Callie’s Cabin: Sierra granola in the spring (recipe)
Back in the ‘60s a popular hippie health food was granola. It’s a cereal mixture of baked oats, nuts and dried fruit. As time passed, this good-for-you snack made its way to health food stores and now in the 21st century it’s touted in TV commercials and found in bags, boxes and bins at grocery stores.
Decades ago I was a health-conscious nomad between semesters at college. Paired with a boyfriend and dog we camped out in gold mining country for a summer. Before we were evicted (due to lack of cash flow, and having a canine) from our apartment in the San Francisco Bay Area, I made a big batch of granola and stored it inside a big plastic container inside our ice chest. The first morning I awoke to our new home — a van parked on the shore of Tuolumne River in Calaveras County. Clad in a bathing suit, basking in the sunshine, munching on crunchy granola before taking a swim was going back to nature, carefree and happy.
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup walnuts, rough chop
½ cup premium shredded sweet coconut
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ stick of European style butter, melted
½ cup honey
3 tablespoons premium organ maple syrup
1 cup raisins
In a pan place dry ingredients (oats, nuts, coconut and sugar). Set aside. Mix wet ingredients (butter, honey, syrup) and combine with dry ingredients until all ingredients are coated. Bake in a 300 degree oven for about 20-25 minutes. Stir a few times. Remove, cool, add raisins. Store in airtight container in refrigerator. Serves eight. *Serve with milk as cereal or with plain Greek yogurt and slices of fresh fruit.
The kitchen will smell like a cookie store. A few tips I’ve learned include: Less baking time makes a chewier granola; adding dried fruit when baked is best; easy on the coconut since it’s high in fat; and vegetable oil can be used instead of butter. Eating less is more because the contents are rich in sugar and fat, but paired with organic yogurt or milk makes it a healthy breakfast or snack. You can buy granola but making it yourself is easy, fun, tastes fresh and you have the luxury of adding your favorite nuts, seeds and dried fruit to savor at Lake Tahoe during our seasonal change — rain, snow or shine.
Motto: Sometimes food experiences may not seem special and you lose it until later when you look back and realize the memory of what you ate and where it was is a treasure found.
Cal Orey, M.A. Is an author and journalist. Her books include the Healing Powers Series (Vinegar, Olive Oil, Chocolate, Honey, Coffee, and Tea) published by Kensington. (The collection has been featured by the Good Cook Book Club.) Her website is http://www.calorey.com.
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