Sunday, March 27, 2005

true confessions of a granola muncher

I think I have officially become a hippie-earth-day-granola-muncher. Well, I still drive my very fuel inefficient truck . . . but there are a few other things. (I carry my groceries in tote bags . . . I buy recycled toilet paper . . . I only use cloth napkins . . . I don't use paper towels for cleaning any more . . . I buy environmentally friendly cleaning and laundry products . . . I buy fair trade coffee when I can . . . I collect my compost and take it to work . . . I recycle everything I can . . . the list goes on and on . . . !)

In the true spirit of my recent environmental awareness (thanks Dodge!), here's my recipe for granola (I made some tonight):

4 cups regular rolled oats (NOT the quick-cooking kind) (you could also substitute 1 cup of the oats with 1 cup quick-cooking barley for a change of texture and flavor)
1/2 cup chopped nuts of your choice (walnuts, pecans, and almonds are my favorite -- feel free to mix 'n' match)
1/2 cup flaked coconut OR an additional 1/2 cup chopped nuts
1 tsp cinnamon (you could also add nutmeg, too -- about half as much)
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup molasses or maple syrup (the real McCoy -- none of that "pancake syrup" business -- 100% pure, my friends)
1/3 cup water
2 tbsp oil (I like walnut oil -- gives it a nice, rich flavor)
2 cups dried fruit (raisins, cherries, blueberries, chopped apricots, etc. -- or you could omit this if you don't like dried fruits)

1. Combine the oats, nuts, coconut, cinnamon, and salt in a 9X13 pan.
2. Combine the honey, molasses or syrup, water, and oil in a small saucepan. Bring just to a boil, then pour over the oat mixture. Stir gently to evenly coat the oats.
3. Bake at 325 for 40 minutes, stirring every 10 to 15 minutes. Cool completely before transferring to an airtight container.

HEY! I just had an idea for a cool variation -- honey-nut granola. Use 1/2 cup honey and 1/2 cup water, omiting the molasses or syrup. Use chopped peanuts, and omit the cinnamon. (You could even use roasted peanut oil!) I'll have to try that sometime . . . !

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