Hanging out at the Dairy

Hanging out at the Dairy
Darci(far left) & the Wrights at the Creamery

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Granola Legacy

My homemade granola
Yesterday, I woke up to charcoal skies, pouring rain down on Sequim. I was happy to have an excuse to spend the whole day in the kitchen! What to make on this wet fall day? I drove to the store, talking to my Mom on speakerphone. Then it hit me, when I was a kid, my Mom made homemade granola for us. I can still smell that toasty, sweet, nutty aroma wafting through our tiny house. She baked it slowly, for an hour or so in a large navy and white speckled roasting pan. Every so often, the open oven door would release a flood of this perfume as she stirred the steamy oat mixture. My Dad is a dentist and she tried to control the amount of sugar and processed foods we consumed through making much of our food. Now, it's my turn to monitor my family's diet. Now I'm making granola, another legacy passed from my Mom to me.

The welcoming entrance sign
Sunny Farms' front entrance

Half of their dried goods isle

I've mentioned how much amazing dried goods are offered at Sunny Farms in Sequim. They make it so easy for me to assemble the ingredients for my granola. I park my cart in an area hopefully out of the way of other shoppers and begin filling my plastic bags and labeling them with the bin numbers, stacking them on the growing mound in my cart.

                                            My granola makings

A big bowl of goodies
Chopped almonds are added

Shredded coconut added to the mixed dried goods
I get out my 2 REALLY big plastic bowls and divide the ingredients equally. I counted over 15 dried goods all contributing to protein count, flavor and/or health;  5 Mixed grains, wheat germ, sesame, flax and sunflower seeds, golden raisins, dried cherries, toasted soy berries, toasted CB's Nuts organic peanuts, ground cinnamon, brown sugar, chopped almonds and shredded coconut. The cornerstone of the dried ingredients is the mixed grains, high in flavor, fiber and protein.

A closeup of the mixed grains
The dried ingredients are stirred to combine in their large bowls and the oven preheated to 300 degrees. Then, onto the aromatic wet ingredients.

Raspberry honey, bourbon vanilla, molasses, orange juice and zest, grated fresh ginger
Oranges and ginger zested

 The oranges are scrubbed lightly under tap water, dried and zested. The fresh ginger is zested as well, removing any larger chunks of the outer skin from the juicier, flavorful interior.

The wet ingredients are combined in a large measuring cup for mixing
The zested oranges are then cut and the juice squeezed into the measuring cup. The viscous mixture of molasses, honey, grated ginger and orange, orange juice and vanilla are stirred to combine and slowly drizzled over the mixed dried ingredients.  I added canola oil and water to increase the moisture content and the ability to hold together in clumps.

Granola being stirred in the oven
 Into the 300 degree preheated oven my roasting pans go. The timer is set for every 20 minutes. As the raw granola begins to toast, the familiar scents escape from my oven and creep through my house. "Smelling good Mama!", my husband affectionately comments. I know. It's my full circle, my turn to create memories for my family, to help us eat natural, healthful foods whenever possible.

Perfume is filling my house
The granola is baked and stirred for about an hour plus for this deep roasting pans. My more shallow pans toast the contents faster but hold less. It cools completely and is placed into large gallon Ziploc bags for distribution to my Dad, our fisherman friends Kyle and Colin, my in-laws and my oldest son who lives on his own. The can all taste the wholesome goodness, the combination of toasty, nutty, sweet and salty.

When I went to bed last night, my room still smelled of the baked granola. I smiled at the comfort of knowing that my Mom had successfully passed another torch to me and that I kept the legacy going. It's only granola, right?! Or is it?
My breakfast today
Here's to those legacies my friends. They might be just food but they are SO much more, they are all the emotions of caring for your families wellness, honoring family traditions, listening to your elders when they take the time to teach the next generation. Yea, it's granola this time but it's so much more!

Seek out those legacies and pass them on with the love they were passed to you and maybe a little bit more if you have it to share...

Chow for now my friends!

1 comment:

Renee M. said...

A great day to warm your home and family with those traditional family foods. I could just imagine the aroma in your home and the smiles on the faces of those who were blessed with this gift of love and memory. I was happy to be among those recipients after seeing you on Monday. Yum! Thanks for your blog and for keeping us foodies shopping, dining and cooking locally.