"Sit down and feed, and welcome to our table." -William Shakespeare

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Granola for a Summer Rhythm

Well, it's begun. And a bit earlier than usual, I might add. The days are so hot that by 11 am one can't step foot outside without every bit of energy getting instantly zapped, sapped, and evaporated by the humid heat and beating sun.

An exaggeration? I think not.

So our daily rhythms around here have been under construction. A park walk at 7 pm? No fun anymore. Afternoon nature walks? Just asking for heat stroke. Lazy evenings and late to bed- our usual fare- means we sleep late and waste the only part of the day worth being outside.

(The pool? Yes. We need to get to the pool. We've only been once this summer. It's just a bit difficult by myself with 3 little people at a pool that doesn't allow floating toys or children out of arm's reach of a parent. Yes, really. It makes it a bit complicated to enjoy the water when the husband is busy at work.)

Aaah, mornings. At heart I am a morning person. And a night owl. If only I could sleep from noon to 4 and 2 am to 6, life would be good. Haven't figured that one out yet, though.

So as exruciating as it is to turn off the hose and come inside
when the sun is still above the horizon, that's what we've been doing. A nice long bath- with lots of soap- for muddy little bodies, foot rubs, and stories (in the one bedroom with black-out curtains, heh-heh), and a happy new addition to the bedtime routine: a tape of lullabies I used to listen to as a child. I found it recently in an old box and was thrilled that it still works. The children love to drift off after 8:30 prayers with it playing on our 10-year-old dinosaur of a stereo. (I'd link to it on Amazon because it is so beautiful, but, big surprise, it is out of print- or whatever you call that for a music album. This one is similar:

Which has us all up by 7 or 7:30 and out the door by 8 or 8:30 to play at
the park or take a nature walk. Today we walked an extra-long way to Sleepy Hollow Park. Which used to be a lovely little haunt with a flowing brook.
Used to be. I was devastated to find it full of broken glass and trash that had been clearly just dumped there. We haven't made the trek in over 2 years. What a sad surprise.

We talked a bit about pollution and littering, but I couldn't bring myself to photograph it.
The children did get to see jumping fish, wild strawberries, and these beautiful, feathery trees,
whose name I don't know.

Everyone begged for a slide pic.

We arrived home at 10:20
dead tired.

Snacks, water, read-alouds. A good morning.

Later on we made granola. Well, I made it. The other people who live here were out in the yard under the hose. All four of them! Plus some neighbors, even.

Granola takes practise. I like mine very crispy and crunchy. I don't like it at all chewy or soft. And there's a fine line between crunchy and rock hard- or just straight burnt. I've been working on my granola for a solid 7 years.

This granola is a good substitute for our morning ritual of porridge or oatmeal with all the fixin's. It heats up the kitchen just once and SHOULD last for a week's worth of breakfasts. Should. But usualy doesn't. Store granola- even from the healthfood store- contains shocking amounts of sweetener- as in a couple or several tablespoons per cup. To me, that makes it dessert. Not breakfast!

Here's the 'recipe' I used today. My granola ingredients are generally whatever I can find in the fridge and pantry. So it rarely comes out the same twice.

In a BIG bowl mix:
7 cups rolled oats
1 cup raw sunflower seeds (pumpkin, sesame, whatever)
2 cups raw walnuts (Note: I generally avoid whole almonds, though, because they don't crisp well. Crushed or sliced are fine.)
1 c whole wheat flour (I used pastry)
1 c raw wheat germ
1 t cinnamon
1/2-1 t salt
In a saucepan melt:
1/2 c maple sugar
1 1/2 c water
stevia to taste
1/2 c raw coconut oil (butter, even olive oil works if you use more cinnamon)
1/4 t baking soda (enhances sweetness)
vanilla- the more the better around here

Dump wet into dry and work it till it is crubly and evenly wet. If your granola is sopping, add more flour. It will take forever to crisp if it's too wet.

Spread on multiple baking sheets, casseroles, whatever you've got. If it's spread too thickly it will take a long time to bake and the clumps will stay soggy in the middle. Cooked up properly crisp, this will keep weeks in the pantry. Well, it would, if we didn't eat it all in a couple days!

Bake at 325 for 45 minutes, turning and respreading the granola every 10- 15 minutes. It should be pretty dry and somewhat crisp. It will continue to crisp as it cools. If you have the patience, cook at 250 for 2.5 hours to retain better nutrition. I'm usually in a hurry, myself. You can dehydrate this, too, for maximum nutrition, if you are lucky enough to own a dehydrator. Sigh. Lucky you. Sigh. Pout. I want need a dehydrator. Ok. It's not a need. But I really, really want one.

And here you have
one awesome, awesome batch of granola for a lazy breakfast. You can put it on yogurt or douse it with milk, cover with berries or stick some in your pocket as you dash out the door. So good.

"Wherever you go, go with all your heart."

"I will walk with integrity in my house."


  1. I miss you - I'm so making this. When harvest is over. I love reading your blog because I get a little taste of being around you, my friend,

  2. your granola recipe looks yummy! I'll have to add it to my to-do list :)