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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Feeding My Family

I really enjoy cooking (I think that's become pretty evident lately!).  The women in my family are all good cooks, and I've learned a lot from them over the years.  I've also developed an attitude of "don't knock it till you try it" with most foods (I'm not interested in eating oysters or most shellfish), and I'm fairly fearless when it comes to trying out new recipes.  So far no major disasters have occurred, other than using WAY too many chili flakes in a batch of chili; it turned out very spicy!

Like my mother does, I try to make the tastiest, most nourishing food possible with as few and as inexpensive ingredients as possible.  This is good stewardship: making the most out of the blessings God has given us.  I spend as little money as possible in the grocery store, and then I make the food I buy go as far as it can.

For example, I bought oats, coconut, wheat germ, and a few other ingredients (wheat flour, oil, honey, salt).  The coconut and the wheat germ are the most expensive ingredients, but I only used part of each package to make homemade granola.  The following is a picture of the recipe straight from my favorite cookbook:



 More-With-Less.  My mom's old copy of this is coverless and literally falling apart from being used so much. This cookbook was developed by some people in the Mennonite community who wanted to share their knowledge and recipes for using as few resources as possible to make as inexpensive and nutritious food as possible.  The small print on the cover says, "Recipes and suggestions by Mennonites on how to eat better and consume less of the world's limited food resources."  Again, it's all about stewardship!

It's also about taking care of my family's health while also being as kind as possible to our pocketbook.  As a wife and homemaker, I feel that this is one of my big jobs.  It's also a privilege and a huge responsibility: I determine what we eat, which affects how healthy we are, which affects how we feel and how well we can work, which affects how much we earn, which affects how much food we can buy, which determines what we eat...You see?  I may not be the primary breadwinner, but I have a great impact on my (little) family's earnings just the same.  Wives, mothers and homemakers have been given this responsibility for centuries.  And now I am one of them.

Granola is one simple way to eat well and healthfully while saving money.  I haven't done the math or figured out the exact nutritional value, so this is just my opinion, but homemade granola is inexpensive, very good for you, and tastes fantastic.  It's also really easy to make.  And it makes a good food for toddlers who are learning to chew, because if you make it soft instead of crunchy, babies can gum it pretty well.  Since the picture of the recipe is a little blurry, I'll type it below.  You can also click on the picture to see a bigger version.


Simple Granola
Makes 2 1/2- 3 qts.

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
Combine in large mixing bowl:
    2 c. whole wheat flour
    6 c. rolled oats (NOT quick oats)
    1 c. coconut
    1 c. wheat germ
Blend together separately:
    1/2 c. water
    1 c. oil
    1 c. honey or corn syrup (I used honey plus some pancake syrup because I didn't have enough honey or any corn syrup; you just want the sticky sugar)
    2 t. vanilla
    1 T. salt
Add blended liquids to dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.
Spread out on 2 greased cookie sheets and bake 1 hour, or until dry and golden.  Store in covered containers (I used the empty oats container).

This is much more filling than commercial cereals, so you don't have to eat nearly as much to feel full.  It's also delicious dry as a quick, filling snack.  And you could mix in nuts, dried fruit, or anything else you might like.



Baked, golden and delicious.  I ate several handfuls straight from the pan as it was cooling!


You can stir it while it bakes to break up big chunks, or just break them up when it's done.


Yum.  :)

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