Thursday, July 19, 2012

Granola 101

First off, I have to apologize for no pictures.  I was messing around with the settings on my camera and screwed it up.  Now it won't download onto my computer.  Looks like a visit to see my brother is in order.  So be it.

There are two topics I have been hearing a lot about lately.  One is molecular component testing.  Have you heard of it?  Apparently it's been around for a little while now, but I missed it completely.  From what I understand, when you have a typical allergy test done (we'll use peanut for this example) they use the entire peanut.  With the component tests, they actually break the peanut down into its most basic form and test from there.  Your child may not be allergic to every component of the peanut.  I hear that having this test done may help your doctor better understand the potential severity of an allergen and may also indicate the likelihood of your child outgrowing his or her allergy.  I can honestly say, I don't have a great understanding  of this process and am wondering if it is worth the steep price tag.  Here is a link to a peanut test if you are interested in learning about how it works.  I also spoke to Dr. Bodreau-Romano (you may know her as The Allergist Mom) yesterday to ask her opinion on these tests.  She said there are both pro's and con's to this, as with everything, and it is not 100% accurate.  She will be putting an article together about it and I will be looking forward to reading it.

The other conversation I've been having a lot lately is about granola.  Over the last couple months I've been asked for my nut free granola recipe many times.  Homemade granola is so simple.  If you have thirty minutes, it will save you a ton of money to make your own.  The best thing about homemade granola is you can make it to your own taste.  Choose one item from each line ( or combine a couple if you want) and enjoy your own version of granola

Basic Granola
6 cups quick oats
1/2 c. brown sugar or  maple sugar
1/2 c. honey or maple syrup or molasses or brown rice syrup
1/3 c. oil - canola, coconut, whatever
3/4 c. wheat germ if you want.  If not, leave it out
1 c. raisins, or coconut, or dried apples - You can use enjoy life not nuts, but it'll be a bit messy
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, or vanilla

Now, preheat your oven to 350*F and then spread the oats out evenly on the pan and bake for 10 minutes.  While they are baking, combine all your other ingredients into a bowl.  Pull the oats out of the oven and pour them into your bowl.  Mix it until everything is well combined and spread the mixture back out onto the cookie sheets.  Bake for 10 more minutes, stirring halfway through.

Simple right?  I double this recipe and it makes two gallon baggies full.  In our house, we go through about a gallon a week, so for thirty minutes of work I get enough granola for two weeks and don't have to pay the $4 a box for the nut free version at the store.

If you are looking for somewhere to start, I'll share my 2 favorite way to make this granola

Cinnamon Raisin                                                          Coconut
6 c. oat                                                                        6 c. oats
1/2 c. dark brown sugar                                                1/2 c. light brown sugar
1/4 c. maple syrup and 1/4 c. molasses                        1/2 c. honey
1/3 c. canola oil                                                            1/3 c. coconut oil
3/4 c. wheat germ                                                         1 c. shredded coconut
1 c. raisin                                                                       1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

So spend some time in the kitchen, try things out and experiment a bit.  You really can't go wrong.

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