Monday, October 25, 2010

Great Granola

Oh granola, my best friend. I make granola about twice a month and um, I live alone. I eat it on yogurt, mixed with other cereals, straight from the bowl, and even on a peanut butter sandwich. MMMM....the perfect blend of salty and sweet.

The best thing about my granola is that it’s sweetened with apple juice and honey. No sugar! In my mind, this makes me believe full heartedly that it’s healthy. Ok, it’s probably not as healthy as I would like it to be, but hey it’s oatmeal, fruit. and nuts. How bad can it be?

The recipe is below, and since I lost my original magazine version in the move, I had to make it up again. It may be even better now.

Great Granola

by: Katie Thamer


  • 4 cups old fashioned oats (Quaker)
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 3/4 cup sweetened coconut
  • 2 T cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup pure apple juice
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup raisins


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a big bowl, mix oats, almonds, cinnamon, and salt.
  3. In small liquid measuring cup, mix the honey and apple juice together and pour over the oats mix in big bowl. Mix well until coated.
  4. Spread onto a parchment lined baking sheet and place in oven.
  5. The granola will take 25 minutes to bake. Take out after 10 minutes and mix it around on the sheet to help each piece get toasty. Take out a second time after 20 minutes to mix around.
  6. After 25 minutes, take out and let cool. I just slide the parchment paper onto the counter.
  7. Mix the cooled oats mixture with raisins and cranberries in a big bowl. Feel free to add any other dried fruits like: blueberries, cherries, banana chips, or apricots.
  8. Let the snacking begin!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Why blog?

Why do this? Why spend time typing it? Why do I take tons of photos on my mini-camera phone? Why do I get so much joy out of this? Why, why, why?

I have spent some time in my epic airport adventure today thinking about this, and I think I have come up with some answers. They are as follows, in no particular order:

  1. I like for my family and friends to know what I am doing up here in “Yankeeland.” I think some thought I would be up here just freezing and eating Raman Noodles. The second is clearly untrue, I have had some unreal eating experiences, but the first is still likely. It’s only October.
  2. To showcase this beautiful city. It has so much to offer, and I want YOU to see it. NYC is like a newborn to me. I take pictures of it, talk about it to anyone and everyone, try and figure out new things to do with it, and want everyone to come visit it.
  3. Finally, I blog because I want you to know how genuinely blessed I feel to be here. I am coming up on 3 months, and I still don’t believe I live in New York City. It was a risk to come here, and I left a lot of sweet people and things in Texas, namely my washing machine. However, it’s been fabulous so far. I have so many people to thank for encouraging me, helping me through decisions, listening to my constant back and forth, and giving me the reassurance I needed to move here. THANK YOU to those people! I write this for you, because I want you to know how deeply you have impacted me.

I, Oprah Thamer, want to encourage you to figure out what a goal is for you and just go for it! Strive for it, don’t back down, know at the end of this you’ll have put everything you could into it, and get a great circle of people around you to encourage and help you. It feels so good to achieve it and you won’t regret trying! Then, write a blog about it and I will read it.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Carnegie, Kayaking, & Apple Pickin'

Happy Monday little blog friends! I had a week worthy of three bucket list cross offs. Tuesday, I had the opportunity to go to Carnegie Hall and see the Philadelphia Philharmonic play some beautiful music. They played a piece inspired by "Starry Night" which was quite dark but still lovely. They also presented selections from Romeo and Juliet in the second half and it was fantastic. What I left the famous hall thinking was that even more than the beautiful music I heard, I was struck by the sound. The acoustics are just unbelievable! I sat pretty high up and felt like I could hear each and every instrument. It's hard to explain, but I hope everyone can visit there one day. It's a beautiful piece of history and you will be blown away by that sound. WOW!

Need a cough drop?

On Saturday, I achieved a life long fall dream: apple picking! Ever since 11th grade, my brother Ben, who introduced me to my beloved Food Network, and I would watch Rachel Ray. RR introduced me to the idea of apple picking in upstate NY and the apple cider donuts. This life goal was a long time coming.
So, I tagged along with a sweet group of friends and headed upstate in the Zip car! It was one of the days that the sun is in the perfect position, the air is crispy yet warm in the sun, and it smells like fires burning. Perfect. After an unbelievable drive upstate studded with golden, red, and pale pink trees, we arrived at Wright Farms. We bought apple cider donuts and our apple picking bags and headed out. I picked probably 20 apples (Golden Delish, Granny Smith, and lots of Braeburn) and ate numerous ones off the tree. We frolicked through the trees, took a hayride, and took in the views of the Hudson River Valley. It was a glorious day!

