Friday, February 15, 2013

Granola is for Sharing

I wish you could smell my kitchen. The warm smells of ginger, cinnamon, honey, maple syrup, vanilla are being stirred and thrown about by the ceiling fan. A pan of warm toasted almonds and pecans tossed with chopped figs and dates wait to be stirred into part of the oat mixture. There is shredded coconut, craisins, raisins and apricots I will divide up and mix with other portions of the oats. Granola is made to be shared. I think of the likes and dislikes of our family circle. Some like figs and dates. Some like coconut. Some like it all. So,something for everyone.
Here is what I did. In a ball park sorta way. Not a big "measurer" making granola.
I make a huge batch so I can make different varieties.

Nuts, figs and dates

Toasting the oat mixture

Granola One with dates, figs,almonds, pecans,cranberries

Granola Two with raisins and coconut

Granola Three with apricots and dried banana pieces

Already to share

Granola by the load full

16 cups rolled oats is what I had in the kitchen and used today.

Approximately 1/2 cup of maple syrup

A good bountiful cup of honey

1 1/2 cups-2 cups canola oil

Tablespoon of vanilla extract

Approximately 1 Tablespoon of cinnamon

I also add a heaping dash of ginger and/or nutmeg sometimes

Now the fun part
Feel free to add oat bran, ground flax seed, wheat germ.
Add any type of nuts your family may like. I toast the nuts I use for added flavor.
DO NOT buy those greasy, salty canned nuts. Use raw nuts and seeds.
Dried fruits of all sorts. Cranberries, Raisins, Apricots, Dates, Figs, Bananas, Coconut.....
Add whatever combinations you have in the kitchen cabinets. 
I have made just vanilla,cinnamon oat granola if that is all I had.
If I have cranberry juice in the house I may add just a little in the liquid mixture for added flavor.

I guess a few directions would be helpful. 
Roast the nuts first if you are using them. 
I sometimes put the raw oats on a baking sheet in the oven for a quick toast while the nuts are toasting. 
I think it gives the oats a little better flavor. 
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F, if you haven't used it for roasting nuts.
Combine all of your dry ingredients. Oats, wheat germ, flax oat a large bowl.
In a large pot on the stove mix all of the liquid ingredients. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Just before the last stir I add the spices. Pour the liquid mixture over the oats/dry ingredients. Stir until all the oats are coated really well. Spread the mixture on baking sheets. Bake for 20 minutes or so. Check about half way through and stir. If you pan is thick this may take longer with a few more checks and stirs. When the oats are not very moist pull from oven. Expect some moisture. This will go away as the oats cool. When cool add all the rest of the goodness you have decided on. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

He Knows Me

My sweetheart knows me.
He knows... I like my morning french roast coffee with half-n-half and raw sugar.
He knows... I like flowers on the window seal.
He knows... My grandma,Emma,had purple-blue hydrangeas in her yard.
He knows... How much I like flowers on the family table.
He knows me.

Here is what I woke to this Valentine's morning.