Sunday, September 15, 2013

New Music and Mom's Granola

"Gratitudes" -- September 15, 2013
Today I'm grateful for:
1. Spending a gorgeous day in Kensington yesterday
2. Waking up from a bad dream and having my boyfriend say "It's okay, you're safe and sound now, back in good old 2013."
3. Yesterday I had the best gluten-free, vegan brownie that I have ever eaten -- I ate it before I could take a picture of it's ooey-gooey, chocolatey, toasted walnut-y goodness
4. Fresh grapefruit

5. The moment when the sun comes out after it looks like rain
6. Orange Week by Ashley of A. Cook In The Making. I absolutely love the colour theme! Orange is so cheerful and this blog has brightened up my week.
7. A friend recommending new music. I can't wait to check out Rasputina!
8. Getting called back for a second interview
9. How walking on my favourite nature trail is always grounding
10. Living within walking distance to a great little bakery
11. Drinking smoothies from a wine glass
12. Finding a penny on the ground
13. This dancing pea that I met at the Toronto Vegetarian Food Festival

14. Wishing on a star very early in the morning
15. Discovering handmade pottery in thrift stores
16. The way Jasper Cat licks my hand if it's near him when he's taking a bath
17. Colorful plant-based food pictures on twitter
18. How this magnesium supplement can sometimes stop a caffeine freak out, thanks Natural Calm!
19. Awesome spice stores
20. Finding old journals
21. Ontario cantaloupe
22. Signs on the street that tell me I'm awesome

23. How the mailman knows my name
24. Knowing there is extra toothpaste in the cupboard
25. A day with no plans except relaxing with my favourites
26. It's still the weekend
27. The way my favourite pink hoodie is so comfortable
28. Rolled oats on sale!
29. Pumpkin seeds
30. How smells can bring back vivid memories

These are a few smells that take me right back to my childhood and make my space feel like home. One is olive oil and garlic in a pan on the stove, a precursor to many delicious soups, pasta sauces, stir-frys and a myriad of other tasty dinner delights. The other is homemade granola toasting in the oven. When I was growing up my mom always kept a container full of homemade granola in the cupboard and the smell of it cooking always made the kitchen feel extra cozy. It was always there for a nourishing breakfast or a quick snack. She stills makes it and now I do too. It's a pretty easy recipe, and versatile in that you can substitute a lot of the ingredients with what you have on hand. Flaked barely instead of oats? Sure! Walnuts instead of almonds? Oh yeah! Spice it up too if that's how you're feeling. In the end you will have A LOT of granola, the satisfaction of making it yourself and a kitchen that smells like home.

Mom's Granola

8 cups rolled oats -- large flake
1 cup unsweetened coconut
1 cup flax powder or wheat germ
1 cup sunflower seeds -- plain
1 cup slivered almonds
1/2- 3/4 cup liquid sweetener (I use maple syrup), depending on how sweet you like it
2/3 cup oil
1 tsp vanilla

Optional ingredients: raisins, cranberries, other dried fruit, whatever spices you love!

In this latest batch I substituted pumpkin seeds for almonds and added pumpkin pie spices:

1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp allspice
1/8 ground cloves

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Mix dry ingredients together in a big bowl, including any spices if you decide to use them.
Mix liquid sweetener, oil and vanilla together in a cup, add to the dry ingredients and mix well.
Divide mixture onto two shallow baking trays and clean the mixing bowl.
Bake the granola in the oven for 10min and then stir.
Bake for another 10min and then stir again.
You may need to bake for another minute or two -- until toasty looking.
Place the granola back into the mixing bowl. Add in the raisins or other dried fruit at this point if you want. (I usually save the raisins and add a few to my own bowl at breakfast if I feel like it.)
Stir at intervals to help cool.
When cool store in an airtight container.

Enjoy! <3

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