Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Go Granola


This month, I am participating in Blue Collar Crunch's Diet for Hunger challenge and am trying, among other things, to get the junk out of my junk food.

Making junk food at home gives me - not Kraft - control. I can avoid the ubiquitous corn syrup, Frankenstein additives and genetically modified "food". My cookies also have a smaller footprint because they include as many local ingredients as possible. Local butter is easy to find - or make if you have local cream. My health food store stocks locally milled flours and baking ingredients, like dry milk, baking powder, and yeast, and I often substitute local honey for a quarter to one half of the sugar called for in a recipe.

For more exotic ingredients, like spices, sugar and chocolate, I can still make a better choice than Hershey's. Child labor/slavery, pesticides and massive deforestation are the not-so-sweet side effects that can be ameliorated by choosing organic, fair trade chocolate and unrefined, organic, fair trade sugar helps avoid the bitter poverty and environmental destruction of sugar production. Fair trade and organic spices are also often available. Finally, buying in bulk reduces packaging waste. Natural and health food stores often carry organic, fair trade ingredients in their bulk section. I bring my own plastic zip lock bags for reuse over and over.

What can you do with all these delectable ingredients? Go granola, of course.


HOMEMADE GRANOLA BARS:

2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup wheat germ (I substitute with whatever local flour I have on hand)
2 cups crispy rice cereal
1 cup nonfat dry milk powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch salt
2 tablespoons oil
4 egg whites, lightly beaten
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips or raisins

Oil a 9 by 13 inch pan. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well, using hands if necessary to ensure that all ingredients are evenly moist. Press mixture firmly into prepared pan. Bake 18-22 minutes in oven set to 325 degrees.


MY MOM'S HOMEMADE GRANOLA RECIPE:

1 cup raw cashews or other raw nuts
1/2 cup raw sunflower and/or pumpkin seeds
8 cups rolled oats
2 cups soy flour
1 cup whole wheat or rice flour
3/4 cup honey
1/2 cup oil mixed with 1 1/2 cup boiling water
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon vanilla

Blend liquid ingredients then mix with dry ingredients. Crumble and bake on a cookie sheet at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, then 200 degrees - stirring every 15 minutes until golden brown.


CHOCOLATE PUDDING:

3 ounces baking chocolate
3 cups milk
1/4 cup tapioca or potato starch
1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup honey (2 Tablespoons each if chocolate is sweetened)
Pinch salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cook 2 2/3 cups milk and chocolate, in saucepan, stirring until milk is scalded and chocolate is melted. Mix starch, sugar/honey, and salt into remaining milk and then add to scaled milk/chocolate mixture. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until thick and smooth.


OATMEAL CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES:

1 cup butter (room temp)
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
2 1/2 cups quick cooked oats
1 1/2 cups flour
chocolate chips

Cream butter, sugar and eggs. Add remaining ingredients. Cook on 350 for 13-15 minutes.

23 comments:

eco 'burban mom said...

I have been doing OK with the challenge and I have been waiting for your granola recipe! I tried one I found online, but it's just OK, nothing special. This one sounds a little more kid friendly.

However, the Oatmeal Chocolate Chip recipie is FABULOUS. I made it over the weekend (makes a BIG bath, by the way) and the kids love these cookies to pieces. Literally. There are pieces, crumbs and cookie dust all over the place. Ahhh, the sign of a well loved good-for-you junk food.

I am on to that chocolate pudding recipe next! Yum! Thanks GB!!

Green Bean said...

EBM: I'm so happy your boys went for the oatmeal cookies. I wasn't sure. They are a bit crumbly but that means you can eat the crumbs and they are calorie free. Did you know that? As to doing so well, to keep the troops happy and out of nasty storebought junk food, I have to make homemade junk food. Unfortunately, the latter tastes SO much better than the former and I have the will power of, well, I can't think of what but suffice to say I have NO will power, that I end up eating it all. I better think of a world hunger action to alleviate some of my guilt. ;-)

CindyW said...

The chocolate pudding sounds super yummy. I am not much an oatmeal fan. But chocolate? bring it on :)

Chile said...

I'm hungry now.

Going Crunchy said...

Ooh- - - good post!

Can you tell us more about tortilla making too? I got the type of tortilla corn flour, but wanted to know if you have a special maker or do you use a regular pan?

I saw a "tortilla" pan and considered, but wanted to see what you use first.

Verde said...

great looking recipes - The one with egg whites would be good to make on a day with pasta since it uses egg yolks.

Green Bean said...

Cindy: If you put enough chocolate chips in the cookies or granola bars, you can't even taste the oats. ;-) Then you can work them off while biking the girls home.

Chile: Me too!

Shannon: The recipe I had is really simple - basically corn meal, salt and water. I do have a tortilla press (my oldest used to be allergic to everything in the book including gluten and corn - so I have lots of these kinds of kitchen implements laying about). I think you could just use a rolling pin though. Do make sure you put your dough between two pieces of wax paper or parchment or it will stick to your rolling pin/tortilla press. Good luck.

Verde: I like how you're thinking!

Wild Orchids for Trotsky said...

Great collection of recipes! Your mom's granola recipe looks similar to my mom's. Will have to try some of these. By the way, thank you for your comment at my blog. :-)

Jennifer said...

You stole my cookie recipe! :) No really, it's almost exactly the same as the one I made up a couple years ago... funny how there are "natural" and "logical" ways to bake, so we come up with the same recipes in different parts of hte world, completely unconnected to each other.

If you want to make your granola more fat free, you can subsitute the oil in your oil water mixture with BROWN SUGAR. Mix as usual... it really works, and is how we make granola at our house!

