Thursday, May 24, 2012

Cherry-Vanilla Granola and Assorted Other Stuff

So, I've been meaning to post, but it just hasn't worked out, until now.

For instance, I made french toast using whole wheat french bread yesterday morning....  But then I decided that maybe it wasn't special enough to post.  Y'know, because who doesn't know how to make french toast?

Well, I didn't used to, but that's beside the point.

 Anyhow, I took pictures of it anyways, for practice.

Which I obviously need.

And then for lunch I made myself a WWFTPBSB sandwich.  That stands for whole wheat french toast peanut butter strawberry banana sandwich, in case you couldn't tell.  So I was thinking that maybe I could post that, but then I realized that my strawberries looked like they had seen better days, so I decided against it.

Plus, it's pretty self-explanitory

And THEN I decided that I could show you guys the invitations for my sister's bridal shower, which I'm planning, because I'm the maid of honor, which I'm super excited about!  Yay parties!!!  I'm so excited to be hosting my very own party!!!

Er...  Hosting my sister's very own bridal shower.  Right.

Anyhow, it's gonna be awesome! :)  I delivered the first invitations today, one to my sister across town, and my brother in law asked me what newspaper it was printed in, which I was kinda happy about because I kinda wanted them to look realistic but I wasn't sure how realistic they were, because my annoyingly perfectionist older sister E kinda hinted that if she were in charge of the proofreading stage, she'd have completely changed it.  Grrr E.

I used the HandTimes font (found on to write an article about the shower, added a B&W-ified picture of my sister and her fiance, and then used Picasa to put a 'film grain' on the whole thing.  Then I printed it on newsprint (cheap in big end-rolls at newspaper offices- you'll just have to cut it into standard paper size), printed a comic on the back, and highlighted the important parts.

By the way, yes, newsprint can jam your printer.  Thankfully, just enough of mine survived that I didn't have to cut more newsprint.

But still, I didn't want to write a whole post on that, although I guess I could have.

Anyhow, a while back, I ran out of granola.  I was actually kinda happy, because I'd had that particular kind, which I'd burnt slightly, for several months, thanks to the fact that I'm the only one in my house who actually eats granola.  Plus I really wanted to make cherry-vanilla granola, but didn't want to have two kinds of granola sitting on the shelf.

So today I finally made it. 

And it kinda failed.

Multiple times.

And yet, I kept going, and it all worked out!

So I guess it didn't really fail.  It just had its hiccups.

What happened was, when the recipe said to put the first 5 ingredients in a large bowl, I was still roasting my almonds.  So I skipped to the next step- simmering the sugar, oil, and honey in a small saucepan.  I dumped the brown sugar in, not realized that there was OTHER sugar that I was supposed to simmer, and that the brown sugar was part of the first 5 ingredients supposed to go in the bowl.

So then, since the brown sugar was already soaking up the honey and the oil in the small saucepan, I was like, okay, whatever, I'll just leave that OTHER sugar out, and simmer the brown sugar!  But I didn't want to simmer that stuff quite yet, because the almonds still had a while, because I didn't feel like raising the oven temperature from what I'd had it preheated to for the granola, so they were slowly slowly slowly roasting at 300.

Plus, I'd stirred up the brown sugar/oil/honey mixture enough to know that my granola would be super duper crispy and super duper sugary if I dumped all that on the mere 4 cups of oats and the other ingredients I'd decided to dump in the bowl.  So I passed the time by adding another 2 cups of oats, another half cup of ground flax (which wasn't even called for at all in the original recipe) and about half a cup of whole wheat flour (also not called for).  Oh, and some more salt and cinnamon.  Finally my almonds were roasted enough (after I'd accidentally dumped them all on the oven door while trying to stir them while they were still in the oven [and scraped them back onto the pan]), so I started simmering the stuff while they cooled enough that I could smash them with a meat tenderizer.

I tried and tried to get them to simmer, but the oil never ever combined, although I guess in hindsight maybe it wasn't supposed to.  Anyhow, I took it off the heat and decided to add the vanilla, not realized how hot the pan was.   As I poured all four teaspoons of vanilla in, the mixture bubbled up violently, releasing tons of alcoholic vanilla smelling steam.  It was super strange.

