Friday, November 26, 2010

Granola Gone Wild

So I've been mixing up my granola in a four gallon pot (which is bigger than the eye on the stove, to give you an idea).  It cooks soup for serving 20 or so.  Anyway, I started using that because I couldn't find a bowl that was big enough to satisfy me.  My family eats granola almost every day.  And my first interaction with Jesse is typically, "Mommy, what are we having?  Granola?"  Especially after having oatmeal for a few days--he starts to get a little antsy for granola.  It's just too heartbreaking to say no for that fourth day in a row.  So I started making enough to last for a few weeks. 

This time it got a little out of control.

I have an old recipe I used posted on the right of the blog, but I've actually changed the way I make it.  I no longer measure, but I do about one part liquid ingredients to 12 parts dry--enough so that the oats clump together some when you squish them together.  Here's the basic mix:
Val's Granola
Mix dry ingredients, including any or all of the following--use raw nuts when possible:
rolled oats
walnut pieces
pecan pieces
almonds (or almond pieces)
brazil nuts (broken up slightly)
cashew halves
about a cup of flaxmeal (or ground flax seeds--same difference, or buckwheat flour, etc.)
shredded coconut
Heat up wet ingredients on the stove in a saucepan:
mostly honey or maple syrup
considerably less olive oil
very small amount water
cinnamin, a lot
The wet ingredients are ready when they're about as thin as water.  Pour them over the dry.  Stir (and squish with your hands, if you like those bigger clumps of oats).  Spread it on a baking sheets with raised sides and bake at 275 deg. for half an hour.  Then add some raisins and scrape the granola off the bottom of the baking sheet and stir.  Put it back in for another 15 minutes. 
 I had my dry ingredients half-filling the pot and mixed up the wet.  But then I realized that I had a little more wet ingredients than usual.  So then I added more oats to my dry ingredients, but then I had to add more nuts because it didn't look like the right balance anymore.  And of course I forgot that I had roasted almonds so I wanted to add them with the raisins near the end.  And the raisins at the end . . .

I think I ended up with at least four gallons of granola.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Our Fall Garden

Welcome Fall!  Fall is welcome after such a hot summer--particularly since we've still been able to get a few crops in that are thriving (quite honestly, we were able to get in only the barest few since fall planting corresponded with Abigail's birth--and these got in a little late, so we're barely getting ripe crops as the weather is getting colder).

Radishes are beautiful this time of year--not too many vegetables can beat radish for vivid color.

 Arugula grows like a weed at our house--it is, in fact, our weed of choice.  Considering how much they charge for it at the grocery store or farmer's market, I'd say arugula growing is a well-kept secret.  I literally scatter seeds onto raked earth and then rake a little more.  Viola!  Crop!

The winter lettuce I planted is so beautiful, I just wish I'd planted more of it.  This little patch is perfect and healthy (just too little).

Since my nursing daughter is up at night if I eat cruciferous veggies, I'm trying to maximize on these last few days of green beans.  We've got a beautiful crop just coming in--I'm trying to let them get just a little longer. . . but I feel like I'm playing chicken with Jack Frost.

Monday, November 15, 2010


I was encouraged by Rachel on her blog ("My Imprecise Life" ) to write about the meal I made on Saturday.  I will, though I invite my far more knowledgeable Korean friends to write comments on it.  The basis for the recipe was in the cookbook "Dok Suni," written by a Korean-American woman who learned from her mother and now runs a restaurant.  It's a great cookbook. 

I made Bibimbop.  It's a build-your-own kind of creation.  Your table is covered by bowls of prepared veggies and proteins. 
Everyone starts with a bowl of rice, and adds from the bowls.  Here's what I had:

  • Shredded carrot (blanched or sauted for just a minute and lightly salted and maybe a dash of sesame oil)
  • Fried egg (one per person)
  • Ground beef
  • Sauted zucchini (with a touch of garlic and sesame oil)
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Hot sauce (with garlic, sesame oil, rice vinegar)
  • Bean sprouts (sauted)
  • Shredded daikon radish

Math in Every Day Life

If you stay home with little kids, your math skills might generally be used only when factoring one of the following scenarios:
  • If the gas light has gone on, giving me 30 miles before empty, how many minutes in city traffic and stoplights does that translate to, considering there's no way I'm stopping to get more gas--will I make it home?
  • If I'm running 4 minutes behind for picking up from pre-school, how may lights do I need to catch green to make up the time?
  • If I have two apples, one half-rotted, for our dessert tonight, how many slices does each family member get, taking into account the size and nutritive needs of each individual?
  • If both of Abigail's morning naps were interrupted and she's miserable as a result, what is the earliest possible time I can put her down for her afternoon nap without risking that she'll wake up too early from that nap?
But if you really want to stretch that math part of the brain, just contact a farmer about buying a cow and a pig and then get 11 families to commit to buying them.  Then try meeting everyone's needs while working with a very rough estimate of how much meat you'll actually end up with.  My friend Rachel helped me start a spreadsheet, which I then wrote addition programs into to explore such options as, "If such and such family gets x amount of this cut of meat and y amount of this cut of meat, blah, blah, then how many steaks should this family get--and how much bacon?"  Not exactly an exact mathematical equation.  But to get whole cow and pig costs of butchering and packaging from "hanging weight" into a comprehensible "This is how much you'll be paying for a pound of ground beef" kind of explanation to give the families involved took a lot of work for both me and the butcher.  I had to call the butcher enough times that I actually feared that I was becoming a nuisance (I know, crazy thought, me, a nuisance).

I thought I'd share some of the charts I was working on in case anyone was interested.  (The sketches of coral were at the request of my oldest child.)  At the very least, it makes you appreciate your meat in a whole new way--every free-range, antibiotic- and hormone-free pound of it.

Disclaimer: I've Been Sick, Not Just Lazy

I have been wanting to blog for quite some time, but I think the cold I got a week and a half ago just kicked my tail so badly that it just sapped my leftover mental energy.  The other day I sat down to blog after cooking a big meal for good friends, and I managed several unintelligent sentence fragments in a half hour and gave it up.  It was only today that I felt like I've been myself again with normal energy (which is ironic, since I slept really badly last night).  Anyway, after two weeks of not blogging, the pressure rises.  I feel like since I waited this long, I have to present something impressive to break my blogging "fast."  So this blog is simply to take the pressure off--it's my warm-up.  Here I go again.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Thank you, Mr. Pete!

Meredith and Pete, our firefighter friends (and former "employers"--we used to babysit Jonathan) had us to Pete's firehouse.  Here are some pictures of the three boys hanging out and being junior firemen.

Great fit, Micah!

Pete Junior

Fire fighter, or praying mantis?

Too cute, Jesse!

Happy Halloween from the Davis Barnyard

Monday, November 1, 2010

A TIMEly Reminder

For parent of babies and toddlers, this Sunday is one of the hardest mornings of the year--the end of daylight savings.  To translate, this means that those young children or babies who were waking up at 6:30 in the morning will suddenly be waking up at 5:30, an appalling prospect.  I know many will find it bizarre to consider, but I actually like to plan ahead.  I start at least a week in advance and adjust meals and bedtimes by 15 min. for a few days (make everything 15 min. later).  Then every few days I move it another 15 min.  So my goal is to get them later before it means waking up obscenely early.  Just an idea for any new moms out there or anyone who's gotten burnt in the past by daylight savings.

Happy dark days of winter, everyone!