Marion Owen Alaska

My New Year’s resolutions after a health crisis renews my love affair with plants

Zion, National, Park, Utah, sunshine, hiking
Marty pauses in the morning light. (Zion National Park, Utah)

In October 2015 my husband experienced a mini-stroke. We were traveling in our motorhome at the time, camped near Utah’s Capitol Reef National Park. While Marty’s 5-minute episode didn’t leave any outward signs of damage,

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Kitchen Conundrum: How to store ridiculous-sized spice jars

There are a lot of fake kitchens out there. While designing our own kitchen, I came across many soul-less rooms featured in House Beautiful-type magazines. One look at the photos and I’d think, “Are you kidding? Knead bread on the counter? Keep a compost bucket by the sink?”

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A pumpkin pie recipe that’s sure to trigger conversations at the dinner table

Our food journeys are most pronounced during the holiday season. We wrestle with thawed-out turkeys, shop for once-a-year ingredients, and open cookbooks to pages stained with last November’s cranberry sauce.

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Libby’s Story: Fighting Cancer with Food (and a sweet recipe for moose nuggets)

When Libby McClaren was diagnosed with cancer, the doctor recommended immediate surgery to remove the tumor from her bladder, followed by chemo and radiation treatments. Libby doesn’t recall how she reacted but she needed quiet time.

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Not a gardener? These 12 New Year’s resolutions are meant for you, too.

If you’re like me, you need a goal—even a tiny one—or you might end up like a lost duck, waddling along the lake shore, but never getting into the water. Today I’m sharing a dozen resolutions, mostly slanted for gardeners. But if you’ve never used a trowel,

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Building a better waffle: Healthy, cheap and gluten free

I love waffles, but I don’t like the heavy feeling they leave in my gut.  Then I ate a waffle that changed my attitude, for good…

On a gray Sunday morning in Kodiak, Alaska, I sauntered into

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Bees, races and wild orchids: Springtime in Kodiak, Alaska

Spring doesn’t arrive in Alaska, it splashes, blooms, buzzes and erupts. Let me describe it in pictures for you…

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Kodiak Island Granola: Sorry Whole Foods, homemade is better

Granola, breakfast, food, healthy, fiber, nuts, mosaic, spoon, meal, morning, Kodiak, Alaska, oats, homemade, coconut, peanut butter, honey, oatmeal, cashews.
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.

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