04 May 2011

Granola Girl

Does this make me a crunchy mom?  The fact that I make granola?  Do any of you dear readers make granola?  Do you know how easy it is?  And how good?  And how good for you?

What I like best about granola, besides how good it is, is that it makes a ton at once, and then for several weeks, I have at my fingertips the making for a very healthy, very quick, breakfast.

Let's face it: the boys and I don't share the same tastes.  Cool Guy could happily eat oatmeal every morning of the year, and he does ask for it for breakfast every night before he goes to bed.  Wish he could remember to brush his teeth as faithfully as he remembers to ask for oatmeal.  But after awhile, oatmeal pales for me.  I sometimes try to jazz it up a little, like last week, when I added rhubarb to the oatmeal pot, and thought Cool Guy was going to have to miss school because he was so incensed with my tinkering.

I guess granola is my way of tinkering with oatmeal so that it's not just oatmeal that I've ruined, but is something else entirely.

I've tried several different "recipes" of granola, and by far, my favorite is King Arthur flour's Maple Granola.  All granolas I've made have been good, if I do say so myself, but this one is superior.  It is perfect in its ratio of nuts, fruits, and grain, and is sweetened perfectly.

I never, ever have the exact ingredients called for in the recipe, so I make substitutions like mad, and each batch comes out differently, and always good.  This time, I used pumpkin seeds instead of sunflower seeds, and pecans rather than walnuts.  I cut out the coconut entirely because I do not like coconut at all, ever.  And I don't add the powdered milk - don't like that either.  For fruit, I used apricots, dried cherries, and dried cranberries.  A little heavier on the cranberries than the other fruits.  And I got to use some maple syrup from the local farmer's market.  It's available right now and very reasonably priced.  Sometimes, I use dry roasted peanuts, and that makes a good addition.  And I always throw in a handful of ground flaxseed to bump up the Omega-3's.

Another twist in preparation, is that I throw the whole mess into one 13 x 9 baking dish rather than portion it out between two jelly roll pans.  I do this because my rotten, lousy oven is too small to accommodate a jelly roll pan.  I have never had a problem with baking it all in my one pan, and it makes the process that much easier.

Yes, making granola is an investment in time, though most of the time is baking time, where I just plop down and watch a movie (wish) while it bakes.  But you've got to be around for it, to stir it around, and then you've got a big bowl to wash, and some containers to find to hold it all, but it is so worth it!.

This morning, another oatmeal day, before I put the water on to boil, I measured out 1/4 cup of granola into my bowl and 1/4 of lowfat vanilla yogurt.  I mixed that together, sliced a banana and mixed that in.  The granola gets a chance to soften a little, which I like, while the boys' oatmeal is cooking.  When their oatmeal is ready, so is my granola, and we sit down and eat together.  They're happy, I'm happy.

Do my boys like granola?  In a word, no.  When it comes out of the oven, they snick little tastes, but once I've put it in containers and offer it for breakfast, they want nothing to do with it.  Go figure.  I just tell them that their tastes aren't mature enough yet.  Burt loves it, and I love it, so I say, More for us.

Print out this recipe from King Arthur.  Get some ingredients together.  Give yourself a evening to make it, and then you can spend the next few weeks congratulating yourself on how frugal and healthy your breakfast is.

No comments:

Post a Comment