|A fun craft to serve your creation in|
Crunchy Granola a whole new generation…
When I told my parents 18 years ago that I was moving to California, they labeled me as “crunchy granola.” I was pretty offended. After all, I wasn’t a hippie; I was a modern 20-something heading to San Francisco to seek out conversations about art in cafés with Beat poet types! They also asked me when I was coming back, to which I replied “never.”
After a year or so in San Francisco, I decided to set aside my artist’s tools and take up cooking–the right choice, looking back. The joke is on me because now one of my favorite recipes is what I call “Grab and Go Granola.” I guess I was “crunchy granola” after all!
The ways of Woodstock may be gone, but the tradition of making healthy homemade snacks is alive and thriving. These days, “health food” is not just for love-in breakfasts or others on the fringe; it is mainstream. Snacks like granola are soaring in popularity and it seems every time you turn around there is a new gourmet granola on the market shelf. There are fruity ones, nutty ones, even regular-old cereals masquerading as granolas. A great way to ensure that your family truly is getting a healthy, wholesome granola is to make your own–and it’s an easy and fun activity for kids, too!
In the cooking and gardening camps at Napa’s Connolly Ranch, we teach the kids to make pots for seedlings out of newspaper. These paper pots are also a fun way to serve snacks like homemade granola. You can use newspaper or even plain copier paper or construction paper for colored snack cups. This is a fun and creative activity for parties and play dates, too. Try making different shapes, like squares or rectangles!
Sheets of paper
Markers or crayons
A can (vegetable or soup cans work well)
1. Cut or fold the paper so that you have a piece that is long enough to fit all the way around the can (with a slight overlap) and is about 1 inch higher than the height of the can.
2. Wrap the paper around the can and tape the seam to seal the paper around the can–but not so tightly that you won’t be able to slip it off.
3. Fold one end of the paper under the can to form a bottom for your cup.
4. Tape the seams to secure the bottom.
5. Have your child draw a design on the paper, then slip it off the can.
6. Fill your cups with your homemade granola or any other dry snack.
Grab and Go Granola
Granola is easy to make and store and it is delicious plain or as a topping. Try it on yogurt! My recipe below is easy and adaptable. Add more or less of any ingredient to your liking and it will always be delicious. Experiment with different types of nuts and dried fruits–dried blueberries or cranberries give it a flavorful punch. Make a double batch because it will disappear quickly.
Yield: About 6 cups
1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut (Note: Using large-flake coconut adds a great chewy texture.)
4 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup wheat germ or flax meal
2 cup unsalted sunflower seeds
2 cups almonds, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons sesame seeds or flax seeds
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup honey 1/2 pound butter, melted
3/4 cup dried currants or golden raisins
Preheat oven to 350° F.
Spread coconut on a baking sheet and place in the oven for about 5 minutes, checking constantly. Once coconut starts to toast it will brown quickly, so keep an eye on it. Bake until the edges are golden, then remove from the oven and transfer coconut to a shallow dish to cool. Once cooled, crush to break apart into individual strands.
Decrease the oven temperature to 300° F.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. In a small pan, melt honey, maple syrup and butter and set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, combine oats, wheat germ or flax meal, sunflower seeds, almonds, sesame seeds or flax, cinnamon and nutmeg, then stir well to combine.
Pour melted honey, maple syrup and butter mixture over oat mixture, then stir well to combine. Spread on parchment-lined baking sheets and bake at 300° F. for about 25 minutes, until lightly golden. Check often to make sure it does not burn. Remove from the oven and allow to cool, then break up any large chunks with your hands and add the coconut and dried fruit. Store in an airtight container.