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Granola Monday

25 Feb

It was another weekend filled with soccer, then ballet, more ballet, then more soccer.  Team meetings, team social time, cheering friends on … sounds busy and a little bit boring, but it’s senior varsity season and it was Youth American Grand Prix weekend, so it was essential and emotional at the same time.

Anyway, I piled up a small bit of insignificant compost that has already found its way to the compost pile minus the photo.  I can tell you there wasn’t much besides snack remains like orange peels, banana skins, and tea bags, plus the ever present eggshells, and a few garlic skins.  We ate out for most meals (ugh) and one night I crafted a quick late night carbonara, the easiest, tastiest meal when you want to order a pizza ever.  It was that kind of weekend.

Thank goodness for Monday morning.  On Monday, I made granola.  Nothing slows you W A Y down like baking up a batch of sweet granola.  You can mix it up, kick back and read your favorite book while it bakes.  Or you can do what I did, which was laundry and spring cleaning.  Granola AND a shiny, clean house makes for a marvelous Monday.

I’ve got a basic recipe (that is the result of combing three delicious recipes over the last few years) and I tweak endlessly based on what’s in my pantry when I get the granola making vibe.  I even wrote these ingredients down because it was pretty darn tasty batch.

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Nutty Granola

  • 10 cups rolled oats (not quick cooking)
  • 2 cups raw almonds, long slivers (not paper thin slivers, but you could use them too)
  • 2 cups raw walnuts, we like our chopped fairly small
  • 1/2 cup raw shelled pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 wheat germ
  • 1/3 cup white sesame seeds
  • 1/4 flax seeds
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
  • 1/4 cup coconut (I used refined since my family is not fond of the coconut taste)
  • 1 cup raw honey
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 of a nutmeg nugget, freshly grated or 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Preheat oven to 250 degrees and line two cookie sheets with parchment or foil.  Combine all dry ingredients except salt in a large bowl and toss until well mixed.  Melt butter and coconut oil in a small saucepan, then add honey, vanilla and almond extracts.  Stir until well mixed.  Add half liquid mixture to bowl & toss with a wooden spoon or rounded silicon spatula, being sure to coat the small pieces from the bottom of the bowl.  Add remaining liquid and mix thoroughly, again scraping bottom of bowl to make sure that all dry ingredients are coated.  Spread mixture evenly on the prepared cookie sheets.  Bake 30 minutes then stir.  Rotate pans in oven if necessary.  Bake another 30 minutes and stir again.  Rotate pans again if necessary.  Bake a final 30 minutes.  Turn off oven and leave in the oven until the oven is cool.  The granola will crisp as it cools.   This makes a big batch of about 15 cups and lasts a long time, although never more than two weeks in my house.  Store in an airtight container.

Again, this combination of nuts and seeds is just a suggestion.  I’ve used sunflower seeds, cashews, pecans and chia seeds with great results.  Make sure you start with raw nuts and seeds (not roasted) because this recipe bakes for an hour and a half and you will have some VERY toasted, and possibly burned ingredients otherwise.   If you like dried fruit in your granola, and I do love dried cherries and apricots, add them after baking, otherwise you can get some very hard and sometimes burned and bitter fruit.  Keep in mind that dried fruit will soften the granola a little if you store it together.   Finally, most granola recipes call for coconut so feel free to add a cup or more.  I’ve just decided I’m currently in a no-coconut phase.

If you make this and tweak it let me know what combination worked for you!

 

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