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User of little pieces -- of time, fabric, food, land, even trash. I am fascinated with the mighty power of the Small and Bypassed to transform into usefulness and beauty. As a mother of seven, living for decades on one income, I have practice using up Every Little Bit of Every Little Thing. My treasures have grown now and I have the joy of teaching preschool. I find this gift for making practical use of the Small and Bypassed, PLUS the gift of time to create, has channeled into simple, artistic expressions of small things.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

That's a fine mess! Simple granola, polenta, and all that stuff. . . .

Oh, for heaven's sake!

There are so many recipes for granola, and I don't even really have one.   I throw mass quantities of old-fashioned oats into a very large bowl.  That's step one.

Step two through eleventy:

Add and mix in a cup, each, of whatever I have one hand, which this morning was: 

coconut, sweetened or un-, flakes, shreds or ground
sunflower seeds
sesame seeds
wheat germ
wheat bran

Add and stir in well:

1/2 cup of apple butter in the bottom of a quart jar just to get the jar out of the fridge
about 3/4 cup brown sugar
about 1/4 cup of black strap molasses
a huge, heaping tbsp. of ground cinnamon
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp of cloves and nutmeg

That's it for this morning.  I will pour this into two large steam table pans I inherited from Grandpa and Grandma Toad's restaurant closing years ago, and bake it at 250 for a couple hours, stirring every 1/2 hour or so.

If I had any, when it cools completely, I would add craisins and chopped dates, but I am out.  Maybe I'll pick some up later today to toss with it.

I don't add fat of any kind to keep the calories, expense and staleness out of the granola.  I make such a large amount that it may last us 3 weeks to a month, and once heated, cooking oils become even LESS healthful than they were before -- rancid, toxic . . . blah.  I don't know about butter?  I just don't use it.  Oils do add crispiness and richness.  You decide.
Additions to the granola -- almost any kind of nuts, leftover breakfast cereals, mini-chocolate chips or dried fruits (when cool), sweetening can be honey, sugar, molasses, any of the more healthful sugars are great, sometimes I add a box of store bought granola from Aldi instead of much sweetening at all simply because one box is SO sweet it will sweeten the whole batch (over 30 cups is what I usually end up with) and we love the crunchy stuff in it.   Raisin Bran, also from Adli, is a good addition, too.  Obviously we are not purists with organic, homemade, etc.  I love to use organic, pure foods, but that's not always how it goes here.

I have polenta cooling in my sweet, old bread pan that I inherited from my mother.  These pans (I have four) held of lot of her delicious banana breads; a history of some serious love and sacrifice in these pans, but that's for another time.

You will find hundreds of recipes for polenta online, and mine is probably one of the simplest, so dress it up!  Our plan for this batch is to slice it thin, and fry it in butter.  A definitely dressed DOWN affair, but delicious and inexpensive!

Bring four cups of water into which you have added 1 to 2 tsp. of salt to a simmer.  In a bowl, stir together 1 cup of cornmeal and 1/4 cup of flour.  When the water begins to simmer, whisk the dry mixture into the wet, continuing to simmer until it thickens, and then turn it way down, cover it, and let it continue to sploop and thicken for ten more minutes or so.  

 It reminds me of Lisa Douglas's pancake batter on Green Acres -- another happy childhood memory!

Once it's thickened, stir in a tbsp. or so of butter, pour it into the bread pan and let it cool on the counter.  When it's cooled, put it in the fridge where it will continue to firm up until you are ready to slice and fry it in a little butter. 

Oh, my goodness!  Fry it in bacon drippings. We seldom have bacon, but I've had it fried in bacon drippings before.   Served with maple syrup????   Serious "Yum" factor.

Frying it:  Using medium high heat and butter to cover the bottom of the pan, fry slices (1/4" thick or so) until browned on one side, flip and brown on the other.  Doesn't take long -- a few minutes.

Polenta can be served in so many ways!  As mush which sounds disgusting but tastes good, with additions of cheese and onion as a side dish, seasoned with sage and thyme as for stuffing and served with gravy . . .


  1. I love that you don't put oil in your granola and then you talk about frying the polenta in bacon drippings. My kind of priorities. <3

  2. Ha! Well, at least the bacon grease doesn't sit around getting stale :-). And . . . well . . . it's bacon.


Finding value in the Bypassed and the Small . . .