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The Granola Chronicle

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By Ada Lang

When I was younger, my mother used to make home made granola cereal. I don’t really know what started it - probably to save money. 

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Now that I buy my own groceries, I want to save money - leaving more money for adult beverages. I am appalled by the price of cereals and even more so, the price of granola - dinky little bags for easily $5 a bag.

So, a while back, I found the stack of my mother’s recipes that I had written down (by hand) when I was about 18 years old - before I moved out of the nest. They barely had copiers in those days and computers were a fantasy. The granola recipe was in this stack of papers -  little tattered, a little stained but over-all still usable. 

Using that as a starting point, I have developed a recipe that is a combination of several recipes and it changes every time I make it. This past weekend, we were out of granola and you know the saying: “Breakfast is Greg’s most important meal of the day,” so I made another batch. But, I digress.  

It is so easy and the recipe can be doubled or halved without any problems. This recipe is based on using the entire 42 ounce tub o’ oats.

Gather your ingredients. They include: a giant 42 ounce tub of “old fashioned rolled oats” - not instant oats. Save your money and buy the local store brand. 

You will also need: coconut flakes (sweetened or unsweetened), nuts (walnuts, sunflower seeds, almonds, sesame seeds, cashews, etc. Preferably raw and unsalted), dried fruit (raisins, chopped prunes or apricots, blueberries, cranberries or cherries), cinnamon, liquid sweetener (honey, molasses, cane sugar, maple or brown rice syrup, etc.), sea salt, olive or safflower oil and vanilla or almond extract. 

Optional items include: brown sugar, powdered milk (adds protein), wheat germ, whole wheat bran and soy flour.

You will also need a couple BIG bowls for mixing, a couple cookie sheets that have a raised edge all the way around (got mine at Sam’s Club) and some sort of large container to store your granola in. I prefer glass jars. 

When you are shopping for the fruits and nuts, if you buy them in bulk rather than in little bags, you will save a lot of money. Keep the nuts in the freezer and the dried fruits dry. A good place to shop in bulk is the “new” Publix near the Barnes and Noble at Butler Plaza, Wards, Sam’s Club or either Mother Earth location, in Gainesville. 

I make a big bunch at once just to get it over with and it lasts for a few weeks, so I use two gigantic stainless bowls.  

  • Preheat the oven to 325 or 350 maximum.
  • Divide the oatmeal between the two - about 7-8 cups per bowl. 
  • Add the nuts - 2 cups per bowl and a couple types of nuts. 
  • Add the coconuts flakes - 1 cup per bowl.
  • Add the cinnamon - 2 teaspoons per bowl but you could add more and 1 teaspoon of salt per bowl. You can leave out the salt if it is an issue for you.
  • Add the dried fruits - about a cup per bowl of the large, chopped fruit pieces. Hold smaller pieces to add after the granola is baked so they don’t dry out too much.
  • Add the optional dry ingredients if you wish, at this point.
  • In a bowl, mix the oil, sweetener and extracts and add to the dry ingredients. Mix it all up thoroughly with a spatula. 
  • Put in pans. Depending on the size of the pans, it could be fairly thick but you will stir it as it cooks. Try for no more than maybe 2 inches thick. 
  • Bake for about 25 minutes. After the first 10 minutes, start stirring and flipping it every five minutes so that it becomes evenly baked. Do not over bake! Let it cool completely and add smaller dried fruits - about a cup per bowl. Mix and store in an airtight container.

You can put the granola over yoghurt with some fruit or with a splash of milk. You can even take a some in a baggie for a snack on the run. It’s cheaper than store bought and better, too. You can customize the blend each time for a different version. Enjoy.