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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Granola Recipe

I like granola.  I've never loved granola before because I've never had a recipe that really just made me go, "oh yeah!"  My Dad's a good granola eater and has gotten his from the Little Debbie outlet in a nearby town.  It's ok.  We ran out and didn't want to trek the 15 minutes (I know, so very far!) to get some more, so I decided that I would make granola. 

I was afraid it was going to be a longer task that it turned out to be.

I didn't have a recipe, but I remembered that I had seen The Frugal Girl had granola listed as one of her breakfast items and so I thought I would check out her recipe.  She uses Cate's recipe.  Unfortunately, I can't find the post with the link.  Stink. 

Cate adapted her recipe from another blogger, Kathryn.  If I could find the post, I would be linking you up all over the place.  Sorry 'boutcha.   

Cate was going for a "healthier granola base."  Me?  I'm going for a healthy granola base that's like I like it.  You know me.  I can't leave well enough alone.  :-)

I like my granola to have clusters...Cate called them "clumps."  I'm somewhat offended by that.

*Indignant Face* 
*Big Huff!* 
(That's so me, right?...Ha!) 

Anyway, if you don't like clusters in your granola, you'll need to cut back on the oil and honey.

Without further ado, the granola recipe that I'm lovin'!

3 cups Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
3 cups Quick Oats
1 2/3 cups walnuts chopped
1 1/3 cups almond slices
1 1/3 cups coconut flakes
1/3 cup sunflower seeds

1 cup oil (canola, corn, etc.  I'd avoid olive oil, though.  Please.  Avoid olive oil.)
1 cup honey
3 T to 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp almond extract

Heat the oven to 300 degrees.

In a LARGE bowl, stir together the oats, nuts, seeds & coconut.

In a small pot, over low heat, warm together the oil, honey, dark brown sugar, and extracts.  Stir together til it's well combined.

Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and stir to combine.  Make sure the dry ingredients are well coated.

Spread the mixture out evenly on two large cookie sheets/sheet cake pans.  (I cover my cookie sheets with aluminum foil because I'd rather not have to deal with the clean up of those when I'm finished.) 

Bake for 15 minutes.  Stir.  Bake for 5 more minutes.  If it's golden brown, pull it out of the oven and stir it.  (If it's lighter than you like it, stir it and let it bake 2 more minutes.) 

Once it's out of the oven, stir it every few minutes or so til it cools, or you will end up with one very large granola bar.  (Having three that are 3 and under, I end up with a large granola bar that has to be peeled off of the foil quite often.  Ha!  If you do end up with that, it does break up easily, so no worries.)  Try not to eat too many of the clusters off of the pan as you're stirring it up.  Not to worry, though, no one will know.  Trust me.  Not that I would know from experience, or anything.

Once it's cooled, store in a plastic cereal container and enjoy in the hand, or with milk, yogurt, kefir, your favorite dairy product, etc.

Do understand, this is a very forgiving recipe.  If you don't like almonds, use more walnuts or pecans or more sunflower seeds.  Add some dried fruit to the mix.  Be confident, and make it like you like it.  I have confidence in you!  :-)  I'd love to hear how you change it up.  Let me know!

Granola Mama? For Real!

I never figured myself for a "Granola Girl."  Not the eatin' kind, the lifestyle kind!  (See my Granola Recipe post & you'll know, I'm all about the eatin' of the granola...and now, the making of it!  Hold on, I'm getting ahead of myself!) 

Not that I've ever been a girly-girl.  Heaven forbid.  (Don't get your panties in a twist -- I have nothing against girly-girls...in fact, I think I've got one on my hands!  AB loves pink and anything sparkly...*sigh*)

 Before I had kids I bought pre-packaged food and didn't think twice about it.

Before I had kids, I never really thought about what was in my cleaners.  If it did the job well and quickly, wahoo!  Who cares if I had to open the window so that I could breathe?  I mean, really!  (Now I'm trying to keep things non-toxic, but effective.  Thank you, Melaleuca!  If you're interested, I'll be happy to share with you about it.  I love the stuff!)

Before I had kids, I was too timid to try making my own yeast bread.  (Not that I do it a whole lot now, but I've ventured into it.  I'll get there!).

Before I had kids, the thought of grinding my own grain was ludicrous, and now I have hard white wheat berries just waiting for me to grind them and make them into yummy baked goodies.  (I'm just about to order a WonderMill; can't wait to tell y'all all about it!)

Before I had kids, I was convinced there was no way that I'd do natural childbirth, and it wasn't until after my first that I even considered trying.  (I've done it twice now, and HIGHLY recommend it over doing it with pain medication. If you're interested, I'll gladly share my stories personally!)

Before I had kids, there was NO way that I was doing cloth diapers.  I've actually spent several hours this past week doing research on it.  (Not to say we're headed that way, but it's moved from the "No way in hell!" category to the "Maybe we could do this" category.) 

Before I had kids, yogurt was only made at home when we lived in the mountains of Papua New Guinea because we couldn't get it at the store.  (Now I make it at least once a week!  Good grief!) 

Before I had kids, making granola was something fun to do when you were bored.  Now, I do it so that I know exactly what's in it...and it's a lot easier than I remember from my childhood and super-duper yummy!  

Even after I had kids, there was no way I was going to make or use kefir.  Nasty! or so I thought.  (Not sure what kefir is?  For now, you'll have to Google it til I can get a post done.)  I actually have some kefir milk grains in the fridge right now to start my first batch in the morning.  Who would have thunk it?  Not me. 

So here I am, pretty much a "Granola Mama," and I'm ok with that.  Really.  :-)

Saturday, June 4, 2011

It's Been A While...

Hi, Howdy & Hello!

I know -- it's been a while, but I do have a couple of good excuses.  Really!  I had my sweet baby C the beginning of April.  :-)  Trying to figure out how to do life with three that are 3 and under has been a challenge.  On top of that, we moved two states east.  Well, to be more accurate, the kids and I moved two states east two weeks ago.  My husband had to stay behind to finish up his job and finish packing up the house.  Hmmm...the pervasive question the past two weeks has been, "Who has the more difficult job?  Me, with the three munchkins, single-parenting it in Arkansas or him packing up the house?"  The verdict?  It's a toss up.

I've been trying to figure out how we've been frugal in this move.  I think the biggest thing is that we've downsized somewhat.  I mean, really, who wants to move all of that junk?  So we had a garage sale, and the leftovers we were able to donate to the autism awareness group in town that was gathering things for their own garage sale.  It felt good to let those things go...and I'm hoping to release even more as we unpack! 

Since I've been out of pocket, I've continued to make yogurt and the Artisan Bread in 5...I haven't done much else (in the way of new cooking ideas).  I did, however make a super yummy dessert the other night for company.  It was a trifle -- layers of chocolate pudding, triple chocolate brownies, whipped cream and toffee pieces.  If you're a fan of Sandra Lee's semi-homemade, this fits right into that mindset.  And W loved it! 

He asked me, "Mommy, what IS this???" 
I told him it was trifle.  He replied, with great drama as he is known to do, "Try the floor is my favorite!"  Three is so very much fun!

I will try to blog a little more regularly about a wider variety of things -- if for no other reason than I love to learn and try new things.  Have a blessed day!