Tuesday, April 19, 2011

I wish I could send you a smell... (an adventure in homemade granola)

No, seriously.  My kitchen smells AMAZING right now. Why you ask?  Because I embarked on yet another food making odyssey to make homemade granola. Granola cooking might be the best smell ever. It might actually beat baking bread for me right now, and I love bread.  My mom swears she made this stuff when I was a kid, so maybe that is where that ingrained love of the smell of baking granola comes from.

I have been struggling lately with being really tired and having no energy. I'm not sure if I'm sick, or if it is diet (all the crap I ate on 'vacation' catching up with me)or getting used to a new routine of working out, but today by the grace of God, and a lot of caffeine (chai at lunch...they really should cut me off after the fifth mug of it...the mugs are little though) I managed to get my house cleaned, laundry done so my husband has pants to wear to work, and some cooking done.

I think I was laying in bed this morning when I started thinking of the nuts and such I would need, that I didn't already have, to make granola.  It was time for a trip to Trader Joe's.  I think the clincher was that I was out of raisins, and that just wouldn't do.

I figured the recipe couldn't be that difficult (it isn't) and that as long as I didn't let it burn into a molten mass on a cooking sheet, it would be edible enough to pass off to my husband.  I picked up some cashews (roasted but unsalted), two different  types of raisins; since I like them on everything, and some pressed dried mango to chop up to put in the granola when it was done.
Tonight I was planning on making yogurt, since my landlady gave me a starter of her amazing batch, but instead started cutting up nuts and throwing things into a bowl.  This is the recipe that I 'sort of' used, but since I had walnuts, cashews, pecans and almonds I added them all. I also put in the dried cranberries (my addition) and raisins before I read the recipe and saw that it said to put them in at the end (woops), so then I proceeded to attempt to pull as many out as possible.  That would be why in the picture there are very few raisins.  There will be loads in the finished product. I like raisins...a lot.  The whole thing took 5 minutes tops to throw together.  The only 'tough' part is sticking around to stir it every 15 minutes.
Dear Alton, thanks for a great recipe.  I think the maple syrup base instead of another type of sugar won me over. Maybe you could make this a little healthier? Maybe next time I'll throw some stevia in the syrup instead of the brown sugar.  I also sort of fudged on the measurements since granola is NOT an exact science.

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  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 cup cashews
  • 3/4 cup shredded sweet coconut (I used unsweetened)
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup raisins


Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
In a large bowl, combine the oats, nuts, coconut, and brown sugar.
In a separate bowl, combine maple syrup, oil, and salt. Combine both mixtures and pour onto 2 sheet pans. Cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes to achieve an even color.
Remove from oven and transfer into a large bowl. Add raisins and mix until evenly distributed.

My advice in making granola--shake it up!  Put in your favorite nuts, not just what the recipe says.  I didn't add salt...it didn't need it and neither do we!  My other advice and the most important advice is STIR THE GRANOLA while it is cooking, otherwise you could end up with the molten mess discussed above, and no one wants to clean that up.   
before cooking...looking yummy!

On another fr ont...my cat is hilarious.  What you thought you'd get through a post without reading about the infamous Newton? Come on people.  
So my kitty has this ratty old teeny hairband that he stole from my cousin, and since he drooled all over it, my aunt wasn't exactly clamoring to get it back, although I did offer.  This little teeny pink hairband has moved with us from WV and just randomly shows up until Newton yet again, loses it.  He found it again this morning when I lifted up a laundry basket and it was underneath.  How did it get under the laundry basket? Your guess is as good as mine.  Anyways, here are some pictures right before he once again lost it under the couch. I was going to ask my husband to get up off the couch so I could get it out, then I remembered that my husband is working and my cat is...spoiled.  He will have to do without for now.  
See the tiny ratty pink hairband? It is almost gray now because of him carrying it around and spitting it back out.  

The second he realized he lost it (and part of my husband's leg..sorry hun).  He spent the next 5 minutes staring at me, under the couch and back at me sadly.  He is pretty pitiful when he wants to be. 


  1. Your granola looks incredible. I have only made chewy (not cooked granola) so I aprreciate the tips. Thanks for sharing your recipe (and your adorably nutty cat) with the Hearth and soul Hop.

  2. Yes, your Mother did make you healthy "health food store"type food for a long time in your youth. You do remember the 'bird food' snack I used to get for you and your ADHD, sugar addict brother. I stopped when we moved to LaGrange IN because I couldn't find the ingriedents easily anymore. I was shocked to find out the Amish were eating the same processed food junk as the rest of the world. So much for the Moosewood Cookbook. I am so glad you are rediscovering the foods I tried to feed you as a kid. No Traders Joe's out here in Ohio.

  3. I can just imagine how good your granola smelled-yum! Thank you for sharing this delicious recipe with the Hearth and Soul blog hop! (And your cat is just gorgeous, by the way!)

  4. Thank you! He is a spoiled brat!
    I'm going to make the granola again, and forget about going NEAR raisins until it is cooked (they burn and it doesn't taste good) and I want to figure out a way to make it clump more. Any idea? The rest of it is PERFECT!


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