Granola Girl’s Granola

167051_1797792475514_1247275_nFor years friends called me “granola girl” because I couldn’t stop making granola and sharing it. One friend liked it so much he started making it at his cafe, in place of a version he was buying, to put on top of yogurt and fresh fruit.  I don’t make granola nearly as often as I used to, but something about the damp cold weather we’re having this week makes me long for my granola girl days. In fact, I’m thinking about putting some in the oven right now. Every so often someone asks me for the recipe so, I thought I’d share it here. Enjoy!

Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees

Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl: 9 cups of rolled oats (not quick cooking), 2 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp sea salt, 1 cup coarsely chopped raw almonds, 1 cup coarsely chopped raw cashews, and 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds.

In a small sauce pan on medium low heat combine 1/2 cup vegetable (canola) oil, 3/4 cup maple syrup, 3/4 cup honey and 2 Tbs vanilla until they blend together nicely (the honey melts into the syrup) and it just begins to smell.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix them together thoroughly.

Spread the mixture evenly on two cookie sheets with edges (if the sheets don’t have edges the granola will slide off when you turn it and you must turn it).

To begin, bake for about 10 minutes and then you turn the granola with a metal spatula (metal works best to get the good sticky sweet stuff up each time from the bottom of the cookie sheet). Then bake it for another 7 minutes and turn it again. Continue to bake it for 5 minutes and then turn it …bake it for 5 minutes and turn it. As the granola gets darker, start turning every 3 minutes as it will very quickly get too dark so you have to pay attention and take it out when it’s as brown as you like it. I sometimes switch the two sheets in the oven rack around 30 minutes in… depends on how evenly your oven cooks.

Turning it regularly is the KEY to successful texture. It usually takes about an hour but sometimes it’s less. Even if it seems like it’s taking forever and not cooking, don’t stop watching it and turning it.

After it cools add a handful of dried cranberries or raisins.

Some lessons learned:

If you don’t turn it often the texture will be inconsistent… ie. overdone and crispy on one side of the oat and damp on the other.

If you use butter or olive oil instead of canola it won’t taste the same.  In fact, don’t do it.

Any nuts are good so you can pick and choose what you like. I just mentioned my favorites. Sometimes I don’t even add nuts which is fine too… just less yummy.

If you use agave instead of maple syrup, that’s fine but it will taste different. Personally, I prefer Vermont maple syrup… the good stuff.

Enjoy with milk, plain yogurt, ice cream or just by the handful.

(note: I found this recipe in the Esalen cookbook many moons ago… I think they suggest a cup of rye flakes in place of one cup of oats but I never have rye flakes on hand so rye bother? whacka whacka)

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Win Friends With Salad

I’ve got a few friends who like to sing me the “You don’t win friends with salad” song. They think it’s very “Lisa Simpson” of me to always order a large salad to share when we’re at this one pizza place while everyone else orders pizza and beer. Everyone eats the salad, mind you, it’s just part of the routine to tease me about ordering it and that includes singing me the song, which sometimes they do in a conga line, depending on how much beer was consumed prior to sitting down at the restaurant. If you don’t know the song, you should. You can listen to it and it will be stuck in your head for at least a day (you’re welcome).

But contrary to what my friends sing, I actually have won friends with salad, especially this one. I wasn’t planning to post recipes on my blog, but I think I will make some exceptions for a few of my favorites…you know, the showstoppers, the ones that win friends, like this one. It’s originally from the Esalen cookbook, except I don’t add sprouts (sorry but yuck) or mushrooms and I usually add brown rice and grated carrots, if I have them. I also like to add some protein, maybe a fried egg, sliced grilled chicken, grilled salmon or smoked trout and then I drizzle a bit of Sriracha on top for a little kick.

I promise you, this is one salad that will win friends! Here’s the recipe for you to try:

Julie’s Raw Kale Salad Recipe

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Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup Bragg Liquid Aminos or tamari soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 medium red onion
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 1 pound fresh kale
  • 1 cup of cooked brown rice
  • 1/2 cup or so of peeled and grated carrots
  • 1 avocado diced

Directions

  • 1 Whisk together the Bragg (or tamari soy sauce), olive oil and lemon juice in a bowl. Slice the onion into half moons and marinate in the dressing as you prepare the rest of the salad.
  • 2 Toast the seeds in a heavy bottomed pan (cast-iron is the best though I don’t own one) over medium heat until seeds are just golden and fragrant. Toast each seed type separately as their size requires varying roasting times. Cool to room temperature.
  • 3 De stem the kale. Slice kale leaves into 1/4 inch ribbons (time consuming but worth it)
  • 4 Toss the seeds, carrots and kale with the onions, and as much dressing as necessary to lightly but completely dress the kale. Thoroughly massage the kale with your hands.
  • 5 Add the brown rice and toss.
  • 6 Top with avocado slices and/or any other protein you might enjoy. My favorites are: fried egg, grilled chicken, grilled salmon or smoked trout. I also like to drizzle a bit of Sriracha on top, but I tend to like things hot.

Enjoy!