Pumpkin Seed, Almond, Cranberry Granola: Haircuts

I’m notoriously averse to making choices.  I don’t like choosing much.  I can barely make it through a restaurant without someone helping me along and choosing for me.  In a group setting, I’ll often defer to those at the table to make the choices for food because I don’t like making those decisions when there is a sea of choices.   I know you, my dear reader is thinking, BUT YOU ARE A FOOD BLOGGER!!  I’ll only say that being a food blogger is distinctly different because I only choose some of the time, and oftentimes what I cook and what I write about comes out of necessity and isn’t purely driven by my choice to do so.

This is why I don’t go shopping for clothing and this is also why I hate taking the kids to get their haircut.  Daughters are easy as it usually just means deciding how many inches to cut off (please cut off all the blond ends from swimming) and which flavor of lollipop will be consumed afterwards, which technically isn’t a choice I have to make.  However, things begin to fall apart in my little world when it’s Son in the chair getting his hair cut.  Usually I defer to the expertise of the person cutting the hair, and just ask that he looks cute afterwards.  However, as I tend to frequent the cheapest of hair salons for Children (why go expensive when it’s just going to grow anyways?) there is often a really WIDE range of possible outcomes for the hairstyle, especially since I cannot exactly describe what it is that I want for him, and when they start asking me “Long in front?  Short in back?  Long in back?  Short in front?  Razor?  Scissors?  Clippers?” I begin to panic.  These are not the questions that I need to answer when the girls are getting their haircut and generally I say, “Whatever you think looks good.”
On a recent haircut expedition with Son, he sat in the chair and the hairstylist looked at me expectantly, asking for directions on the cut.  I said, “Cut it like a boy” and she then proceeded to ask me the series of questions that fluster and get me worked up.  It rapidly became clear to me, that no, I didn’t know how to order a boy’s haircut. I began describing things, “Short in back and on top, and make the sides clean, and cut the front short.”

What came home was a bad haircut that caused Husband to throw his hands up in exasperation into the air and the command, “Do.  Not.  Take.  Son. To.  Haircut.  EVER.”  I was more than happy to oblige, and my final comment was, “When it grows out, YOU take him.”

A couple of weeks ago, Husband decided after church that he needed a haircut, and I took a quick peek at the kids and decided that ALL needed a haircut.  We all went to a favorite local (cheap) joint, where husband and Daughter #1 sat down first for their cuts.  I directed the hair cut for Daughter #1 (trim off all damaged ends) and Husband dealt with his.  Then we switched and I directed Daughter #2’s (cut off 7 inches, so she can have a cute bob) and Husband directed Son’s.  Daughter #2 finished and I chose to sit in the waiting area and read a trashy magazine.

While Son was in chair, Husband came by for a number of consults.  “Do you think his hair should be shorter?  How about the sides?  Do you want it long on top?  What about the front?” and it was just as bad as when I was asked questions from the hairstylist.  I simply looked up and said, “You said you’d design and take care of it.  So do it.  I do not participate in the Son’s haircut.”  Husband walked back and continued giving instructions.  The haircut was looking pretty good, and I had to admit, Husband was better at it than I.

I looked back at my magazine and when I looked up again, three minutes later, something was amiss.  Husband and hairstylist were going back and forth and the clippers came out, and suddenly Son had a buzz cut.  I shook my head and began giggling behind my magazine.  When Son and Husband came over to the waiting area (incidentally Son’s haircut took twice as long as anyone else’s) I asked a simple question, “What happened?”

“Well, I didn’t like the front so short, so I told her to cut it.”

“You wanted the front SHORTER?”

“Well, I didn’t know that was going to happen if she kept cutting it.  But then it looked really bad.  So we buzzed it.  Now everything will grow back at the same rate.  It’s a fresh start.”

We paid and walked out and meanwhile, Son looked like a kid whose father didn’t know how to cut hair, and I couldn’t help giggling.  My final comment to Husband was, “I’m glad you figured out how to cut his hair.”  His response was, “Your sarcasm is unwelcome.”

Now, I think Husband understands how complicated and convuluted things get when trying to cut Son’s hair. The choices and the options when you’re faced with them, sometimes work themselves out into something really bad.

The following granola recipe is something that I came up with after messing around in the kitchen.  I really wanted to use a lot more seeds and a lot less oats and fiddling around gave me this proportion.  This recipe is REALLY forgiving, and the basic ratio you need to think about is about 6 cups of dry stuff (seeds, oats, nuts) to the 1 cup of wet stuff.  (oil/honey mixture)  Once you keep that in mind you can mess around with this recipe quite extensively with little to no issues.  It won’t end up like a bad haircut nor will it taste bad.  The following is my favorite version, which I also think is pretty and will look lovely in jars as gifts or party favors during the holidays.

Pumpkin Seed Almond Granola
Makes 7 cups

2 cups sliced almonds
2 cups old-fashioned oats
2 cups raw pumpkin seeds
½ cup whole almonds (optional – for fun)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup mild flavored vegetable oil (I use safflower)
½ cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 to 2 cups cranberries (or any dried fruit like raisins or golden raisins)

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line a baking sheet (half sheet) with parchment paper.  In a large bowl, mix together almonds, oatmeal, raw pumpkin seeds, whole almonds, cinnamon, and salt.  In a measuring cup, mix together oil, honey, and vanilla extract.  Pour wet ingredients onto dry ingredients, and using a spatula toss well together.  Spread mixture onto lined baking sheet.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so.  Watch closely at the end of cooking time as the granola quickly goes from golden to burnt.

Remove from oven.  Cool.  If you like smaller pieces, as granola is cooling, toss and break apart into smaller pieces,  If you like bigger pieces, wait until granola is fully cooled and then slowly break apart granola into clumps.  Mix in cranberries.

Once fully cooled, granola stores for 1 week in a tightly sealed container.

Printable recipe

Don’t these look festive in jars?  Definitely a great gift for the holidays.

So pretty, all the colors

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