Sunday, February 17, 2008

In Which I Get All Hippy-Dippy

I make my own granola as well as yogurt. I do so because it is easy and it tastes so infinitely much better than what you can get in a store that for the minimal amount of time and effort it takes, it’s worth it.
The granola recipe comes from a children’s cookbook called Peter Rabbit’s Natural Foods Cookbook, by Arnold Dobrin. It was printed by Miss Potter’s publishers, Frederick Warne & Co, and is illustrated by her paintings. The inscription inside says that it was donated by the After School Arts Class from the Pine Shadows Elementary School, wherever that happens to be, in 1977. I have adjusted the sweetening more to my liking and added the butter, which gives it a richer taste but also means it has to be kept in the refrigerator and should be eaten within two weeks.

Johnny Town-mouse’s Granola

2 c oatmeal
½ c wheat germ (I usually leave this out)
¼ t salt
2 T vegetable oil
1 T butter (optional), melted and cooled
¼ c honey (I prefer brown sugar and it’s also less messy)

A total of one cup of any combination of the following:

Chopped nuts
Unsweetened grated coconut
Sesame seeds
Sunflower seeds, unsalted
Chopped dried apples
Chopped dried apricots

(Since I tend to go with what is in the cupboard, I usually make this with golden raisins, walnuts, and coconut, which are staples with me. It’s amazing how you redefine “necessities” when the nearest supermarket is almost thirty miles away. A box of Quaker Oats is something else we always have on hand because the spousal unit is three quarters Scotch-Irish and has “parritch” for breakfast every’ day from December through the end of March).

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Put the oatmeal, wheat germ and salt in a mixing bowl and stir well. Add the vegetable oil, butter, and the honey or sugar. Spread the mixture on a cookie sheet or large baking pan and bake it for 30 minutes. If you choose honey as your sweetener, I recommend some aluminum foil to line the baking sheet with or you will wind up chipping honey off it.

Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and add your additional ingredients EXCEPT the raisins. This is important. They get too crunchy. Bake for 15 more minutes. Take the cooking sheet out of the oven and allow it to cool, stirring it occasionally as it cools. Add the raisins once it has cooled completely. I store this in an old Ball canning jar in the refrigerator and sneak handfuls of it occasionally.

Eat with milk or yogurt and fruit for breakfast (wonderful on blueberries) or stir some into a muffin batter.

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