Thursday, May 10, 2012

Homemade Granola and Crackers

The more our family reads and learns, the more we are working to move away from processed foods and towards those made with basic ingredients and that we know what those ingredients are. So as we prepared for our trip this past weekend, it was fun preparing foods for it! Instead of going to the store and getting the 'normal' snacky foods that we used to get, Mom boiled eggs (from our own chickens :), cut up strawberries that had just been picked, sliced some carrots, and made chicken salad from some of our chickens that we had butchered awhile back and that I had cooked in the crockpot.

While she was busy with those things, I made two batches of granola . . .
 
 

I had made this recipe a few days before for the first time and everyone loved it! And it was highly requested to be part of our trip food.

Next, I experimented with making crackers . ..

 Plain

 And ones with Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning and garlic salt

I wasn't sure how these were going to turn out, but they, too, were a success! They don't taste quite like store-bought crackers, but they sure were good.

In case you might like to try making these yourself, here are the recipes for them . . .

The first batch of granola (without the cranberries)

Homemade Granola

-1 tablespoon butter
-2 cups rolled oats
-1/4 cup butter
-2 tablespoons honey
-2 tablespoons brown sugar (optional)
-1 teaspoon vanilla
-1 teaspoon molasses
-1 cup dried fruit and nuts (I used what we had on hand - flax seed, raisins, sliced almonds, and dried cranberries.)

Add old-fashioned rolled oats and 1 Tbsp butter to the pan and toast for 4 minutes. Spread the oatmeal on a cookie sheet to cool.

Using the same pan, melt butter, molasses, honey, vanilla, and brown sugar. Stir until well mixed and bubbly.

Add oatmeal back to the pan along with any other dried fruits, seeds or nuts that you might like. Cook and stir for another 4-5 minutes.

Spread on a cookie sheet to cool. If you like little clusters of granola, spread it out very loosely and don't over-handle. Place in a 170 degree oven for a few minutes. Turn oven off and let granola rest for another 2-3 minutes before removing from oven to cool. Store in an airtight container. If you like a softer granola, skip this step altogether. If you prefer it more crunchy, let it remain in the oven for a little longer -- it hardens while cooling. Enjoy!



 

MaryJane's Basic Farmhouse Crackers (I doubled the recipe)

 -1 1/2 cups flour (I used soft white wheat)  
-3/4 tsp. salt
-1 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
-3/4 tsp. baking powder
-1/4 cup oil
-1/2 cup water
-1 egg
-2 tsp. sugar
-1 tsp. balsamic vinegar*

In a medium bowl combine flour, salt, cream of tartar and baking powder. Add oil until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Pour in water and stir until dough forms.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, sugar, and vinegar.

Roll out the dough as thin as you'd like, then brush with the above egg mixture (I didn't need to use all of it.) Cut into whatever shape crackers you prefer. Transfer to an oiled baking sheet. 


As mentioned earlier, I made part of the batch with Italian seasoning, garlic salt and parmesan cheese sprinkled on top of them before baking.
 

Bake for 10-20 minutes (mine needed to go more around 30) in 350 degree oven . . . then eat as is, or serve with dip. Enjoy! 

*Balsamic vinegar substitute (we didn't have any :) . . . Add 1/2 tsp. sugar to 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar. Stir and use in place of 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar.

14 comments:

  1. That all sounds wonderful, Sarah! I think I would especially enjoy the Italian seasoned crackers.
    I completely understand your desire to move away from processed goods, as it has been something I have been working at, too. While I don't raise any of our meat, I have been going to a local butcher for a few years now. I cannot hardly stand to pass by the meat department at any of the grocery stores these days. As odd as it may sound, I smile when I pull into the parking lot at the butcher shop and see the cattle grazing in the field - I know where my meat is coming from.

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  2. Oh, Sarah, what delightful, frugal fun! I'm with you...it's such a good feeling to put together a meal as much "from scratch" as possible. You are blessed to have chickens and a large garden and goats for milk, and so many other resources to help you accomplish that!

    The recipes look great, and pretty simple to put together. We don't buy many crackers around here, because I find them a bit expensive per our "portion size," but we do enjoy eating them. So I'll have to give your cracker recipe a try!

    I must have missed the post about butchering your chickens...did you write one up? It would be very interesting to read!:-)

    Have a lovely day, Sarah!

