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I am a wife, mother, teacher, runner, baker, fund-raiser, reader, watcher of movies, dog-lover, writer, music-lover and foodie. So - I'm a woman of many moods! I write and share in order to teach and enrich. I currently have two blogs going: The Kitchen Refugee, and A Mile At A Time. The first is about time spent in the kitchen and the second about time spent on the road. Frequently the two roads intersect!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Gorgeous Granola

I used to believe that the only way I would purchase oats in a 25 lb. bag would be if I owned a horse.  Now, here I am, buying oats in bulk and making both granola and granola bars.

I started by looking up several granola recipes - mostly to get an idea of the ratio of wet to dry ingredients.
Jackie, at  www.homesteadwannabes.blogspot.com offers this recipe:

Homemade, Healthy Granola Recipe:
6 cups rolled oats
1/2 to 1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup any combination of pecans, walnuts, sliced almonds, cashews or other nuts
Then combine in separate bowl:
1/2 cup sucanat (If you don't have any you can substitute with more honey or brown sugar)
1 cup honey (or you can add another 1 cup of sucanat instead)
1/2 cup melted coconut oil (expeller pressed)
1/3 cup water
1/2 to 1 tsp Celtic sea salt
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger (optional)
Mix both sets of ingredients. Place in 2 greased 9 x 13 pans (I use my stoneware because it cooks a lot more evenly and you don't have to grease the pans). Bake at 350 for approx. 20 minutes, stirring every few minutes once you get past the 12 minute mark. You want it lightly toasted throughout. Cool thoroughly. Add raisins or any other dried fruit and mix. Store in an air tight container or I use a 1 gallon glass jar. We use this as our cereal when we are in a hurry. We just add fresh berries, bananas and milk. Our kids love it and it is way healthier than the granola you buy at the store.

I found many, MANY, more at www.allrecipes.com and began to tweak my own to fit our liking, and my husbands growing intolerance to various nuts & seeds.

Here's what I make:
Preheat oven to 350

12 cups rolled oats
1 cup large-flake, unsweetened coconut
2 cups wheat germ
1 cup each: sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and pecans

Stir it all together.  For a bowl big enough to fit this many ingredients,
visit a restaurant supply store.
I happened to find this and my big cookie sheets at Cash & Carry.

Dig a well in your dry ingredients and add:
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups honey
1 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup water
2 tsp. sea salt
3 tsp. vanilla
3 tsp. cinnamon

Stir it all together and place on large, greased baking sheets. Bake for 20 minutes, stirring every
5 minutes.  I bet I actually bake mine for 30 min.
or more - we like it darker and toasty-tasting.

Dried ginger (above)  or
Candied ginger (below)

We really like ginger in our granola.  Even in a recipe this large, a little goes a LONG way.  If I use candied ginger, I use about 1 TB. minced fine, like pixie dust.  If I use dried ginger, I use 2 small slices - also minced like pixie dust.  Ginger is good, but a big old mouthful can taste a little like soap!

After it's done baking, let it cool completely!
Add fruit once cooled, and store in an airtight container.

Before making a trip to Winco's bulk food section, I asked my husband what kind of fruit he would eat in granola.  His answer: "Nothing yellow."  Okay - so I went for dried blueberries and dried strawberries.  I do NOT bake the dried fruit in the granola - it's dry enough, so I add it at the end.

My husband has been making several changes in his eating habits, and even he is surprised how easily granola has become a daily habit.  He said he doesn't wake up thinking about meat and eggs anymore.  That must mean I have the nut/seed ratio high enough that it's actually filling for a big man.  I consider that a victory.

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