My Momma’s Perfect Granola

I don’t know why everyone doesn’t make their own granola. I also don’t know why I only *just* started making it myself! It could not be easier, and is completely adjustable to your own preferences, and so absurdly cost-effective that it just doesn’t make sense to buy it premade. My mother started making granola, in her words, because, “I did not like the price, the amount of sugar or the lack of flavor… so I started experimenting. The house smells sooooo good when you make it.” The result of her experimentation is the perfect basic granola recipe. We add it to yogurt with honey and fresh fruit in the mornings, sprinkle it on vanilla ice cream, or grab handfuls for snacks. This recipe is enough for about a week’s worth of breakfast bowls in our house, so sometimes I make it twice a week! I should probably just get larger storage containers and make double or triple the recipe each time! Now you try! Here you go.

WHAT YOU NEED
* 1 1/2C old fashioned cup oats
* 1/2C coconut flakes
* 1/2C sliced raw almonds
* 1T flaxseeds
* 1T chia seeds
* 1/4t salt
* 1t vanilla
* 1T brown sugar
* 1T honey
* 2T good quality maple syrup (I’m definitely biased as a New England girl, but seriously, no Mrs. Butterworth’s! Invest in the real deal and you’ll see why!)
* 1 1/2T of any non-smelling or otherwise mild cooking oil (canola, grapeseed, sunflower…)

WHAT TO DO
Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees.

Cover a baking sheet in foil and spray with a nonstick spray. Set aside.

Mix all of the ingredients in a large bowl. Make sure everything gets coated and mixed well.

Spread the mixture out over the baking sheet. Be sure to leave some clumps here and there – these will turn into those yummy little cluster bites!

Bake 20 minutes, then take it out of the oven and let cool. The granola will harden and become crunchy as it cools.

Break up the granola and store in a glass jar or any air tight container.



Adult + Kid Blackberry Mint Juleps

Did you watch the Kentucky Derby this weekend? I *love* it. And I spent much of Sunday trying to pass along my limited horse racing knowledge to My Tiny Sous Chef in hopes she would get excited enough to want to watch together. This mainly involved reciting every horse’s name a minimum of 27 times and reminding her which color the jockeys were wearing. But we got in the spirit! And what would a Kentucky Derby party — even one that’s just you and your almost-5-year-old — be without mint juleps?? We decided to get fancy and also to make grown-up and kiddie versions of our concoction. And they came out good enough to share. Though I’ll admit I need to work on my cocktail photography. Apologies in advance. Here you go.

WHAT YOU NEEDbermintju4
for both
* 1 pint blackberries
* 1-2T water

adult version
* 2T simple syrup
* 4-6 mint leaves, torn, plus extra for garnish
* 1.5-2oz bourbon
* tonic water
* ice cubes

kiddie version
* 1T simple syrup
* 2-4 mint leaves, torn, plus extra for garnish
* tonic water
* ice cubes

WHAT TO DO
Start by making your simple syrup. It’s just equal parts sugar and water (start with a few tablespoons of each and if you need more, make more – if you have more than you need, just store it in the fridge for your next cocktail!). Bring the water to a boil, stirring constantly until the sugar is fully dissolved. Then simmer 2-3 minutes. Allow it to cool while you prepare the rest of your ingredients.

bermintju1

Make a quick blackberry puree. Pour the whole pint of berries into the blender with the water and blend on high until smooth. Strain the puree over a glass or bowl through a mesh strainer, using the back of a spoon to help mash down all the bits and push the liquid through.

bermintju2

 

To make the adult version, first add the torn mint leaves and the simple syrup to your glass and muddle gently. If you don’t have a muddler (I do not, it turns out), just use the back side of a spoon. Be gentle, though. You want to release the oils from the leaves, not smash it all up.

bermintju3

Add the bourbon and blackberry puree and stir gently to combine. Add a splash of tonic water and stir again. Finally, add ice cubes and garnish with fresh mint leaves. Cheers!

For the kiddie version, start the same way. Muddle your mint leaves gently with the simple syrup. Add the blackberry puree and tonic water and stir gently to combine. Again, add a few ice cubes and garnish with mint leaves. Don’t forget to clink glasses/cups!

bermintjukiddie

So did your horse win? Ours didn’t even place. We still loved every second of those two minutes, though!