This week has been a complete whirlwind (which is why I haven’t posted a recipe in a while!). I taught hooping workshops to freshmen at the U of Michigan, taught a seminar on hooping at a conference for public school PE teachers and catered three separate events on top of my normal job! I am pooped. I don’t remember being this stressed out even during finals in college…
Here is part of the 500 mini treat order for a local business’ 50 year anniversary:
It felt really great to be so busy, I’m hoping to keep the ball rolling with some fun Valentine’s Day specials… I’ll keep you posted.
Last night, when I had finally finished everything for the week and it was time to relax… I couldn’t. I made guacamole for dinner, caramel corn for dessert and granola for the week to come. I had just spent all week baking things for other people, I needed to make some things for myself!
The recipe I’m going to go through today is my go-to granola recipe, so of course I got it from Oprah. Yes, Oprah! She’s no Martha Stewart but I guess she knows her granola. Oprah also taught me that granola was invented in the 1860’s but never grew in popularity. Then in the 1960’s production of granola boomed due to a health movement closely related to the “hippie” lifestyle. Granola bars didn’t make an entrance until the mid 1970’s.
Although granola was tied to a health movement in the 60’s, it’s really important to not equate granola with healthy. Companies will put anything in granola to make it taste delicious, so if you’re buying granola at the store make sure to check out the ingredients list.
In my opinion, buying granola is a waste of money. I did some math for all of you (that is rare, so be thankful) and figured out that the granola from today’s post cost about $8.65 for 9.5 cups of granola – that’s about 45 cents for every half cup serving. For most granolas you buy in stores (like BearNaked for example) a half cup serving costs about 83 cents.
On top of financial benefits, when you make your own granola at home you get to know exactly what goes in it. You can change ingredients to fit with what you like, avoid any food allergy problems and keep the sugar content as high or low and you like. Plus, granola is so simple, I promise you. You stir everything up in a bowl and bake it for a long while on a low temp to dry it all out. So lets do it.
Pumpkin Brown Sugar Granola
1 1/2 cup pureed pumpkin
1 cup brown sugar (feel free to use other sweeteners here then add a couple tablespoons of molasses to create the brown sugar taste)
4 Tbsp oil
1 Tbsp vanilla
4 tsp pumpkin pie spice (a combo of all spice, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger)
2 tsp caradamom
2 tsp salt
6 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1 1/2 cups nuts (I used almonds and pecans)
2 cups dried fruit (I used cranberries and currants)
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.
Throw everything except the dried fruit in into a large bowl and mix until everything is coated.
Spread this mixture out evenly on two sheet pans lined with parchment or baking mats.
You are going to bake the granola for about an hour – the hour is split into thirds. Every 20 minutes take out the granola and mix it around a bit, make sure to rotate oats in from the edges, they tend to get crispy pretty quickly out there.
When you take out the sheets before the final 20 minutes, sprinkle in the dried fruit.
Finish the last 20 minutes, if the oats are nice and crunchy, you’re done! If not, they just need a little more time to dry out. Turn off your oven but leave the granola inside, you can leave in in there for up to two hours to get it as crunchy as you like.
Yummm… I like mine with some Wallaby vanilla bean yogurt and grannysmith apple chunks…
These little guys like it best when it falls on the floor.