Grab the Granola

granola

Much of my recent baking has included rolled oats.  Never gravitated towards oatmeal for breakfast, never could get used to the texture.  I began to feel that I was eliminating a great healthy ingredient that I somehow knew I could incorporate into other dishes and meals since my all-time favorite thing to bake and eat were oatmeal cookies!

I had a vague idea of what granola was but just recently discovered that it is a combination of ingredients that make up the “dish” called granola.  Here’s the Wikipedia definition:

Granola is a breakfast food and snack food consisting of rolled oats, nuts, honey, and sometimes puffed rice, that is usually baked until crisp. During the baking process the mixture is stirred to maintain a loose, breakfast cereal-type consistency. Dried fruits, such as raisins and dates, and confections such as chocolate are sometimes added.

granola

This is definitely a dish I could recreate it in my own kitchen!  What cemented the idea for me was an article on my editor’s page, Family Entertainment Media, about toasting rolled oats and adding it to yogurt.  Now my editor is an amazing, multi-talented individual but cooking and recipe creating is not something she is passionate about so if she made it and published an article about it, it passed the test for me.  I copied, tried, and enhanced the idea!  Thanks, Judith!

This granola is salty/sweet, has a wonderful crunchy texture and is a healthy, make-at-home, have-control-over, snack!  I also plan to start baking with it as an ingredient in bread or cookies; that will come soon.

Golden rolled oats, being toasted in butter.

Golden rolled oats, being toasted in butter.

Irish butter from "grass-fed" cows! Yay!

Irish butter from “grass-fed” cows! Yay!

Great nuts for great granola from Trader Joe's.

Great nuts for great granola from Trader Joe’s.

Toasted to perfection!

Toasted to perfection!

The recipe.

Granola

Ingredients

1 T butter
3 C rolled oats
¼ C almonds
¼ C sunflower seeds (or pumpkin seeds)
3 T honey
Dash of salt

Process:  in a large, shallow pan, melt the butter; add rolled oats and nuts then toast slowly over low flame care not to scorch.  This process can take about 25-30 minutes to fully cook the oats.  Once browned, add the honey and salt and stir to distribute.  Remove from heat and let cool; store in the refrigerator in an air-tight container.

Home made granola and raisins, now that's yum!

Home made granola and raisins, now that’s yum!


New Jersey Blues In Pie

Blueberry Pie

Blueberry Pie

Blueberries on sale…  Uh oh, here we go…

My first attempt at a double-crusted fruit pie!  The crust was phenomenal and great fun to make!

The flavor of this pie (more like a cobbler) was top notch however, the filling did not solidify due to the amount of liquid added.  If you decide to attempt this recipe, please use 1/2 cup of water for the filling recipe.

Blueberry Pie

Recipe

Blueberry Filling (Doubled my own Blueberry Crostata filling recipe with some added flavor.)

Ingredients
2 pints New Jersey blueberries
1 C 1/2 C water
3 T potato starch
1 C organic sugar
4 t freshly squeezed lemon juice
4 t freshly squeezed orange juice
1 t lemon zest
1/4 t salt
pinch nutmeg, cinnamon, and red pepper flakes

Process:  cook 2 cups of the blueberries in the water; bring to a boil.  In a separate bowl mix the potato starch, lemon and orange juices, sugar, zest, salt and other spices; add this mixture to the boiling blueberries and stir constantly; let simmer for about 2 minutes and remove from heat; after cooled, gently add to the remaining blueberries mixing well.

Crust (Used King Arthur’s double crust recipe.)

Ingredients
2 1/2 C flour
1 1/4 t salt
1/4 C shortening
10 T chilled butter
6-10 T ice water
1 egg, well mixed

Process:  combine flour and salt; cut in the shortening and butter; add ice water checking for softened yet not overly wet dough; lay out on floured surface; divide in half and form two disks; wrap in plastic and refrigerate for about an hour; roll out dough to fit pie plate; add to plate and refrigerate to relax the gluten.

Roll out top dough crust; add to parchment paper and refrigerate. Add filling to chilled pie crust; apply egg wash to the crust edges; add top crust and crimp and seal all around.  Brush entire pie with egg wash; sprinkle with sugar; bake for 1 1/2 hours in a preheated 350F degree oven.

Videos for the various techniques to crimp pie crusts can be found here.

Blueberry Pie

Good luck, have fun and enjoy the delicious benefits!


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