Homemade Granola Goodness

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We eat a lot of granola at our house.  I usually buy the healthiest I can find at my local grocery store, but most of it has some form of processed sugar in it – even the “natural” brands – and it’s a bit expensive.  $3.50 for 8 oz.  So, after discovering my sweet husband had late night snacked away what I was saving for my breakfast this morning, I decided enough is enough.  I’m going to start making my own granola again.  It is a little time consuming, and I would much rather be in my quilting studio (okay, the spare bedroom with a few shelves and my sewing machine), but I splurged at my weekly trip to Natural Grocers this morning and bought the ingredients for homemade granola.  Its in the oven now and smells wonderful baking away with its orangey aroma.

I thought I would share my recipe just in case anyone else out there finds themselves in a granola dilemma.  A lot of this is just hit and miss on the amounts, so it may take some practice to achieve the consistency you like personally – dryer or stickier (my personal preference.)

HOMEMADE GRANOLA

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

Combine the following:

2 lb. box or bag regular rolled oats (not quick cooking)

8 oz. unsweetened shredded coconut

16 oz. natural almonds (I use whole almonds)

6 oz. chopped pecans

3 oz. chopped walnuts

8 oz. bag natural dates (not sugar coated), chopped

6 oz. bag dried apricots (I used Sun Maid brand), chopped

1-1/4  cup or 1/2 box of Sun Maid Golden Raisins

approx. 1/2-3/4 cup Chia seeds

approx. 1/2 cup milled flax seed

Mix all this together really well in a really big bowl with a really big spoon!

Next  you will need your oil and sweetener.  I use organic extra virgin coconut oil.  You really must use the organic extra virgin kind to get quality coconut oil, only available as far as I know, at natural grocery stores such as Whole Foods, Natural Grocers, Sprouts and health food stores. I haven’t found organic extra virgin coconut oil at my local run of the mill grocery store. If you can’t find good coconut oil, use organic light olive oil. If you use regular vegetable oil, you might as well just throw it all away, in my opinion. Coconut oil is SOOOOO much better for you. If you don’t believe me, check out Dr. Axe’s website.  But I digress.  Here is also where my approximations are really approximate.  I used two really heaping regular teaspoons (not measuring spoon teaspoons) of coconut oil and melted it in the microwave.  Stovetop melting is always better to maintain molecular consistency, but I was in a hurry.  So I’m going to call it:

1/2 cup melted Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil

Go ahead and mix that in the oats mixture from above.

Next you’ll need sweetener.  I use unprocessed honey.  I finished off a little that was in a jar of regular honey (about 1/4 cup), and then added my absolute favorite honey in all the world: Tangerine Honey from Walker’s Honey Farm Store.  There is a little store down in Rogers, Texas, where my sweet cousins live.  Every time I get to go for a visit, I stock up on Walker’s honey.  Its a family owned business that’s been around since my Mom was a girl.  I found it in the Natural Grocers in Temple, Texas, but I know you can order online.  This is where your stickiness preference comes into play.  I used 1/2 of a jar and would have used more, but it is my last jar and I must some to spoon with organic peanut butter for my midnight snack!  So I’m going to call it:

3/4-1 cup honey or more to taste

Start with less, you can always add more.

Mix the honey in well.  This is what mine looks like in the bowl.

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Now, you’re ready to bake it.  I spread mine out on cookie sheets, not too full.  Like this.

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This recipe makes about 5 cookie sheets worth, which is a LOT of granola.  So, feel free to half the recipe if you need to.  Now she tells us.

Bake in your preheated 250 degree for a total of 30 to 45 minutes.  BUT – and this is important – bake it in 15 minute increments – and give it a good stir after each 15 minutes.  My oven will hold two cookie sheets at a time, so I am looking at being tied to the house for a couple of hours to complete the baking, but it is so worth it.  Mix your granola, pop it in the oven, set the timer and go clean that bathroom!!!  Don’t forget to take the timer with you!  This is what mine looks like after 45 minutes.

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It tastes a little burned after 45 minutes in my oven.  Next time I will try just 30 minutes.  So, I will put this in a bowl to cool and then move to glass jars for storage.

Oops, forgot to set the timer. Be right back.  That could be disastrous with my gnat-like attention span.

Okay.  While I’m waiting for another 15 minutes to pass, let me tell you about another favorite stop down around Rogers.  (Rogers and Temple are just about 1 hour north of Austin if that helps).  I’m talking about Green’s Sausage House in Zabcikville, Texas, just about 14 miles from Temple on Highway 53.  The BEST homemade German sausage you have ever put in your mouth.  They take online orders, too.  Just saying.  They also make good kolaches.

Well, I guess that’s it for now.  I really should post stuff more often.  This is fun.

Keep it simple, ya’ll.

The Dirty Dozen – Top Foods to Buy Organic

I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately about all the chemicals in our lives.  In our food, in our environment.  While there may not be a lot we can do about the air we breathe, we can make food choices that will put less stress on our livers and lymph systems as they work to detox our bodies.  Buying fruits and vegetables  that have not been sprayed with pesticides will not only keep those chemicals from harming us, but those foods have been tested and proved to be more nutritious, according to Dr. Ann Louise Gittleman, the detox diet expert.

There are 12 foods that are most easily contaminated with pesticides and 12 that she lists as okay to not worry about buying organic.  Here are the ones you should buy organic whenever possible. They are listed in the order of their toxicity.

1. Peaches

2. Apples

3. Sweet bell peppers

4. Celery

5. Nectarines

6.  Strawberries

7. Cherries

8. Pears

9. Grapes, imported

10. Spinach

11. Lettuce

12. Potatos

Wow!  I buy ALL this stuff. 

Here are the foods not to worry about:

1.  Onions  (just bought a bag of organic ones today.  Oh, well..)

2. Avocados

3. Sweet corn

4.  Pineapples (ooh, I love pineapple, good idea…)

5. Mangoes (yuck)

6. Asparagus (double yuck)

7. Sweet peas

8. Kiwi (good!)

9. Bananas

10. Cabbage (something else I just bought organic)

11. Broccoli (second verse same as the first)

12. Papaya (triple yuck)

The good Dr. Gittleman also shares a recipe for a Clorox wash that is supposed to “help remove pesticides, bacteria, parasites and other contaminants.”  She credits Dr. Hazel Parcells for proving that a very dilute mixture of 1 teaspoon of Clorox bleach to 1 gallon of water will not only clean your fruits and vegetables, but make them last longer. 

Thin skinned fruit such as apricots, berries, plums, peaches should be left in the bath for 15 minutes, same for leafy vegetables; poultry, fish, meat, eggs for 20 minutes; thick skinned fruit such as apples, bananas and citrus for 30 minute as well as thin skinned root or fibrous vegetables like carrots and radishes.  After the alloted time in the bath, place in clear water for 10 minutes.  Then remove, rinse and dry thoroughly. 

So, her point is, if organic is too expensive or not available, the above bath is a good alternative.  Think I might give it a try with the strawberries I bought today. 

So, let me know what you think.  Is this sort of information helpful?  Has anyone tried the Clorox bath?  Comments, comments, comments!

Keep it simple, ya’ll.