Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Making Granola aboard the boat

As fairly "new to the lifestyle" live-a-boards, we constantly struggle with space and storage.  One of the things we both enjoy is a little snack when hungry and have recently got on a kick with granola.  I almost always had a bag of granola that I would keep in a "lock & lock" container to keep it fresh.  When it get a bit hungry in the evening, I grab a small handful of granola and munch on it and it does the trick to satisfy the snacking bug.  

I have found I like to eat Granola as cereal in the morning with some milk over it.  I enjoy it on top of yogurt or even on top of some fresh cut fruit.  It is also really good on ice cream but that is something we don't have on board very often at all.
So today we decided to make out own granola.  I was shocked at how simple it was and allows you to make all kinds of variations for whatever it is you prefer.  For example, because we snack on it by itself, we made some that had dried fruit and coconut in it.  Yummy.    We made some that was individual crunchy bits the size of the oats so it can be spread on top of fruit or yogurt and even made some that is in chunks for snacking (think of a broken granola bar).

There are a ton of recipe's online but what we found in our few tries is that it is not really a science and it is pretty hard to mess it up unless you burn it.
We made ours with the following ingredients
3 cups of rolled oats (not the instant, but the plain old quaker style work)
1 cup of chopped mixed nuts (we used peanuts and cashews and just chopped them to about the size of the oats)
3/4 cup of sweetened coconut flakes (found in the baking aisle of the store)
3/4 cup of Brown Sugar (Actually we used just a bit more than 3/4 of a cup)
about a teaspoon of salt
1/2 tsp of cinnamon (I don't think this is needed, I just saw it on the shelf and figured what the heck)

We mixed all of that together in a bowl.  On a boat, everything needs multiple uses, so the bowl is also the lock & lock that we typically keep salad in when storing it in the fridge.

In a separate bowl (one of our cereal bowls) we mixed the following
Pan cooking in the oven on the boat
1/4 cup of oil (we used Olive, but anything will do)
1/4 of a cup of Honey (could also have used Maple Syrup)
We both like Peanut butter, so I also dropped a couple of tablespoons of Peanut butter into this mix.
Mix this all together really well and pour over the oat mix.  Mix well until all are coated really well.

Then spread evenly on a cookie sheet or small pan for the over.  Be sure to oil or PAM the pan first to keep it from sticking.
Here is a small video showing the product after about an hour in the oven

You bake it in the over on a temperature between 250 and 325 and just keep checking on it every 15 minutes and mixing it up a bit (it tends to toast more near the edges of the pan so we just moved the mixture around a bit).  It should cook between 45 minutes and an hour and 15 minutes.  I think it tastes a bit better when cooked at about 250 for and hour and 15 minutes.

If you like it in chunks for snacking, just press it down in the pan the last 15 minutes you will bake it and then when you take it out of the over, don't mix it up until after it cools.  We just broke it up into little bit sized pieces.

At this point, you can add in anything you really want, dried fruit like Pinapple, apricot, raisins, cranberries, papaya, really anything.  We even put small dates and broken banana chips in it.  

Good stuff….
Just pop it in an airtight container and it will be good for at least a month (we tend to eat it in less than a month)
This is about a third of a batch of what the recipe above makes.
We bake it in 3 batches due to the size of the pan we can get in the oven.

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