TGBTS Recipe Edition! Best Damn Granola – EVER {Guest Post!}

Our return from Taiwan was even sweeter because of how our dear friends took care of our food needs.  Vanessa was one of our many friends who kept us well-fed in those first few blurry, jet-lagged weeks.
Here’s Vanessa to share the recipe for the best damn granola ever.
With the news that the newest member of the Hackbarth-Brewer household would soon be arriving, loved ones couldn’t wait to stock the family with all things baby:  clothes, toys, books, furniture, good wishes, advice.  And food.  Lots of it!  Every new family needs it, but in the first few weeks with a new baby, who has time to chop carrots when there are songs to be learned and long walks to be taken?

Tami’s fellow yogi, Madeleine, rallied friends to sign up on Mealtrain, a website that helps organize meal-making and delivery.  Safe home from Taiwan with Sacramento’s newest resident in tow, Tami and Jed began receiving deliveries of hot, nourishing meals from friends eager to feed them lentil soup, black bean soup, chicken soup, hearty chili– all foods to fuel the new parents through jet lag and diaper changes and a new life with the sweet babe.

I couldn’t wait to get in on the action, but living more than an hour away, I wasn’t going to be able to casually drop off a casserole.  So I looked toward less perishable options and immediately thought of one of my favorite recipes, a slightly tweaked version of the very best granola ever, which is handmade by Early Bird Foods in Brooklyn.  It’s a delicious play of sweet against salty, made luscious by a generous hit of olive oil.  There’s plenty of room to adjust the ingredients to your taste by, say, leaving out the sunflower seeds and adding in a cup of chopped almonds instead.  If you want to add in dried fruit like currants or chopped apricots, wait for the last 20 minutes of cooking so they don’t get too dried out.

You might look at the amount of olive oil, maple syrup, and brown sugar and think you can save a few calories or fat grams by using less, but don’t do that.  Their proportion (along with the salt) is what gives the granola its magical addictiveness.  Eat the granola with yogurt or milk or as an ice cream topping, or do what Tami does and use it to top cooked apples.  Usually I just eat it by the handful, pausing occasionally to lick the salt off my fingers.

Ruby (and Tami) helped me whip up another batch of granola this week.  From the looks of it, I’d say there’s a new cook in the family!

Bon appétit to Ruby and her mom and dad!

Welcome Home Granola

3 cups rolled oats (not baby oats or the quick-cooking kind)
1 cup raw, shelled sunflower seeds
1 cup raw, shelled pumpkin seeds (also known as pepitas)
1 1/4 cups coconut flakes (the thick, wide ones, sometimes called coconut chips)
1 1/4 cups raw, chopped pecans
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (something bold and fruity is preferable)
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup pure maple syrup (any grade is fine so long as it’s real maple syrup)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup raw cocoa nibs

Preheat oven to 325ºF.

Combine all the ingredients except the cocoa nibs in a large bowl and mix them together to coat everything evenly.  Spread the granola out on a large, rimmed baking sheet.  Bake for 40-50 minutes, carefully stirring the granola every 10 minutes;  pay special attention to keep the edges from burning.  During the last 10 minutes of cooking, stir in the cocoa nibs.

The granola should be uniformly light brown when it is done. Remove from oven and allow to cool thoroughly.  Taste and add a little more salt if you like.  Store in an airtight container.


Questions? Comments? Love for V3 or me?

Do you have any recipes or favorite {dairy free} foods to share?


TGBTS Recipe Edition! Almond Butter and Honey Rice Cereal Bars {Guest Post!}

It’s Wednesday Thursday {because it’s summer and I’m not sure what freakin’ day of the week it is} and that means the Recipe Edition!


With friends like Vanessa making me treats every time she sees me, who needs new pants? That would be me. In all seriousness though, these are delicious and I enjoyed every sweet bite.

Thank you to Vanessa for taking my new-found allergies {dairy} to heart when thinking about recipes and cooking for me. Always feel the love!

Without further ado, here’s Vanessa!


It’s been over a decade since I’ve eaten a Rice Krispies treat.  A diagnosis of a corn allergy took them off the table (literally!) since they’re made with marshmallows, which are made with corn syrup.  It’s not exactly a tragedy that an item of junk food has been put on my no-fly list, and it’s not like I ate them often to begin with, but once in a while the craving for that sweet, dense, sticky mess calls my name, and I must answer.

And my answer is this:  Almond Butter and Honey Rice Cereal Bars.  They’re made with just a few simple ingredients, require no baking (a bonus in summer), and might even be considered good for you.  You can easily vary the type of nut butter you use, like peanut or cashew.  I like using roasted and salted seeds in this recipe because they add just a bit of that irresistible salty-sweet quality to the bars.  And don’t limit yourself to just sunflower and pumpkin seeds when there is dried coconut, dried fruit, nuts, and even chocolate chips to consider adding in to the mix.

