the view from my window

The predicted snow came. Twenty-five inches in my part of Connecticut. It was, and still is, beautiful. A friendly snow, as January blizzards go. While the volume was substantial, it was really rather benign–light and fluffy, little blowing or drifting.  But it did slow things down a bit, and that is almost always a good thing.

a winter treat — anytime 

dig in! granola, milk, and last summer's blueberries

How do you spend a gift “snow day”? One of my favorite places is in the kitchen, making something warm and hearty, something I might not have time for on a more scheduled day. Granola. Why not? It takes a bit of time to make, mostly because you need to bake it slowly at a low temperature. It’s aroma fills the house with a feeling similar to what you achieve with a baked apple pie: sweet warmth, goodness, security.

It’s not just a winter treat at all; I enjoy it year round. It’s full of good-for-you ingredients with high doses of fiber and Omega 3 fatty acids. It’s not exactly a “diet” food since much of what makes it nutritious also adds calories and fats (like the nuts), but you can take comfort that there are few hollow calories in this granola.

getting the goods

Go to your local health food, or healthier food store and raid their bulk items aisle. Not only will you get better products (a good variety of organic options), you’ll most likely spend a lot less than buying the prepackaged varieties.

granola recipe

Preheat oven to 250°

Spray large roaster pan with oil spray — I like to use olive oil in pump bottle.

Mix in a large mixing bowl the following ingredients in these approximate quantities:

  • 4 C. regular (organic) rolled oats — NOT instant or quick cooking
  • 2 C. raw sunflower seeds
  • 2 C. raw wheat germ (toasted will work, but raw is better)
  • 1 C. ground flax seeds — must grind or crush to release oil, which contains the good nutrients

    I use a thoroughly cleaned coffee mill to grind the flax

  • 1 teas. salt
  • 4 C. roughly chopped nuts de jour. I love nuts and load my granola with them, but I use whatever I have on hand: walnuts, almonds, pecans usually — heavy on the walnuts since they are so high in Omega 3 fatty acids.
  • 2 Tbsp. pure vanilla
  • 4 Tbsp. water
  • ½ C. mild flavored olive oil or other good quality vegetable oil
  • 1 — 1 ½ C. honey
Mix all ingredients until thoroughly moistened. The order of the ingredients isn’t really important, but I put in the dry ingredients first, then add the oil and liquids. The mixture should be sticky and moist, but not drippy. If it feels too dry, add a bit more honey and oil.

no particular order needed for adding the ingredients

Pour into prepared baking pan; bake at 250° for 30 minutes.

mix ingredients very well

Check and stir, then pat down softly. Continue to bake another hour to hour and a half, check, stir, and pat down every 15 to 20 minutes. Check it more often once it starts to brown a bit. You’ll find that the browning process is not linear. Once it begin to brown, it will brown or burn quickly.

check the granola often at the end, should be light brown around the edges

When done, remove from the oven. If you like chunky granola, let it cool before you stir it, and it will form big hunks. Once cool, add raisins, craisins, dates or other dried fruit, if desired.  Keep in air-tight container.

store in airtight container

The granola should easily keep fresh on the shelf in an air-tight container for four to six weeks. If you need to keep it longer than that, divide the finished batch and store part in the freezer until ready to use.

When using the frozen granola, remove from freezer and thaw completely before opening the container. That will prevent moisture from creeping into the thawing granola.