Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Standardized Granola

If you do something often enough, you end up being able to do it in your sleep. Here is a recipe for granola that I make very often and usually first thing in the morning, around 5:30 AM, so I can make it in my sleep, both literally and figuratively.

V chomps his way through so much granola that it would be criminal to buy the expensive packaged stuff. I started off with a fairly typical recipe years ago, and then discovered this oil-free recipe. We thought the oil-free version was so much crunchier and tastier than the other recipe- how often does that happen, right? I have recipes for chocolate granola, applesauce granola and peanut butter granola in my bookmarks folder, but this is the only one I make over and over again.

I wanted to note down my standardized version here for future reference. I photographed it right on my beat-up, blackened-with-use, much-loved sheet pan.

Sept09_10

1. Preheat oven to 325 F and lightly grease a full sheet pan.

2. In a large bowl, mix
- 3 heaped cups old-fashioned oats
- 1 heaped cup chopped nuts (walnuts/cashews/pistachios/almonds/pecans)
- 1 tsp. cinnamon powder

3. In a glass measuring cup, mix
- scant ¼ cup sugar
- dollop of molasses
- ½ tsp. salt
- 2 tbsp. water
Microwave for 30-50 seconds (keep an eye on it!) until the sugar dissolves into a syrup. Remove the syrup and stir in 1 tsp. vanilla extract (it might splatter so be very careful).

4. Add the sugar syrup to the oats/nuts mixture and stir well to coat them uniformly.

5. Spread the mixture on the sheet pan and bake for 30-40 minutes, stirring 2-3 times in between.

6. Once the pan is out of the oven, immediately stir
- handful of dried berries
- handful of chopped candied orange peel
- 3 tbsp. wheat germ
- 1 cup store-bought cereal (I use honey nut O's...this addition of cereal is optional. I like it for the added crunch and texture).

7. Let the granola cool completely before storing it at room temperature in an airtight container.

Serve with cold milk in summer and warm milk in winter. I prefer drowning granola in chocolate almond milk myself.

By the way, the vegetable from the last post is called Zephyr Squash- it is a hybrid.

Sept09_8


Garden Dreamer guessed it right! To everyone who played along, thank you.

Canine Update

As promised, an update on Dale- here you see him sitting in the back seat of our car, catching his breath, heading back home after a long Sunday evening walk in Forest Park.
Car_Dale

With Dale, everything is a journey and a process. When we first got him home, he was traumatized by his neglect and abuse of his early life and terrified of anything new. Getting him into a car so we could take him places was an ordeal that involved kicking (from him), screaming (from me) and scratches all around- I'm trying to erase those episodes from my memory. Today, Dale is a changed dog. Now it has gotten to the point where he runs to the car and wants to be driven everywhere. He lords it over the back seat and sticks his head out of the window, ears flapping madly in the wind. Pets teach us so much, and Dale has definitely given us an important life lesson: sometimes, you need to give someone time and patience and after second, third, fourth chances, they will come around. Just because you are afraid of something at first does not mean you have to fear it forever.

If you are a dog lover, you simply have to read Dana Jennings' essay in the NYT about lessons from the family dog. But beware, his essays are so touching and beautifully written that you might start weeping helplessly wherever you are.

Currently reading...

books
The book right on top of the pile (29 gifts) is interesting in concept; the writing is just so-so. It is the story of a woman recovering from a debilitating illness whose spiritual adviser gives her an unusual "prescription" that comes from an African tradition. She is to give away a gift every day for 29 days with intention and thoughtfulness in order to see changes in her own life. This is a challenge I'd love to take on one of these days.

See you in a few!

23 comments:

  1. This granola seems like the perfect way to use my packet of rolled oats. It seems like a yummier breakfast alternative to just oatmeal. Thank you for the recipe!!

    My favorite snack these days is the lara bar(have you tried them? I love the cashew one- reminds me of kaju barfi- but without sugar, just date paste) which is expensive if being consumed on a regular basis. So I thought I'd make some roughly following this recipe: http://chocolateandzucchini.com/archives/2009/05/homemade_larabars.php.
    Your granola post just reminded me of these breakfasty bars..:)

    Dale looks soo cute and happy in the pics!!

    I love the sound of that 29 day exercise too. I love making and buying gifts and this sounds like the perfect excuse to do so...lol

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  2. I have collected many different cereal left at the bottom of the variety of cereal boxes left uneaten.I was looking for something to do with it.I could try this granola recipe for my kids.Thank you Nupur.I really admire your style of writing.

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  3. I've never tried making my own granola before, it sounds pretty simple. Will try ur recipe soon.

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  4. Nupur,

    That was such a wonderful lesson from Dale. He is such a cutie :)
    Hugs to Dale and You.

    Sheetal

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  5. Oh ! Zephyr Squash - we don't get these hybrids here in India. What do you prepare of these ?

    Lovely update on Dale and liked Dana Jennings' essay - Always had this idea of Marley for any pet - Dale is so opposite of him.

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  6. true nupur..
    Dales story has a lot to teach us.
    Thanks for writing abt him.
    Luv, Mauli

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  7. i am hearing abt Granola for the first time. :(

    sounds and looks rich and delicious..
    the link of the dog tale is very good, thanks for sharing..

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  8. hi nupur
    firstly thanks for the recipe. I almost try out every recipe at One hot stove. Your avacado dressing salad has become my most favorite. :)

    I love granola. But want to try without sugar. Any alternatives? Can we add fresh fruits as well ?
    in case of apple sauce granola; is it possible to omit sugar ?

