Souper Tuesday: now with 100% less soup! (And 100% more granola.)
Well folks, it’s Tuesday, which means I should be sharing a soup recipe.
I actually did make this soup last night. And who knows, I just may end up making soup tonight. I’ve been cooking a lot lately: chili, lasagna, curry, french toast, shepherd’s pie. Even though “eating out” wasn’t on the hit list for my January spending freeze, I think the thriftiness is seeping into other areas of our life.
But I’m not sharing a soup recipe today; I have other food on my mind. I’ve decided that starting today, I’ll still share a recipe each Tuesday, but it may or may not be for soup. (Come July, we’ll all be happy about this.)
Noah was the inspiration for today’s recipe. Out of the blue one day last week, he said “Mom, when can we make granola again?”
Granola. Of course! Early last spring, I was whipping up a batch each week. It all started with a detox I did for Lent. The detox banned meat (not an issue since I already don’t eat it) wheat, dairy, refined sugar, alcohol and caffeine. Previous participants in the detox reported weight loss, increased energy and a feeling of mental and physical lightness.
I felt…glad, I guess, about being forced to try some new foods. But other than that, I’d say my primary emotion during the detox was irritation, with “mad hunger of a ravenous beast” taking a close second.
The days were fine. But every night at about 9:00, Pat – who was also detoxing – and I would begin pacing the kitchen, throwing open cupboards and cursing while trying to figure out what the hell else we could eat. I got really sick of trying to satiate my sweet tooth (which never went away) with chia seed and coconut milk pudding, and Pat developed a serious (and still standing) addiction to rice cakes with all-natural peanut butter.
The other thing we both went crazy for? This granola. I ate it every morning with plain yogurt. (That’s the one dairy serving I allowed myself. I was nursing, okay? And, fine, I’ll admit that I never completely gave up alcohol and caffeine. If I had wanted to do that, I would have just gotten pregnant again. And yes, I know that probably had something to do with why I didn’t experience the full “lightening” effects of the detox.)
Anyway, back to the granola. I made a big batch yesterday afternoon. It’s so easy, it makes the house smell great, and everyone was looking forward to it this morning. I was also reminded that the last time I made this recipe, Noah still called it “granilla.” But now my baby is five and pronouncing things correctly. *Weeps into Tupperware container of granola.*
I based my recipe on this one from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything: The Basics. But the great thing about granola is that it’s incredibly customizable, so I threw in a few other things.
6 cups rolled oats
2 cups chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans, almonds, cashews, etc.)
1 c. shredded unsweetened coconut
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, or to taste
(I also threw in some pepitas and chia seeds that I had left in the freezer from the detox.)
1/2 c. honey or maple syrup, or more to taste
1 c. raisins or chopped dried fruit (I like golden raisins)
Heat the over to 350 F. In a large bowl, combine the oats, nuts, coconut, cinnamon and salt (and any other seeds or whatever you’re adding). Drizzle with honey or syrup. Toss well to evenly distribute the sweetener and stir in more to make it sweeter if you like.
Spread the mixture evenly on a rimmed baking sheet and put in the oven. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure the granola is toasting evenly. The browner it gets without burning, the crunchier it will be. (For what it’s worth, I totally burned it once, and it sill wasn’t bad.)
Remove the pan from the oven and add the raisins. Cool on a rack. The pan will still be hot, so keep stirring the granola as it cools to keep it from burning it spots.
Spoon the granola into a sealed container and store it in the refrigerator; it will stay fresh for a couple months. (Blogger’s note: it won’t last that long.)