Growing With Granola


I have contemplated staring a recipe blog, something like “Recipes for Recovery.” I am testing the idea here on Mondays, so I am very interested in the response. If you enjoy the healthy, adapted recipes you see here and would like to to see more foods and recipes that have encouraged me to eat again, please comment!

Briefly: I fought a loosing battle with anorexia for about 13 years. Then, I began to get the upper hand. There are still battles sometimes, but the war is won and I’m not ever going back. In the thick of my struggles, I outlawed many foods and categories of food. First it was fat, then carbs became evil and protein was innately scary to me.

The first time that I actually saw the cloud of fear around food roll back was in Washington state, near Percival Pier in Olympia. The Olympia Farmer’s Market is renowned. Geometric shapes of colorful fruits and vegetables spill over the tops of semi-permenant carts. The heady fragrance of cinnamon roasted pecans winds through the sea of shoppers in the fall months. Friendships ignite over heads of cauliflower and bundles of wildflowers. Artists mix with farmers mix with bakers and ranchers.

The first time I wandered through the market, I was alone. Tears sprang to my eyes as I observed crowds of people expressing nothing but appreciation for the indulgent art of eating. Food was about color and nutrition and pleasure and friendship and spontaneity. Food was fresh and new and lively and shared and personal and creative. I desperately wanted to experience food in that way.

So that was the beginning of NEW. Later, I volunteered at the Co-op in Olympia. The Co-op was crowded with hippies and hemp. It was open air and very chilly in the winter time. My section was the dry goods, so I restocked oatmeal and granola, cereal, flower, nuts, seeds and fruits. I wondered how people enjoyed nuts? granola? Oh how delicious they looked, but I knew they harbored hundred of calories in a child-sized handful.

I began to find joy in food by making it. I applied the same principles that farmers and bakers do. Perhaps, I thought, their love for food comes from the investment of their time and creativity. So I took it upon myself to make granola. I’ve since made tons and tons of varieties and experimented with recipes from friends and websites. I realized, much to my delight, that granola is easily manipulated successfully. So don’t stick with what I post here. I’m purposefully giving vague ingredients and amounts, because if you vary the baking time, you really can’t go wrong.

Enjoy! Appreciate the joy of creating and eating!

P.S. My greatest love to Dana, who gave me my first granola recipe. Dana, there is no one like you and never will be. You inspired so much of the healing God has brought me through. Not only inspired it but helped me to survive it. I love you!!

GRANOLA

2 C puffed rice

2 C  old fashioned oatmeal, or other dry flake cereal such as rye flakes, barley flakes, etc.

1/4 C shelled and salted sunflower seeds

1/4 C dry roasted and salted soybeans

1/2 C mixed, chopped, salted nuts

1/4 Splenda

1 T spice of your choice – cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, if you’re really bold try the SMALLEST dash of cayenne

1/4 honey or flavored syrup (can use sugar free) like maple, carmel, vanilla, coconut

add dashes of water, probably up to about 1/2 C

Stir to determine if it’s the consistency you want. The entire mixture should be damp but not soggy.

Here you can add lots of things: wheat germ, flax seeds, more nuts, stevia if you want it extra sweet, switch out some of the water for olive oil or melted butter

Spread your granola on two greased baking sheets and bake at 300 degrees for about 20-30 minutes stirring regularly. Feel free to take it out at any time you think it is done. Make sure it cools completely before storing it. At this point, I like to mix my granola with another boxed cereal to make it last a little longer and alter the flavor. Try Cascadia Farms version of Cinnamon Toast Crunch or Cinnamon Chex or Honey Nut Cheerios or Kashi Honey Sunshine or Peanut Butter Puffs by Puffin Cereal.

Let me know if you try this recipe and make it your own!

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