Saturday, June 28, 2014

Heart Smart Dried Cherry and Almond Granola

Hello, everybody! The Fresh Pioneer is back and I have a tasty recipe that just might be good for us. (Shocker!) This year I made several resolutions (yeah, yeah, I know) and one of them was to eat healthier. The writing life is not a particularly active one unless you have one of those treadmill desks and I don't think I'll ever get one of those because then I would never do any work at all. So, I must eat healthier! All this sitting is adding inches to my writerly bottom.

I think there are several deadlines looming over peeps in the cafe and I am no exception. I'm weeks away from turning in a project I've been working on since 2011. And that feels... scary. But I made a conscious effort not to fall back on my comfort foods, like cinnamon rolls, although I still wanted something sweet. I found this book at our local library and it had some great comfort dishes that were heart healthy. (Because if I do all this work, die of a heart attack and don't get to see my book in print, I'm gonna be TICKED.)

Preheat the oven 300F. Line a pan with foil.
 Ingredients (which I doubled for mine because I knew lots of my kids would love this one):
2 cups rolled oats
1/3 wheat germ, (skipped it because I forgot to buy it)
1/2 cup almond slices
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 maple syrup
1 tbs milk
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup dried cherries
1 tbs orange zest

 Here are the oats, cinnamon, almonds.
 The maple syrup. MMMMMM. Smells divine.
 Toast in the oven for 30 minutes, turning/tossing every 10 minutes or so.

 After the granola is toasted, add the cherries. (Not before, like I did, and then realize they would just burn in the oven.)
 You can use this on anything, even a bowl of cereal to add fiber and flavor, but I love Greek yogurt in the mornings, so I added it to vanilla yogurt.
 I had some fresh raspberries on hand (YUMMY) so I added those in.

This book said that if you serve the granola over yogurt you'll get 9 grams of protein, 4 grams of fiber, vitamin C, and calcium. That's a big difference from my usual large coffee with lots of sugar.

Here's to eating healthier so we can keep meeting those deadlines and showing up in the cafe! My family and I will be gone for a while on vacation but I'll try to pop in when we have service. some parts of Oregon are still relatively untouched by technology/internet service. I think it's a healthy (in a whole different way) to unplug once in a while, especially for kids.

  I've got my bag of heart healthy dried cherry and almond granola, and I'm headed for adventure! Until next time, my friends!


  1. I love homemade granola, so yes, I'll try this out, probably this week, because it's a great snack for the summertime crew stuck with me.... and wishing they had teachers for parents so they could be home, chill-laxing!

    I can't use deadlines as an excuse when I forget to pop in, it's CHILDREN and FORGETFULNESS..... When they're all engaged and I pop into facebook to say hi, I forget to do that extra click over here mid-week.... AAARRRRGGGGHHH!

    And I have a sticky-note on the computer, but I clearly don't read it. I'm a dork.

    Have fun on vacation! Yes, un-plugging is good, we always unplugged the TV in June and didn't re-plug until after school started in September. Days and nights were busy with farm and sports and campfires.... Not a bad thing!

    I'm sweet-talking Dave into a trip to the Pacific Northwest soon... It's on my bucket list and I can't wait to see it. Figuring coming into Washington and then traveling around. Virginia, if you were listing the things to see out there, what would they be?

  2. And good move on the wheat germ, I know it's the healthy component, but I hate the taste. I will be leaving it out on purpose. Shh.... Don't tell.

    1. Oh my gosh, where is the big answer I posed to you question?? I hate you, blogger! Well, short answer Olympic National Forest, Space Needle, Portland, and then stop when you hit the rain shadow after The Gorge. When you visit Natasha, you'll probably see some of the "tree-less" areas but unless you're coming to visit me, I wouldn't drive any further East. Just lots of desert out here with a few tumbleweeds to break up the monotony.
      I think a better question would be "how much do you love to drive". I think it's difficult to imagine how far apart towns are in the PN. I'll be driving five hours just to go to Portland and it's a straight shot across the top of the state from where I am a few hours from the Idaho border. Then to get to the coast, we'll drive another 4-5 Southwest. Ugh... Shoot me now!
      Some people claim they can cut these drives in half, but since the highways are mostly two lanes populated by semis, I like to drive 60 and not 80. :)

    2. P.S. And be forewarned, if you give general coordinates, I will hunt you down and force-feed you tamales.

    3. I'll tell you when I head your way, LOL! And yes, I have to see Natasha, it would be wrong not to bother her in person. Far be it from me to respect professional distance. That would be so un-Ruthy-like.

      Doesn't Blogger drive you insane (well, more insane, and I say that for myself as well) when it does that????

      And then I promise myself I'll COPY before hitting publish.

      And then I forget because I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed. Duh.

  3. I haven't made granola in years!!!!! Like the idea of adding the dried cherries. Bet dried cranberries would taste good too. I think you've inspired me. I always have cooked oatmeal for breakfast but it's getting too hot for that. Granola and yoghurt will be a great alternative.

    When you said that you got the cookbook from the library I had this instant image of you and yours walking into the library and all the librarians high fiving each other and cheering because they know they'll make their stats now that you are there. :-) How many books do you cart home after a family visit?

    Enjoy your vacation. And yes, I think in theory it must be good to unplug for a while...just not sure that I'd survive the experience!

    1. I busted up laughing while reading your comment. I've actually worked as a children's librarian at this library and I've seen the stats. As my coworker once said, "You guys ARE the circulation stats." HAHAHA.
      We have four cards with a 50 book limit. I try not to ever do that because we only have three shelves reserved for library books and otherwise they start to migrate under beds and into corners wherein they accrue massive fines in the blink of an eye.
      So, pictures books are about 20-30 a visit and those are usually the same books as the visit before the previous visit- we try not to hog the books but you know how little kids can be. Even when I buy the books the love to check out, they STILL want to check them out.
      The older kids get 10 or so each week so that's forty right there. Again, we try not to hog the books so if it's a brand new series, I make them check the books out two at a time. (Like #1 and #2, instead of 1-8 and everyone else is out of luck.) Check outs are three weeks and I'm sure my kids would love to just hang on to them all for three weeks instead of returning their books every week.
      I check out about 10-15 a week. I'm a picky reader so I only finish about 4 of those.

    2. P.S. And another reason I laughed at the high five comment: they actually fight over who's going on break when they see us. I sometimes shelve my own books if I'm not herding small people, but otherwise... I have to get back into their good graces with brownies.

    3. I love the image of you and the crew at the library. The library was my hang out as a kid, and God bless those librarians who let me take so many books home, I'm pretty sure long before I was supposed to. That two book limit way back when was cruel to an avid reader!!! :)

  4. this sounds good! I went nutso on a website I found from a facebook post - refrigerator oatmeal-then saw formula for making baggies of 'instant' oatmeal then the slow cooker steel cut oats- one was made with almond milk and cherries and another was eggnog and cranberry! oh my gosh - almost ran out and bought the ingredients but dunno about eggnog - just sounded good! and I've never been a huge oatmeal person - I'm more into eggs - but wow! now I think I need some of this granola!

    1. YUMMY. I am a total eggnog person. And cranberry. I love it all. Not so sure about oatmeal although it's supposed to be great for us. I'm actually not a breakfast person at all (although again, it's supposed to be good for us). I just prefer a cup of coffee and that everyone ignore me until I feel like I can understand all the chatter.
      The worst job I ever had demanded that I be coherent and clever at 6 AM. I lasted a year. :P

  5. Yummy, Virginia! I made oatmeal the other night for a snack that was similar. Just oatmeal cooked with dried cherries and walnuts (and, okay, also a ton of brown sugar--but it WAS Splenda Brown). :)

    1. I love brown sugar! And I wondered about the maple in this. I think that molasses would be good, too, but not sure if it would burn or not.
      I'm not an oatmeal fan (squishy!) but I love the crispy oatmeal in this.

  6. By the way, I'm loving your new camera! It makes beautiful photos I can pin to Pinterest!

    1. Oh, Missy. I don't know what I'm doing! Have the time, the pictures are way too dark and I have to lighten it on the computer. The rest of the time, the auto works perfectly. I just had my husband put extra lights in the kitchen (bulbs, not fixtures) because I hated always having a shadow over the shot!

    2. Mine always have shadows too (but it's my phone). And a flash often overexposes.

      I wonder if some sort of lamp on the counter would help? Some kind of lighting that's not coming from above (because my stupid head makes the shadow!)

    3. Oh, that's a great idea. When I use the flash, it's so bright it washed everything out. I keep yearning for one of those giant reflector shields they use in photography businesses, hahaha. But a lamp is a great idea. Something coming from somewhere other than BEHIND MY HEAD.

  7. I love granola! Dried cherries would make a great addition.

    Have fun on vacation with the fam!

    I understand about the internet connection, too. Parts of South Dakota and Wyoming can take you back into the last century technology-wise. Isn't it great?

    1. Heehee! Sort of! There's actually not cell service for most of the trip and I'm a little nervous about that. But then, we used to travel that way all the time. If something happened... well, you're still a really, really long way from help. (Oooh, now I'm feeling anxious. LOL)

  8. YUMMY! Thank you so much!

  9. I think I'll make some more today. It was s double batch and lasted one day!