Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Latent Granola Instinct

I made granola. Granola I made. I am a granola-maker. Oh my gosh, I am now officially qualified to drive a beat-up VW van, stop shaving my legs, and burn patchouli incense...ha!
(I refuse to replace my curtains with love beads, though, or go braless in public) ;-)

I'm on a quest for simple foods...the sort we want available homemade but requiring very little expense, preparation, and fuss. The sort that's the backbone of the everyday, and will sustain us dependably despite the vagaries of future crop fluctuations...things that are easy to stockpile.

I've never realized my full granola/muesli potential. It was high time to take a stab at it...Jack was told by his doc to cut out ALL flour products, most simple starches, and must replace them with only straight-up whole grains.

It's time for me to embrace my inner granola...

I'm not sure what the differences are between muesli and granola. But I know I've wanted to try making this for years...years. Why haven't I tried making this, ever? I've tried soooo many other things, but I've just had a granola mental block. Maybe it was the long list of ingredients, many of which are not regular pantry items for us...wheat germ, bran, flax seed, sesame seeds, etc.

So, in complete muesli/granola ignorance and stubbornness, I waited too long and then found myself in the kitchen with a freshly-fermenting batch of Caspian Sea Yogurt/Matsoni, needing something earthy and crunchy to go along with its fresh, cool blandness for a morning breakfast, or simple evening meal.

I had box of generic old-fashioned oats, and dug around in the cabinets and unearthed a couple handsful of pepitas (pumpkin seed hearts) and some slivered almonds. And a look in the pantry found a pristine bag of sweetened dried cranberries. In haste and without a lot of foresight, I just put a layer of oats, pumpkin seed hearts, and almond slivers on cookie sheets and drizzled the last remains of my jar of honey over them all. I didn't add any salt since the pepitas were salted.

I put them in the oven for 30 minutes on 350, though now I know it should more likely be 300, and stirred every five minutes to make sure nothing scorched. If I did it again, I'd add the almonds the last five minutes. Anyway, when everything seemed pretty toasty and stirred, I put them in a jar and mixed in a full bag of the sweetened cranberry "raisins"...and hey, it was good!

I've since been perusing the recipes online for granola and muesli, all of which include some kind of oil or butter and some of which have different sweeteners. But I think they all fall back on the basics of roasted grains (with oats at the base of most recipes) and seeds and nuts, with varying degrees of dried fruits and perhaps coconut. Looks like it can be personalized to about anyone's preferences. But I have to say that even without the oil or butter, this mix I made was really great for sprinkling over yogurt for a hearty crunch, and definately makes a stick-to-your-ribs meal.

Here's a shot of what it looks like....but I'd never eat a bowlful like this...it's powerful in small quantities :)


TOCCO said...

Great idea! I never thought of making my own granola! It can be personalized to your own preferances. Thanks for sticking the bee in my bonnet! Christina

The W.O.W. factor said...

Mmmmmmmm & with cranberries even!! Going hunting in my pantry today! Thanks!

Mrs. K's Lemonade Stand said...

LOL! Too cute! :)
Your inner granola is a special place indeed and the granola you made looks delicious!

ilex said...

What? You still shave your legs???

Wendy said...

That looks yummy! I'm trying to get my family more interested in eating these great, wholesome snacks I can make - like granola and yogurt. They're getting there ... slowly :).

Razor Family Farms said...

I LOVE homemade granola! I use it like cereal. Oh yum. Now, when can I come over and let you make the granola for me? Yours looks gorgeous!

Cranberries! Yum!

Thinking of you,

Carolyn said...

Looks good!

Here is a Muesli recipe I use:

2 Cups Rolled Oats
2 Cups Wheat or Bran Flakes
½ cup dried Blueberries
½ cup dried Cranberries
½ cup Dates or Raisins
½ Cup Sliced Almonds

Serve with Milk or Yogurt.
Store in Air Tight Container.

Brenda Kula said...

If it's that potent, it would probably "keep you regular!" I'm just not as ambitious as you are, or as energetic. I seem to spend most of my "free" time sitting here reading blogs! But hey, maybe you could start your own company. I read last night in Time magazine about two women who decided to make spices in teaspoon-sized packets because the ones in our pantry grow old and we have to throw them away. Good idea: why didn't I think of that?

Robbyn said...

Christina, neither did I before now..wish I'd been making it for years :)

W.O.W., cranberries are Jack's favorite...in about anything!

Mrs K, lol...and yes, it's yummy except when you get distracted reading blogs while it's cooking and you burn the entire batch...ha (yep, I still perpetrate the occasional memory-lapse-induced "burnt offering")

Ilex...when the apocolypse or other world disaster happens, even if I have to sharpen pine cones or flint arrowheads, I'll find a way to shave my legs..lol

Wendy, we're still getting there slowly...it's taken me only 43 years so far, heh heh

Lacy, you name it, and I can come burn some granola in anyone's oven you like (I won't mention how many times I've forgotten to stir it enough and it's scorched) :)

Carolyn, that recipe looks great...I'll have to try it :)

Brenda, compared to a lot of "project people" I know, I'm a pretty low-energy person sometimes...or maybe I just burned myself out with busy-ness and crisis-meeting the last few decades? :) You do an awful lot, and it's interesting what the view is from the other side...I don't think I could do what you do with your garden and decorating, such an artist! Yes, the grains definately have been keeping the ol' plumbing working, ha!

Country Girl said...

Looks good. I'm going to put this on my to do list.