Saturday, May 12, 2012

Breakfast #59: Peanut Butter and Honey Granola

titleOne 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.

Some may scoff at the Suzy-homemaker-ness of it all and 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 “oh phooey!

But, these homey, hearth-y tasks like making stock from 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.

Plus there is the added benefit, lest we forget, of avoiding all the additives and what-nots that you find in the packaged, store-bought stuff. 

Peanut Butter and Honey Granola
(adapted from theKitchn)
  • 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
- In a large bowl, combine oats, nuts, pumpkin seeds, wheat germ, salt, and cinnamon.
- In a small saucepan, mix the honey and brown sugar. 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.
- Pour the honey/peanut butter mixture over the oat mixture. Add the oil, and stir thoroughly until everything is evenly coated. The mixture will be chunky and rough.
- Spread the oat mixture evenly on 2 foil-lined (original 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).
- When the granola is done transfer to another baking sheet, 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 combine.

I haven’t bought granola, or cereal, for a while now (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!

Now, don’t think that I’ve gone the full Martha.  Although I do dedicate my best efforts to 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 :) 

To all the worker bees out there: may our weekend be as luxuriously slow as our week was dizzyingly fast!

And to all the mamas out there, who are always working, 24/7: Have a fabulous Mother’s Day!  If I could give all of you peanut butter granola topped kisses I would :)

23 comments:

Shannon @ RecipesMe said...

This granola recipe looks so delicious :)

Ling said...

LIKE :)

Happy Mum's Day, Joey!!

dontaskmetosmile said...

I completely and heartily agree about how comforting and calming cooking can be. You are forced to slow down, take one step at a time and be patient while you wait for egg whites to stiffen or chocolate to melt. Plus there's that feeling you get when things turn out perfect and delicious.

Admittedly, my finished products are not as good for me and my body because they almost always involve sugar, chocolate and cream cheese. But at least the emotional benefits of making (and eating!) them are still there. Hehe.

Midge said...

The granola looks super and anything homemade is tops in my book.

I work full-time, but making stuff like bread, jam, steak marinades, and slow-cooked stews takes a lot of stress off me - which is why I'm shocked that people still think instant this or instant that make their lives better. :D

Shalum said...

Happy Mother's Day!:)

Tv Food and Drink said...

Great post, but when you start making your own detergent and conditioner, you've just gone too far!

BettyAnn @Mango_Queen said...

This looks like a delightful way to start the day! So delish! Thanks for sharing, Joey!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Shannon! It really is :)

Hi Ling! Thank you!!

Hi Kat! That is exactly how I feel :) Don't be fooled, my finished products are not always good for me in that sense...but definitely better than buying store-bought where you don't know what stuff they've added! ;)

Hi Midge! Homemade + peanut butter = can't be beat! So true...the perfect stress buster, and with delicious goodies at the end of it all to boot!

Thanks Shalum! :)

Hi TV Food and Drink! We will see...who knows! ;)

Hi BettyAnn! WE are loving it over here! :)

Junglefrog said...

There's nothing wrong with homemade anything and you're so right too that it slows us down and relieves some of the stress of that busy life we all seem to have these days. Love the granola!

Real Food Runner said...

Yum!

http://therealfoodrunner.blogspot.com/

Anh said...

I hear you. I wish I had more time to make my own stock, my own granola but things are so crazy some times :(

ChichaJo said...

Hi Simone! I agree! :)

Hi Real Food Runner! Thanks :)

Hi Anh! I hear you!! I usually wait for a weekend at home...or, alternately, when I have so much work that I have to work at home during the weekend I use that to make long slow-cooking things for which I have little "active" time -- stock is perfect for this (or long braises)! It cooks while I work :) That may not be as stress-relieving but I always feel good about killing two birds with one stone when I would otherwise just be stuck at home working :)

Paula @ Vintage Kitchen Notes said...

It´s retro cool to make your own things! This granola is amazing and the only way to have is to make it yourself!

monserrat said...

i've always wanted to make granola and after reading this, i finally got around to doing it. i used heidi swanson's recipe though (grainola), which is so good that minutes after the pans went out of the oven, my partner started snacking on them!

thanks for the inspiration!

Mom-Friday said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Didi said...

What would be the difference if I used instant oats instead of the old fashioned ones? :) I want to make my own home made granola (have all the ingredients already, except that I have instant oats...

ChichaJo said...

Hi Didi! Instant (and quick) oats have been cut up so it will not produce the same texture as granola you see here which has the whole rolled oat. For granola it is really best to use old fashioned oats :) I actually also like it better for my regular breakfast oats :)

Didi said...

Great! Thanks for the tip. Just bad timing as I can't eat anything scratchy because of this wretched condition. But I will get old fashioned oats soon :) excited!

ChichaJo said...

Get well soon Didi!

Didi said...

Thanks! I realized we still have loads of instant oatmeal. Maybe I will use these for now and then restock with some old fashioned oatmeal :)

Dan said...

Great recipe. I used Aseda Raw Honey. It really gave everything an all natural taste. I went back to the store to get more but they were sold out, so I looked them up online. Here's a link to their kickstarter account. Try it! You'll never settle for anything else.

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1964100669/buzz-aseda-wild-honey-to-shelves-nationwide

mucking around manila said...

Where do you buy your wheat germ here? Been looking for that stuff everywhere!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Mucking Around Manila! You can find it at Healthy Options :)