Friday, January 7, 2011

January Reflections: Homemade

Two thousand ten was a year of homemade goodness in our house. While I have almost always made things from scratch, from pizza crust to vegetable soup, this past year I really stepped it up a notch.
Why in 2010? Because in 2010 we had cable for the first time and I developed an addiction for the Food Network. Sad, but true.

Or maybe not so sad, when you consider that watching people cook while I did the household chores, paid bills, and nursed babies whet my appetite (haha) and helped me discover a hidden love for food and cooking.

Well... I've always loved food, but now I love it with new measure. Aged cheese, fresh herbs, well trimmed meats... and then cooked up in my own kitchen...oh boy, music to my ears. And stomach. I'd call myself a foodie, but then I'd run the risk of sounding like a food snob.

Which I'm not. Not completely anyway.

While I love dabbling with new ingredients and creating gourmet meals, practicality keeps me from going to Snooty-ville. As much as I'd prefer to proudly purchase high end ingredients, my pocketbook demands that I make the best foods possible for the lowest prices possible. Not as easy as it sounds, but I do my best. It's a challenge I enjoy... though I frequently dream outloud to my husband of the day I can buy blocks of aged pecorino romano and freshly butchered lamb chops.

For now, it's pork chops and cheddar.


One thing I started making fom scratch this year was a good basic roux. I have found this to be an amazingly delicious way to thicken soups, make cream sauces, and even rev up a regular old casserole. It is the perfect alternative when you're tempted to use the "cream of" canned soups, and so much more delectable and creamy when you've made it from scratch.

Another food that's been consistently homemade this year is granola. Trial and error, as well as tips from Dolly's and Emily's recipes, I've come up with our family's favorite granola. Even the boys ask for it every morning instead of cereal. I suppose I should write it down for you, but I'm not sure if I can remember it. Now that I'm a whiz in the kitchen (wink wink) and know my ingredients, it's often just a mix of what we have in the house.

But here goes:

Homemade Granola

  • 4 cups Old Fashioned Oats
  • 2 cups Quick Oats (this is just to add different textures in the granola)
  • 3/4 cup Coconut
  • 1/2 cup Chopped walnuts (or sliced almonds)
  • 1/4 cup Brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
Mix together in a bowl. Then on the stove top melt together
  • 1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbls Butter
  • 1/2 cup Honey
  • 1/4 cup Jam or Maple Syrup (which ever I have in the house, I've also substituted with orange marmalade or boysenberry syrup)
Once butter is melted, add
  • 1Tbls Vanilla or Almond Extract
Combine dry and wet ingredients together till well mixed. Smooth out on two cookie sheets and bake at 300 for 20 minutes, stirring after half way though.

Linked with January Reflections at The Glorious Impossible


Dolly said...

I'm a total foodie too. In a non snobbish way, of course. :-)
If you shop at Costco it makes it a whole lot cheaper to buy those block of Romano and Lamb Chops.

RT said...

I'm a faux foodie, or a non-cooking foodie if you will! I love to cook when I've planned ahead, have all the ingredients I need, and have a clean kitchen. (Unfortunately, I'm usually running low on those three things!)

Your granola looks delicious! I think I'll make some this weekend.

Thanks for doing the DPP, by the way! It was fun--but I'm glad to be done with it, too. ;)

Dawn said...

I used to love making (and eating) my own granola. Somehow, I fell out of the habit. I'd like to start again. Your recipe looks delicious.

Hannah said...

This looks awesome, I can't wait to try it, thanks for posting the recipe!

Kathryn said...

Dolly, I love Costco... we just don't have one anywhere close to us, and the commissary has comparable prices, just not the variety. Boo.
Ladies, the granola is awesome. You can add all kinds of goodies to it too, if you like dried fruit, chocolate, nuts etc (which I do, just not in my granola). Enjoy!

Joshlin said...

I love to watch food network also! I make everything I can homemade, but like you have a smaller budget. Living in the south I have been making roux myslef for years and love it! I didn't even know how much it cost in the store untill a few months ago. WOW have I been saving some money! LOL!!


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