Delicious with yogurt and fruit, this is a simple granola
recipe I have used for years. It makes a lot and stores well in mason jars or a
large airtight cereal container.
Prep Time: 4 hours
Makes: 13+ cups
8 cups organic rolled oats
1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes or shreds
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup pumpkin seeds (raw or roasted)
1 cup sunflower seeds (raw or roasted)
1 cup pecans, broken or chopped into small pieces
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup raw honey
1/2 cup extra-virgin coconut oil
1/2 cup orange juice or 1 tablespoon orange juice concentrate + 1/2 cup
1 teaspoon vanilla
Place oats, nuts, and seeds in a large bowl. Stir in salt and cinnamon.
In a small pot, warm honey, coconut oil, orange juice and vanilla, stirring
with a whisk to combine. Pour warm liquid over oat mixture and spread evenly
onto 2 baking sheets. Place in oven on lowest temperature setting and slowly
bake/dehydrate, turning granola with a spatula every 30 minutes. Bake 2-3 hours
or until granola is golden-brown and beginning to crisp. Turn oven off and
allow granola to cool in oven. When granola is completely cool, it should be
dry and crispy. In an airtight container, it will store well for about a month
(assuming it hasn’t been devoured by then). Helpful tip: If you don’t have
hours to bake, you can turn up the heat to 300° and stir every 15 minutes and
it should be done in about an hour.
Note: I’ve written about this before, but prompted by friends who are participating in Plastic Free February, I’m making some practical suggestions for reducing our use of plastic, especially the single-use variety.
Living on the ocean, we see firsthand the accumulation of
plastic waste. Shorelines on windward sides of islands can be completely buried
under a confetti of plastic bottles, toys, fishing gear, shoes, forks,
packaging and other waste. We have always tried to do our part, but it is hard
to live without compromise. So often, our choices are limited by what’s
available, by our budget, and by the time and energy we possess to do things
the old-fashioned way.
For example, when the kids were younger, I used to bake
everything my family consumed from scratch, from wheat berries that I ground
myself. They came in five-gallon pails that were re-purposed after they were
empty. So we had bread without plastic packaging. But right now we’re on a
demanding school-work-activity schedule with four teenagers and an 8-year-old on
the boat, which is moored in the Florida Keys. I am unable to keep up with the
consumption—teenage boys eat a lot and I am not home long enough between
drop-offs and pick-ups to prepare everything from scratch. So store-bought
bread in a plastic bag has replaced home-made bread. We used to be in a veggie
co-op in the Tampa Bay area, where we got a box of produce each week. But now
we live on an island where the choices are limited. Even though I bring my
washable mesh bags to the store to buy produce, a lot of our food—even the
organic varieties—is packed in plastic.
I taught my children never to walk by a piece of trash, but to pick it up and dispose of it properly, as part of a bigger philosophy: leave the world better than you found it. But what can we do when it accumulates faster than we can clean it up? How can we prevent its ending up in the environment in the first place?
We must be savvy about our storage and waste because we live
on a boat, but a lot of our tips and tricks could be tried anywhere! Here are some
ideas that we have implemented:
We drink tea or fresh juices made in a washable pitcher instead of buying soft drinks. We never use straws. We carry our own water in stainless steel bottles. We vote with our dollars and send the message to bottlers that we are not interested in their products.
We purchase a single, natural, multi-purpose cleaning product in a gallon-size container (ECO-Orange is a good one) and dilute it in our own re-usable spray bottles. I have even experimented with making my own laundry soap. Cleaners are often made mostly of water and use a lot of packaging, in addition to being toxic.
We carry cloth bags to the store and use washable mesh bags for produce (Purifyou).
We store food in washable silicone bags instead of single-use plastic bags (Rezip and Sungwoo).
All our babies wore cloth diapers. Because I was a stay-at-home-mom, I had the time and energy to wash and hang them. I’ve used the Bummis and the Indisposables brands.
We don’t use disposable razors.
We wear sun-protective clothing instead of buying sunscreen.
We don’t shop at dollar stores. Almost everything in there will end up in a landfill.
We store food in washable glass jars (which can be vacuum-sealed with the Foodsaver jar attachment) and Pyrex Snap-ware containers.
We use washable shop towels instead of paper towels as much as possible. That saves paper use as well as plastic packaging.
We buy bulk when it’s available. I buy eggs in biodegradable packaging instead of in plastic.
We take our own dishes and cutlery to picnics and potlucks.
When our kids were little, they played with wooden blocks, trains, and dolls with magnetic clothes instead of plastic toys. We try to use things made from natural materials/renewable resources as much as possible.
We make as much of our food from scratch as we can. Convenience foods=plastic packaging.
As much as possible, we try to collect verbs instead of nouns—spending money to make memories instead of buying stuff.