Tonawanda News

December 2, 2013

VUKCEVICH: Granola great for Christmas gifting, enjoyment

The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — That very dynamic lady in our midst, Sandra Hays-Mies, once again is directing the Lewiston Tour of Homes, Saturday and Dec. 8 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Sandy, the president of Limelight in Western New York, has nearly three decades of experience in fundraising and not-for-profit management in many cultural and civic endeavors.

Again this year, The Historical Association of Lewiston will present the signature fundraiser to sustain their role as the keeper of Lewiston’s history.  Kudos to Pamela S. Hauth, Executive Director.

“Christmas Cottages In The Country” features the “Main House,” known as “White Gates,” as well as five charming cottages nearby. 

As winter looms, the year is ending on an especially high note for one of the most important fashion events of the season including presenting sponsors, trolley rides to the homes on tour, and a dessert sampling reception and a poinsettia cocktail at the magnificent Barton Hill Hotel and Spa.

The informality of Lewiston’s America is evident in the homes on tour: the Clerk’s Cottage on Cayuga Street, the Graystone Cottage on Oneida, “Wit’s End,” also on Oneida, “The Charming Lady” on Greenfield Road and “The Artists’ Retreat on Lower River Road.

The venerable character of these cottages is courtesy of the expert design teams and the popular Western New York designers who have ennobled the details of the homes on tour. The primary residences reflect the area’s stylistic heritage for dignified entertaining and pride of ownership.

The casual abundance of visual delights, such as the table settings, echoes fresh and youthful memorabilia, bridging cultures of old Lewiston in an ardently old-world atmosphere that recalls the glory of days past.

Tickets are available for this spectacular annual event online at, all Wegman’s locations, The Orange Cat Coffee Company, The Village Bake Shoppe and DiCamillo Bakery.

As was quoted by one of the many volunteers, “it takes hands to build a house, but only hearts can build a home.”  She donated this revised recipe for gift-giving and enjoying for the holidays.

“There’s nothing quite like making your own granola for the holidays, and for gift-giving,” she said. You can toss in as many nuts and fruits as you want and sweeten it to your taste. While the possibilities are endless, we love this honey-sweetened variation for Christmas with sesame seeds. The cardamom clings to the almonds, dried apricots and pears, and oats, adding a Christmasy touch.

Honey almond granola

3 cups (9 ounces) old-fashioned oats 

1 cup sliced almonds with skin

1/4 cup sesame seeds

6 tablespoons vegetable oil

6 tablespoons mild honey

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/2 cup dried apricots, finely chopped

1/2 cup dried pears, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees with rack in middle.

Oil a four-sided sheet pan or line with parchment paper.

Stir together oats, almonds, and sesame seeds in a large bowl.

Heat oil, honey, cardamom and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a small saucepan over low heat until heated through.

Stir into oat mixture.

Spread evenly in sheet pan and bake, stirring once, until golden, 20 to 25 minutes.

Cool granola completely in pan, then stir in fruit.

Makes six cups. Granola keeps, frozen in an airtight container, up to one month.

Marija Vukcevich is a freelance writer from Lewiston. Contact her at