While this story focuses on making meal times special, notice my featured image. I walk in the cemetery in the mornings before work. The cemetery in my town stands out among cemeteries because there are no restrictions on headstone sizes, as far as I know. The cemetery’s rolling topography with expansive spaces supports many species of flora and fauna! Only a block from my home, the burial space offers inviting views of nature, and it links to a network of trails that lead to the creek. I especially love the stone picnic tables on the trail built by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the U.S. depression of the 1930s.
Meals: While walking in nature remains one way to make our day special, we look to our meals as a way to find memorable moments. Given my penchant for cooking, I’ve added pictures to mark such memorable moments. There have been times when we have finished a well-prepared meal only for me to remember that I failed to snap a shot. But then, not all gustation should be chronicled for posterity!
We like to go camping, and we don’t live far from that opportunity. I grew up in the mountains of Colorado, and we used to spend many weekends enjoying trees, streams, lakes, and rivers, not to mention a wide variety of four-legged and winged creatures. That’s where my love for camping grew. I like to cook outdoors, too! My husband likes to eat, so we make a fine pair!
Breakfast helps us to begin our day with special contemplation. Something as simple as my homemade granola. Preparing granola is a significant event that takes the better part of a Saturday since I make about 25 pounds (11.34kg) at a time, and I pack it into freezer-safe container. That much granola lasts six to eight months. Pictured above is a bowl of granola with whole milk and a steaming cup of coffee. Eating it from my favorite restaurant ware, Shenango China, makes it extra special. The “vitrified china” from New York and Pennsylvania will have to be a story for another time.
We love granola, and here is a general recipe for my bi-annual mix. Instead of baking the granola in the oven, I use an electric roaster, those used for preparing a turkey!
38 Cups (5.9kg) of rolled oats
3 pounds (1360.78g) mixed raw nuts (I like almonds, filberts, walnuts, pecans, and cashews) Hemp seeds work well, too.
3 pounds of raisins or dried fruit of your choice
3 teaspoons Kitchen pepper (seasoned salt of the 18th century!) This recipe can be found in a previous blog.
4 Tablespoons crushed cardamom, 4 Tablespoons cinnamon, 1 teaspoon nutmeg, and 2 teaspoons ground cloves
1 cup coconut oil (not fractionated) and 3/4 cup of sunflower oil
2 cups honey (use your local honey where possible)
2 cups of sorghum or cane molasses and 1 half cup of pure maple syrup
Heat liquids on the medium heat enough to blend.
Have oats, spices, fruits, nuts, and seasonings set in roaster. Pour the hot oil and sweeteners over the dry ingredients, fruits and nuts. If you bake this in the oven, it will take several batches.
This process takes about three hours. You will know it’s finished when the ingredients begin to clump a bit together.
Store in freezer containers. Keep what you use out on the counter or in a cupboard. Enjoy with yogurt, on ice cream, as a crunchy addition to cooked oatmeal. Also, you can heat the granola with milk to make a creamy hot meal with nuts and fruit.
Breakfast Ice Cream
I call it “breakfast ice cream” because it originally began as a smoothie. My ingredients tend to produce a consistency too thick to be a smoothie. It’s more of a soft serve ice cream, which can be a quite special treat no matter what time of day you eat it. It requires a food processor as opposed to a regular blender since it has frozen fruit. Here’s the lucious outcome:
2 frozen bananas (I cut them into pieces before freezing them) This is a good way to use bananas that are about to over ripen.
1 cup frozen blueberries (about 190g)
1 cup plain yogurt (285g) or a similar non dairy substitute
1 serving of any type of protein powder
2 TBS (18g) Badia Trilogy health seed mix (Flax, chia, hemp)
1/4 cup water (59g) or equivalent in ice
Blend in your food processor (I use a Ninja, which is one-thousand watts). It takes a bit, and you have to scrape it down once in a while, but the end product is about four, 1 cup servings. It’s thick, creamy, sweet, and smooth. Be creative and enjoy!
I love eggs benedict. There are some days I don’t want to consume bread, so I made these with crispy hash browns. I had just eaten a salmon eggs benedict in a restaurant in Kansas City, so I thought I’d try this with Canadian bacon like traditional benedict. I grated potatoes, steamed them in oil with the lid on so that they would cook while the bottom would brown. When the potatoes looked transparent, I flipped them to brown on the other side. This time without the lid. I used the lid to steam them initially.
The Hollandaise sauce came from the Betty Crocker cookbook, and it’s the best-ever. We enjoyed it with espresso, and sometimes we add steamed milk for a luscious cappuccino.
These are just a few of the things I’ve been creating lately. I hope you like it, and I thank you for reading my blog.