Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Idea #3: Real Food

As far as I know, there is no Granola Conglomerate secretly running the world through the sale of rolled oats and dried fruit.  Probably there are some really bad dudes trading fancied up GORP but most of the purveyors in my local market seem to be of the small and sweet variety.

Still, when I read a recipe for granola I realized it might be possible to add said treat to my repertoire.  Turned out that it was more than possible and even preferable and now we are home-made granola eaters.  I'm not sure it saves us much money and lord knows it costs me time.  And yet, it feels important and so we press on.

One reason we press on is because I had read recently about trying to move from being a consumer to being a producer and making granola, even if I buy my oats pre-rolled and my fruits pre-dried, moves me just a little further along the continuum away from consumer.  I mean, we consume the granola, but we make it too and that just feels a bit better.

My friend Karen mentioned the appeal of those baby carrots in our initial FB dialogue about this and I have to agree that they are on the list of present day evils that I just keep buying.  Pre-cut, pre-peeled, pre-washed... what's not to love? except for the part where they are processed and machined and end up costing this little planet more than it can afford - carrots didn't use to require a fossil fuel to get ready to be sold did they? And now just putting those carrots in a plastic bag for sale means they're using oil.  And that doesn't even account for the energy used to work the machine that shapes them.

Turns out though, that the baby carrot was invented because so many other carrots were being tossed because they weren't pretty enough. This is probably sad, but I can't help but think that composting some ugly carrots is still better than using our resources to make them prettier. (And as an aside, why are we so obsessed with only eating pretty food? Anyone who has grown a garden knows you end up with a few... surprises. The surprises are the ones the kids are most likely to eat, aren't they?)

As ever, nothing is altogether clear, but I think I'll still be buying my carrots un-hussified so that I can be the producer of carrots sticks and carrots treats in my house. 

IDEA #3 Response:
What other foods can we add value to ourselves instead buying processed? How do we become better producers of our families' foods?

Update: Mamabear asked for the granola recipe.  There is no link because I read about 17 and then made up one that used what I had and a technique I liked. You can try it and then make it yours with your own tweaks.

ACJ's Resistance Granola:
Preheat oven to 275. Pour 2 1/2 c. rolled or quick oats onto parchment paper on a cookie sheet.   Sprinkle with maybe 1/4c. - 1/2c. slivered almonds, a tablespoon or two of wheatgerm if you have it. Bake for 15 minutes.  Meanwhile, combine 1/4c. each of brown sugar, honey, vegetable oil and boiling water, plus cinnamon to taste.  Remove oats from oven, pour into bowl. Pour in sugar stuff, stir thoroughly. Return to cookie sheet, then oven for 45 minutes, turning over every 15 minutes or so. After 45 minutes, turn off oven, sprinkle about 1/4 c. each of dried cranberries and raisins over top and let cool.  Store in airtight container. Overcome the forces of Granola Evil in one fell swoop. 


  1. I wrote an article for Arocha a couple of years ago about how baby carrots aren't real and how faith and gardening have become so tightly woven into our family life.

    I think you should link to your granola recipe for us!

  2. The next thing you can try is to make your own yoghurt! It is SO easy and so much tastier (and definitely better for you too). We make it in those glass storage jars they sell at Ikea - yes, big box store but they do fairly well environmentally in comparison to say, Walmart. An aside here, have you real Ecoholic?
    P.S. Just a little jab on the granola recipe (which sounds awesome, I'm going to try it!) - maybe stop buying parchment paper and just wash the cookie sheet ;)

  3. Jess - I have made yogurt and like it! Still working out the details - next time I'm going to try to make vanilla yogurt as all my people like that best. I'll let you know how it goes. And as for the parchment, it is used to move the granola from pan and back again after first 15 minutes of roasting so that one does not try to do same with roasty-hot pan. I have considering buying a silpat but since I'm still ruminating on a Choose Nature Over Chemicals post, I'm sticking with my recyclable parchment for now! But nice catch....

  4. Garbage! I make granola without the aid of parchment paper! And no baking and baking again, just gets all mixed and goes in for 30 mins. Will send if you like.

  5. @Sarah, if I promise to try reusing my parchment paper, will you let me keep on with my method that does seem to create a nuttier tasting granola? I'm always glad for more recipes to play with though...