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!

In your experience, what town has the most friendly people?

I was just asked what town, I believe, has the friendliest people.  I must precede my answer with a caveat – I think the people in a town are only as friendly as you are.

I’m so fortunate, every where I’ve lived has boasted wonderful, friendly people.  I live in the D.C. area now, where the hustle and bustle and traffic and melting-pot of people sets the stage for short fuses and huffy faces.  However, even on the subway I’ve seen big smiles and received helpful answers to stupid, lost-little-girl questions.  On long dog walks, I pass people who want to have 30 minute conversations.

All that said, so far, I believe that Lacey and Olympia, Washington, had the friendliest people.  Perhaps that’s influenced by how much I love the state in general.  Anyway, I hope you enjoy the funny article that I wrote about a year ago after a typical day in Olympia…

Oh the people I’ve seen in the place that I’ve been!  Only in Olympia.  The capital of Washington is widely known as liberal, open-minded and a place where anything goes.  For example, in clothing, fashion and style: anything goes.

 

I was walking my dog in downtown Olympia.  The intersection of two relatively busy streets, framed by wide sidewalks and bike lanes.  Meandering in the rare sunshine, I  barely heard the growing whirrrr….. behind me, until it was upon me.  Imagine Jesus: long hair, beard and flowing clothing, barreling down the sidewalk on a skateboard.

 

Generally, sled dogs are seen in Alaska and arctic climates, but the gentleman had introduced his team of mongrels to asphalt.  Five giant dogs of various breeds and combinations of breeds were leashed to his waist.  With amazing talent, the character balanced on his skateboard while wearing an overloaded backpack.

 

I realized that his means of transportation had no brakes, and preferring to risk my chances in the middle of the street, since the cars at least had brakes, I dove out of his way and into traffic.  As luck would have it, the light had just turned red and the cars were momentarily paused.  The genius on wheels never slowed down but sailed through the intersection on the walk signal.  The passenger in the car nearest me, stuck his head out the window, a look of incredulity on his face.

 

“Are you OK?”

 

“I think so,” I stammered, and leapt back to the sidewalk as traffic began moving again.  Welcome to Olympia.

 

That is only the first shock that I remember from our two years stint in western Washington.  Interesting spectacles were never in short supply.  A stroll down the waterfront at Percival Landing yields many compelling sights.  Just be prepared to hide your smirk.  This is Olympia, anything goes.

 

Did you know Pippi Longstocking is a real person?  I saw her in Olympia.  She was wearing her signature long, red, striped stockings, pulled high over her knees.  This time she had on shiny, black boots with undone laces.  Two inches above the stockings began the green, tweed skirt.  It was lashed to her skinny waist with rope she probably stole from her father’s ship.  A tattered sweater probably kept her warm enough.

 

She didn’t look to be her cheerful self that day.  She wore a look of focused consternation, barely noticing me or anyone else around her.  But then, maybe her wild red hair kept her from seeing anything at all.

 

At the park I saw a misplaced Audrey Hepburn.  She belonged on the movie set of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” but there she was watching a baseball game at the athletic park with her boyfriend.  At least she had changed her shoes.  Confused Audrey had on red cowboy boots to compliment her little, black cocktail dress.  Her long locks were let down and swung around her shoulders.  She was lovely, just confused.

On that same walk, I observed the worst fashion faux-pa of the decade.  Never, never wear socks with sandals.

 

A round, young Asian boy, stepped out of the lowered white beater car by the curb.  The car shook with indiscernible music while half-a-dozen high school boys leaned on it’s filthy doors.  The boy was wearing oversized basketball shorts pulled up to his navel.  On top he wore a gray sweatshirt inside out and on his feet he had bright red, knee high socks, wedged oddly around the toe piece of his black flip-flops.  His outfit was completed by Joe-cool sunglasses.

There’s Nothing Like King Street

After a delightful morning of wandering down King Street and through the farmer’s market with Stephanie, I got home feeling unexplainable sacked – exhausted.

Rejuvenation was found in a page, as it often is.  But this time, in an exploratory mood, and under the injunction of Fred and Leslie, I chose to journal with watercolors and pencils.  I began sketching, in poor imitation, the flowers from the market.  I scribbled the word “friend” between the flowers and a “V” bird that I drew above – so many friends have flown away as time demands.  Without my intention, the word “END” rose out of its enclosure in “friend,” a different font, a larger point.

I think that even in the midst of spending time with a new friend – doing my favorite things – walking along a waterfront in the sunshine, perusing a farmer’s market and nursing a cup of coffee…

I couldn’t help but recall the deliciously, lingering memories of the ends of Olympia’s Farmer’s Market, living life and getting drunk on coffee with Dana, sniffing smoked pepper at Burt’s Spice Emporium… so that even in the body of new experiences, flows the life blood of old and precious memories.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.