Monday, March 23, 2009

Hippie Food: Double Ginger Granola with Cranberries & Cocoa Nibs

It's true. I'm probably a hippie chick at heart.
You probably wouldn't be able to tell from my appearance. After all, these days I have a professional wardrobe. However, in the days of yore, my closet contained a very nice collection of peasant skirts, which I wore with t-shirts (in those days, I worked selling books at an independent bookstore). I'm also a bit of an activist by nature. I believe that most great movements begin as grassroots endeavors, and I firmly believe in the power of people to incite real change in the world. I'm not afraid to get my hands dirty. And I take the opportunity, whenever I can, to vote with my $$$ by supporting local farmers and local businesses.

There are other signs.
I'd rather have a string of beads than a set of diamond studs any day.
I secretly long for a tie-dyed VW bug.

I heart me a nice pair of Birkenstocks.

And, I love me some delicious, crunchy granola.
My mother used to make granola when I was a kid. She had the concept right, for the most part, but she tended to bake the raisins right along with the oatmeal, nuts, and honey... so they always had this sort of burnt taste. It wasn't until I grew up and went out on my own that I realized the raisins in granola weren't supposed to be crunchy.
Turns out, my mother wasn't alone, granola actually took a seriously long time to catch on, even among the health food crowd. I'm not sure we can chalk that up to a history of burnt raisins; but, some of the initial concepts for this crunchy snack were pretty unappealing.

Legend has it that we can credit the beginnings of granola to Dr. Graham, health enthusiast and inventor of graham flour/graham crackers. Dr. Graham preached that people should shun meat, alcohol, tobacco, stimulants (coffee, tea) and white bread. He didn't make or advocate granola... but he did inspire the production of GRANULA, sheets of graham crackers baked, rebaked, and broken up into little pieces. *YUM* Apparently, after the delicious granula concept failed to take off, Dr. Kellogg and Dr. Post subsequently invent their own variations in the late 1800's --the former resulting in the granola name, and the latter giving birth to modern-day Grape Nuts cereal.

When the term "granola" was revived by the modern health food movement in the 1960's, it became the lovely hippie food we know today.

As for me, I've been making granola for a number of years. Usually, I've gone with a pretty standard recipe -- oatmeal, some sort of nuts, cinnamon, sweetener (usually maple syrup or honey; sometimes brown sugar); and dried fruit. This recipe follows the mold, only I experimented a bit with the flavorings. This variety uses a bit of fresh ginger, some vanilla powder, and just a touch of cinnamon. It also benefits from some chopped up crystallized ginger -- which adds a bit of zing -- and dried cranberries, which keep the granola from getting too sweet. Cocoa nibs add a bit of chocolatey interest -- and a nutty crunch.
We usually eat our granola for breakfast with a bit of vanilla kefir poured over the top. It's the best cold cereal I've ever had (maybe next to Grape Nuts :)), and it sticks to my ribs just enough that I'm not ravenous before noon.
Granola keeps well. You can store double ginger granola for up to a month in an airtight container at room temperature. It keeps for 6 months in the freezer.

In addition to breakfast food, granola is also nice sprinkled over fruit, yogurt, or icecream. This lovely gingery delicacy is especially nice as a topping for baked peaches.

Double Ginger Granola with Cranberries & Cocoa Nibs


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25 comments:

  1. Great looking granola. I make my own too. I never put it in the freezer though, thanks for the tip!

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  2. Maria - Was glad to discover the freezer trick myself. The nice thing is, you can go directly from freezer to bowl without thawing. Uber easy!

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  3. mmmm-- haven't made granola for a while! I should think I have the stuff here - love the idea of adding the choc! ;-) You know me and my love of that! ~jo

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  4. MMMMMMMMMM....I love it!! hell yeah!!

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  5. Looks good to me! I am making a "dessert" using granola. I found the recipe in the Mag Clean Eating--which is FABULOUS.

    Mix plain yogurt with honey and berries in the blender. Pour over an 8 inch baking dish that has a layer of granola then freeze. Cut into cubes. Frozen granola yogurt bars.

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  6. I heart home made granola - I make mine every Sunday morning.

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  7. Amanda - That sounds amazing. I'm going to have to look into a subscription to that magazine.

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  8. It looks so good. I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one who likes grape-nuts. As far as my mom's cooking goes, I never knew you weren't suppose to eat fudge with a spoon till after i got married.

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  9. I love granola with yogurt for breakfast! Your granola sounds very very good!

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  10. Love the granola...Love it! Love a good cause but no Birks for me...can't do it.

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  11. Yup yup, homemade granola is so addictive. It really keeps you going back for more!

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  12. I've been looking for a way to make a good granola. Yum!

    And I loved what you said about grassroots movements. That's what I'm trying to do with my writing--sell short books people will enjoy, whimsical little tales!

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  13. I love granola. But I also love meat, white bread, tobacco and stimulants. I don't think Dr. Graham would have been my friend.

    Also: I see you your flowing skirts, and I RAISE YOU a pair of Engineer overalls converted into a dress, worn over a T-shirt bearing the slogan, "I ain't no slave to shave". Ah, seventeen.

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  14. Omigosh, Tina - I almost fell off of my chair.
    Dr. Graham would definitely disapprove of me. And I'll take that bet. And raise you a couple of hairy armpits for good measure :)

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  15. You girls have me cracking up over here. Working in an independent bookstore sounds great to me right now-I need a job-and I have peasant skirts!! Your granola looks delicious, never thought to put ginger in it. I bet that gives it a good zing!

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  16. When you figure out how to tie-die a VW Bug, could you let me know. That would be AMAZING! On the granola I had no idea, but the crunch raisins are hilarious. You've just pushed me closer to making my own granola. I never have. :/

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  17. this had me in stiches...how old are you? You sound like my daddy back in the day- except he still listens to eric burdon and steppenwolf. We love granola- and I can't wait to try your recipe.peace.make granola not war!

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  18. I'm with ya, sister, on the closet hippie thing. I mean, I was a kid who wore bell-bottoms -- how could I not have a soft spot for all things grunge? This recipe looks wonderful, and I have always loved grapenuts. In fact, it's really the only boxed cereal that I ever eat. I'm going to give this recipe a try. Right on!

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  19. Do "hippies" still exist in the tradtional sense (soceital dropouts living in commune types)? I guess it doesn't matter, because I'm a treehugger type who definitely espouses a few of those hippie values.

    I love granola of all stripes. The addition of cocoa nibs is great. I have some at home and right now I'm in a mood to go make some granola!

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  20. I'm not sure I'm a hippie but I do love granola. It's pretty funny too to watch me pick out and eat around those yucky raisin.

    Thanks also for the history lesson.
    ~ingrid

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  21. I just started making my own granola and I'm really excited to have a new recipe. Thanks!

    Alison

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  22. I really like the inclusion of crystallized ginger and cocoa nibs. Great recipe (from one hippie chick to another...).

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  23. I've never made granola before but this looks really good! Maybe I'll give it a shot :)

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  24. GREAT post! I'm a total hippie girl, raised on Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin. I've been making my own granola for years and agree with you that it is the best way to start the day, especially with a little goat kefir poured over it. YUM! I like your twist on it with crystalized ginger.

    Whenever anyone asks my daughter how she ended up with such an unusual name (Tevis), she answers, "My mom was a hippie."

    :-)

    I love this post of yours, LO (and PEEF)!
    Melissa

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  25. It looks so good. I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one who likes grape-nuts. As far as my mom's cooking goes, I never knew you weren't suppose to eat fudge with a spoon till after i got married.

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