Marion Owen Alaska
In Kodiak, Alaska, I’m an organic gardening geek. I teach the stuff through the University of Alaska and write about weeds, seeds and the beauty of kelp in my weekly newspaper column.
My husband and I grow a lot on our ‘postage stamp’ property. In the summer, it’s mostly greens, herbs and edible flowers …
Granola. You know, that nondescript blend of whole grains and nuts that’s baked until crispy. What you might not know is that granola was invented way back in 1890s and was served at New York’s Jackson Sanitarium health spa. Humble beginnings. Then, in the 1960s, granola enjoyed a revival as a hippie cereal. Quaker, Kellogg’s, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods–lots of companies jumped on the granola bandwagon. That’s all well and good, but the granola you buy is way too sweet. Your taste buds–and your body–deserve better.
So I’d like to share the granola recipe I use at home and for our bed-and-breakfast guests. Is it good? I can only say that I make dozens of batches every year. We give it away as Christmas gifts and send our guests home with bags of it so they have something healthy to nibble on during the flight home.
Give it a try, and let me know what you think. If you’ve never eaten much granola or you’re shy or clueless about how, I’ve listed 12 “how to eat” tips below.
Kodiak Island Granola
By Marion Owen, Kodiak Granola Company (just kidding)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup honey or maple syrup
1 cup peanut butter*
2 teaspoons vanilla
8 cups regular (not quick or instant) rolled oats
1 – 2 cups cup brown sugar
1 cup unroasted wheat germ
5-1/2 cups wide-stripped unsweetened coconut
2 cups shaved (slivered) almonds
2 cups cashews (odd-sized bits are fine, and less expensive)
3/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/2 cup ground flax seed (flax seed meal), sesame seeds or teff grain
Mix the five wet ingredients together in a saucepan and place on low to medium heat. Stir occasionally. Mix the dry ingredients in a separate large bowl.
When the liquid mixture begins to boil, pour it over the dry ingredients and toss with a spoon or rubber spatula until well mixed and the dry ingredients are evenly coated. Spread onto two or three large cookie sheets or jelly roll pans and bake at 250 to 275 degrees until light brown and toasted; this could take a couple hours. (I turn the oven off occasionally). Stir occasionally for even browning. It’s tempting to turn up the heat and hurry the drying-cooking process. (Don’t do this because the granola usually ends up too brown and unevenly dried.) Allow to cool thoroughly before storing it in airtight containers.
* You can substitute peanut butter with cashew butter, tahini (sesame butter) or almond butter
How to enjoy a good granola
1. Eat it as is (right out of the oven is best).
2. Enjoy it as your morning cereal, topped with yogurt or milk.
3. Stir it up with fruit and yogurt.
4. Top your favorite ice cream (to reduce the guilt factor).
5. Sprinkle onto pancakes and waffles; inside crepes.
6. Top off muffins and quick breads before baking.
7. Spoon some inside peanut butter ‘n jelly sandwiches.
8. Use as the topping for fruit cobblers and pies.
9. Serve it with warm rice pudding or tapioca pudding.
10. Fold it into brownie batter before baking.
11. Use as croutons on a tossed salad.
12. Create your own hiking snack by adding dried fruits and chocolate chips.