    ~ Betsy

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  3. Sarah, I'm so glad you told us about the Homemade Granola recipe. I buy granola oats all the time for breakfast. That's the only kind of cereal I buy. I'm not a big fan of cereal. What kind of cereals do you like to eat? Anyways, granola is so expensive. I never stopped to think what if I make homemade granola to save me some money. I will definitely give this recipe a try and see if I like it or not. Thank you for the recipe!

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  4. How sensible to be looking carefully at food content, Sarah. It is so important. Like us, you grow much of your food, and that is always fresher than buying from the shops.
    I like your granola recipe, not too sugary.

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  5. I have been making our granola for quite a while now, but have yet to find a homemade cracker recipe I like. (I haven't tried a lot though) I will have to try this one! Thanks for sharing.
    Stephen and I decided we need to be saving some more money if we are ever going to buy us a place (we are very frugal as it is) so we are on a (mostly) beans, rice and whatever we grow ourselves diet. Obviously I have to buy SOME things such as yeast etc. And all our meat for years has been deer. If I could make a chicken pen that the cats would stay out of, we could have chicken too! Sorry, I just realised I went off rambling about myself again. I've noticed I'm bad about that in comments...yet I say very little about the things we do on our blog. Weird. Okay. I'm stopping now.. really.. bye. :)

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  6. Thank you, Renee! That is wonderful that you, too, are working to move away from processed foods. And what a blessing that you have a local butcher where you are able to get your meat from! I don’t think it sounds odd at all to smile when pulling up and seeing the cattle grazing. Knowing where one’s food is coming from is very nice! Today we all were talking about goals for our farm and are working on putting down on paper how many goats, rabbits and chickens we would need to raise to satisfy our needs for a year. It is exciting to think about, and I am so looking forward to when we are able to raise all of our own meat!

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  7. It is, Betsy! I love cooking from scratch . . . and I am learning more and more and going ‘deeper’ into it as well. Next I’d like to try making homemade mayonnaise – hopefully that will be a success! We are indeed blessed in having the large garden, goats, etc. . . . the Lord has richly blessed us, and I am so thankful for the life we are able to live!

    I hope that you enjoy this cracker recipe! It is different than store-bougth crackers, but we all rather liked them. Especially the Italian ones!

    No, I didn’t do a post about butchering chickens . . . we’ve actually butchered twice fairly recently, and one of those times was just last week. It’s always nice to have more of our own meat in the freezer.

    Thank you, Betsy! And I hope you have a wonderful day as well!

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  8. I hope that you like it, Leah! It is really simple to make and tastes so good. I actually don’t eat cereal anymore – usually for breakfast I have toast with jelly/honey/apple butter, or a fried egg with toast, and sometimes oatmeal, grits, or muffins, etc. Now that I have started making granola, I have enjoyed that sometimes for breakfast as well, and it is good!

    Again, I hope that you enjoy making this recipe and eating it, too! :)

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  9. It is a work in progress, Elizabeth! Over the years we have been working on moving away from processed foods, but it has taken quite awhile. It has also been something we’ve done in stages as we’ve learned. That is wonderful that you are able to grow much of your food as well. It is indeed much fresher than buying from the shops, and it is so satisfying eating produce that you grew yourself!

    The granola recipe isn’t too sugary at all which is nice!

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  10. That’s great that you have been doing that, Becky! I hope that you like this cracker recipe . . . I still want to try a few other recipes that I have collected, too. While I did like these ones (and will definitely be making them again), it would be nice to have one that is a little more ‘crackery’ if you know what I mean! :)

    I admire your commitment and desire to live more frugally as you save for a place of your own! That is wonderful! I hope that this process will go smoothly and that your efforts will be blessed. It makes me get excited for you knowing your excitement of looking forward to your own home! (And please do not feel bad about rambling . . . I enjoyed reading what you shared! :)

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  11. We make our own granola sometimes, too. I have so many things to make from scratch that I'm thinking of assigning that job to the girls (since they love to cook!).

    I've tried several different cracker recipes, but they never really taste much like crackers...I'll have to try your recipe! Thanks for sharing it!

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  12. bookmarking these FUR SURE!

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  13. Homemade granola is so good, Joy! I just made some more of it today. :) It is fun to make, too, and I am sure your girls would enjoy taking over making it for your family!

    While these crackers aren't quite as 'crackery' as what I would prefer, they are good and we sure liked them. If you do try this recipe, I hope that you enjoy them as well!

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  14. Hope you enjoy them, Amanda!

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Thanks so much for your comment! Each one is read and enjoyed. :)