Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Cooking with Little Ones: Homemade Granola


I blew into town last night, just before the heavy snow. In case you hadn’t noticed, it was very quiet over here the past week, as I was enjoying a decadent week away with my mom where the only thing we had to worry about was which yoga class to take, whether to hike or take a breathing workshop, and whether to have dinner at 6:30, 7:30 or 8:00. Bliss I tell you.

Anyhow, local schools were cancelled today, which was nice because I hadn’t spent quality time with my children in a week. On my flights home, I had earmarked all sorts of recipes from Mark Bittman’s book, Food Matters, and jotted down this elaborate shopping list, excited to launch back into cooking after being cooked for for the past fifteen meals.

After the novelty of making Valentines wore off, my littlest one wanted to cook together. Truth be told, he wanted cookies, and I think he figured asking to cook together just might make a couple dozen appear. No such luck on Day 1 back from the spa. But close, since oats/butter/sugar/flour were some of the only things on hand. I’d left the home stocked with plentiful frozen meals and enough fruits and veggies to last the week, intending to do a major marketing run upon my return. But the snow was keeping us in, so I honed in on a recipe that we could whip up together with what we did have on hand…and this recipe happens to also be perfect for little hands because it involves dumping and stirring, that’s it. Today I tried Mark Bittman’s granola recipe, which is very similar to the one I posted a couple of months back, minus the olive oil and his has a higher proportion of oats to nuts/coconut.

Anything Goes Granola from Food Matters by Mark Bittman
Makes a lot of granola!

5 cups of rolled oats
3 cups of mixed nuts (we used walnuts, pecans, and slivered almonds)
1 cup of shredded, unsweetened coconut
Cinnamon, to taste
½ - 1 cup of agave or honey (we used half of each and probably put ¾ cup in)
Sea salt, dash of
Vanilla (but we didn’t have any on hand)
1 cup of raisins (which we also didn’t have, so we used cranberries)

Preheat oven to 350. Mix rolled oats, nuts, coconut, cinnamon, honey, sea salt in a big bowl. Spread the mixture on a rimmed cookie sheet and bake for 30 minutes, stirring once or twice during the cook time. Once it comes out of the oven, stir in the raisins (or cranberries). Cool and then store in an airtight container.



Mark says that it will “keep indefinitely in the fridge” but I think we’ll blow through this batch in the next few days. Excellent eaten plain for a snack (if you have a vacuum nearby), eaten like cereal, or made into yogurt parfaits.


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