Monday, May 5, 2008

Crunchy Granola

I don't like to spend money. This is partly a result of my upbringing, but mostly because of the fact that I don't have any money. Living where we do, housing is really pricey, and as I don't want to live in a box somewhere under a bridge, I need to save money so that I can pay the mortgage. The food budget is one of the most obvious targets, and I try to make as much as I can from scratch. Thus, today I made a batch of granola. I try not to mention that I make things like this. When socializing around here (I'm telling you, people here are not just ordinary wealthy. They are SCARY wealthy) I tend to keep the chit-chat light and on neutral topics. Once in a while I've slipped and mentioned making things like bread or granola from scratch, and the person I'm speaking with generally eyes me warily and takes a step backward as if I've just announced I beat my children with sticks or perform pagan rituals around the trees out front. I then realize I've said too much, and steer the conversation back to pediatricians, school systems, and taxes.

Here's the granola recipe:

6 cups dry oatmeal
1 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup dry milk
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup ground flax seed (optional)
1-2 cups chopped nuts (optional)
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup oil
1 tsp. vanilla
1-2 cups raisins or craisins

Mix the oatmeal, wheat germ, dry milk, cinnamon, and nuts together. Heat the oil and honey on a stove just until boiling and add the vanilla. Mix into the dry ingredients and pour the whole thing onto a pan sprayed with PAM. Cook in a single layer in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes; stir and cook another 10 minutes. If you like it really crispy, you can put it in for a little longer. Take out of the oven and mix in the dried fruit.

This makes a yummy breakfast or snack, and can be made into granola bars (I'll post the recipe another day). I buy most of the ingredients in bulk, which cuts down on cost and packaging. It's easy to make, and much cheaper and healthier than what comes in pricey little boxes in the grocery store. Just don't mention it at your next cocktail party.

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