Sunday 3 April 2011

Eat Your Granola

Apparently Yogurt & Granola Time is my hubby's favorite part of his day. I'm really not sure whether to feel very sorry for him or...take it as a compliment...? Hmm.

He works a shift pretty typical to the oil field...eight days on and six days off. Those eight work days are looong days and he likes to have a lot of food with him and several choices available. So the day before he goes back on shift, the kitchen looks a little something like this...

Let me backtrack a little. When we first got married, I suggested the idea of making our own granola since the price of the store bought stuff caused me to do somewhat of a balking donkey-like performance at the grocery store. Well, let's just politely say that the idea didn't go over so well. But, my scheming friend and I came up with a plan! Mwahahaha! She made her own granola, and we were coming to stay with her and her hubby for a while. So if SHE served him HER homemade granola, he couldn't very well turn it down and still be polite, now could he?! Especially since she was MY long time friend (and ya gotta get in good with the long-time friends - everyone knows that). Well let's just say our devious little plan worked and I was now allowed to make our own granola, as long as I never, never, ever, ever strayed from her recipe. Umm, okay. If it's confession time, I'll have to admit that I did modify it a bit, but only to try to get closer to the flavor of the original store bought stuff that he had sworn allegiance to.

So here goes - maybe you can make your hubby a believer too.
(The full recipe is below)

Get the biggest bowl you own and throw in rolled oats (big flake oats produce a better result), wheat germ, oat bran, sliced almonds and shredded coconut. Mix it all up and do the macarena to make it really fun!

Turn your oven on. If you're anything like me, make sure nothing is hiding in there first!!

Now take a saucepan and throw in some maple syrup, honey, olive oil, cinnamon, vanilla and salt. If you measure your olive oil first, then your honey and maple syrup in the same cup, your life will continue to be happy. I usually pour the honey and maple syrup into the measuring cup at the same time. Heat this up until it's "thin", but don't let it come to a boil.
Now pour it over the dry stuff and stir it up. Spread it out over a foil lined cookie sheet. Actually, you need two fairly large cookie sheets and try to make sure the foil is shiny side down...otherwise you will end up with very crunchy, dark brown granola in not a good way.

Bake for 10 minutes, then take it out and stir it and bake again for another 10 minutes or so. Watch it fairly closely in the end and pull it out when it's the "brown-ness" that you like.

Let it cool for a few minutes, then pour back into the big, huge honkin bowl that you've since washed and dried. Wait for the next batch to bake, then throw that in too.

Here's where you can be creative! Add whatever dried fruit floats your boat. Or chocolate chips if you like! Make it your own. I used chopped apricots because that's the way hubby likes it. I used to add dried cranberries and after about a year, he very nicely told me he didn't really care for them. So...just dried apricots at this house.

If you keep them frozen, they are so much easier to chop. If you coat your knife with cooking spray first, it's even easier!

After all that...voila! Yummy, nummy granola.

Put it in a pretty jar and tie a ribbon around it! Or put it beside a vase of tulips and take a picture!

This jar typically lasts about a month. Unless my mom is visiting too...then maybe a week.
HA! HA! I'm teasing, Mom. I'm glad you like it!

So here's the full recipe.

Crunchy Granola from BC

8 cups rolled oats
1 cup wheat germ
1.5 cups oat bran
1 cup sliced almonds
1 small bag shredded coconut
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup good quality maple syrup
1/2 cup honey
3/4 cup good quality olive oil
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
1 Tbsp. vanilla
1 cup chopped, dried apricots
(Sorry to be a stinker about it - I totally sound like Martha - but if you use "cheap" maple syrup and olive oil, it really makes a difference and does not taste very yummy in the end. Trust me - I tried it.)

Combine oats, wheat germ, oat bran, almonds and coconut in a large bowl and mix.
Heat oven to 325 F.
In a saucepan over medium heat, mix together: salt, maple syrup, honey, olive oil, cinnamon and vanilla. Heat and stir until mixed and "thin". Pour over oat mixture and stir to coat.
Line two cookie sheets with tin foil. Spread granola over sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Stir and bake for another 10 minutes or until a nice toasty, golden brown.
Cool. Stir in dried fruit(s). Store in an airtight container.


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