Ok, Freezer Week did not work out as I planned. If anything, I have more in the freezer now than when I started. This is not entirely my fault - in our house September is birthday month: My birthday and my daughter's birthday are right next to each other, and my husband's birthday is a few weeks later. That means lots of baking, pizza making, BBQ, etc. Also, when I made the plum jam last week, I ended up with tons of leftover pureed plums, which I froze in ice cube trays with the idea of putting a few cubes in when I make smoothies. And, somehow, I now have a whole wild salmon in my freezer, where there wasn't one before. Not that I'm complaining. We did eat some of the chicken thighs. Soup season is upon us now, so I'll be using up the stock and making a new batch before long - I think I still have several bags of chicken necks, wings, and backs to turn into a lovely stock sometime soon. For now, I'm taking a bit of a break from the kitchen, except to make some fresh yogurt, and bake up a batch of crunchy granola to eat with it... I love to make these two things, because they are so simple to make, and yet they make me feel like a star in the kitchen somehow. Plus it is really nice to know exactly what is in even your most basic foods. Pizza dough and bread are also on my list of foods that make me feel accomplished when I make them myself, plus they make the whole house smell good (well, not the yogurt...) and give you that warm, fuzzy, homey feeling. I love this crunchy granola recipe that I got from Mollie Katzen's Sunlight Cafe - the only thing that I change is the soy protein powder (because my mom loves granola, but can't eat anything with soy in it...). There are so many recipes for granola out there, it's easy to find one (or make one up) with all of your favorite ingredients, and with the amount of oil and sweetener that you prefer. The more oil, the crunchier the finished granola - this one has quite a bit of oil because I like it crunchy - but I rarely eat this as a breakfast cereal - it makes a great topping for yogurt (um, or ice-cream...).
Very Crunchy Granola
Nonstick spray (I actually use a silicone baking mat instead)
3 cups rolled oats
1 cup barley flakes (you can just add another cup of rolled oats if you want)
1 cup oat bran
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup chopped almonds
3/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup light honey or pure maple syrup
1 Tbsp vanilla extract (always use real vanilla - in everything...)
1 cup soy protein powder (I sub. nonfat dried milk, and use between 1/2 to 1 cup)
1/2 Tsp salt
1/3 cup (packed) brown sugar
1 cup pumpkin seeds (optional - I leave them out because Picky won't eat them)
- Preheat the oven to 325 F. Spray a 13 by 18 inch baking tray with non-stick spray.
- Combine the oats and barley flakes, bran, sunflower seeds, and almonds in a large bowl.
- Combine the oil, honey, and vanilla, and pour this mixture into the bowl. Mix thoroughly.
- Stir in protein powder and salt, and mix thoroughly
- Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until golden, stirring once or twice during the baking (really keep an eye on it for that last 10 minutes)
- Crumble in the sugar as soon as the granola comes out of the oven, and let it melt in. Cool it on the tray, and stir in the pumpkin seeds (if using) as it cools. The granola will get crunchy as it cools.
- Store the finished granola in a tightly closed jar in the freezer for maximum freshness.