When you are planning on sharing food with a group of food bloggers naturally you want to bring your A game. This weekend I had the pleasure of attending the Inspired Retreat, organized by Carrian of Oh Sweet Basil, at Deer Valley Resort and what did I bring… my favorite recipe for granola, Cherry and Hazelnut Granola with Pacific Foods Almond Milk. Besides sharing food, and I mean lots and lots of good food, we talked about food too, like how to make clusters in your granola or the secret ingredient to perfect waffles. And we also talked about life, loss, and inspiration. It was a truly beautiful weekend.
When I got home I took some time to journal over my thoughts of the weekend. Several ideas have been blooming in my mind over the last few months on the subject of life/ work balance and the responsibilities of creativity and this retreat was the perfect crescendo of it all. Carrian’s thought behind the weekend was to bring back a spirit of collaboration instead of competition and to encourage us all to life healthy and balanced lives within the whirlwind of the blogging life. Here are a few thoughts from or inspired by the weekend:
Let others challenge and inspire you instead of intimidate you.
Take my time to create and be creative. This may mean letting go of the pressure to put out a certain number of blog posts per week which often sacrifices quality and meaning in content.
Be collaborative instead of competitive.
Get to know the people around you in your work life, and not just with work details (like blog info) but really get to know them.
So many times as bloggers we gather and just talk numbers like how to get more facebook followers or more comments, but what I want is to trade all of this for real life converation. I want to know how my friends (who also happen to be bloggers) are really doing – how is their family life? what is their background and who are they really?! The more we ask those questions the more we realize we have more in common than just food and blogging.
The granola I got to share one morning for breakfast was an easy, treat to enjoy with your own creativity – try it with almond milk, hot or cold (we had Pacific Foods almond and hemp milk), eat it over yogurt with berries (I especially like the Maple Yogurt from Straus Family Creamery that Real Foods Market provided), or just eat it by the handful (my weakness after a morning of very chilly skiing at Deer Valley). Enjoy it in whatever fashion you like, and it you don’t like cherries and hazelnuts try Kristy’s granola with almonds, blueberries and chia seeds!
Here are the lovely ladies who joined me over the weekend, plus a few fun facts I learned about them. Visit their blogs, get to know them, and enjoy their yummy food!
Meagan from A Zesty Bite hails from my home town, Lubbock, Texas, and enjoys meat like a true Texan! She met her husband on a blind date her parents set her up on during which she had to choose from twins!
Ashley from Center Cut Cook has two adorable dogs and has been with her husband for over 12 years! She got her start blogging with a tech blog.
Carrian from Oh Sweet Basil has two beautiful girls and went through an awkward stage when she was in high school (this is hard to believe when you know how beautiful she is now!!)
Alyssa form the Recipe Critic is pregnant with her third and lives minutes away from me yet I never knew it!! She also makes a killer Tomato Soup!
Deborah from Taste and Tell may be the hardest worker I know and supports her family with her blog. She’s also one of the most generous as you’ll see her promoting others even more than herself.
Annalise from Completely Delicious met her husband through dating his best friend and makes the best waffles I’ve ever tasted!
Nikki from Chef in Training is also pregnant with her third, she loves being pregnant. She’s originally from Califlornia and the warm weather must be in her blood because she hates teh cold!
Lauren from Climbing Grier Mountain works in finance and runs her blog on the side (super woman!!). She loves oysters as much as I do and also likes a good cocktail!
Lauren from Lauren’s Latest has baby boy the same age as Everett and once appeared on Good Morning America – how cool is that?!
Barbara from Barbara Bakes. Barbara has 4 kids, two of which are twins! She’s allergic to seafood and, like me, can always make room for dessert
Megan from Country Cleaver. She carries a smile wherever she goes and loved on my baby boy as if we had known each other for years! She also makes killer chicken and waffles with baked crispy chicken!
Kristy from Sweet Treats and More. She grew up in a small town in Colorado super close to where my dad grew up (small world!!). She grew up playing a lot of sports and is still very athletic but loves Chocolate Molten Cake as much as I do!
Check back later this week for more inspiration on being creative and collaborative.
Maple Sweetened Granola with Hazelnuts and Dried Cherries. Plus how to make granola clusters.
- 3 1/2 cups thick rolled oats
- 1/4 cup pepitas/ pumpkin seeds
- 1/2 cup coconut flakes, unsweetened
- 1 cup hazelnuts, roughly chopped
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon molasses
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar (optional for added sweetness)
- 2 teaspoon hazelnut oil (optional for more nutty flavor)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 egg white
- 1 cup dried cherries
- In a pot over medium heat mix together coconut oil, maple syrup, and molasses (and if you're using brown sugar and hazelnut oil add those here too). Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl mix together oats, pepitas, coconut, hazelnuts, cinnamon and salt. Pour the hot oil syrup mixture over the oats. Then, using a whisk whip the egg white until its frothy. Fold the egg white into the oat mixture.
- Line a large baking tray with foil then pour out the oats onto the baking sheet. Bake at 325 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until golden. Don't stir this during baking or the clusters will break up.
- Let cool completely, then add in cherries and store in a large jar.
The secret to making clusters in your granola is folding in an egg white before cooking, then not stirring the oats during baking. Also, do not toss the granola or break it up until after it has completely cooled.