A Fresh Start

Some of you may remember that I had a pretty intense summer.  On May 22 I was in my hometown of Joplin, Missouri, and, yep…..there was a giant tornado  that forever changed the landscape of the beautiful town and deeply touched many lives in the area.  Even though I haven’t lived in Joplin for over a decade, it’s still my town.  I spent 18 years of my life there and have many family members that still live in Joplin.  I praise God that all of my family survived the storm, although I can’t say the same for their homes.  We spent those first days going through the remains of their homes trying to salvage anything we could…family pictures, furniture and, of course, kitchen utensils along with the family recipe box.

My cousin Dani lost her home.  It was a miracle that she and her husband and their two dogs made it to shelter before the tornado hit.  All that remained was half a wall and the bathtub.  We were only able to gather just a few bags full of items from their home.  They have gone from living in my Mom’s basement, to an RV, to her parents’ new home – my Aunt and Uncle’s home was also destroyed.  It has been 5 short months since the tornado took her home, and I am so proud that she and her husband have decided to rebuild and make a fresh start.  She has been blogging about her journey at SummerLongBlog.

This was her home on May 23.


And this is her home today!

Dani is a very strong young woman and I know that this event in her life is making her even stronger.  I am amazed by the number of businesses and homes that have started to rebuild in Joplin.  It gives me such pride and joy to see how strong the people of the Joplin community have been through this tragedy.  I have no doubt that this boom town will boom again!!

So are you looking for some motivation to start your day!?!  Well, if you have a roof over your head and a kitchen to cook in then you are in pretty good shape in my book!  So check out this hearty, healthy and delicious Pumpkin Granola recipe that is the perfect way to start your morning.  It’s also a pretty sweet way to end your day with a little scoop of frozen yogurt.

Good Morning and Seize the Day!

Pumpkin Granola

  • 4 cups Oats
  • 1/2 cup Pumpkin Seeds
  • 1/2 cup Walnuts, chopped
  • 1 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 1/4 tsp. Fresh Ground Nutmeg
  • Dash of Salt
  • 1/4 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Pumpkin Puree
  • 1/2 cup Apple Sauce – sugar free please
  • 2 Tbsp. Pure Maple Syrup
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla

In a large bowl combine the oats, nuts, cinnamon, pumpkin spice, nutmeg and salt.  

In a small bowl combine the brown sugar, pumpkin, apple, maple syrup and vanilla.  

   Pour the wet ingredients over the dry.

 Spread in a single layer on a large sheet pan.  Use two sheet pans if needed.  

Bake at 325 degrees for 15 minutes, stir and bake for another 15 minutes.  




Breakfast, Snack, Veggies , , , ,


  1. This looks so yummy and healthy!

  2. Joe Crosthwait

    Thanks for sharing this amazing story, and for helping in the many ways you did.

  3. Wow! So sorry Dani was hit by the tornado but wow, what a change a few months makes. How wonderful and inspiring.

  4. It was so, so good to see the recovery picture of your sister’s house. Joplin has fallen off the news radar these days, which is always a sad thing (like New Orleans), so to see how the city is rebuilding itself is encouraging.

    The granola is fantastic. What a beautiful use of pumpkin. It’s refreshing to see it in something other than breads and muffins.

  5. What an amazing story! And this pumpkin granola looks so good! I would love to put some on my greek yogurt in the morning!

  6. Wow! That looks amazing! It’d be awesome on some cinnamon ice cream ^-^

  7. Congrats on Foodbuzz top 9!

  8. What a story and what a strong family you have! Those pictures are incredible. It makes you wonder how people come back from that, but many do. I’m glad to hear that your family is planning on rebuilding. Your granola recipe does look like a keeper! Gotta give it a try.

  9. Pingback: Apple Snack | Squash Blossom Babies

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