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Are You Still Under the Impression That You Have to be a “Former Hippie” to Love the Delicious and Highly Nutritious Benefits of Homemade Granola?

September 2, 2008 by  
Filed under Anne Holmes, Blog, Food & Recipes

Are You Craving Nutricious Delicious Homemade Granola?

Were you a love bead wearing fan of natural foods in your youth? Not me. Though I attended college in the early 70s, I doubt anyone who knew me then would have legitimately called me a “hippie.”

OK, I studied fashion design as an undergrad, so I had the wardrobe down: tie-dyed tops, bellbottoms and platform sandals. But this was more for comfort (and added height) than for political statement.  No, I cannot claim to be a former hippie.  But I did graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, so I definitely knew a few.

Nevertheless, I began my own “back to nature, back to the land” movement in my mid-twenties, when my (now 30-year old) first child was born.

That Was When I Entered What I Now Refer to As My “Earth Mother” Period.

In the late 70s I determined that I wanted to raise my child to be as healthy, intelligent, energetic and inquisitive as possible.  As soon as my daughter began eating her first solid food, I became fanatical about the quality of the food I served our family. So much so that I – now a budding fashionista who ALWAYS went to work wearing high heeled shoes that properly matched my business-wear, and NEVER spent time outdoors if I didn’t have to – actually :

  • Studied and selected vegetable plants at the local nurseries and planted my first backyard garden
  • Bought the needed equipment to process my resulting home grown vegetable produce (not just a pressure cooker for canning, I invested in a chest freezer, too! Hey, I was SERIOUS!)
  • Devoured books on how to make my own – delicious and nutritious – baby food! (If you went through this same phase, did you also invest in a food mill like I did? Though they might be handly if you’re mashing up food in a restaurant, at home, all you really need is a good blender!)
  • Vowed that foods containing preservatives and refined sugar would not pass her lips!

And Because It wasn’t All About Growing the Garden, I Also:

  • Baked my own bread – using stone ground and whole grain flours and other healthy additives, (like brewer’s yeast and wheat germ)
  • Crafted my own homemade granola, based on modifying a recipe I got from a co-worker who was also in her “earth-mother” phase
  • Shopped for the few snacks I allowed in the house at a health food store. (Remember, “organic” doesn’t automatically imply sugar-free!)
  • Fermented my own yogurt! (This is actually pretty easy – and eliminates all the “trashy additives” they put in commercial yogurts these days. None of us need the “hidden extras” like the seemingly ubiquitous high fructose corn syrup!)
  • Filled up that freezer by buying organic beef from a local butcher – at the rate of half cow at at time!

Like Icarus My “Earth Mother” Phase Soared. And Then Abruptly Fell Flat…

Reality hit me in the face: The fact is, during this same time I was also a full-time wife, employed full time as a media buyer in an advertising agency, and played co-ed volleyball at the “Y” three nights a week! Officer, I admit to operating under the influence of such intense sleep deprivation that I literally felt tired to my bones

I finally had to end my “healthy madness” when our very active son was born. I just didn’t have the time and energy for all of the above while also effectively parenting two kids! Too often I found myself up still up at midnight, washing clothes, preparing that bread, and doing whatever housework got done. Which meant that 5 AM came WAAY tooo soon!

Sadly, the microwaved meal, as well as fast food restaurants and pizza parlors entered our lives shortly after our son’s birth!

As all parents of young children soon discover,  there is just so much time in a day, and EVERY parent has to pick his or her battles wisely:

  • Upon arriving home from work with an interim stop at the daycare, it was taking me ’til 9 PM to have my healthy homemade dinners on the table.
  • Worse, I soon discovered I was losing the healthy food battle at day care, where – horror of horrors – I learned that my daughter preferred to eat what the other kids ate.
  • Stuff like canned spaghetti-o’s, frozen processed chicken “nuggets,” tater tots, and green jello seemed to hold much stronger appeal for both kids than did my home grown beets, life sized carrots, free-range roasted chicken and homemade, sugar-free applesauce!

But There’s Nothing Like a “Reformed Foodie!”

That’s right! I’m back!

Three decades later, I’m again into shopping the farmers markets and buying organic fruits, vegetables and yogurt at the grocery store. (And I’m even toying with the concept of going back to planting a garden and making my own yogurt! But not yet, it’s much easier to let someone else do the work!)

This time, however, I’m working to eat right because I’m concerned about my own health and nutrition. And that’s a really good thing, I say.

Lately I’ve been raving to any friends who will listen about the wonderfully satisfying fresh fruit, granola and yogurt parfait I have been enjoying for breakfast the last few months. It’s a nice quick summertime treat, and a great alternative to hot oatmeal.

The breakfast treat features fresh fruits and my own recipe for homemade oat-y granola. I like to incorporate 2-3 fruit choices, depending on my whim and what’s fresh at the market. You can put together your own fruit combinations, but this easy and satisfying treat essentially goes together like this:

Anne’s Simply Delicious Spiced Fruit ‘N Granola Perfection:

  • Into a large cereal bowl – or if you’re feeling elegant, a parfait glass – layer two to three fruits. If you go with three, try for a colorful variety or a “theme,” like berries, or pie fruits, etc. My favorites are bolded below:
    • 1 freshly sliced nectarine (also delicious with peaches or even a banana)
    • ½ cup fresh blueberries (alternately, could use raspberries, blackberries, strawberries (even cloudberries if you can find them in your market)
    • ½ cup dried cherries (or try other dried fruits, like raisins, dates, dried cranberries or sliced dried apricots or pineapple)
  • Dust the fruits generously to taste with:
    • Nutmeg
    • Cinnamon
  • Continue the layering, with:
    • 8-10 coarsely chopped toasted pecan halves (or other nut of your choice)
    • ½ cup organic granola (prior to making my own, I preferred  Breadshop Natural Food’s Organic Vermont Maple Granola, which is pretty basic: oats, canola oil, maple syrup, but feel free to select a granola you like. Here’s another great granola recipe from Whole Foods Market.)
    • ½ cup organic vanilla flavored yogurt (my current choice is Stonyfield Farm, but I’m seriously thinking about to go back to making my own. No doubt I’ll write about that, soon!)

Enjoy the granola, I’m off to mix up something new but equally healthy and delicious! Any suggestions?

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