I felt like some kind of mad kitchen scientist, which was pretty awesome.

Anyhow, I wasn't sure if the vanilla flavor would even still be in there, but I decided not to add more, just in case.  I stirred up the mixture some more (violently) and after it cooled a little, poured it all over the dry ingredients.  At first I thought it wasn't going to be enough...  But I just kept stirring, and it was, and everything went fine after that. :)  In fact, one of my sisters who never eats my granola thought it looked and smelled great!  And that was before I baked it!  It was probably because honey-cinnamon roasting almonds smell uhhhmazing.

I ate some granola when it got done, even though I wasn't hungry because I'd absentmindedly eaten half the bag of dried cherries while the granola was in the oven, and it was prettttttty tasty. :)  So, moral of the story?  Don't give up!  If you're going to waste ingredients, you may as well take them as far as they're gonna go.  Plus you'll learn stuff, and learning is always good.  I'll bet that someone has said something along the lines of "It doesn't matter how much you mess up if you learn from it."

So yeah, my recipe is a little different from the original, which I found here...  But it was still delicious. :)

Reeeeal quick....

Simple French Toast (just in case)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 c milk
  • 1/2 t vanilla
  • 1/4 t ground cinnamon
  • enough bread to use up egg mixture (for me, it was 8 slices french bread and 3 slices of regular bread)...
In a shallow mixing bowl, whisk together ingredients.  Quickly dip slices in egg mixture and cook in a frying pan until golden brown on both sides.  Keep egg mixture stirred and spices well blended.

WWFTPBSB Sandwich:  Take two slices of french toast, and smear them with peanut butter.  Top one slice with a layer of strawberries, a layer of bananas, another layer of strawberries, another layer of bananas, and the other slice of toast.

 Cherry-Vanilla Granola
  • 6 c old-fashioned oats
  • 1 c ground flax
  • 1/2 c whole wheat flour
  • 1 c crushed almonds
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 t ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 c brown sugar, packed
  • 1/3 c canola oil
  • 1/4 c honey
  • 4 t vanilla
  • 3/4 c dried cherries
  1. Preheat oven to 300.
  2. Roast almonds with a little cinnamon, salt, and honey.  When crunchy but not burnt, let cool and smash in a plastic bag with a meat mallet.
  3. Mix first 6 ingredients in a large bowl.
  4. Combine brown sugar, oil, and honey is a small saucepan.  Bring to a simmer over medium heat, if you can.  If not, just let the sugar dissolve and stir it a bunch.
  5. Remove from heat.  Stir in vanilla.
  6. Pour hot liquid over oat mixture; stir well.  If it seems dry, just keep stirring.
  7. Spread granola on as many greased baking sheets as you need, and bake until lightly browned, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.   
  8. Let cool before adding the dried cherries and transferring to an airtight container.
    Yields over 10 cups.

Well, it's been a pretty busy day, and so strangely enough, I'm ready to go to bed!  Have a good night, everyone! :)  Thanks for reading!


  1. I LOVE the invite for the bridal shower!!!

    1. Thanks! I guess most of the people who've received it have thought it was a real newspaper article! They keep asking who put it in the newspaper and what newspaper it's in! I hope it doesn't cause too much confusion. :P

  2. Delightful post! (Mine is so boring by comparison) And I love your pictures of the granola! I second what you say about not giving up. Last night I made a smoothie that at first taste was Yuck. It tasted kinda like dirt. Hannah said she thought that kale usually tasted like that, but this seemed worse than usual - I haven't usually minded the kale. Hannah suggested adding something with more flavor to better dominate the greens, so I added some frozen mixed berries and stuff and then it was ok. It looked really pretty in the blender before we mixed it. I'll post some pictures of it soon.

    1. Oh yay! Haha I cracked up about Hannah always thinking it tasted like dirt. :) But she's not one to shy away from eating things she thinks taste a bit funny, I don't think. I should post a few smoothies, too, but the one time I tried to take pictures of one, they looked kinda nasty, partly due to my prop choices. :( Soo.... yeah. :P