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Mix and Match Granola

 

Granola
Granola made with rolled oats, rolled wheat, sunflower seeds, brown sugar, vanilla and orange extracts, walnuts, and dried apples

by Dennis Weaver

I think back over our road trips, when the kids were still young. Every time we stopped, they wanted to buy a "treat". Sometimes we relented. When we relented, our road trips tended to turn into junk food trips.

Now our kids are older... and we know about granola. Granola is a much better snack than we can get at the truck stop, and better for us. True, it appeals to more grown-up tastes and if our kids were still young, it might be a tough sell. But it's worth the effort and it will certainly satisfy the adult munchies.

But granola is not just for road trips. Anytime is granola time. It's great for camping. Mix it with some M&M's and make a great trail food for that energetic Boy Scout of yours. We like it as cereal with either hot or cold milk. And homemade granola is so much fresher-and we think much better-than what you buy in the stores.

Let your imagination go when you make granola. The basic ingredients are cereal, oil, and a sweetener. Then add anything that you like to give it the character, taste, and the nutrition that you want. Since the kids' tastes are different than yours, make two batches -- granola is easy to make.


Mix and Match Granola

4 cups rolled oats, wheat, or barley (any combination)
½ cup sunflower or sesame seeds
½ cup honey, maple syrup, or a thick syrup made with ½ cup brown sugar and 2-3 tablespoons water
¼ cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla and/or other extract
¾ cup raisins or other dried fruit (optional)
½ cup nuts (optional)
½ teaspoon salt

Directions:

1. In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together except for the dried fruit. Set the dried fruit aside.
2. In another bowl mix the sweetener, oil and extract together.
3. Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. The liquids will be absorbed and the granola will become darker and shinier.
4. Spread the granola in a shallow baking pan. Bake at 325°F for 25 to 30 minutes or until fairly dry and starting to brown. Stir every ten minutes while it is baking to keep the granola on the bottom from burning.
5. Remove the granola from the oven and stir in the fruit.

Tips

1. Granola will become crispier and crunchier as it cools.
2. Because of the oil, granola will not stay fresh long. Store in an airtight container and use within two weeks. It will last for six months or longer in the freezer.

Dennis WeaverDennis Weaver -- having burnt food from Miami, Florida to Point Barrow, Alaska -- is RTA's road food expert. He has logged thousands of hours on the roads, trails, and waterways of America including many of Alaska's wilderness rivers and has consistently been elected the trips' "chief cook and bottle washer." Dennis is currently general manager at The Prepared Pantry, a company in Rigby, Idaho, that produces ready-to-eat meals and baking mixes packaged in Mylar. Weatherproof, bug-proof, and critter resistant, they're ideal for both roadtrips and back woods camping. Dennis may be reached at dweaver@preparedpantry.com.
How to Make Granola
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