I have dogs who LOVE egg yolks... getting rid of those is NEVER a problem!

Thanks fo rthe great recipes.

Joanna said...

Random comment not about Granola (sorry) I'd like to be counted for the bookworm challenge- brilliant.

kale for sale said...

This reminds me of a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down. What better way to look at child labor/slavery, poverty and mass deforestation but with fair trade chocolate pudding or oatmeal cookies at the ready. And with some real steps to be part of the solution. Thank you.

kendra said...

I'm definately going to try out your granola bar recipe. I'm finding that I am getting more creative in my snacks here too. We decided to slow down on buying snacks and make them ourselves so we've been doing a lot of smoothies and popcorn. But granola bars, oh those sound divine!

Jenna said...

I....

Am an Idiot.

I have spent weeks trying to make bags suitable for trips to the grocery/ bulk store/ farmer's market and have been stumped over the bulk items. Bring a glass jar? Too heavy, the items get weighed IN the containor for pricing. Fabric? Great for fruits and veggies - not so much for flour and spices.

-Banging head against keyboard- I swear, I'm dying my hair blond and calling it a day. Ziploc bags. Sometimes I think a person can get a little too focused and miss the crucial step.

Recipes look great, the cookies will get mixed up once I can stop smacking myself.

Green Bean said...

Wild Orchids: Is anything better than a mom's granola? I hope my kids think that, at least. I did.

Jennifer: Hilarous! The cookie recipe really was made up. Yum! I guess great taste buds think alike. ;-) As to the egg yolks, I foist them off on my kids in the form of omelettes. Thanks for the granola tip.

Joanna: gotcha! welcome.

Kale: It is a step in the right direction, at least. And some awareness. I admit that as late as yesterday, when I wrote the post, I was clueless about the child slavery part. Breaks the heart and will keep me out of See's to be sure.

Kendra: Doh! I've forgotten all about popcorn and smoothies. I'll try those again.

Jenna: Don't feel bad. I was doing the same thing until I read something about someone using the Ziploc bags. I was, like, oh, could I really have been so clueless?? I don't need glass jars, mesh bags, just the plastic bags still lurking in my cupboard.

Blue Collar Crunch said...

Wow, those recipes look fantastic! I'm going to have to try a couple of those out, even if it does keep TH and me, heh...wider than average. :)

Margo said...

*gasp* Chocolate Pudding!!! [dances around the room like a hyperactive teenager] Hooray!!! Sorry, did I just do the Green Touchdown Dance?!

Oatmeal raisin cookies are yum; but choco pudding....

Say, in reading the comments about packaging at the bulk section, my co-op tells us to bring our own container and have it (empty) weighed at the deli first so that we're only charged for the goods. They don't care what container we use, so long as it's clean & dry. They are here http://www.harvest.coop/
if anyone's interested or if it would help?

Green Bean said...

BCC: Well, it is not exactly reducing caloric consumption but it is a friendly consumption. ;-)

Margo: Thanks for the tip. Unfortunately, the only place I have in Silicon Valley to buy in bulk is Whole Foods and a single independent grocery store. I think there are a number of you out there, though, with access to co-ops so this is something worth investigating!

Margo said...

Oh no! Sorry to hear you only have a WholeWallet near you. I'm spoiled - lots of farms and CSA options in addition to my co-op; but there are relatively few co-ops in MA, sad to say. Apparently other places have many, and well-organized ones.
I don't know if you know about this search site, but if it helps any?...
http://www.localharvest.org/
Basically it will search your area (given a drop-down menu of miles radius) for various resources.
Good luck, and if you want to write a letter to WholeWallet to say "hey, why don't you..." I'll sign too... :)

JessTrev said...

GB - fyi, you can substitute arrowroot powder (1/4 cup sifted) in the chocolate pudding and it still rocks. MMMMMMM! And all with stuff in my cupboard. Virtuously cleaning out, of course... ;)

Anonymous said...

Thought I'd share my granola recipe. I modified it from a Jamie Oliver recipe. Very simple and very flexible.
6 cups of Bob's Redmill 5-Grain Rolled Cereal (made from rolled whole wheat, rye, oats, flaxseed, barley, and triticale) OR use plain oats...I've done both
2 cups shredded coconut
2 cups raw nuts chopped briefly in a magic bullet/blender/food processor...or by hand:) I like half almonds and half pecans but I've used pumpkin seeds, brazil nuts too
1/2 cup evaporated cane juice/brown sugar/ rapadura/sucanat/whatevs....
MIX ALL THAT UP
Then...mix 1tblsn Real Salt with 1/2 cup maple syrup (grade b is best) and a half cup of olive oil or melted coconut oil...again, I've used both and even mixed the two.

Pour the oil/syrup/salt mixture over the oat/nut/coconut/sugar mixture and bake at 250 on a cookie sheet, mixing occasionally till brown. It usually takes an hour and a half for the crunchiness I like. When I have about 15 min left, I sprinkle on 2 cups of dried banana chips/dried cherries/craisins/chopped dried apricots whatever I have on hand. THE END...it is sooo yummy!
~Amber

Green Bean said...

Thank you, Amber! That sounds amazing. Cannot wait to try your recipe.

No Flour No Sugar Diet said...

HI Green Bean,

Healthy-sounding recipes- definitely good ways to keep from 'junking' it up. I would advise strongly, meanwhile, to use raw, unprocessed honey (best found at health food stores) as opposed to regular honey. Raw honey has much lower glycemic index, but more than that is simply more pure and less commercial.
thanks!
Michael

Green Bean said...

Thanks for the facts on raw honey, Michael. I always use raw honey straight from the beekeeper! :)

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