One of my goals for the new year? It's a cliche, I admit it.
I am a chef and cook for a living now, but I've had trouble feeding me and G this past year, responsibly anyway. My time management skills at home have been shaky at best. I am putting a stop to that right now. (Please feel free to remind me of this proclamation in a week or two.)
One of my most important To Do's is to make sure that there is food on hand at all times. Something that we can just grab and eat if we need to sustain ourselves before a meal can be made. (By me.)
One of the items I like to have on the kitchen counter is homemade granola. Store-bought granola can be loaded with sugar and is not inexpensive. I usually have oats and nuts and dried fruit in the pantry at all times so I tried a few granola recipes this year. So far, my favorite is from Mark Bittman:
Yield About 8 cups (at least 16 servings)
Time 40 minutes
"Into this base of rolled oats you can stir just about any dry ingredient imaginable: other grains, like flakes of rye or wheat; dried fruit; spices, from cinnamon to vanilla to nutmeg to cardamom; orange zest, crystallized ginger, peanut butter, even chocolate chips. And of course, any nut or seed you can think of: I favor a combination of cashews, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds and pecans."
- 6 cups rolled oats (not quick-cooking or instant)
- 2 cups mixed nuts and seeds: sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, chopped walnuts, pecans, almonds or cashews
- 1 cup dried unsweetened shredded coconut, optional
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, or to taste
- Dash salt
- 1/2 to 1 cup honey or maple syrup, or to taste
- 1 cup raisins or chopped dried fruit, optional
- 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, combine oats, nuts and seeds, coconut, cinnamon, salt and sweetener. Place on a sheet pan and put in oven. Bake for 30 minutes or a little longer, stirring occasionally. Mixture should brown evenly; the browner it gets without burning, the crunchier the granola will be.
- 2. Remove pan from oven and add raisins or dried fruit. Cool on a rack, stirring once in a while until granola reaches room temperature. Transfer to a sealed container and store in refrigerator; it will keep indefinitely.
Granola, yogurt, and frozen fruit make a solid snack for my busy workdays. I can nibble and be guilt-free.
(Which reminds me, have you tried Greek yogurt yet? It's been all the rage and I didn't jump on the bandwagon right away. I mean, it's yogurt, right? How excited can you get about yogurt. Well, guess what? Everyone was right. Greek yogurt is delicious. I am a total convert now. Thick and creamy and luscious...it makes regular yogurt seem so sad and lame.)