Saturday, March 7, 2009

Hello birdie!

In recent years, I've come to love birds. I admire them for always waking up in a good mood and ready for a song. In a way, I love that birds always seem joyful and carefree.

I love that they sing regardless of their circumstances and look out for each other. Whenever I throw some bread by the lake behind our house, the first bird that notices it will fly near the bread but before he eats any of it, he will call his feathered friends over as if to say "hurry, there's a free meal over here guys!".

I don't have an actual bird feeder since I am, after all, *the* bird feeder! But I do have a few bird houses indoors in my tearoom for the pretend birds that fly in. :)

This little bird house below was actually the inspiration behind my tearoom. The colors, flowers, coziness. It came from this little $12 bird house, perfect for any single female birdie...

I also like this one with a vaulted ceiling.

But for a family of three, don't you think this one is perfect?

"A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song".

- Maya Angelou, American poet

Thanks so much for visiting me. Wishing you many joyful songs to fill your heart today and always!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Apricot oatmeal bars

One of the things I enjoy most about being a mom is cooking favorite meals and baking special treats. The following recipe is for one of my son's favorite snacks, and mine as well. He loves it as an after-school snack, or for a treat in his lunch box. I like it anytime!

The recipe is from Williams Sonoma's "The Kid's Cookbook" which is full of wonderful recipes that are easy to prepare and pleasing to kids and adults.

If you make these oatmeal bars, you just won't believe how fantastic your house will smell when they're in the oven!

Here's the recipe:

1 1/2 sticks butter (3/4 cup), melted and cooled to room temperature
2 teaspoons soft butter for greasing foil
1 cup firmly packed dried apricots
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned quick-cooking rolled oats
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 350F. Line the bottom and sides of a 8 or 9-inch square baking pan with foil extending over the edges. Grease the foil with butter (bottom and sides).

Chop apricots into 1/2-inches, approximately.

In a mixing bowl, combine rolled oats, flour, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon. Mix until well blended and no lumps of sugar remain.

Add the chopped apricots, melted butter, and vanilla to the bowl. Stir until well blended. The dough will be moist and crumbly. Dump the dough into the buttered pan and press very tightly with your fingers.

Bake until golden brown, approximately 35 minutes. Cool completely, then lift the foil from the pan and peel it from the bottom and sides. Cut into squares or rectangles.

I have a few on hand and I'll be sharing them with my family in just a bit. I hope you get to try them soon and enjoy them with your sweet blessings!