I often also add 1/4 cup of chia seeds, hemp seeds, flaxseeds, or flaxseed meal, which are all great sources of omega-3.  We don’t add dried fruit, but you certainly could.  As with everything I cook, the secret is to buy the best quality ingredients I can and then do as little to them as possible.

IMG_8926Dry Ingredients

6 cups of rolled oats

1 cup of sunflower seeds

1 cup of coconut (unsweetened, shredded or flakes)

5 oz of organic Roasted Salted Pistachio Meats (I use the shelled package from Tierra Farms at our farmers market)

6 oz of organic Roasted Unsalted Walnuts (chopped)

sprinkle of cinnamon

pinch of real salt

Dump all dry ingredients into a big bowl and stir.

Preheat oven to 275 degrees.  Grease two large baking sheets with coconut oil.  Your oven will be ready when you are done with steps below.

Sweet Coating Ingredients

1 cup of virgin coconut oil

1/2 cup of dark brown sugar

1/3 cup of raw honey

1/4 cup of water

1 teaspoon of vanilla

Gently warm all sweet coating ingredients in a small pan, stirring constantly once the coconut oil has liquefied.  Do not bring to a boil.  The ingredients will still appear separated, that’s fine.  Pour the sweet liquid over the dry ingredients and mix until everything is moistened.

Divide and spread granola mixture on the two greased sheets.

IMG_6706Bake at 275 for 15 minutes, then gently stir each sheet of granola.  If you have a mediocre oven like mine, switch locations of sheets before baking for 15 more minutes.

Allow granola to cool before storing in an airtight container.

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