Salted butter pecan granola_FeedMeDearlyGranola gets a bad rap.

It’s so often associated with Vegetarian or Vegan food lovers, Birkenstocks, waist-length hair, and questionable hygiene practices.

Let’s put those old school views – of Vegetarianism, Veganism, and of course granola, into a time capsule and send it back to the 1960s and 70s where they belong.

Because these stereotypes don’t exist anymore. I wrote a love note recently to my clean eating friends because I find the textures, colors and flavors of plant-based food to be so vivid and inspiring. People aren’t solely eating consciously because they should for health or socioeconomic reasons. People are getting hooked because healthy foods really do taste as good as their less nutritional counterparts.

Although I’m usually a sausage and eggs for breakfast kind of girl on the weekends, I’ve been on a granola kick recently.  It just feels like a healthier way to start my day. And it’s downright heavenly, the perfect canvas for so many different flavor combinations. Granola can be earthy, with plenty of seeds and grains, or decadent, studded with chocolate chunks and cherries.  It can be All-American with almonds and coconut, or exotic with spices like ginger or cardamom.

I was in an ice cream state of mind this week when I found myself wanting to bake a batch of granola. And if it’s ice cream for me, it means butter pecan. I love the salty, sweet combo, the crunchiness of the nuts. I’m old school like that. I like simple flavors – I’m not the kind of person who goes for a Ben & Jerry’s fully loaded cookie dough brownie batter toffee bit spectacular. Too much going on. Not to mention my gag reflex when I come into contact with raw cookie dough.

So what better concept than a salted butter pecan granola, packed with the same flavors as my favorite ice cream, minus the guilt. And by guilt, I mean relative guilt. because this (nor any of my food) even comes close to being fat free. But reassure yourself that although this granola calls for a stick of butter (we are talking salted butter pecan after all), it will take you many bowls of this stuff before you exhaust your supply.

The best part of this recipe is that it only has 6 key ingredients, making it a snap to prepare: Oats, coconut, pecans, brown sugar, maple syrup, melted butter.

Just mix the wet and dry ingredients separately, combine, bake, and you’re done.

Now you have the basis for creating the perfect breakfast treat. Like this bowl of heaven with maple syrup and figs:

Granola with figs_FeedMeDearly

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summerkissmelon 007Whoever is in charge of the branding decisions behind the Summer Kiss melon has done a fantastic job. They’ve psychologically primed us to anticipate a perfectly sweet and juicy melon. I don’t know of many other names that do such a good job of promoting their fruit. But with a big name comes the chance of a big letdown because there’s nothing worse than an overpromise. Fortunately the Summer Kiss doesn’t disappoint, it’s as beautiful on the inside as it is on the outside, and perfectly sweet.  So perfect that Emma was convinced that it was factory made. 

ME: First of all, tell me what it looks like.

LAUREN: It kind of looks like a real melon but it’s green.

ME: Yeah, it’s kind of green and white.

ME: What else do you notice about it, I notice something really cool.

ME: Don’t start tasting it Lauren.

ME: Do the seeds make a star pattern?

LAUREN: Yeah, a flower.

ME: What about the outside?

EMMA: Outside. This is OUTSIDE!

LAUREN: Looks like a real melon.

ME: OK, you want to smell it?

EMMA: Yeah!

ME: What does it smell like?

EMMA: He got peanut butter on mine!

LAUREN: It smells like a daisy flower.

EMMA: It smells like scientist food.

ME: What? It’s real food. Is that scientist food Lauren?


ME: Did you guys touch it?

LAUREN: Yeah. Slimy.

ME: Did you taste it?


EMMA: Good.

LAUREN: It tastes like a real melon.

ME: Does it taste any different?

LAUREN: A little sweeter.

ME: What about you Sam?

SAM: So, do I lift it up by this? (the rind)

LAUREN: Can you get me a paper towel?

ME: What do you think?

EMMA: This is scientist food.

ME: That’s not scientist food.

EMMA: This is scientist food.

ME: But do you like it?

EMMA: Yeah.

Rodney walking 008

My husband likes to walk the dog, or anywhere really, with a beer in his hand. I mean honestly, do you really need to show off that you can’t leave home without a drink? While we were walking, my bottle of vodka was neatly tucked away in a chevron-patterened lunch bag, which goes to show that you can still look cute while engaging in inappropriate drinking behaviors.