One last fun experience to share, kayaking with Carly! We were running on the Hudson and saw the sign for free kayaking and Carly talked me into it! I am so glad we did it because it was loads of fun! The water was chilly but it was a sunny day and fun to be out on it. We accidentally floated a bit too far and got whistled at, which those who know me, know I hate hate hate being yelled at. I was panicked but the true mortification set in when they sent someone out to reiterate that we were floating too far. Typical. So, we kayaked around a bit more and turned in our paddles for the year.....or forever.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Subway Secrets

After spending about a month commuting to school each day, I have learned some valuable lessons. Each morning, I walk four blocks, walk down the stairs where I am handed the free "AM" paper, hop onto the train, and I leap off at 42nd to take the shuttle to Grand Central. Then I trot three more blocks to arrive at my school. Complicated? You would think so. However, I now feel I could do it in my sleep. It's become an automatic process. I can read the paper, text a friend, change the song on my iPod, and maintain some sense of balance.

However, this pro-subway status didn't happen overnight. I first had to learn some important subway lessons. I would like to take a moment to impart this knowledge onto you.

1. If the train is packed sardine style, just wait. The trains come almost every 2 minutes, it's not worth having your face stuffed into someones armpit.

2. Move IN!! In crowded situations, go to the middle of the car. This again prevents unfortunate armpit situations.

3. When swimming upstream through people, get behind another fish. It's easier than dodging people alone. They have already moved for the person in front of you or you at least know which way to veer.

4. Hold onto the poles no matter what! It takes years of practice to become a subway surfer and an incredible sense of balance if I do say so. I have fell on to too many people to think I have that gift. Find some thing to latch onto. Those drivers love to lurch.

5. Don't talk. I know this sounds quite unfriendly, but just don't do it. A quiet train is the best kind. Put in your iPod, read the newspaper, text, check facebook, but do not try and strike up a convo. The morning silence can be very refreshing. It's as if everyone is mentally preparing for the day.

Side story: Most people I have tried to chat it up with tend to be a bit crazy. I once had a 50+ year old man give me his card and told me to call him for coffee if I was up to it. That pretty much shut down my friendly chatting aspirations for good. :) I know, it's embarrassing, but true and lesson learned for me.

6. Pay attention to uptown and downtown trains. There is nothing worse than realizing you are going the wrong way. Don't be afraid to ask someone, people here are very nice about giving directions.

7. Finally, get off a few stops early and walk. The city streets are much more interesting than the subway.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


This week, I have gotten to participate in not one, but two birthdays. The first one was on Friday, October 8th for one Miss Elodie Soret. (Elodie is pronounced like Melody, without the M. So fun to say!) Elodie is my french co-teacher and I couldn't be luckier to get to manage those crazy first graders with her. Elodie is so wise and makes me laugh all the time. She is fabulous! We had professional development on her birthday, so I made her wear a purple crown and eat chocolate pecan pie. It's hard to be the birthday girl. Here she is in all her glory, looking quite royal indeed!

Then on Saturday, I got to be at a birthday party at the Ronald McDonald House in NYC. Timmy, pictured below, was turning one. He was so precious and loving that cake icing. A kid after my own heart!
Once a month, Apostles volunteers to cook dinner for the families there, and I instantly knew I would want to get involved. My mom has served on the Ronald McDonald House board in Amarillo for a number of years, and I got the opportunity to volunteer there in high school. RMH serves families that have children in the hospital for an extended period of time. It's kind of a home away from home where they can live and feel comforted by the community in the house. The NYC house has 84 rooms that are constantly filled. The guy who worked there told us that as soon as someone checks out, someone else checks in. RMH is a great organization, get involved in your area!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A Goat for Peace

Well, it's been a fabulous few days in New York. The temperature has dropped, the leaves are turning, the pumpkins are out in the stores, and all my flip-flops are put away for the year. The last two weeks have been rainy and cool, but the weekends have been beautiful and sunny. Works for me!

I just had a great weekend. I went to brunch with my friend Claire and had blueberry pancakes with maple butter syrup at Community Food and Juice. Yes, it's maple and butter in a syrup. Pretty unbelievable. I saw the facebook movie which I loved. Great writing and a very smart film. My friend John and I had a delicious meal after at a restaurant called "Recipe" where I ate a beet salad with goat cheese, a warm buttery toast with mozzarella and tomatoes, and a chocolate tart filled with sea salt caramel and topped with marscapone gelato. I will always be in awe of the delicious food here, it never ceases to thrill me. Neither does the view of the Hudson when I am running that off the next morning. :)

Sunday, I went to the Blessing of the Animals at St. John the Divine where people gather each year to have their pets blessed. I saw pigs, goats, sheep, chickens, peacocks, dogs, and cats getting their little foreheads blessed. There was also a "Goat for Peace," as his owner's shirt protested. I was lucky to snap a picture as he is usually jetting around the world saving one country at a time by eating sunflowers.

All in all, things are going well. I am staying busy, my laundry is piling up to dangerous heights, and I feel quite blessed to live in this fabulous city!

Irish Jack Russell puppy