Maybe it's the nesting instinct telling me to stock up to survive this cold Wisconsin winter.... Maybe it's my reluctance to go to the grocery store and face the crowds.... or, perhaps its a subconscious nod of recognition to my Grandma's life of hard work and an ode to her pioneering spirit as she slips away into the thick fog of Alzheimer's. But I've been canning my little heart out. And were I lucky enough to own a pressure cooker, we would have canned even more. Fearing the deathly threat of botulism, I stuck to what I knew was safe. As I type, there is the final pot of applesauce bubbling away in the kitchen. I hope our fellow church potluckers enjoy apples for I shall become known as the apple pie/crumble/muffin/bread/cake lady at anything that asks for a 'dish to pass'(a phrase I'd never heard until i stumbled into the Midwestern life.)
I would say this pot of apples is my last, but those paper sacks filled with green tomatoes rescued from the frosty garden would say otherwise. There is still a round of tomato sauce to be had if they ever turn remotely red. I had grand plans for bloody Mary mixer canned up, but the impending arrival of our little one made me think otherwise. Tomato juice with no vodka just makes no sense to me. The few jars of spicy tomato juice that did result from our round of salsa canning, will make the tastiest salsa chicken soup in town. I'll admit it.... I feel whole and secure when I come home from work and catch sight of that bounty of pretty little jars with their gold lids filling my pantry by the basement. The housing market can crash, the election can go in a very wrong direction, and the Packers could lose every game left in the season.... but we will be fed through the winter. I thought, while I'm at it, I would post my delicious granola recipe that I made Friday. It makes a huuuuge amount. But have no doubt, if you seal it up well in some good jars, it will keep very well. It makes a great breakfast, pairs perfectly with yogurt, and is a grand topper to any emergency apple crumble needs that may hit you. Believe it or not, but this abundant recipe is actually from an old recipe that I cut in half.
~3 lbs rolled oats
~1 cup brown sugar
~2 cups wheat germ
~2 cups whole wheat flour
~2 cups coconut
~1 cup wheat bran
~1 lb dried cranberries or raisins
~1 cup raw sunflower seeds
~1 cup raw walnuts pieces
~1-2 cups flax seed meal
~2 tsp salt
~1 cup canola oil
~1/2 lb butter melted
~2 cups honey
~2 tbsp vanilla
~2 tbsp cinnamon
~preheat to 295 degrees
~Combine all the dry ingredients in the biggest mixing bowl you own. And I mean big! You're gonna do some stirring in here.
~In a separate bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients until the smell and consistency makes you drool.
~Poor liquid into dry. I do this gradually as my biggest mixing bowl is barely big enough for the job. Stir it all until it all looks evenly coated and delicious. At this point you may be tempted to just start eating it with a spoon. And I won't judge you if you do.
~Spread evenly on 4 good size cookie sheets with raised edges. Its okay if you have to do the baking part in 2 batches. My oven could only hold 2 large sheets at a time. It won't hurt anything to let half of it sit for a while before it bakes.
~Bake for 10 minutes. Take out and stir
~Bake for another 10 minutes. Take out and stir.
~One more time, bake 10 minutes and stir. All this putzing helps get an even baking.
~Bake until it gets a nice even tan color. It will still feel soft at this point, but don't panic. Leave it alone for a half hour or so and you'll see a significant change in its texture. The longer it sits out, the crunchier it will be. If you seal it up too soon, there is a chance of it still having some moisture in there and getting things a bit on the softer side again. So I let it sit out over night. I broke it up and transferred the first batch into the giant mixing bowl and the only problem was that my husband kept sneaking into the kitchen to grab up some of the larger chunks to nibble on.