Sunday, February 7, 2010

My homemade granola

I really like granola, but I never ate it very often because it was 1. expensive to buy and 2. expensive to make (so I thought) and 3. calorific.

  1. It is expensive. The local bakery sells it to take home for around $9 a quart.
  2. My brother used to have my mom make (doesn't that sound terrible) this granola recipe that must've cost like $30. I don't know what was in there, but it was ridiculous, so I assumed all granola would be really expensive to make. But, don't we all know what happens when you assume? I think we do; thank you Oscar Wilde. It's really not that expensive to make unless you just have to have cold-pressed jojoba oil and exotic whatever. Go to the grocery, get some stuff, put it in there, it'll work.
  3. True. This is an energy food. It does not, however, have to have as many calories or as much fat as the stuff you usually buy at the store or the local bakery.
Here's where I started my granola-making journey (another Mississippi girl, yay!). She is a friend of a friend, and I like her granola recipe as a base. I've changed things up a bit though. This is how I make mine:


The dry
  • 3 heaping cups rolled oats (quick, instant, old-fashioned...whatever)
  • 1 1/4 cup of a mixture in whatever proportion of wheat germ, wheat bran, whole wheat flour and flax seeds (or some extra oats)
  • 1/4 - 1/3 cup almonds (slivered or sliced)
The wet*
  • 5 heaping spoonfuls brown sugar (like smallish-sized spoons you eat with)
  • 3 spoonfuls honey
  • 3 shakes cinnamon
  • 1 shake each nutmeg, allspice, cloves (more or less or none depending on what you like)
  • big dash salt
  • 1 spoonful vanilla extract
  • 1 spoonful almond extract
  • 3-6 spoonfuls warm water, to make thick but stir-able liquid
  • 1-2 spoonfuls vegetable oil
The not-listed-yet-so-you-don't-cook-them
  • dried raisins (1/4-1/3 cup)
  • dried cranberries (1/4 cup)
  1. combine (in large bowl) The dry
  2. combine (in separate, smaller bowl) The wet. add water until you have a thick, syrupy liquid
  3. add The wet to The dry
  4. stir stir stir
  5. turn oven on to 325 (don't worry about preheating)
  6. line jelly-roll (1/2 sheet) pan with parchment or foil + spray
  7. pour uncooked granola onto pan and stick it in the oven
  8. set timer for 18 minutes, but be ready to check it
  9. granola is done when it's about a shade darker than it was when it went in and smells fragrant
  10. wait for it to cool a bit and then add the dried fruit
  11. place in large, airtight container and store in the freezer for best (crispiest) results
  • *I know some of those aren't actually wet, you can really add them to either, but I like to put them with The wet.
  • this will burn quickly. when you even think it's done, it is. take it out.
  • it will harden as it cools; don't worry if it does't seem crispy when you remove it
I hope you enjoy this recipe, I really do. It's forgiving; don't be afraid to play with it.

My most difficult (and ugliest) project to date.

The "a" side

So, I saw these AMAZING pillows over at designsquish, and I thought to myself, "self, wouldn't it be super neat to have one of those pillows?". I apparently also responded with "yes, yes it would" because I embarked on this journey yesterday morning. I set out to make an "a" (because my honey's name starts with "a" and because, conveniently, when you turn it upside down it turns into a "g", which is the first letter in my name). I figured this would be difficult...and it was! The hardest part was the tunnel that you have to make ... and everything else. But now, 28 hour later, I have one pillow form of an "a" and or "g" (I will cover it with a sturdy upholstery fabric or recycled coat like they did so the bumps won't be so noticeable). I will make another one, and I MAY even make a tutorial if you're lucky. I'm trying to figure out the best way to piece this thing together...because what I did can NOT be the best way.

The "g" side

It's not very pretty, but honestly, I think it looks about as good as the one on designsquish. Hopefully I have some tricks up my sleeve for the next one (I think I do anyway), and hopefully it will look better with some thick fabric over it. It was a fun experience anyway and I learned some stuff. However...I may just tuft the hole instead of building that tunnel - that was terrible!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A shout out to Kroger and store brand white whole wheat flour

Sure, I've sung the praises of white whole wheat flour before. Sure, I love King Arthur Flours (I really really do). But I'm in college. I'm trying to save money. We're all trying to save money. So, I literally gasped when I saw that Kroger put out a store brand white whole wheat flour (ask my boyfriend, he was mid-story when I interrupted him to tell him about this discovery). It was on sale (because it's new?) so I picked up a 5lb bag for 2.49 (regular 2.99). King Arthur usually goes for 4.99, so it really is great savings - especially if you make bread (or pancakes or cookies or tortillas or pita or or or...) every week.

  • If you guys haven't tried white whole wheat flour yet, get your hands on some. It really is whole wheat flour, it's just a different kind of wheat (white wheat instead of the mixture other varieties usually found in all purpose). I use it in place of all purpose because it's really light and soft - very unlike the heavy whole wheat flours you usually get.
  • Next time you're strolling through the grocery, see if they have a store brand white whole wheat flour. Kroger is known as many things around the country, and surely they aren't the only ones to have thought of this. Let me know!