Adventures in Sorrowful Cooking

Jun 1, 2012 by

You know the old prepper adage eat what you store, store what you eat?  There’s some sound wisdom there, so I’ve been starting to cook from our recently purchased LDS food stores. I should really restate that – it’s more that I’m learning how to cook from our food stores. I haven’t done much cooking the last 5 years or so.. if it doesn’t come with a box that ends in “Helper”, I’m a bit lost. There’s no time like the present to address such a deficiency though!

So I whipped open my handy-dandy Basic Recipes pamphlet that I got at the LDS Cannery, and figured I’d try out the Basic Granola recipe, as follows:

Basic Granola Recipe

    • 2 1/2 cups sugar
    • 1 1/2 cups water
    • 6 tablespoons oil
    • 1 1/2 teaspons salt
    • 10 cups regular rolled oats (uncooked)

Directions: In a pan combine the sugar, water, oil, and salt. Heat until sugar is dissolved, but do not boil. Pour syrup over the oats and stir until well coated. Add a little more rolled oats if the texture seems too moist. Place in pans or sheets about 1/2-inch deep. Bake at 425F, 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Bake 15 minutes longer if you want it crunchier. Makes 11 cups. Store in an airtight container.

Seems so easy, right?

I started by chopping the recipe in half – 10 cups of oatmeal is a lot when you are the only one in the house that really likes granola.

Regular Salt and Canola Oil

I started by gathering all my ingredients in one place - I just used regular canola oil - the kind you would have in storage.

Sugar and Salt in the Pan for Granola Recipe

Into the pan went the ingredients!

Melting Sugar into a Syrup

The sugar and salt went onto the stove, at a nice low temperature. It doesn't take long to melt into a syrup - if you look closely you can still see the clumps of sugar that haven't yet melted.

Melted Sugar Syrup

The sugar syrup, fully melted. It was starting to boil, so I whisked it off the stove quickly. It took about 3 minutes to melt.

5 Cups of Oats in a Bowl with an LDS Number 10 Can of Regular Oats

Five cups of oats is about 1/3 or 1/4 of a #10 can, just for reference. So you could make this full size recipe twice, with a little left over, from one can. Remember - I'm making a half size recipe here, so at least three times what you see here.

Pouring Sugar Syrup Over 5 Cups of Oats to Make Granola

Pouring the syrup over the 5 cups of oats. I gave it a good stir with one of our many, many wooden spoons. I can't seem to pass up a good wooden spoon at a garage sale..

Syrup Coated Oats Ready to Bake into Granola

I laid the oats out into two pans. Having no real baking experience worth speaking of, I didn't know if the oats would stick to the pans or not. So I sprayed half of each pan with oil to see what would happen. They don't stick either way. Who knew?

Okay, remember how the recipe said to stir occasionally?  So I set the alarm for 10 minutes… I come, I stir the oats. I set the alarm for another 10 minutes..

Baby Aurora needed me for a moment, so my spouse did the second stirring, and set the alarm for another 5 minutes, for the original 25 minutes the recipe suggested.

So I’m carrying Aurora when the alarm goes off again. I walk into the kitchen and the first thing I notice is the ominous sight of smoke coming out the top of the stove. The burners are off, so in my head I’m thinking how odd that is…….. and I’m also thinking how long it’s been since I’ve practiced with a fire extinguisher… and that I’m holding a baby….

So I holler for some help, plop the baby unceremoniously into a high chair and grab some oven mitts.  When I whip open the oven door, the black smoke starts pouring out… and in a flurry of activity, we managed to get both pans outside, all the windows open and the fans going in less than 30 seconds.  And I came rushing back in to buckle the baby in.

Crispy Burnt Granola in Two Pans

Ohh it's a sad sad world of crispy granola. My spouse, who usually does the cooking, quietly pointed out about now that sugar burns very quickly and easily in the oven. Cough. Now you tell me.

Slightly Crispy Granola in a Tupperware

After it cooled sufficiently, I picked through with my trusty wooden spoon and saved the pieces that weren't too badly burnt... mostly. This is what survived of the original 5 cups - a little more than half.

It had a nice crispy burnt taste to it. OK – maybe “nice” is being generous..  but I thought that perhaps if I disguised it with other foods, like as cereal, it would still be OK.

Homemade Granola and Bananas in Cereal

For breakfast the next morning, I tentatively poured some in a bowl with fresh banana slices and milk. And voila, it was actually really good. Nice and crunchy, even though it took me several tries to finish my bowl (feeding Baby Aurora at the same time - always an adventure).

I’ve since had more homemade granola as a snack with some yogurt or sprinkled on top of other foods like salads. And plenty as cereal. Sometimes I’ll throw in some raisins or other fruit, if I have any around. Yum! (Really!)

Prepper lesson learned? Sugar burns. Go figure.

And not that we’ll always have handy electric stoves to use, but it just emphasizes the point that it’s important to practice with what you have, and make sure you eat what you store, and store what you eat. I love granola, even extra crispy slightly burnt granola. And it’s really a satisfying feeling to eat something you made yourself, even if it’s just baked oats with sugar. And even if it tastes a bit burnt…

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