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  9. Nupur,
    Your granola recipe sounds so good. We love granola here but never tried making it, now I know how, thanks! I loved your comment about giving a second chance with time and patience. Pets, dogs especially are such loving creatures, they give unconditional love and are faithful and expect nothing in return, a belly rub maybe :)

    Namita

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  10. hi
    Nupur
    great Post!!!
    I would love to take the challenge too but is the book available in India for reading??

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  11. Nupur- I realize this is foodie site, and comments focus on food. But since I am a die hard and hopeless animal lover, I cannot help but comment on your darling Dalu. I agree with your comments. My dogs are rescues and coming from those environment have behavioral issues. Lots of patience, and kindness and love will turn things around. They have turned into loving, caring, protective companions. Your precious Dalu is such a darling. God bless you for your loving hand in making his life a joy. He seems so happy.
    I wish more people would care as you do.

    Reva

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  12. I love how you call it "Standardized", like a true scientist. You just know when you call something standardized that after numerous trials and errors you finally have something that is reproducible time after time ;)

    Granola looks yummy as does Dale!

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  13. Hey Nupur,

    Parsi cuisine was very new to me hence I tried your Pateta-par-Eeda, wow it turned out Awesome !

    I have posted about it and sent it to Meera for her event.

    Thanks a ton for sharing :)

    Cheers,
    Kanchan

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  14. Lavanya- No, I have not tried lara bars (because I always seem to choose savory snacks over sweet ones) but I will have to try them now that you mention the kaju barfi connection!!
    Thanks so much for the link- those bars sound delicious and I'll be making them soon.

    susvaad- You could toss the various cereals with nuts and dried fruits and bake it as a tasty snack, for sure.

    Pavani- Granola is super simple to make, especially given your culinary experience.

    Sheetal- Dale says "thanks" and that you're very cute yourself ;)

    Kanchan- I have been making zephry squash stir-fries and curries, and roasting them for sandwiches.

    Mauli- Thanks for stopping by!

    Gauri Gharpure- Granola is a popular breakfast and snack food here, just something tasty and nutritious :)

    BlueMist- You could try honey or agave nectar instead of sugar. I would recommend adding fresh fruits to the granola right before eating it. The applesauce granola recipe is here and it does call for plenty of sugar. Granola is very customizable so just play around and create a recipe that meets your needs.

    Namita- If you love granola, you'll be able to make the perfect blend using your favorite nuts and dry fruits.
    Dale expects to be the center of our universe ;) other than that, he's all about unconditional love!!

    Mahek- You can check the 29 gifts website for further details.

    Reva- Those of us who have rescued pets know the secret, right? That we get back much more than we invest in the pet. We can only hope that more and more people give shelter animals a chance.

    Swati- It is a highly standardized recipe though :D because it fits my sheet pan perfectly, and fits the glass jar in which I store the granola just right too. I know this protocol by heart at this point :)

    Kanchan- I'm very glad the recipe worked for you! It is one of our favorites too.

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  15. I tried making granola once, was a bit of a flop.. but this version makes me want to have another go at it!
    Dale, sigh! Love him!
    Ihv always wanted dog, but my Mother is TERRIFIED of them! I remember, I used to pick up strays on the street on the way back from school and Mom used to throw us both out of the house and she'd go into hysterics regularly because of this habit!
    I am waiting for S to grow up, I will buy him a dog.... one like Dale!

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  16. You are welcome, Nupur...:) I am actually with you on the savory snack thing- I am constantly on the look out for healthy savory snacks (anything 'not potato chips'..lol). Kaju barfis are among the few Indian sweets that I love.

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  17. granola looks great Nupur....you have so many hobbies and also have adopted a dog. Appreciate your interests and enthusiasm!!

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  18. Manasi- Hi there :) Why did your granola flop the first time? This basic recipe has worked for me even when I am half-asleep, so I hope it works for you too.
    I do hope you can get your son a dog some day, it is wonderful growing up with pets. But please please please don't buy a dog- adopt one instead.

    Lavanya- What, potato chips don't count as a vegetable?? Now you tell me :D I love kaju katli too. Love kajus in general.

    Supriya- Yes, I like to stay busy and keep myself out of trouble ;)

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  19. I like to add dried cranberries and blueberries to the mix.

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  20. I read House of Sand and Fog when it was first published, and I found it very powerful and very well written. And very sad. Don't look for any uplift there! Your other books look interesting, too.

    I just finished Half Broke Horses ("a true-life novel"), by Jeannette Walls, and am about halfway through The Buccaneers by Edith Wharton.

    I'm glad that Dale is getting better & less afraid. It's so great to watch them as they get used to good treatment (for me, it's cats).

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  21. Lisa- Hi! I finished House of Sand and Fog and yes, I agree that it was very powerful, if a little extreme and implausible at the end. Very sad ending, I agree :(
    Your other books sound very interesting! I've read The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls and it was quite shocking.

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  22. Nupur , I would love to read that book too . There is something very touching about that concept . I am now off to amazon to find that book . It would be lovely to read it over the Thanksgiving Holidys .

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  23. I made granolaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!! It came out well, I tried the oil-free version ( M has to taste it, he just got home last night)
    I hv no idea what went wrong the first time, maybe I overdid the baking, i don't remember vey well.. but this time I was watchful ( I have a rickety apartment-oven) and the result is YES! (punches the air)

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