Spring is coming: That's the promise of the lovely lemon yellow flowers that brighten leatherleaf mahonia around this time of year. Don't just admire them from afar. Clip off a few blooming stalks of this evergreen shrub at the base, and then arrange them into a splashy display.
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Let us help you resolve to eat healthful, even if your schedule remains maxed to the limit. This energy-rich, homemade treat guarantees to please at work, school, or play.
Peanut Butter Granola
Preheat oven to 350°. Toss together 3 cups uncooked regular oats, ½ cup dry-roasted peanuts, ½ cup sweetened flaked coconut, and 3 Tbsp. sesame seeds in a large bowl. Cook ½ cup creamy peanut butter, ½ cup firmly packed brown sugar, ¼ cup butter, 1 Tbsp. light corn syrup, and ¼ tsp. salt in a small saucepan over medium heat 3 minutes or until smooth. Stir peanut butter mixture into oat mixture until blended. Spread mixture in a single layer on a lightly greased, aluminum foil-lined 17- x 12-inch jelly-roll pan. Bake 20 minutes or until lightly golden, stirring after 10 minutes. Transfer to wax paper, and cool completely (about 20 minutes). Serve with vanilla yogurt and sliced bananas. Makes 6 cups. Prep: 15 min., Cook: 3 min., Bake: 20 min., Cool: 20 min.
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A Pack of Suprises
Talk about adaptive reuse. In 1997 North Carolina artist Clark Whittington transformed a lone out-of-work cigarette machine into a vending station for his photographs. A decade later, the savvy result is Art-o-mat. Today some 400 artists contribute original work that is packaged and vended for $5-$7 each at more than 80 former cigarette machines located throughout the country. Items range from miniature paintings to jewelry and more. Machines can be found in museums, galleries, libraries, and even a grocery store or two. If you can't find a machine near you, order a collection of 10 packs of art in an Art-o-carton ($100) online at www.shopartomat.com.
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Lone Star Discovery
You expect mesmerizing design like this in New York, but the slick and savvy NyLo Plano at Legacy hotel has opened on Preston Road in Plano, Texas, just outside Dallas. The place is rich with local art, modern furnishings, concrete floors, and exposed ceilings. The amenities are Big Apple chic all the way, from the 32-inch high-def flat screens in the rooms to the eye-catching common area called The Loft. So what's Texas about it? The Lone Star hospitality-and the friendly price: $120 to $160 a night. Check it out at www.nylohotels.com.