Friday, December 9, 2011

Hilda Saves the Day

My granola is the best.  I'm not being boastful.  That's really just another way of saying that I, personally, like it very much.  It's very crisp, a bit sweet and full of good stuff.  And best of all, the house smells wonderful when making granola is one of the Things I get to do today.

But baking the blend of oatmeal, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, and chopped nuts is the hard part for me. Every 15 minutes I need to get myself to the oven and stir the granola in those two pans or the whole thing will be "toast" or worse. Twelve cups of too-brown/burned cereal is a lot to eat.  I'm a busy and sometimes distracted Handy Andy.  Besides that, my hearing is less than perfect.  I've set the timer on the stove to remind me, but if I'm out with the chickens, the timer is not going to trot out to the coop and tap me on the shoulder, nodding toward the kitchen.

Hilda Timer Hen
Here's where Hilda, bless her little ticking heart, comes to the rescue.  When I put the granola into the oven, I'll set Hilda Timer Hen for 15 minutes and put her in my pocket.  Her gentle clucking will keep my slightly connected to the kitchen project.  When she gives her little cackle "bing," I'll be sure to hear it.  What a clever hen!  What a clever me!  What a clever Karen who gifted me with Hilda last week!

My Granola:

8 cups thick rolled oats
1 cup each walnuts
                  pecans  coarsely chopped
1 cup each sunflower seeds
                  pumpkin seeds
Mix above together in large bowl

1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup agave
1/4 cup water
1 cup coconut oil
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon vanilla
Mix this group of ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat.

Pour hot liquid over dry ingredients and stir to coat.  Spread evenly on baking sheets (I use 2 large ones) and bake at 325 degrees for one hour.  Stir every 15 minutes.  When it is golden brown, turn off the oven and leave the door open for a few minutes.  Then close the door, leaving the pans of granola in the oven until cool.  Transfer to an air-tight container for storage.  If you like dried fruit (raisins, dates, cranberries, etc), add them directly to your cereal bowl.  That will keep the fruit from turning into hard little bullets (your dentist will thank you) and the granola from becoming soggy.

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