Granola

There’s nothing more empowering than to walk down to the sketchy grocery store with a newly conditioned pair of leather boots (my first!).  Especially because I never wear heels and even an inch makes me nervous.  And I’m a heavy walker.  And they’re still breaking in, so I’ve got about two and a half blisters on each foot.

So really, there’s nothing more embarrassing than to walk down the street, tripping over each curb, stomping with each step, and limping/wincing with pain.

But damn, they’re nice boots.  And they were $6.

And the trip through the fog/rain was worth it.  I got all the ingredients I needed for this sweet and savory granola.

Mountains of fiber!

Do you know what’s cheaper and more effective than a KitchenAid mixer?  My hands.

Plains of grains!

You know, I originally had an elaborate set-up for my “finished product” shot.  There was a tea pot.  And crystal mugs of earl grey and milk.  Even a cup full of fresh sage.

But granola isn’t fluffy.  It’s hearty.  It’s rugged.  It’s rough.  It goes well with leather boots.

Also, granola is perfect for hiking.  Someone take me hiking.

Granola.

2 cups rolled oats (don’t use quick oats)
1/4 cup flax seeds
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1 cup almonds
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

Throw the dry ingredients into a bowl and toss until the seeds are spread evenly.  Add all of the wet ingredients and mix until all of the grains, seeds, and raisins are covered.

Spread evenly on a baking sheet and bake for half an hour, tossing the mixture after 15 minutes.

Makes about 5 cups of granola.

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Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

I’ve been re-watching Friends.  Last night’s was “The One with the German Laundry Detergent,” where Ross and Rachel go on their first pseudo-date at the laundromat.  He’s teaching her to separate her lights, darks, delicates, and I say, “Huh, I never do that.”

Really?” inquires my roommate.

Um, guys.  I don’t separate my laundry.  It’s not that I don’t know how to.  I just don’t.  I might be lazy.

But there are things that I do separate.  Like shampoo and conditioner.  Two-in-one stuff SUCKS.  Especially that three-in-one stuff.  What is that?

I also separately mix wet and dry ingredients.  Butter just does NOT mix well with flour unless it’s already been mixed with eggs, vanilla, and sugar.  I’m serious.  Don’t even think about throwing all of your cookie ingredients into one bowl.  Yeah, I know, it’ll save on dishes, but your cookie will be junk.

Another word for the wise: NEVER microwave your butter if you’re trying to quickly go from fridge-cold to room temperature.  Your cookie will be a pancake.  This comes from experience.

When it comes to baking, either bread or pastries, mixing properly is the key to success.  Mix too much, pancake central.  Mix too little, dry pockets of flour.  Mix it just right, and Goldilocks has a dozen fluffy chocolate chip oatmeal cookies.

Lick your fingers after rolling these dough balls out.  And eat what’s left in the bowl.

Remember what I said about age and lactose intolerance?  Proceed with caution.

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies.

3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup firmly pack brown sugar
1 egg

1 cup old fashioned oats
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Incorporate the dry ingredients in a medium bowl, just until the cinnamon is nicely dispersed.  IN A SEPARATE LARGE BOWL (I’m watching you), mix the butter, vanilla, brown sugar and egg until creamy (i.e. no butter chunks).

Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet about half a cup at a time, mixing fully before adding more.  The dough should be fluffy.

Add the oats and chocolate chips and mix until just incorporated.

Arrange spoonfuls on a baking sheet about 2 inches apart.

Bake for about 15 minutes, until the center just barely begins to flatten.  This ensures that the cookie will be slightly crispy on the edges and still soft and gooey on the inside.

Let cool on the baking sheet for about 15 minutes.  Transfer to a cooling rack for final firming stage.

Makes a dozen big cookies.