It’s pretty easy to see things I’ve inherited. I have my dad’s olive skin, my mom’s round face, the bump on my nose found in both sides of my gene pool. I like good conversation, working in the garden, making a big meal to eat with people I love. And, sometimes, when I laugh very hard or hear myself telling a story like it’s a routine, I think how my grandma used to do those things.
Of course I’m thinking about this today, an August 4 that not only marks this blog’s two-year anniversary, but also eleven years since Grandma died, eleven years since I saw her or talked to her or touched her hand. It’s strange to think about that, strange to know that as things continue to develop and change—with this blog, with this life, with the world—she remains the same, a memory, one I have to work to keep fresh, more so as time goes on. Whenever I think about that, about her, I’m reminded that life is a gift, that today is an opportunity, that the interactions and decisions and ways we spend our time are not nothing, but they are what we have, now, and that I don’t want to waste them.
This blog has been so good for that. I mean, it’s been good to sit down and write about a night making soup, for example, or about the awe of seeing tomatoes grow—because doing so forces me to notice and appreciate those things.
When I think of how many times I get laser-focused or task-driven to the point of ignoring the moment, I am glad to have this blog to calm down with. Even now, as I’m typing this out, just the act of counting up and remembering the food, the places, the meeting so many of you that the blog has brought is creating this overwhelming sense of gratitude.
As part of yesterday’s giveaway, I got to read about how some of you found this place, whether it was at the very first post or just this week, and I’ve been thinking how incredibly kind it is of you all to want to read what I have to say. Every now and then, one of you will shoot me an e-mail with some gracious words like about how you enjoy the way I use commas, and it will totally make my day. And all the time, you leave comments. You send recipes. You rejoice with me. You empathize with me. You come back. So thank you. Really, thank you. I feel so blessed.
I wish we could have another party and that all of you could come, and if some of you couldn’t, I wish I could mail you a great big box of home-baked goods. But, given that I’m self-employed now and still trying to figure out what the heck a variable income is like, I’ll offer this instead.
This homemade granola, made with soaked oats, is the kind of granola that reminds me of my favorite, Grandma’s old-fashioned oatmeal cookies, and yet at the same time, it highlights the new-to-me 2010 changes in my eating habits.
In other words, it’s the best of both worlds, this granola, and I’m sending some to two of you.
Essentially, the granola is a two-day process. The first day, you soak the oats in melted coconut oil, melted butter, buttermilk and water. A day later, you combine this mixture with heated liquids and bake it on low heat for around four hours, adding additions just before it’s done. This last part helps dehydrate the oats and turn the whole thing into a more granola consistency.
Health-wise, this process benefits you by making the oats easier to digest; time-wise, it’s really nice to only have one or two small steps each day; and taste-wise, this is some mighty nice granola, fragrant, golden, with clumps of oatmeal-cookie-like pieces throughout.
Giveaway Day #3! To enter this giveaway, you just need to subscribe to Food Loves Writing (via e-mail or RSS Reader) and e-mail me the secret password shown in the feed. Winner will be chosen via Random Number Generator Sunday night, August 8, at 9 PM CST.
The prizes: One quart of this granola! Plus a dozen homemade cookies! (Note: if the winner has allergies or special sensitives, I’ll make something else just for you. So don’t be afraid to enter!)
Homemade Oatmeal Cookie Granola with Soaked Oats
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
3 Tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup buttermilk
around 1/2 cup of water (less or more as needed)
1/4 cup raw honey
1/4 cup sorghum syrup (or you could use maple syrup)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1.5 teaspoons cinnamon
1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup almond meal (coconut flakes would be better)
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/8 cup dried cranberries
Mix oats with butter, coconut oil, buttermilk and just enough water to create a moist consistency throughout. Cover with a cloth or a plate, and let sit on the counter for a full 24 hours.
The next day, preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Mix honey, sorghum (or maple) syrup, cinnamon and vanilla in a glass measuring cup in a pot of water on the stove. Bring water to gentle simmer while stirring honey mixture until it’s thin. Add honey to oats, mixing well.
Spread mixture over two rimmed baking sheets lined with parchment and bake for about four hours. (Note: the thinner you spread the oats, the less total cooking time you’ll need.) Allow to cool in oven before removing to container. Add all the additions and store the granola in an airtight container.