We are experiencing the hottest, driest summer here in North Idaho that I can remember. I have heard other more seasoned residents compare the conditions this summer to those of the Sundance Fire of 1967 and The 1910 Fire. Fires seem to be popping up all over Idaho and the Pacific Northwest. There are currently 9 fires just in the Idaho Panhandle National Forest according to InciWeb the incident information system that seems to have all the most up to date information in one location.
As a result of these fires, the air has been very smokey for the past week. My main workload at the family ranch (Western Pleasure Guest Ranch) ended last week so I have been able to spend some time at home catching up on things and spending time with the kiddos. The garden is doing quite well (somewhat shocking given my history detailed in my iGrow post) and I have had quite a few things that were ready to be harvested and preserved.
Because of the smoke filled air and the preservation ready produce I have spend some time this week canning and cooking. My source for all knowledge regarding the canning of food is my Grandma Wood. She helped me in the beginning of my canning endeavors to can peaches and pears at her house. Lately I have spread my wings and fairly successfully canned my own foods at home.
I began the week pickling beats and a small batch of dill pickles. The 14 pints of beats took 6 hours start to finish. I think I need to work on my efficiency. Yesterday I managed another batch of dill pickles and today I got some Dilly Beans completed. I always feel so accomplished and satisfied when I can fill another shelf in my pantry with home preserved food strait from my garden.
In addition to the pickles yesterday, I made up a large batch of Peanut Butter Granola which is a favorite in our household. I prefer to make this in larger amounts and then store it in air-tight containers.
Start out by combining the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Combine the oats, ground flaxseed, wheat germ, dried cranberries (optional). Set this aside.
Next put the peanut butter, cinnamon, honey and coconut oil in a heavy saucepan and heat until well combined and all the oil has melted. Be sure to stir consistently as the peanut butter can burn to the pan.
Once the peanut butter mixture is smooth, pour it over the dry ingredients and mix until all the dry ingredients are coated in the peanut butter mixture. Pour just enough of this mixture onto a cookie sheet to cover the bottom of the pan but not so much that it piles up.
Place this in the oven for 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees, stirring every 5 minutes until golden brown. Allow the granola to cool on the cookie sheet, taste testing as it cools of course, then transfer to an airtight container.
Peanut Butter Granola Recipe
- 6 Cups Old Fashioned Oats
- 1 Cup Flaxseed (ground or whole)
- 1 Cup Wheat Germ
- 2 Cups Sliced Almonds
- 1 Cup Dried Cranberries (optional)
- 1 Cup Finely Shredded Unsweetened Coconut
- 2 Cups Adams Chunky Peanut Butter
- 6 Tbl Coconut Oil
- 1 Cup Honey (I used a local barley honey)
- 2 Tsp Cinnamon
Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl and set aside. Combine wet ingredients plus cinnamon in a heavy sauce pan and heat on a low heat until oil has melted and the mixture is smooth. Combine the dry and wet ingredients. Mix well and pour in small amounts onto a cookie sheet so that just the bottom of the cookie sheet is covered. Do not put so much granola mixture on the cookie sheet that it begins to pile up. Bake a 350 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes stirring every 5 minutes until the granola is golden brown. Allow the granola to cool completely before storing in airtight containers.
I love to eat this granola with plain yogurt and fruit for breakfast. You can also eat it like cereal with milk. My husband and kiddos love this so it never lasts very long around our house.