I have told this story before, in June of 2008 actually. I wanted to run it again (with a bit of editing, I think I write a wee bit better now!) because it touches my heart, also because my daughter makes wonderful granola and today I am making granola. Then again, possibly no one read it in 2008, so it is just like a new story!
The Red Apron-
I have always been a "get in and get it done" sort of person. If my clothes get dirty along the way, and they usually do, so be it. When done with what ever job I might be doing, I will put on a clean pair of jeans and a fresh shirt. Run a comb through my hair, and away we go.
Aprons always seemed like a good idea, but I never remembered to put one on. After a few years (like 30 or so) I no longer had aprons. I gave them all away. Then last Christmas, my daughter made me a beautiful red apron. It was a wonderful gift, red just like my kitchen, and from her.
It now had a permanent home, folded neatly next to the big standing mixer. A couple of weeks ago, my daughter asked me if I used the apron. I had to confess, no I did not. She remarked that no one, she had made aprons for at Christmas, used their gift.
At the time, I did not feel bad about not using the apron, because I knew why. But I did feel sadden by her disappointment. I had not even used the apron, I had folded it neatly and placed it in the kitchen, just like a decoration. You see.............
As a child I had been taught that something "too pretty to use everyday" was saved. The red apron, is certainly that, too pretty to use everyday. And so I did what I had always done, I put it up and saved it!
But saved for what I still do not know, and "it" was never ever explained to me when I was a kid growing up.
Certainly not saved for a rainy day, we have hundreds of them here in Vancouver. Certainly not for a dinner party, I really don't have dinner parties. I do have "company" and when company comes, it is my pleasure to make them feel comfortable. I just never found an apron is required for that.
This morning I threw a pan of rolls into the oven, and before I began the dough, I reached for the apron. I slipped it over my head and began working. It felt comfortable, much like time with my daughter. I completed the pan of dough and placed it into the oven to bake, knowing what I would blog about this morning, wearing my red apron.
My daughter is a fighter. A quiet, but strong fighter. She is tall and beautiful and dedicated. She is fearless. She is accomplished, because she is always willing to try. She makes me proud. I say all this, without taking credit, because many of the skills she has, were learned on her own.
She will be 30 on her next birthday. I had a long labor with her, 30 hours actually. Our running joke has been she "owed" me a year for each hour of labor. She knows it is a joke, but still I have gotten many a cup of coffee delivered to me, using that as a ploy! But you see, I owe her and my Son, for it is they who have taught me, how to grow love.............
Today I still do not wear the apron when I cook, that is just me and how I roll! The apron however has a new residence, it is folded neatly over the handle of the stove. A very handy spot actually, and when the lovely Jess comes to help in the kitchen, it is right there for her to use.
And now let's make granola. I had asked my daughter for her recipe and she said simply, "it is just granola mom, I like to bake it longer." And that is, the way it is! I loved the flavor of her granola, bold and baked to a deep golden brown, yet wanted to keep the softer crunch of using textured oats.
So what are textured oats? Oats that have had a whirl in your food processor or blender. Having a variety of texture in your granola will give a softer crunch, if you like a super crunchy granola, leave the entire measure of oats whole and proceed with the rest of the steps. I have set up the information on this recipe to be used as a master recipe, which really means, use what you already have in your kitchen or pantry.
Granola, (but not Jessica's recipe!)
by the seat of my pants!
325 degree oven
2 c regular oats
2 c regular oats - pulsed in the food processor
1/2 c regular oats - ground into oat flour
1/4 c flax seeds - ground
1/2 c seeds - pumpkin, sunflower, sesame or ?
1 c nut pieces - walnuts, pecans, almonds or ?
1 c something else (or more nut pieces) coconut, millers bran or ?
Place the oats and textured oats into a large bowl, add the seeds and nuts mixing well.
3 T oil
1/2 c sugar
1 t vanilla
dash of salt
1/2 - 1 t sweet spice if desire - cinnamon, nutmeg or ?
Add the oil to a measuring cup, add water to make a total 1/2 c fluid. Combine the water mixture and the sugar, heat to boiling stir to dissolve sugar. Add vanilla, salt and sweet spice if using. Stir again. Evenly pour over oat mixture, folding over and over until everything is evenly dampened.
Evenly spread on a jelly roll pan.
1 c dried fruit - raisins, diced apricots, or cranberries. You could also use some chopped chocolate.
Stir to combine, and let mixture come to room temperature before packaging up.
Makes about 10 cups.
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