Thursday, January 19, 2012

Cooking Tutorial - Stop Laughing!

After my poncho tutorial I really expected Martha Stewart to give me a call.  Oddly, she has not.  Nevertheless, I've decided it is time for me to tackle another tutorial.  Hang on!

I will never be well-known for my cooking talents, but every now and then I find something I can do well.  Today, I am going to share one with you. my lucky readers.  I am also going to add fascinating photos of me mixing stuff together, like any good cooking tutorial.

In the last half of the 1980's Mike was in seminary in St. Paul, MN and I worked at the seminary bookstore.  It was a great job; I got to touch books all day long!  One of the books placed in my hand was the best cookbook ever!

Before I move on, I want to tell you about that beautiful bowl in the photo.  We received that bowl as a wedding gift nearly 34 years ago.  I love it! It is heavy and incredibly durable.   We put that durability to the test.  In 1983-85 we were living in the Seattle area while Mike attended college.  We'd moved out there with our 2 yr. old baby girl, taking only what we could fit into 2 vehicles.  The little college did not have married student housing but they did have an odd collection of donated furniture for us to use.  One of those pieces of furniture was a 3-legged couch.  I can't remember if it was 3-legged when we got it or if something happened to a leg while we were using it.  At any rate, one day I found myself looking around for something to prop it up under the legless corner.  I'm not sure what made me try it but it turned out that bowl, upside-down, did the trick.  You can still see the marks from it's time as a couch leg.

I bet you weren't expecting that story in the middle of a cooking tutorial!

Anyway, on we go...

The More With Less Cookbook is written by Doris Janzen Longacre and has lots of charming and honest little lessons in it about nutrition and ethical eating.  I don't know if Luther Seminary Bookstore still carries it but it would be worth a try.  It is my favorite cookbook!

So, the recipe I want to talk about is just called Basic Dry Cereal Formula, but it is what l know as granola. It is a recipe written for people like me, people who don't really follow recipes.  It tells you to mix 7 cups of dry ingredients with 2-3 cups being oatmeal.

I love that it doesn't boss me around.  It lets me choose what dry ingredients I wish, using their suggestions or coming up with some of my own.  Even so, because I'm a free spirit, I used 8 cups of dry ingredients instead of 7.  I measured none of it individually, but I'd say I used at least 4 cups of oatmeal.  Then, I opened the cupboard doors and browsed.

 (For the record, I don't have any idea why that paragraph is underlined but the underline feature seems to be working independently today and will not let me remove it.   I think I will just go with it.)

I came up with sunflower seeds, almonds,

peanut butter, brown sugar, cinnamon,
pumpkin pie spice, cloves and nutmeg.

I was disappointed that I had no coconut.
I was also disappointed that I didn't have any dried fruit.
No big deal, those things can be added later.

Then, I spotted rolled barley.  I don't know why I'd originally purchased it but I felt super duper hippie-like to have it in my cupboard.  That's a good thing, in case you were wondering.

I changed into my bell bottoms and peasant top, grabbed the barley and in it went!

I expertly stirred it all together...

Then, you are told to separately combine 1 cup of liquids.

Again, a list of suggestions follow.

Again, I have to march to my own drummer.  This time I used 2 cups of liquids.  Well, in my defense, I prefer my granola to be more moist.

I poured in molasses because it makes me feel mother-earthy, kind of like the barley.  I added syrup, and LOTS of it.  That probably wasn't so mother-earthy, was it?  I wanted to be able to share some of this granola with Maria and her family.  Since they are vegan, I used almond milk and vegan margarine.

I scooped the margarine into this cute little bowl to melt it in the microwave.  I thought the bowl looked like something they'd use on a professional cooking show, don't you?

A word of caution.  Don't heat the margarine too long in your microwave.  If you hear a "POP", it's too long.

I'd planned to drop in some applesauce but I forgot.  Oh well.  No worries.

Out of the corner of my eye I spotted the flavored syrups on my counter.  I'd purchased them to add to coffee but my coffee never turned out as well as coffee-shop coffee.  It's a good thing this is not a coffee tutorial.  The syrup bottles are too big to fit in my cupboard so they've just become counter clutter.  The little lightbulb appeared over my head so I grabbed one of those bottles and slopped some in.

After stirring together the wet and dry ingredients in my beautiful-yet-durable bowl, I spread it all out on the cookie sheet that I'd already smeared with more of the Smart Balance Light.

I baked it at 300 degrees for about 45 minutes.  I usually stir it around about half way through to break it up and keep it more flexible.

It is delicious!  I mixed it with yogurt last night and called it my supper.

This morning, I ate a bowl of it topped with the last of my almond milk.

It is so, so yummy!  I think you should make some as well!  If is an adventure!

Thank-you for stopping by. Feel free to use my photos but please link them back to my blog. I am honored if you wish to share content of any of my posts on Facebook, Twitter, etc. as long as it is linked back to my blog.


Maria Rose said...

I love your Hall mixing bowl! I also love your granola or dry cereal or whatever you want to call it!

Kate W. said...

Looks yummy, Sue!! GREAT tutorial! :) I'm off to search for that cookbook.

Anna said...

Sounds delicious! :)

Petra said...

Wow, that does sound like an adventure. I'll have to study it some more. Where does one buy all this stuff, and is it more cost effective than buying granola? Can I laugh now?

Susan said...

So, Maria, is a Hall mixing bowl something precious and valuable and were you horrified to know it had been a couch leg?

Kate and Anna, it IS delicious... everytime!

Petra, it is more FUN than buying granola and you don't have to add the little bits of annoying things in purchased granola. This way, you get it just how you like it. I've also wrapped it up and put a bow on it and used it for little gifts. And, yes, you may laugh. Mike laughed before he even read it, just knowing I'd tried a cooking tutorial!

AKM said...

I totally had that cookbook from the library just a few weeks ago! I didn't make anything from it, but I wanted to try-before-I-buy. How funny! It DID look like it had a lot of great, basic, frugal, healthy recipes. I'll buy it soon, and then maybe make granola!

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