christmas granola

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Have you ever noticed that supermarket spaghetti sauce comes in really nice mason jars? The Classico jars even say "MASON" on them, no reference to spaghetti. Salsa jars are nice and plain too. Seems a shame to send them straight to recycling, so I saved some, soaked the labels off with warm water, and am using them for filling with Christmas granola.
Christmas Granola Recipe
adapted from a recipe by Bridgette Healey

6 cups old fashioned oats 
1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped 
3/4 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup flaked coconut
1/3 cup flax seed meal
3/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup canola oil
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup dried cranberries

Using two rimmed, ungreased cookie sheets, toast oats for 10 minutes at 350 degrees, stirring at least once.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the remaining ingredients except the cranberries. Dump the toasted oats into the bowl and mix until coated. Spray cookie sheets with non stick spray and return coated oats to the pans.

Return to 350 degree oven and toast for another 20 mintues, stirring every 5 minutes. My ovens aren't so great- they heat unevenly- so the stirring every 5 minutes is important. Otherwise, the oats on the edges burn.

Cool slightly and mix in dried cranberries. Transfer to mason jars after completely cool.

1 recipe fills 3 mason jars.

Before filling the jars, I like to spray paint the lids so all reminders of their previous lives are gone. Red would have been nice, but I happened to have apple green on hand. No matter, I am covering the lid with some fabric anyway.

To make the jars gift-worthy, all you need is an 8" square of fabric (I pinked the edge), a rubber band, some twine or ribbon, and a tag. I've used burlap with a frayed edge and a ribbon before which looks homespun and pretty. Really, you could do anything you want.

I've tried tying on the ribbon or string directly over the fabric square, but it is very awkward. The rubber band is easier and allows to to readjust the fabric until it is how you want it. Then the string or ribbon covers it.

A jar of homemade granola makes a sweet hostess gift that is actually somewhat healthy. I'm talking omega 3's with the flax seed and nuts, B vitamins with the wheat germ, and cholesterol-fighting fiber with the oats. I have certain friends who expect their jar of granola every year, or I get comments like, "Where's my friggin' granola already?". It's that good.


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