This year I hope to make a few changes – not so much “new years resolutions” because I feel like those don’t ever stick and people feel obligated to make one with out the intention of keeping it. These will be more along the lines of continual adjustments. So I’ve decided on a few things to “work on” this year and they include: getting in better shape (working out, eating healthier, etc.), making more vegetable based dishes, creating a gluten-free flour blend, more recipe development, canning/preserving more with my dad, reducing the amount of refined sugar that we intake, and making more items at home (granola, muffins, bagels, and non food items such as bath salts, etc.)
A few weeks ago I taught my neighbor David how to make refrigerator and bread and butter pickles. I gave him a jar of each a few months ago, and what I didn’t know was he is a huge pickle fanatic. I think both jars were gone in less than a week. So when we see each other he talks about them saying “these are the best I’ve ever had”. Bryan headed to NJ for a few days so I figured I would have David over and we would make a batch of each. He was so excited. We had a great time. While we are making these I kept thinking…”I need to do more of this”. I know my dad and I have plans to can a whole bunch of things, but I just get such great pleasure out of making something and being able to not only enjoy it myself but share it with others.
As I thought of other things I could make at home I came up with a list of items and one of them was homemade granola. I’ve made it in the past and even blogged about it. I don’t know why I haven’t made it in such a long time – it is so simple and delicious, but yesterday I decided to make a batch. A simple batch consisting of gluten-free oats, cinnamon, vanilla, and chopped pecans. You can add anything you wish to granola as long as you have the basic recipe down. Granola to me is a blank canvas – feel free to adjust this recipe to your specific tastes. I store my granola in a pint-sized mason jar (you can also store them in any air tight container).
Basic Granola Recipe
1/4 cup honey (you can substitute agave nectar or use 1/2 honey 1/2 agave)
1 1/2 cup gluten free rolled oats
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Prepare a sheet pan with either a silpat or lightly spray with cooking spray (make sure it is gluten-free) or you can line the pan with tinfoil (lightly spray with cooking spray)
- Heat honey (and/or agave) for 10 seconds to help loosen it up.
- In a medium-sized bowl all honey (and/or agave), and oats.
- Evenly spread oat mixture in a thin even layer.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes. Turning pan half way through.
- Let cool. Crumble into pieces and store in an airtight container.
Additions: If you wish to add any of the following ingredients add them in step 4 – mix well.
Nuts: Pecans, Walnuts, Macadamia, Almonds etc. (chopped, slivered, sliced) (1/2 cup)
Coconut: Fresh, Shredded (unsweetened) (1/2 cup)
Cranberries: Dried (re constitute them in a little bit of water for 10-15 minutes prior to adding them in) (1/2 cup)
Spices: All Spice (1tsp), Cinnamon (1tsp),Vanilla extract (1/2 – 1tsp)
Chia Seeds: (1/8 – 1/4 cup)
Puffed Rice Cereal: make sure this is gluten-free (1/2 cup)
Really – the options are endless.
This is only the start of homemade goodies for this year…stay tuned for more goodies.