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DIY Kitchen: pumpkin granola

December 11, 2012

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Mornings, I’m my own brand of drug-sniffing dog, singularly seeking a quiet corner of the kitchen in which to drink coffee and read the newspaper. I’d come to the table with those horse eye-flap blinders if I could get away with it.

The kids don’t understand this. Col climbs in my bathrobed lap and taps my neck like he’s checking my thyroid. Rose has circular conversations that start and end with herself but are directed at me. “Mama, when will you draw me a maze? Oh yeah, when you’re done reading the paper.”

“Read us the Miscellaneous For Free!” (in the classifieds) they plead, which always leads to Rose lobbying for one of the kittens offered, which always leads to me reminding her of the neglected cat we already have. “Read us the teenager!” they beg, which is what they call the comic strip, Zits, that pits a techno-teenager against his square parents, which we all love. (Recently I asked Dan who he identifies with more, Jeremy or his parents. “Parents,” he admitted defeatedly).

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Is our food processor getting sick of pumpkins? This was a batch of pumpkin tahini cookies, which Rose said tasted like hummus.

Also, the clock we installed in the kids’ room for a visual of what 6:00 am looks like (so no one gets up earlier) appears to be backfiring. Last night Col appeared apparition-like, by my bed at 4:45 am. “I woke up and the clock said 4,” he reported bewilderedly, “and then the next time I woke up it said 3, and now it says 4 again.”

Which is to say, mornings occur early around here. What does this have to do with granola? Granola is the closest I’ll get to horse-blinders; the shortest distance to newspaper/coffee refuge. I make 2-3 gallons at a time (one gallon is in the root cellar, after we pickled it and put a bird on it) and it takes the decision making (and cooking) out of the morning equation. Plus, it’s basically a bowl of protein and good fats. The kids eat it with either milk or yogurt (yogurt recipe here).

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Afternoons are a different story. While the chickens roam, ruining our yard, we play ball. And while some of us have some athletic abilities, most of us don’t actually know anything about sports. Which means that we were playing baseball with a warped tennis racket until Dan caught on.

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Pumpkin Granola Recipe – makes about 1 gallon 

Does 1 gallon seem like a lot? It doesn’t seem worth it to get out so many cookie sheets if you’re not going big. Also, I’m trying to selectively breed out food pickiness and its cousin: the need for great variety. (When Dan is home for mornings, he makes cinnamon rolls, sausage scrambles and other delectables, otherwise: hello granola!).

It should be noted that this is a very flexible recipe. Mine tends to be heavy on the nuts because they make the granola more interesting. I also like using honey and molasses as my sweeteners because the liquid coats the dry granola, which makes the clumps, which is the whole point of granola. The butter gives the granola a lovely rich flavor. Of course you can omit the pumpkin entirely.

Ingredients

7 cups oats (if you do a quick blend of 1/2 of the oats on pulse – but not so fine as flour, you’ll get more coveted clumps)

1 cup honey

1 cup molasses

1 1/2 sticks butter

5 cups assorted crushed nuts and seeds (I do 1 cup each of walnuts, sunflower seeds, pepitas, sesame seeds, whole flax seeds

2 cups raisins (add these after baking or they’ll burn into little charred husks)

2 cups shredded coconut

2 cups pureed pumpkin

2 tbsp pumpkin pie spice

Directions:

Melt butter, add honey and molasses until all warmly blended together. Assemble dry ingredients in 2 big pots or bowls (no raisins yet). Kids are ideal helpers for this. Let them use their clean hands to get everything integrated. Add wet ingredients: honey/butter/molasses/pumpkin puree, and stir very well.

Lay moistened ingredients about 1/2 inch thick on cookie sheets and/or casserole pans. Bake at 300F for 60 minutes if containing pumpkin, 40 minutes without pumpkin, or until a nice, roasty brown color. You’ll need to stir up the granola once every 10 minutes or so, and break up any really big pumpkiny clumps, because they won’t dry out enough to store for a long time.

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Oats for the apocalypse. Incidentally, oats are a starred food in the book, the 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth, on account of the beta-glucan (immune system!), avenanthramide (anti-inflammatory!), low glycemic load (easy on the pancreas!).

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This part—the mixing of the dry ingredients—makes the kids feel like they have access to wondrous, grown up things (like what? a multitude of sesame seeds?)

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Before oats are added, with a kid’s mixey hand.

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Everything added and ready for baking pans.

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Makes a good bedtime snack, in bed.

Linking up with Simple Lives Thursday

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15 Comments leave one →
  1. December 11, 2012 8:42 am

    Would you believe I’ve also been working on a pumpkin granola?!? Great minds think alike. This looks awesome!

  2. December 11, 2012 8:59 pm

    We love pumpkin granola!! Yours looks delish.

  3. December 11, 2012 11:33 pm

    Many thanks! I’m going to try it. We eat a TON of granola; as in, it often occupies one third of our grocery bill. On a completely different note: did Rose ever go to preschool or has she always been home-schooled? What do your home schooling days look like? Or, more to the point, how often are your kids away from home? I know they go to the public school two days a week (how is that organized, exactly? Is it designated public school days for home schooled children, specifically?) and I know you have a co-op with other parents, but how is it all organized? Are they in “school” at particular times or do you just do schooly stuff randomly throughout the day? Just curious.

  4. Anonymous permalink
    December 12, 2012 12:53 am

    I was so inspired by your granola, when i went into my kitchen to do the dishes and clean i ended up cleaning out my cabinets and making a batch of altered granola following your recipe. I used sweet potato i was just getting ready to can, it turned out awesome.

    P.S. your my window into Durango, i so ejnoy your writing, thank you Rachel.

    Amy

  5. December 12, 2012 7:10 am

    Thank goodness I have one child who is also not a morning person. Our mornings might be rough, but at least there’s no one chipper up and about. That would send me over the edge.

    Cannot wait to make this. We eat a ton of granola and no, a gallon doesn’t sound like too much. That might last us a week.

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      December 13, 2012 3:49 pm

      Not only are we chipper in the mornings, but LOUD and CAREENING and ECHOING.

  6. Melissa permalink
    December 12, 2012 9:51 am

    Oh, this looks amazing, and like just the inspiration I need to start making granola again. This morning, we ate bananas, smearing sun butter on them as we went because, like you, all I want in the mornings is my coffee and a little quiet. I have loved the results of my go-to granola recipe, but never could work out a way to get clumps. Definitely going to try your tricks!

  7. December 12, 2012 10:37 am

    This is so what I needed, sister. We’ve been eating granola non stop, and I just knew there was the perfect recipe out there. Perfect.
    I really like how you described Rose’s circular conversations. We’ve got a girl around here that does that too..

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      December 13, 2012 9:43 am

      Re: the circular conversations, I’ve learned to wait a few seconds before responding, and see if she’s going to just answer her own questions.

  8. Anne permalink
    December 12, 2012 8:50 pm

    thanks for the recipe! my 2 and 4 year olds wake up starving at 5:30 every morning. I made granola after your last post about it and it totally worked to curb the morning chaos–I plopped it on yogurt and was able to enjoy my coffee whine-free. I’m definitely going to try this pumpkin version next.

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      December 13, 2012 9:47 am

      5:30! Ack! Here too. Must be some genetic vestige from when we all lived on farms.

  9. December 14, 2012 8:00 pm

    we love zits too. that series of “adults say the lamest things” recently was fab.

  10. December 23, 2012 9:20 pm

    That sounds super yummy and I especially like the molasses in it. I’ll have to try it! Thanks!

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