Saturday, May 30, 2015

midnight sun granola

Can you believe it?  It's finally here!  The birds are busily chirping, the sun is shining, and the grass is a lovely shade of verdant green (unless of course it's in my yard, where its still covered in brown patches and dandelions, but I digress).  

IT'S SUMMER!!!  Or practically summer, since technically summer isn't here until June 21st.  No matter!  In Alaska, the non-winter months are so few and far between that we play a little fast and loose with the seasonal calendar.  When it's roughly 54 degrees outside on a bluebird sunny day and the children are complaining of "the heat" on the ball field, it's time to bust out the barbecue and break out the water slide because SUMMER IS HERE!

I spent the better part of the winter in Alaska down in Juneau, where it rained more than snowed, and spent most of my time getting the hang of my new job and new surroundings (and eating several batches of these without enough help).  I spent far less time exercising and taking good care of myself. Let's just say that in the battle between exercise versus beers and pizza at the Island Pub across the bridge in Douglas, you can guess which was usually the victor (and if you happen to be visiting Douglas, try "The Don" pizza-- AMAZING!) 

To make up for the pizza sins of the last few months, I am committed to walking, hiking, yogaing (is that a word?  it is now) and biking my way back into good shape.

But you still need fuel, right?  And it's always better if the fuel is delicious, crunchy, sweet granola, don't you think?  Yup, I thought so too!

This recipe is another gem from my friend Shirley Jewett of Fairbanks.  Momma Shirley has given me some of my most beloved recipes, and this one is no exception.  I've tweaked it a bit over the years.  Sometimes I add dried fruit, such as apricots, cherries, or cranberries.  Or I substitute walnuts or pecans for the almonds.  But every time I taste it, I think of spending time in the kitchen with Shirley and her daughter Stephanie, my dear friends for more than 25 years.  So much laughter and good food has come out of that little kitchen on Farmers Loop Road!  I call it Midnight Sun Granola because it reminds me of home in the Golden Heart of Alaska...Squarebanks.  OOPS, I mean Fairbanks.

(Oh, as if every Fairbanksan doesn't call it that?!)

Granola is my fuel of choice on hikes and bike rides (and boat rides, and trips to the grocery store, and while watching's really an all-purpose fuel).  So here it is:  hands down, the BEST granola I have ever tasted.  

And NOW I am ready to go hiking.  

But maybe I will start tomorrow.

Midnight Sun Granola

2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
1 cup raw almonds
6 cups oats
1 cup wheat germ
2 cups Fiber One cereal (or other fiber-y twiggy cereal)
3/4 cups vegetable oil
1 cup honey
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. 

Spread coconut on a large sheet pan and toast in the oven for 5 minutes (being very careful not to burn it).  Place in a bowl and set aside.

Toast almonds on the same sheet pan for 7-8 minutes.  Place in a bowl and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix oats, wheat germ, and Fiber One cereal, and set aside.  

In a medium sauce pan, mix oil, honey, salt, and brown sugar and bring to a bubbly simmer.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.  Pour over oat mixture, and mix well.  Spread the entire mixture on a large sheet pan coated with cooking spray.  Bake for 25-30 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.  Remove from oven, and stir in coconut and almonds.  Cool at room temperature, then break up and store in an air tight container.

Trust me, this granola is worth all the work!!

xo h

No comments: