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The rants and recipes found here are solely mine.

Friday, October 24, 2008

I'm a Little Bit Crunchy

I was called a tree-hugger recently and secretly, I was a little pleased, but also I found it pretty funny. I'm not a typical tree-hugger. I live in the 'burbs. I don't wear clothing made of hemp or attend protests. I'm not Vegan and I don't drive a hybrid. Yes, stereotypes these are, but I think the name tree hugger in itself is a stereotype. We've just got to think of a better name. Hugging trees can lead to bark scratches on your face; a look I find rather unpleasant.

I was raised to respect our environment. That phrase, "Take only pictures, leave only footprints" was family law, but we didn't use that cutesy phrase. My dad would have choked on it. Hey, I choke on it, but if it works, so be it.

I've been known to delve into other people's garbage to take out recyclables. I limit my carbon footprint (another little catch phrase that I think is stupid). I don't buy bottled water. I've been bringing my own shopping bags to the market for years (thankfully, people rarely stare now!) I don't use my car very much and when I do, I combine trips as much as possible.

I do everything I can to make sure that my son's world will be better than my own. It's the tree-hugger name that I don't like. It lends this sort of us versus them feeling. It labels like minded people with something that isn't very well received by other folks. In fact, it's getting just as big of a rap as liberal now is. I think there's got to be another title that isn't quite as polarizing. I'm a wordie. I love to play with words and I can't for the life of me come up with another title. What I want is a word that means, I'm not an extremist, I'm just doing the best I can to limit my impact on the world without being political, vegetarian, a hippie, a Birkenstock wearing mom who makes her kid eat Kefir and Tofu, or a radical. Environmentalist is a whole mouthful and doesn't quite hit it.

If anyone can think of a word for those of us who don't quite fit into the tree hugger mold, let me know. I, for once, am speechless.

Crunchy Granola

Finally, a lighter version of granola, which those of us who are watching what we eat know can be a major diet breaker. Granola, so called health-food, is typically full of fat and calories. This granola recipe still provides high flavored crunch with less fat and calories and comes in at 3 Weight Watchers Points per serving.

3 cup(s) rolled oats
3 cup(s) ready-to-eat puffed rice cereal
1 cup(s) Perky's Nutty Rice Cereal (in your Natural foods section) or Post Grape-Nuts
1/4 cup sliced almonds

2/3 cup(s) unpacked brown sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2/3 cup(s) water

1 TB real almond extract
1 TB real vanilla extract

After baking:
1 cup(s) raisins
1/2 cup dried cherries

Place brown sugar, cinnamon, and water in a saucepan, heat over medium high heat until almost boiling. While heating, place oats, cereals, and nuts in a large, greased baking pan. Mix to combine dry ingredients. Once almost boiling, remove syrup from heat and stir in flavoring extracts. Pour syrup over dry ingredients and granola well to combine. Press with back of spoon to form some granola clumps (the technical term for this is smooshing). Bake at 300 degrees stirring often until toasted, about 30 -40 minutes. Cool on wax paper. Stir in raisins and dried cherries.

I like to bag this recipe in individual 1/2 cup servings to keep portion control easy. Young One loves to take this to school as a snack. It's wonderful as a stand alone snack and great with yogurt or fresh fruit and yogurt.


  1. Hi Elizabeth, Just found your blog. This recipe sounds absolutely fantastic. Did you do the nutritionals on it (or the points?) I am a w.w. too. I just love what you said in the column about loving food, loving cooking food, loving to talk about food. Amen! I'm right there with you! Only now, after working pretty hard on it for almost 4 years, it is completely different food that I am talking about, cooking, and thinking about and eating!

  2. The recipe for the granola looks delicious, I think I will definitely have to try it.

    Your commentary on there being nothing to call people like you, or myself (since I consider myself somewhat similar, although I do drive a hybrid, and I use to wear Birkenstocks), is hilarious. I lived with a bunch of cavemen in college who used to call me the "clean" hippie, because although I showered daily, I would go around in my Birkenstocks reusing bags all the time, recycling every paper, can, bottle in the apartment, and in general trying to be conscientious about my effect on the earth. Note I have never worn hemp (not that I have a problem with it), I have tried vegetarianism but do not think I could ever go vegan and I love fish and turkey too much to give them up permanently.

    There really isn't a good term for people who are like us. I think I will have to start brainstorming.

  3. How about EARTH SAVY MOMMA!!

    My friends also call me cute little names because I remind them about recycling and being responsible for the trash they make. I'm not nearly as good as you, but I also think EVERY little bit helps!

  4. True confessions?

    I did wear Birkenstocks once. But, they were like flip flops and had daisies painted on them. And I bought them second hand.

    OK, I am a hippie. Clean hippie! That's so funny.

    Earth Savvy Momma, ESM for short. That's hysterical H!

  5. i can relate to this post in that there are names and stands that seem extreme to me. i could definitely be better in being more green and am slowly getting into it all. call me a green seeker.

    but i don't want to become so extreme that i miss out on the "joy" that you recently wrote about on *ahem* someone's post.

    and i would never want to turn anyone off by an extreme stand. i like the addage, "you attract more with honey than vinegar."


  6. Diana,

    I've heard from many people about the extremism over at Crunchy. I'm definitely not alone. Her heart is in the right place.

    I think with some age will come more wisdom. The tact of my way or the highway never works. People just see your method, not your intention.


I triple dog dare you to comment.

Taking a little time to play with words, to play with food, and just to play!