Can we talk about style? Because it’s important. Just because I’m a mother doesn’t mean that I can walk around in jeans with holes or wear sweatpants all day. Food-stained shirts, you get the drift.

But it just so happens that I’ve made all of these style mistakes recently. This week. And last week. And the week before that. So I’ve decided to up my game in the style department because this is a Code Red emergency situation. Just take a look, please forgive me:

In the changing room @brooksbrothers #nyc #rocktheshred #jeansforlife

I walked into a Brooks Brothers store to help Rodney buy a new suit. What did I choose to wear? My jeans with holes in them of course. The old fogies paroling the suit lounge were staring down their liver-spotted noses as I brushed past the Autumnal knit collections, a blaze of evergreen and burnt orange. They definitely thought I was going to steal something, which is not a good feeling, especially when you’re pushing 40. 

#Morning walk gets an upgrade @lululemon #nyc #love my new herringbone tights

Later that week, after putting on my shredded college sweatpants , I snapped. I just couldn’t take it anymore. I forewent (?) forgoed (?) What is the past tense of forego? Google tells me that it is in fact forewent, but that word looks weird. Let me retry this sentence: I decided to forego my lunch and ran straight over to Lululemon, where I buckled and spent $80 (the horror!) on a pair of herringbone tights. But they’re my new favorites, and I’ve worn them every day since….Proving my theory that sometimes it makes sense to spend a little extra $ on something that makes you feel great.

ice cream 012

But I don’t know how I’m going to get around the stained shirt issue. I mean, how is it possible to keep stains away when you have this type of thing going on? Here I am, dressed to impress in my best polka dots, and I ended up with a big dairy stain down the front of my shirt. Which, once the ice cream cones disappeared, made it look like I’m still breasfeeding my 5-year old and had a leakage mishap.

Emma hair 011

Making matters worse, my family has their own sense of style, which is not always in sync with my finely-tuned aesthetic. Emma gets her hair tips from the movie “Something about Mary”, she’s a huge Cameron Diaz fan. Here, the “hair gel” is blueberry yogurt.

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I get this question all the time – from friends, family, people who read the blog: “How do you have time for all of this cooking?”

And it’s true – time is a precious commodity in our home, just like it is for anyone who has kids, a full time job, or both. Between work, juggling my kids’ drop offs and pick ups, managing their afterschool activities and doctors’ appointments, there’s not a lot of time left for cooking.

But I’ve figured out a few strategies that help me cook healthy, creative food at home despite this time pressure. 

So here they are – my top 5 habits for time-pressured cooks:

1. Wash and bag your greens the day you bring them home

It takes time to save time. Might be counter intuitive, but spending 20 minutes putting away your groceries properly will help you in the long run. As soon as I get home from the grocery store (or later that evening if I’m strapped for time), I wash and bag any greens – just rinse in the colander, and stick them in separate Ziploc bags with a dry paper towel. The benefit is that it extends the life of your produce, and makes your greens readily available for a quick meal. No chopping wet herbs, no limp greens in your cooler. With a few minutes of effort, you’ve saved yourself a whole host of headaches.

Good for: Herbs, lettuces, and any dark, leafy greens such as Kale or Chard.

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dragon_fruit 001

I made a big mistake this week. I bought a Dragon fruit and I didn’t take a picture of the inside. I should have learned by now that the interesting part of these new fruits and vegetables is often the inside. Although the vivid pink and green skin of the Dragon fruit is clearly beautiful, it was the speckled black and white interior that stole the show. I have to be honest – it wasn’t the most interesting flavor, but the looks alone made up for it.

ME: The mystery food this week is Dragon fruit! Why do you think it’s called a Dragon fruit?

LAUREN: Because it has red all over it.

SAM: It looks like there’s fire on it.

ME: What color is it going to look like on the inside?

SAM: Pink.

LAUREN: I think it’s going to be black and white.

ME: OH MY GOSH! It’s polka dot! It looks like cookies and cream, seriously.

ME: Who wants to smell it?

LAUREN: Apples.

ME: Sam?

LAUREN: Really sweet apples!

ME: I don’t know if you’re supposed to eat the pink side on the outside. (Not the skin, but there is a pink layer inside the skin).

ME: (cutting)

ME: I think the pink part is edible.

ME: What does it taste like?

LAUREN: I want to feel it. It feels kind of prickly.

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