Lately, we’ve been talking a lot in the store about things we spend money on, that we could make cheaper at home. Chicken stock comes up a lot. I know Phyllis and her husband, Mike, make a lot of soups, and they always have homemade chicken stock on hand. Ask her about Mike’s Chicken and Dumpling Soup sometime, it sounds delicious.
Another one, that we eat a lot of in my household, is granola. I do purchase granola, but I’m pretty picky about what I like in it. I like dried fruit, but I don’t want raisins, and I don’t want so much dried fruit that my jaw feels like it’s had a workout after each bite. I like nuts and seeds, because I like it crunchy. My biggest issue is that I don’t want it to taste like it’s trying to be something else—like dessert. I just want a crunchy, nutty topping for my yogurt in the morning. Is that so much to ask? Sometimes it seems like it is, so I turn to my own pantry!
Making homemade granola is actually a great way to clear out the remnants of my baking supplies. I do follow a recipe (I’m one of those), but I am learning to relax, and allow myself to make substitutions and even omit ingredients if I don’t have them or don’t like them. (I know that sounds basic, but for some of us sticklers for a recipe, it’s an accomplishment)! If you really want to get into customizing your granola, check out this blog on Bon Appetit's test kitchen to avoid some common mistakes.
I love Tom Douglas’ The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook. There are so many great recipes in here from the muffins and scones to a killer strata that makes a great breakfast for a crowd. Someday, I’m going to tackle the English Muffins—I’ll let you know how that goes. He’s also got a great granola recipe. Here’s my version:
3 Cups rolled oats
½ cup steel-cut oats (if you don’t have any, just use another ½ cup rolled oats)
½ cup sweetened coconut (you could also use unsweetened)
½ cup chopped, nuts. I used almonds, he calls for hazelnuts.
¼ cup sesame seeds (for some reason, I only had black sesame seeds, so I used them!)
¼ cup pumpkin seeds (this isn’t actually listed in the original recipe, but I had them, so…)!
½ cup honey
¼ cup packed brown sugar
¼ cup maple syrup
¼ cup canola oil (or another neutral tasting oil)
¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice (I left this out, because we have an allergy in my house, but it would be good if you’ve got it).
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup dried mango (he actually calls for apricots, but I had mango. Use what you have)!
½ cup dried cranberry (or cherries, or whatever…even raisins).
What to do: