It was a busy cooking weekend here at the ranch. OK, I don't live on a ranch, other than in my dreams. But it was still a busy weekend.
Saturday, we had The Clay King over for dinner. A roasted chicken, some twice baked potatoes and sauteed mushrooms - the man does not enjoy vegetables, so I take cooking for him as an excuse to have a mostly unhealthy meal.
Here are the mushrooms - they are the one thing The Professor likes to cook, which means they must be black. Sigh.
Good times, as we watched both the Red Sox and the Ohio State football team win. The appetizer - a modified version of these crabbies - has been declared a new staple of living by The Professor. I cannot recommend these enough - I made 40 of them and froze half, but The Professor has wanted a few every night. There are only 4 left in the freezer, and I know he'll eat them as a snack tonight when he gets home.
Sunday, I moved on to rye bread, tomato sauce, watermelon rind pickles, and granola. I found a farmer selling about 3 pounds of tomatoes - the last of his crop - for a total of $3.50. As soon as I cut into them, the smell reminded me that I wouldn't have any this good for almost a year. But the tomato sauce is in the canner as we speak, so I can keep the yummy taste around for a bit longer.
The real thing I'm excited about is the granola. I saw this recipe, and couldn't believe it would be this easy. But it was. And holy cow, do breakfasts have a new meaning. I just dump it on some low-fat vanilla yogurt in the morning, maybe stir in some frozen blackberries... and I'm on my way to a healthier me.
I changed a few ingredients around because I do NOT do almonds, and I couldn't find any pumpkin seeds. But that's the beauty of this - you can change it around as much as you like, and it'll still be incredible.
Granola (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
3 cups old fashioned oats
1 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
1 cup crushed walnuts
1 cup sunflower seeds
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp cinnamon (I LOVE cinnamon)
2 cups dried fruit (Favorite combination: crushed banana chips and dried cherries or cranberries)
Put the rack in the middle of your oven and preheat to 375F.
Mix everything but the dried fruit in a big bowl. Line a large baking sheet with waxed paper (no parchment paper here), and spread the mix evenly. Bake for about 25 minutes, stirring every five. This stuff changes color fast, so keep an eye on it. Make sure to take a deep breath through your nose every time you open the oven, becuase nothing smells like cinnamon.
Transfer to a clean baking sheet, and cool, stirring a couple of times so it doesn't clump up. Stir in dried fruit of choice, and keep in the freezer.