Deliciously cheap granola!

Maple-Nut Granola, Jan/Feb. 2010, pg. 60

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For some reason 2013 was the ‘Year of Oats’ for me.  I would go to the grocery store and think we needed oats, by October I had three large containers of Quaker Oats.  Needless to say I was pretty happy there are so many recipes in the January/February 2010 issue that need oats!

I’ve made this granola several times since I first received the issue in 2010.  Good granola is so expensive to buy at the store and so easy to make at home.  Granola is one of the main components of my breakfast, ‘yogurt slop’.  At first glance people usually say, “What are you eating?” with an awful expression on their face.  After I explain that it’s plain yogurt, fruit, and granola, the awful expression changes, “Oh.  I bet it’s pretty good!”…It is!

'Yogurt Slop'

‘Yogurt Slop’

The maple-nut granola is simple to make, delicious and very easy to make variations of the original recipe.  This time I made the granola with walnuts and blueberry infused dried cranberries, and of course some Lewis County, NY maple syrup.  I didn’t have pecans and almonds, and I had already new that the original variation was delicious.

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The walnut and blueberry infused dried cranberries was fantastic!  I also froze half of the granola and sent some to my brother.  Who works all of the time and eats healthy, but time is his limiting factor.  I hope he likes the granola as much as I do.

I would definitely recommend the granola.  Experiment with the add-ins.  It’s pretty difficult to make bad granola.

FYI.  It’s January 2014 and I’m down to 1.3 large containers of oats!

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The merriest granola

Granola with pecans and dried fruit

We gave a little as a gift.  Doesn't it look festive?

We gave a little as a gift. Doesn’t it look festive?

D, my darling king of the granola, made this one.  I came home from a holiday lunch with a friend to see a pan of it on the stove top.  I proceeded to eat it as often as possible until it was gone.  This stuff is so good.  The pecans got nice and toasty, but didn’t burn.  That’s a problem D and I have had with some other granolas that ask you to toast the nuts with the rest of the ingredients.  The granola is wonderful with some dried fruit in it, which we added as desired rather than mixing it in with the entire batch.  D and I must both note that the chocolate chips are wholly unnecessary.  This is enough of a yummy treat already.  Oh, and we can’t forget the awesome vanilla paste B got for me.  It made another star appearance in this one.

Ah, It’s been gone for a couple weeks, and I miss this granola already.

Pear and Granola Muffins

Pear and Granola Muffins

http://www.marthastewart.com/317980/pear-and-granola-muffins

October 2003, pg. 35

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“We, I mean YOU, have to make these again!” my husband exclaimed while chewing his second pear and granola muffin in five minutes.  After that statement, Everyday Food’s, ‘Pear and Granola Muffins’ are now in my go-to recipe collection.  I’m a big fan of bringing baked goods to friends’ and families’ houses when we spend a night or two.  Typically I bake some kind of scone or muffin, with the majority of recipes coming from the Martha Stewart collection.  So the pear and granola muffins will fit right in.

I used D’Anjou pears from the grocery store.  I had to wait several days for the pears to ripen, so plan ahead if you want to make these muffins.  I was able to make 15 muffins not a dozen.  There were more than 2 cups of cut fruit from the two pears.  The more fruit the better!  My local Weagman’s grocery store had several choices of bulk granola.  I went with the ‘plainest’ available.  It had a few nuts and was sweetened with honey.  I was very happy with the choice.  Every few bites of the muffin I would taste a cashew, which was a pleasant surprise.  The taste and texture of the muffins were spectacular!  The pears were tender and the amount of cinnamon complemented the fruit wonderfully.

Aesthetically, the muffins looked perfect!  The tops were a beautiful golden brown with chunks of pear, adding topography to the muffins.  I did leave the granola crisp topping off the muffins.  When possible, I cut the down the amount of sugar and salt a recipe calls for.  These two ingredients seem to be in all processed food, so when I have control over putting salt and sugar in food, less is sometimes better.   In this case, just omitting the topping reduced the sugar by ¼ of a cup and wouldn’t impact the overall integrity of the muffins.

Great recipe and I would highly recommend it.  If you plan on making the pear and granola muffins, make sure the fresh fruit is ripe.   I hope you enjoy the muffins as much as my husband and I did!