I'm dedicating this post to my amazing sister, Em, who is my inspiration every day. She was the one who got me into horseback riding, who played Breyer horses with me all day and designed imaginary stables by my side. She is also the one who sparked my interest in cooking, when all I cared to know how to do was mac-and-cheese out of a box (EW!), bruschetta, spaghetti (nothing special), and quesadillas with black beans. Make your own ricotta? Or vegetable broth? Why would anyone complicate their lives so much?
She also helped me to get over my yeast phobia (along with my darling KitchenAid and King Arthur Flour class) and to love bread making. She is patient, gracious, loving, creative, brave, and an overall wonderful mother to my two precious nieces. In the kitchen and out, she claims to have a very simple philosophy. She thinks I make elaborate meals and she prefers to stick to "simple" things such as making and canning her own pumpkin pie filling, homemade yogurt, canning tons of summer tomatoes, jams, and making her own pasta and fruit leather. Simple?
If it hadn't been for Em, I probably wouldn't have ventured so far into the culinary world. I saw her happiness in the kitchen, part of the making of a homemade life, and wanted to make my house a home by cooking, too. I still love to see the smiles on peoples' faces when they bite into a delicious blondie or hear about how yummy my pecan pie is. And most of all, she inspired me to want a homemade life. Although it sounds sort of crazy, even if the recipe is simple, if it takes a long time to make (such as granola or ricotta), I feel intimidated. So I gave this recipe that my mom passed along to me my own twist…
Homemade honey macadamia granola
Adapted from a recipe that a friend of my mom's passed along to her
Makes about 1.5 quarts
Warning: this is NOT low fat food. And it's delicious.
4 cups oats (I used old fashioned)
150 grams unsalted macadamia nuts, chopped
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 cup bee's honey
Vanilla extract to taste, optional
Preheat the oven to 225F with the rack in the center.
Spray a 9 x 13-inch baking dish (preferably glass) with nonstick spray. Mix together the oats and nuts in the dish. Mix together the butter and honey in a measuring cup or small bowl. Mix in vanilla extract if using (I did not use it but think it would be delicious! Maybe 1 tsp). Pour the butter mixture over the oat mixture and toss well to coat.
Bake in the preheated oven for 1 ½ hours (if you like it chewy) to 3 hours (if you like it crunchy), stirring about every 45 minutes so that it bakes evenly. When done, cool in an airtight container without the lid on. The granola will harden up slightly when cooled. Store in airtight container.
Feeling funky? Feel free to change the nuts, add more, add almond extract, dried coconut, dried fruit (at the end), and more! Be creative!