Granola Magick

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Granola is literally everywhere. It is one of those staples I have hardly given a thought to until I noticed I was out of it.  Last time I went grocery shopping I couldn’t find the brand I usually purchase, and the one I bought tasted a lot like cardboard. Eyyuck!  When I considered the current genetic modification grain issues I decided to try making it myself.

I started researching Granola online, and found several recipes for making it. I learned that there are two different camps of Granola fans. To clump, or not to clump, that is the question!  Every recipe I found differed slightly from the others, but I felt inspired. I loaded up on ingredients and set out to make perfect Granola cereal. It didn’t take long to pick a winner.

I made two different test recipes, both using raw local Honey as the only sweetener. There are recipes online using brown sugar, maple syrup and Brown Rice Syrup if you are not a fan of honey. The honey based recipes I chose called for Virgin Coconut Oil, or Extra Virgin Olive Not only is homemade Granola more flavorful than any I’ve ever purchased, it is super easy to make and costs half the price of store bought. Plus, I know EXACTLY what went into it, which means no GMO’s.

Recipe #1 COCONUT OIL CLUMPING GRANOLA
(This one won the Blue Ribbon at my house!

7 cups organic quick oats (bulk foods)
1 cup raw Pumpkin Seeds
1 cup raw Sunflower Seeds
1 cup sliced Almonds

3/4 cup raw, local honey
1/2 cup Virgin Coconut Oil
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp sea salt

Combine oats, seeds and nuts in large bowl, stir well.

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Combine honey, oil, cinnamon and sea salt in small saucepan. Melt together on very low heat. Add vanilla.  Pour the honey mixture over the oat mixture, tossing well to distribute as thoroughly as possible.

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Press mixture onto ungreased cookie sheet or jelly roll pan. I know that sounds weird,  and you are worried it will stick, but trust me on this.  Press the gloppy mixture down with wax paper to pack as tightly as you can.

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Bake at 275-300 convection or 325 regular oven for approximately 30 minutes. Don’t stir! If you stir it the granola will break apart and it won’t clump together.

Pull it out of the oven when granola is a light golden brown, and firm at the edges of the pan. Cool completely, until it is room temperature. Break up with a pancake turner or your hands. A double batch of this recipe will fill a gallon sized glass jar. It will keep at last two months if tightly sealed, but it is so good it will probably never last that long!

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Recipe #2 OLIVE OIL, NON-CLUMPING GRANOLA

6 cups regular, natural oatmeal (Bulk food bins)
1 tsp Sea Salt
1 cup raw Pumpkin Seeds, shelled
1 cup raw Sunflower Seeds, shelled
1 cup sliced almonds

Mix the above dry ingredients together in a large bowl.

Combine the following in a small saucepan.

1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 cup raw local Honey
2-3 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp pure Vanilla Extract

Heat the oil, cinnamon and honey together over low heat. Stir in Vanilla. Pour over dry ingredients and toss to coat thoroughly. Press into jelly roll type pan. Bake at 275-300 convection oven, or 325 regular oven, for about 25-30 minutes, stirring and turning mixture every 10 minutes. When golden, allow to cool, stirring every once in a while. Store in tightly sealed jar.

With both recipes, keep an eye on the baking! If your oven runs hot the mixture could scorch. Turn it to whatever setting will bake the granola without burning it.

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Enjoy either wholesome granola with Greek Honey Yogurt (my favorite) or over fruit or ice cream!

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Would’st Thy Fortune Like To Read?  

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This is my newest, fun antique store find.  It is called a Nelros cup of fortune, and was made in England. I couldn’t resist it, as a conversation piece in my kitchen hutch if nothing else!  It was probably manufactured in the seventies, as many more delicate, bone china examples still survive from earlier times.

Notice the Astrology symbols circling the plate, and many unrelated, cool symbols circling the interior of the cup.  I enjoy divination via natal Astrology charts, Tarot and Runes, but have never tried reading tea leaves.   My elderly aunt often read tea leaves for fun, but she used a plain, china cup.

You can probably find everything you ever wanted to know about reading tea leaves, or the art of Tasseomancy, by following the link below.

http://divinationbytealeaves.com/introduction-to-divination-by-tealeaves.htm

Make Your Own Eco Food Wrap

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Happy spring!

I don’t know about you, but I am increasingly wary of plastic wrap and increased illness from the chemicals in much of our allegedly “food safe” equipment. Foil is supposed to be a good alternative, however it is getting very expensive, and I am not a big fan of aluminum, either. Waxed paper works well for short-term storage, until it gets damp. While researching the topic, I discovered Eco food wrap made with cotton and bee’s wax for sale, online. It is fabulous, but pricey, at $18.00+ a sheet.Then I discovered simple instructions for making your own!  I will credit the process with a link to the original how-to instructions at the very bottom of this blog post.

A few hardy souls were making these waxed sheets several years ago, by dipping cloth in bee’s wax or brushing it on.  Both sounded like overly messy adventures.  This new method is easy, and can be accomplished quickly with an electric iron or in the oven.  This must be similar to old-fashioned oil cloth, though they probably used paraffin, rather than bee’s wax, I’m guessing.

I made the above sheet this morning in less than 15 minutes.  It is obviously not suitable for every food storage use, but great for brown bag lunch sandwiches, cheese, butter, and probably other applications I have not yet discovered.  I am very happy with the results, and plan to make several more.

12″ x 12″ plain, washed cotton fabric
Once the fabric shape and size is determined and cut out, trim the edges with pinking shears to prevent future unravelling of the unfinished edges of fabric.

You’ll need an old bread board or another surface that can take the heat from the iron.  I used an oversized,  3/4″ thick HDPE cutting board.  Secure the parchment to the board with tape because it will slide around quite a bit if you don’t. Position the fabric on the parchment right side down. Plug in an iron and allow to heat on high/cotton setting, no steam.

Sprinkle bee’s wax pastilles over fabric surface. I may have used a bit too much, as I had to blot some excess bee’s wax that oozed out of the edges.  Plan to use almost this much, as you want it to melt evenly into fabric with no bare spots. If you end up with areas not saturated enough, simply put a few more pastilles on the area, cover with parchment and re-iron.

Now that the iron is hot, place it on the parchment paper over the bee’s wax.  Before you use a normal ironing motion, anchor the parchment by flat pressing the iron in the center and corners.   Then the parchment won’t slide off the bee’s wax pellets.

As you press the parchment with the iron you will notice areas of the parchment        darkening. Keep going, until the edges are as uniformly dark as the center is.

When you can see the pattern on the fabric clearly through the top layer of parchment it is nearly done.

  If bee’s wax oozes from the edges, use the edge of the iron to press it out evenly beyond the edges of the fabric.

Keep pressing until all the ooze is on the outside edges of the fabric.  If there still seems to be too much wax laying on the fabric, place an old towel over the fabric and cover with the top parchment paper. Re-press with the iron and the towel will absorb the excess wax. Better yet, make several eco-sheets at once, and use the next planned eco wrap sheet, instead of an old towel, to absorb some of that bee’s wax. Then none will be wasted.

  

As you can see by the dark areas in the towel above, a lot of excess wax was absorbed by the old dish towel.

Next, while still warm, pull the parchment and dishcloth off of the waxed fabric.  Hang on a hanger or clothesline till dry.  Enjoy!

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Dubliner Cheese, wrapped like a gift package.

The idea for this project came from diynatural.com/reusablefoodwraps