To help the bars firm up, pop them in the fridge for a half hour or so.  Have a cold glass of milk (cow, nut, or other) handy to complete the experience, or just go ahead and throw a scoop of ice cream on top of one since that’s what you were really wanting to do anyway.


Almond Butter and Honey Rice Cereal Bars


1 cup almond butter
1 cup honey
1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
6 cups puffed rice cereal
1/2 cup shelled, roasted, salted sunflower seeds
1/2 cup shelled, roasted, salted pumpkin seeds


In a Dutch oven, combine the almond butter, honey, and vanilla over medium-low heat.*  Stir until the mixture is completely combined.  You don’t want the mixture to be hot but just barely warmed so that the ingredients will mix together.

Remove the pot from the stove.  Add in the rice cereal and seeds.  Stir slowly and carefully to mix everything together evenly.  A rubber or silicone spatula is helpful for this.

Dump the mixture into a 9-inch by 13-inch baking dish.  Using the back of the rubber spatula or fingertips slightly dampened with cold water, very firmly press the mixture into the pan.

Cut into 18 squares and keep the extras stored for up to a few days in an airtight container.

*If you want to avoid turning on the stove, combine the first three ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl.  Nuke the ingredients at 20-second intervals, stirring in between until the mixture is smooth, taking care not to overheat it.  Pour the mixture and the rest of the ingredients into a large bowl, and continue from there.



Want to see more of Vanessa’s guest recipe posts?

Questions? Comments? Love for V3 or me?

Do you have any recipes or favorite {dairy free} foods to share?

almond butter and honey rice cereal bars

In Case You Missed It Edition, Volume 24


Each week I’ll give you links to posts that made me laugh, cry, think or at least raise an eyebrow. Please click the links and check out the posts. You may find something that rocks your world too.

Leave me some feedback in the form of comments below on what you liked, what you hated and what you’d like to see more of. I’m here to help you find the best of what is online.


Another crazy week of adoption paperwork: finger prints, health screening, notaries, police station visits and more notarizing. We are almost finished and can’t wait to have some news.


My Best Of…

How To Really Take a Day Off – from Be More with Less {must schedule one soon}

Academic Chic teaches us how to mix patterns. I absolutely love this teacher fashion blog – what are your favorite teacher blogs? Fashion or otherwise?

Armchair travel? Fantasy trip planning AND shopping for cute kitchen stuff? Chic and Green does it all in Farmhouse Thoughts.

Madeleine talks about Surviving Adolescence in this post. It brought tears to my eyes. Are we still doing this to girls?


Curvy yogis Photoshoot Update:

Friends, let me tell you there are some beautiful curvy yogis in Sacramento: Ann, Madeleine, Leili and Ryan.

Vanessa brought cookies and her comforting presence and lots and lots of pictures were taken. Stay tuned for the big reveal.


Speaking of curvy (and not) Northern California/Sacramento friends – are you coming to the nextSwapAsana?

{April 23rd- start saving your swapables now.}


That is the In Case You Missed It Edition for this week, folks.

Remember to click the links and leave some comments. This is a conversation, you know.

In Case You Missed Edition Archives -click it to see them all.

In Case You Missed It Edition, Volume 19


Each week I’ll give you links to posts that made me laugh, cry, think or at least raise an eyebrow. Please click the links and check out the posts. You may find something that rocks your world too.

Leave me some feedback in the form of comments below on what you liked, what you hated and what you’d like to see more of. I’m here to help you find the best of what is online.


My Best Of…

Public workers’ rights are under attack in Wisconsin. Mrs. Ripp -one of my favorite teacher bloggers – lives in Wisconsin.

Here’s an excerpt from her post “I Am a Teacher” –

Teachers are not made in college, they become them in the classroom.  Teachers reach out to anyone that enters their worlds, and they impact every single aspect of this American life.  Support them, cherish them, and right now, fight for them and their rights. We are here to help America succeed and grow, not to take the blame.

What can we do?

‘We Are One’ – Candlelight Vigil In Solidarity with Wisconsin Workers – Tuesday, February 22nd -West Steps of the State Capitol in Sacramento, CA – 5:30-7:30pm.


Do you find yourself sitting at your desk jaws clenched, wondering where your concentration has gone? Or is it just me?

Sarah from Pink of Perfection invites readers to share ideas on How To Find Calm In the Work Day. Do you have anything to add?

Doing one thing at a time is one of Sarah’s calming tips and one I struggle to follow – especially online.

Recently, I’ve been spending much less time on social media (Facebook and Twitter) – I’ve been on a sort of accidental Social Media Diet as Tammy from Rowdy Kittens calls it. Check out her video for tips on how to ease yourself away from the online.


Curvy Yogis UPDATE!

Photo shoot number one took place this week and the results are amazing!

Here’s a little sample.

photo credit: vanessa vichit vadakan

I’ve got a photographer for a second photo shoot (thanks Vanessa!). It is looking like the end of March – right before the deadline. Details will follow (like the exact date and location) – please leave me a comment if you are interested.

The Flying Yogini has been writing about the Curvy Yoga Revolution.


That is the In Case You Missed It Edition for this week, folks.

Remember to click the links and leave some comments. This is a conversation, you know.

In Case You Missed Edition Archives -click it to see them all.

Saturday Senses

tasting :: pulled pork sandwich (sans bread) at magpie

hearing :: student work in author’s chair/writing seminar

smelling :: rain

seeing :: curvy yogis in photographs

feeling :: grateful for generous, talented friends

wishing/hoping :: everyone has a fun three-day weekend.

What about you?

What are your senses this Saturday?

Looking back, how was your week?

Leave a comment and tell me all about it.

This weekly tradition inspired by Pink of Perfection’s Five Sense Friday.

Don’t forget to click the links!

GUEST POST: Yoga+Music (not quite 365) – Trouble In Mind by Hayes Carll – Recipe Edition!

 It’s Tuesday and that means the Recipe Edition!  


I’m thrilled to announce that Teacher Goes Back to School has a GUEST POST

Today’s recipe and divine food photos are from Vanessa over at The Beet Goes On and Good Things Come to Those Who Wait. 

{Don’t forget to CLICK the links!}


My nose is cold.

And it’s about time.

Fall around the Bay Area likes to take its time getting here.   Just last week, in the middle of October, the temperature was hovering around 90˚ here in Oakland.  But today, as I think my cold nose indicates, we might have finally turned the corner and left summer behind.  As much as I appreciate the pleasant weather, I am eager to get on with autumn already.  Because there’s nothing like a cool, crisp morning to enjoy one of my favorite breakfasts:  jook.

Jook, sometimes known as congee, is Chinese rice porridge.  It’s a dish found across Asian cultures, from Thailand to Korea.  Jook on its own is meant to be a little bland;  it works as a canvas for any number of toppings, which vary regionally and culturally.  It’s simple to prepare and simple to dress up to your taste.  It’s comfort food, a warm and soothing start to the day.  It’s medicine for a cold and stuffy sinuses.  It’s a calming remedy for a nervous or queasy stomach. 

Growing up, I ate jook with traditional Chinese accompaniments:  very thin matchsticks of fresh, peeled ginger, cilantro leaves, chopped green onions, soy sauce, white pepper, and a tiny drizzle of toasted sesame oil.  But the options are virtually endless, and a list of ideas of how to top your meal follows the recipe.

So as I enjoy all things autumn– the refreshing air, the butternut squashes, the tiny pirates and ballerinas who will make their way to my front door in search of sweets in a couple of weeks– I will also be warming myself (and my cold nose) with a steaming, hot bowl of my favorite fall breakfast.

image: Vanessa Vichit-Vadakan


makes 4-6 servings

1 cup uncooked white rice, long or short grain (Basmati or Jasmine will work fine as well)

½ pound/8 ounces raw pork or chicken bones (optional)

½ teaspoon kosher salt

8 cups water, plus more as needed

Place all ingredients in a large pot (at least 4-quart capacity).  Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer.  Let it cook uncovered for about 90 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding more water as necessary. 

That’s it!

The jook is ready when the rice is cooked to the point of falling apart.  The consistency of the finished product is up to you.  I like mine like thinned out oatmeal– hearty but brothy.  If there is any meat on the bones, pick it off and add it to the mix. 

Here are some garnishes you can use to top off your jook:

Image: Vanessa Vichit-Vadakan

soy sauce

toasted sesame oil (just a tiny bit!)

fresh cilantro

fresh green onions

fresh ginger, peeled and sliced into very thin strips

white or black pepper

a fried or hard-boiled egg

cubes of tofu

cooked, crumbled bacon or chopped Chinese sausage (lop chong)

fresh, hot chile peppers or hot pepper sauce, like Sriracha

fish sauce

lime juice

fried garlic, shallots, or onions

fresh spinach leaves

green peas

chopped green beans, broccoli, or bok choy

fresh carrots, thinly sliced

alfalfa, wheat, radish, or bean sprouts

seaweed flakes

toasted sesame seeds

togarashi or furikake

dried Chinese mushrooms (cook them along with the jook itself to rehydrate them)

pork floss

dried or fresh, cooked shrimp or fish

ground peanuts

bamboo shoots

shelled edamame

What are your go-to healthy foods?   

How do you change your diet based on the season?   

Send me your recipe and you may find yourself featured here!    


Today’s yoga brought to you by the home practice.     

Today’s music is   


Yoga Teaching Update:    

 FREE Fridays at 4:30 with the new It’s All Yoga teachers (21st and X in Sacramento) – you’ve got to sign up online    

 These classes are for every body – level 1/2. Bring your friends!    

 Looking for a restorative YogaNap ? Please check my teaching schedule.  


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