Thursday, May 27, 2010

Hola Granola

I love granola, but I'd never attempted to make it myself. Heck, I didn't even realize you could make it yourself - I'd never really stumbled across a recipe. But I found one in Alicia Silverstone's The Kind Diet. I didn't want to make as much as her recipe would, and I didn't have many of the ingredients on hand, so I decided to use her recipe as a basis and wing it. The results are delicious! Next time, I'll leave out the dates - they were just too hard and chewy after baking - but the rest is a keeper! Wonderful eaten dry as a snack, but even better in your breakfast bowl and topped with almond milk.

1 1/4 c. old fashioned oats
2 oz. pkg. English walnut pieces
2 oz. pkg. pecan pieces
1/2 c. golden raisins
3 tsp. flaxmeal
1/4 c. sunflower nuts
12 pitted dates, chopped
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/3 c. Grape Nuts cereal
1/3 c. canola oil
2 1/2 tbsp. maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the oats on a large, foil-covered sheet pan and toast in the oven for 7-8 minutes (watch them carefully so they don't burn). Transfer the oats into a large bowl, then toss together with the walnuts, pecans, raisins, flaxmeal, sunflower nuts, dates, cinnamon and Grape Nuts. In a separate smaller bowl, wisk together the oil, syrup and vanilla. Pour the oil mixture over the dry mixture and toss to coat well. Pour all onto the same foil-covered sheet pan, spreading it into a thin layer. Bake for 7 minutes, stir, then bake for another 5 minutes. Let cool and store in an airtight container.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mothers' Day

Happy Mothers' Day to all you moms out there! Today, Husband had to work so I'm home with Kids. I got some lovely flowers, cute cards, and a potted tomato plant. I'd mentioned to Husband how I'd like to try my hand at growing tomatoes this year. (I have a black thumb when it comes to gardening and normally just rely on everyone else's overabundant harvest for my fresh tomatoes, potatoes and zucchini. Especially my dad - he grows the BEST tomatoes and potatoes!) But I'm a lazy gardener - which might explain my lack of success. I don't really trust our soil for growing anything but dandelions, so I wanted to put some potting soil in a container on the back deck. But I hadn't gotten around to buying any tomato plants, or a container, or the potting soil, or the cage that you need over the plant. Sigh...too much work for me!

Husband found a pre-potted tomato plant with the cage built onto the pot. How perfect! And even more perfect, because last night we had frost (yikes!) and we were easily able to bring in the tomato for the night.

Later today, I need to call my grandmothers and wish them a happy Mothers' Day. I'm very fortunate that they are around - two beautiful women in their mid-80s, still living alone in their homes and doing quite well, thank you. (Both of my grandfathers died before I was born, so I was unable to get to know them at all.)

My own mother passed away in December 2006 from brain cancer. I miss her more than I can say. She was only 54 years old. I feel her absence the most when I think about how little time Son had with her, and how Daughter didn't really get to know her at all (Daughter was almost a year old when Mom died). Mothers' Day is rather bittersweet for me, but I try to focus on what a great job my mom did in raising Brother and me, and I try to do as good a job with Kids. If I'm half the mother that she was, I'll be a-okay.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Oven-Roasted Mush

I bought some herbes de Provence with absolutely no idea what to do with it. But I'd always wanted to try it. I decided to go simple and oven roast some veggies tossed in olive oil and sprinkled with the herbes de Provence. Great idea, and the flavor was fantastic, but the texture left much to be desired.

The problem was two-fold: first, when you are cooking vegetables all at once, they need to be vegetables that cook at roughly the same rate. Second, when baking vegetables in the oven, you need to spread them out in an even layer - again, so they can cook at the same rate.

The veggies I chose to roast were potatoes, carrots, green peppers, button mushrooms, zucchini, summer squash, and eggplant. Also, I used A LOT of all of them - too many to roast effectively on the one large sheetpan I was using. I baked them at 400 degrees and checked them after 25 minutes. The pepper, mushrooms, zucchini, squash and eggplant were perfect, but the potatoes and carrots were still too hard in the center. The baking continued for another 10 minutes. When I took everything out of the oven, the potatoes and carrots were just right, but of course, the other vegetables were practically paste - especially the eggplant. But hey - it was delicious! And I really liked the herbes de Provence. Usually, I oven roast veggies with Italian seasoning, so it's nice to have another option when I'm looking for something different.

On the side, I served plain brown rice topped with a little Eden Shake.