A granola recipe you will make for the rest of your life!

Years ago, well, 2002 to be exact my sister was telling me about this wonderful granola recipe she was addicted to. She sent me the recipe, and I made it several times, it was wonderful, I think she got it out of a magazine in a waiting room somewhere… since then I have made a few notes, sometimes I use less sugar, more cinnamon, different nuts, different dried fruit. It’s just granola, so add more of what you like and less of what you don’t! It’s wonderful on top of yogurt, in a bowl with milk (and fruit) or all by itself! I add more cinnamon if I think i’ll be eating it out of hand, less if I think I’ll be topping yogurt and fruit, but it’s up to you my friend, do what you like! This is what I do…

Hint… this is especially good… plain Greek yogurt, a swirl of honey, a few tablespoons of granola and a sliced banana… it will keep you going strong for hours!

INGREDIENTS

4 cups old fashioned oats (any brand will do, but old fashioned and not the quick cooking, it won’t be the same, I speak from experience!)

1 1/2 cups (or more) slivered almonds (this is key… the thicker crunch, the TASTE of the almond, oh yeah, SLIVERED, not SLICED)

1/2 cup (or less) LOOSELY packed brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon (or less) cinnamon

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup honey

1 teaspoon (real) vanilla

1 1/2 cups (more or less depending on your taste) of dried tart cherries (you can use ANY DRIED FRUIT YOU LIKE, I find cherries to be especially scrumptious, decadent and GOOD FOR YOU!)

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. If you’re using a dark pan, you might want to bump it down a bit, every oven is different, just keep an eye on it!

In a LARGE bowl, mix together the oats, almonds, sugar, salt and cinnamon with a wooden spoon. (This is the pre-stir together pic, go ahead and stir it up good, but gently, don’t want to break up the oatmeal).

HINT: when measuring this mixture, use the measuring cup to measure the OLIVE OIL first, then the honey, it will slide right out!

Warm the olive oil and honey mixture. You warm this mixture by placing it in a small pan on the stove (low), or in the microwave if you PROMISE not to walk away from it, you don’t want it HOT, you just want it warm enough to mix together… it doesn’t take long! Hmmm, sounds like I’ve repeated this step before, doesn’t it?

Once the olive oil and honey mixture is WARM (not hot), add the vanilla… PURE vanilla please.

Now you want to drizzle the warm honey/olive oil/vanilla mixture over the dry oat mixture. You want to drizzle and not pour like I did in this photo… Do what I say, not what I do… ha. I was trying to take a photo and pour, apparently I don’t have those skills down pat… yet! Give me time! Good grief, what part of DRIZZLE didn’t I get?? It’s all good, some quick subtle stirring is needed to coat the oat mixture with the oil mixture… gentle, remember you don’t want it to be the consistency of flour when you’re done…

Ready for the oven!

I know, I know! This looks a tad pale… trust me, after it basks in the warm glow of the oven it will turn a magical color… Now pour this mixture onto an ungreased 9 x 13 cookie sheet. It’s ready for the oven! Bake it at 300 degrees for 40 minutes total… STIR IT AROUND EVERY TEN MINUTES!

After it’s done, pull it out of the oven and let it cool on a wire rack.

Once cooled, go ahead and add the dried fruit. In my batch, I’m adding dried tart cherries.

Store the granola in an airtight container and it will last for 7-10 days, or freeze it and it will last 3 months!

Catch you back here tomorrow!

Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies – THESE are seriously fabulous!

Image: MyRecipes.com

Whenever I make these cookies and take them somewhere, people go nuts! Seriously… These are too good, and when I give out the recipe, NO ONE can believe they’re “light”. This recipe is from Cooking Light magazine. Make no mistake, part of what makes them so light is the serving size (one). With 81 calories, 3 grams of fat, 1.4 gm saturated fat, and 0.5gm fiber you have to be careful to not eat more than one (or two), but if you exercise a lot and can burn off what you eat… by all means, have at it! I love the cookie dough (I’m aware of the safety issues… to me, the dough is worth risking my life for taking a wee bit of a risk… I’m happy to report that in my little world there is no calorie content in the dough UNTIL IT IS BAKED… (and if you believe that I have swamp land, I mean a deep water lot for sale, hee hee).

I do make a few modifications, ALTHOUGH they’re perfectly fine as the recipe indicates. Here are some of the changes I’ve made throughout the years.Leave out the brown sugar. OOPS… it happened once and I thought they turned out BETTER. But the difference between it being there and NOT being there is barely noticeable  (therefore why waste the extra calories?).I use regular chocolate chips instead of mini. I didn’t care for the mini chips, they were, ahhhh, TOO MINI… I like a hefty bite of chocolate not a tiny smear where you THINK you may have just gotten chocolate (or maybe not)…I usually use walnuts and I don’t always toast them. One reason, I’m almost always in a hurry. Another reason, I forget about them until I smell them burning. Soooo, since nuts are good for you I use a generous amount, usually a few handfuls. Same with chocolate chips… I put a few handfuls… I buy good chocolate chips, free of allergy causing soy and other miscellaneous ingredients that takes away from the flavor of the chocolate. I also use dark chocolate chips…I usually (not always) make the cookies SMALLER. I like them bite size. No crumbs that way, boy do I have things figured out or what? You just have to watch them closely because they won’t always take as long to bake. I think you tend to eat less when you think, HAVE I JUST EATEN FIVE COOKIES? When in reality it was probably 2.5… a way I mess with myself, ha ha…Lastly, I use a Silpat cookie sheet liner instead of parchment, but either way it’ll work just fine! Give these a whirl, I do believe they’ll quickly become your favorite! Click HERE for the recipe from MyRecipes.com where you can easily print (as well as see the full info on nutritional info) or see below…

 Oatmeal, Chocolate Chip, and Pecan Cookies

These easy drop cookies are crisp on the outside and slightly chewy on the inside. Chocolate minichips disperse better in the batter, but you can use regular chips.

YIELD: 3 dozen (serving size: 1 cookie)

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (about 5 1/2 ounces)
  • 1 cup regular oats
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted
  • 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate minichips

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350°.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 4 ingredients (through salt), stirring with a whisk; set aside.

Place sugars and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. Add vanilla and egg; beat until blended. Gradually add flour mixture, beating at low speed just until combined. Stir in pecans and minichips. Drop dough by tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350° for 12 minutes or until edges of cookies are lightly browned. Cool on pans 2 minutes. Remove cookies from pans; cool on wire racks.

Julianna Grimes and Ann Taylor Pittman, Cooking Light
DECEMBER 2007

Catch you back here tomorrow! If you get a chance, check out my photo blog at http://almostdailypic.wordpress.com !