Tuesday, March 16, 2010

So Excited...

Look what I have:

In case you can't read, the title is:

Homemade: A Surprisingly Easy Guide to Making Hundreds of Everyday Products You Would Otherwise Buy

I got it from the library, but if I like it well enough, I'm buying my own copy.

Stay tuned for recipes and experiments from me!!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Homemade Granola

I love granola, but haven't been happy with the recipe I've used in the past, so I went on a recipe hunt. I found this one to use as a base recipe, this one I found on AllRecipes.com, as it came with very high ratings on the site:

Megan's Granola


8 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 cups wheat germ
1 1/2 cups oat bran
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup finely chopped almonds
1 cup finely chopped pecans
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup honey
1 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups raisins or sweetened dried cranberries


1.Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Line two large baking sheets with parchment or aluminum foil.

2.Combine the oats, wheat germ, oat bran, sunflower seeds, almonds, pecans, and walnuts in a large bowl. Stir together the salt, brown sugar, maple syrup, honey, oil, cinnamon, and vanilla in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then pour over the dry ingredients, and stir to coat. Spread the mixture out evenly on the baking sheets.

3.Bake in the preheated oven until crispy and toasted, about 20 minutes. Stir once halfway through. Cool, then stir in the raisins or cranberries before storing in an airtight container.

I modified it, of course! I'm not a huge fan of nuts in my granola, so I didn't add any (though I might chop up some peanuts and use a few sunflower seeds next time). I added 3/4 flaxseed meal and substituted molasses for the maple syrup and brown sugar. I also threw in 3/4 cup of peanut butter... mmmm.... (melted together with the honey, oil, etc).

Here's how it worked. First I gathered my ingredients:

Then I put everything I needed to warm/melt into a bowl and put in the microwave (because I didn't want to tend a saucepan and it just needed to get warm).

And put the dry ingredients in a HUGE bowl (8 cups of oatmeal is a LOT):

After I stirred the dry ingredients, I added the melted stuff (Note: I didn't think about peanut butter until AFTER I'd done this, so you won't see it in the bowl...I threw it in the empty bowl, melted and added it next):

Stirred it thoroughly in order to coat all of the oats and then spread it onto two jelly roll pans (lots of folks call this a cookie sheet - but officially, a cookie sheet doesn't have raised edges, and you want edges for this job!) and also used two pie tins (there is a LOT of the mixture):

Cooked at 300 (instead of the 350 the recipe calls for) for 20 mins, stirred and decided it needed a bit more time, so put it back in for another 15 mins. Pulled it out and let it cool (it "crisps" as it cools, so give it time to do this before eating or putting it into a container):

NOTE: After it's cooked, feel free to add raisins, craisins, or other dried fruit -- it's yummy, and would make a great trail mix. Just don't COOK the fruit with the granola, or it will get dry and hard.

DD and I ate this for breakfast yesterday ... and she had it for a snack later. It was a big hit and was the best recipe I've used! However... I had an ulterior motive for making it -- I wanted granola bars.

So... stay tuned. Provided it doesn't get eaten up today, I have plans for granola bars in the works...

Thursday, March 4, 2010

An Easy Healthful Lunch

Let me introduce you to my DD's favorite lunch -- Cheesesteak open faced sandwiches, minus the steak. SO yummy and so good for you.

Chop up peppers, onions and mushrooms (I prefer portabella) and put them in a pan with garlic and a tiny bit of butter. I also will add just a little seasoning salt or plain salt.

Cook until mostly soft (a little crunch in the peppers isn't a bad thing). Add cheese (this is one case I allowed a bit of leeway in the "healthful" category -- I just don't like how cheddar or other hard cheeses melt, so I use American. NOTE: I do NOT use "processed American cheese food" like those icky wrapped slices you can get ... they are NOT cheese. I use American cheese from the deli, which is a least a *little* more like cheese and can even call itself "cheese" and not "cheese food"):

Turn off the heat and cover:

After about a minute, it's melted nicely:

Prepare your bread (we used homemade sourdough):

Cover with your mix of veggies and cheese:

And EAT!

DD asked for this three days in a row, lol... it's that yummy.