Tag Archives: Homesick Texan

summery salads and ranch dressing

 

While I have certainly been enjoying the summer market bounty in the form of berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, cherries), peas (sugar snap, english shelling) and beans (favas), I think that the best part about summer is the salads.  I really do enjoy a salad with my dinner and sadly most of the year this means produce that had to be trucked many miles (probably from California, bagged) and it inevitably is tasteless and a little disappointing.  But for a few months out of the year, everything is different.  

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Granola w/ Almonds, Pistachios and Cranberries

After reading a bunch of food policy-esque books lately, I have been reevaluating some of my food purchases and finding simple changes that have infinite benefits.  Simple things like looking at the italian dressing packet that I always used and swapping it for a mix with far fewer (and pronounceable) ingredients from the Spice House. It is satisfying to know that the loaf of bread that just gets pulled out of the oven, only has a handful of ingredients in it. After buying a whole lot of dried milk for my light wheat bread, I was excited to see that another use for all the surplus is granola. This recipe is entirely flexible and the results are wonderful. I have a big gallon sized bag that I am slowly eating down and enjoying it every step of the way.

I decided to use my favorite nuts (almonds and pistachios) and big, plump dried cranberries that I really fell in love with during this past holiday season.

It comes together quite quickly. You put all the dry ingredients (nuts, oats, powdered milk, coconut, salt) in a huge bowl (in my case 2 large bowls) and give them a quick stir. Then you mix together all the wet ingredients (oil, honey, vanilla) in a measuring cup and slowly add the liquid to the dry stirring it all in as you go.

Once everything is mixed, you dump it all out onto a half sheet pan (I did it in two batches) and place it in a preheated 300 degree oven. Take it out every 5-7 mins and stir it around so that it cooks evenly.

The granola is done when the oats start to brown and it feels hot to the touch (took me around 20 mins). It is fanatasic on its own, eaten like cereal with cold milk, or, my personal favorite, mixed with some tangy plain greek yogurt.

I have been giving little baggies full to friends and enjoying it for breakfast all week. I will probably stick some in the freezer to see how it holds up. The recipe makes a TON so it might be smart to half it (or just have lots of ziploc handy.)

Granola
Recipe adapted from Homesick Texan

10 cups rolled oats (this is just your normal Quaker Oatmeal)
1 cup dried milk
4-6 cups nuts (I used 2 cups of pistachios and 2 cups of almonds and I think it is plenty)
5 cups dried, unsweetened coconut flakes (I usually HATE dried coconut, but these flakes are PERFECT in this recipe)
2-3 tsp. salt (I used 3 and it is almost a little salty)
1 to 1.5 cups vegetable oil
1 cup honey
3 tsp. vanilla
2-3 cups dried cranberries (add after baking)
Heat oven to 300 degrees.

Combine dry ingredients in a BIG bowl and mix thoroughly. In a large measuring cup, measure the oil and then add the honey and vanilla too it. Mix thoroughly with a whisk.

Put the mixture on a silpat lined (if you have one) pan 1-3 inches thick and bake. Use a spatula to turn it every five minutes or so. It is best to take it out before it seems done. When it feels hot to the touch and is a light golden brown, it’s ready. Mix in the dried cranberries.