One of the things I resolved to do this year is to make
more things from scratch…to make more of our basic commodities (as far as
food is concerned that is – I haven’t yet reached the exulted heights of making
my own detergent or conditioner) and condiments . I love the feeling of smug satisfaction I get
from having homemade jams and chutneys in my pantry, stock in my freezer, and
jars of pickling vegetables in my fridge.
label it as trite or kitsch or old-fashioned.
I see you rolling your eyes, brandishing your high-stress jobs like
swords, all while trying to keep those multiple balls that you juggle in the
air. Well, I only have this to say, I am one of you. I have a full time, high stress job that I
absolutely love to wield like some shiny weapon, or more to the point, like a
shield…”I’m stressed! Don’t bug
me!” My job has nothing to do with
writing or food or this blog. It is a
regular job, and like the millions of regular jobs out there – takes up most of my
time and can be the cause of some energetic head-against-the-wall banging. I juggle multiple roles and yes, it does get
tiring and frustrating. I don’t always
stick my lemons in my San Pellegrino, despite my best efforts. Sometimes I suck on them and grumble and say
scratch, kneading bread, or making your own cereal, actually help relieve the
stress of a fast-paced world. Its very
clichéd corniness, its almost primitive function, brings me comfort. Slowing down my steps, doing something good
for myself, my body, and my family…puttering, contemplating, working with my
hands. The very antithesis of the
harried pace of work and, sometimes, life.
avoiding all the additives and what-nots that you find in the packaged,
- 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1 cup very roughly chopped walnuts
- 1 cup very roughly chopped almonds
- 1 cup hulled raw pumpkin seeds
- 1 cup wheat germ
- 1 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1 cup natural peanut butter, smooth or chunky
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2/3 cup vegetable or olive oil
- 3/4 cup chopped dried dates
wheat germ, salt, and cinnamon.
Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring constantly until sugar is
melted. Take the pan off the heat and
stir in the peanut butter and vanilla until smooth.
mixture. Add the oil, and stir thoroughly until everything is evenly coated.
The mixture will be chunky and rough.
calls for parchment-lined but I like how foil stays put better) baking sheets and
bake in a pre-heated 325F oven for 40 minutes, stirring 2-3 times while baking
(I like stirring every 10 minutes).
this one lined with parchment, and spread out.
I find this is a good way to let the granola cool down. Once cool, add the dates, and toss to
(except for the occasional box of raisin bran…for which I have an inexplicable
love). I cannot recommend making your
own granola enough. It tastes so much
better than what you buy in the stores, it is wickedly easy, and you can tailor it to your tastes. I have my basic,
go-to recipe for granola here, but this is a wonderful variation. I mean, peanut butter granola…what more needs
to be said? I deviated from the original
recipe by using walnuts and almonds instead of all peanuts, and forgoing the
ground ginger. This makes an absolutely
gorgeous granola – redolent with sweet-salty peanutbuttery goodness, and the
dates are the perfect dried fruit for it.
The recipe makes a nice big batch too, so take out those jars and cute
labels and share with family and friends!
making things from scratch, I won’t get up on a soapbox and say that I never
use cube bullion or buy jam. I do, after
all, as I said, understand firsthand life’s often frenetic pace and I won’t
(and neither should anyone) beat myself up if I can’t make bread this
week. Still, do not underestimate the
benefits, both in the goodness of the end product and in therapeutic qualities
of the process, of doing things the “old-fashioned” way 🙂
luxuriously slow as our week was dizzyingly fast!
24/7: Have a fabulous Mother’s Day! If
I could give all of you peanut butter granola topped kisses I would 🙂