The strange, dark days of winter have closed in on us. Sunrise won’t happen today until 7:43 a.m., and sunset will fall on us at 4:43 p.m.
That is 16 more minutes of daylight than on the 1st of January, but who’s counting?
This eternal darkness colors my general attitude, making me feel more like staying in bed than getting up and doing things. But then, I get involved in a project and forget how depressing the weather is.
I think I’ll make rosemary-bread today–I love it toasted. Being vegan, I usually make my own in my bread machine. My family is used to homemade bread, and look forward to it when they come back to visit. One of my daughters commented that she missed the kind of bread we always had when she was growing up–I didn’t have a bread machine in those days-I just made it by hand. When I didn’t have time to make bread I made biscuits, which we still all love.
Today I am also making granola–another thing that is better when you make it yourself.
I do use locally sourced honey for my granola, which makes it not-vegan, but I am not a purist–honey is a good, natural sweetener and no bees are harmed in the process! For a change-up I use maple syrup. I’m not on the stevia or agave bandwagon, as I don’t really use a lot of sweeteners, and I’ve seen a lot of fads come and go.
My recipe for granola is as follows:
- 4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup locally sourced honey or maple syrup
- 2 cups shredded coconut
- 2 cups sliced almonds (or 1 cup sliced almonds and 1 cup chopped walnuts)
IDEAS FOR ADD INS (Mix and match–Use your imagination—Go wild!)
- 1 1/2 cups small diced dried apricots
- 1 cup banana chips (dried banana)
- 1 cup chopped dates
- 1 cup small diced dried figs
- 1 cup dried cherries
- 1 cup dried cranberries–I’m from where these are a locally grown product, so I use these most often.
- 1 cup roasted, unsalted cashews
- 1 cup dried chopped mango
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Toss the oats, and coconut and almonds/walnuts together in a large bowl. Whisk together the oil and honey in a small bowl. Pour the liquids over the oat mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until all the oats and nuts are coated.
Pour onto a 13 by 18 by 1-inch sheet pan. Bake, stirring occasionally with a spatula, until the mixture turns a nice, even, golden brown, about 45 minutes. I set the timer so that I am called to the kitchen to stir the granola every 8 minutes–if I forget that step, our granola may be a bit dark and crispy.
Remove the granola from the oven and allow to cool, stirring occasionally. Add the dried fruits. Store the cooled granola in an airtight container
Maybe I’ll make a crock pot soup too, something hearty and comforting. Then, once the house is in order I’m going to write for a while–it’s that sort of day.
Maybe the long dark days aren’t so bad–maybe they’re cozy and comforting in a way. Certainly life is simpler, and the really important things gain a sharper focus–family, friends, and food–the three ‘f’s of a full life.
Tomorrow there will be four more minutes of daylight, and the day after that, four more. Soon we will be at the summer solstice, where the sun rises at 4:11 a.m. and sets at 8:11 p.m. (5:11 a.m. and 9:11 p.m. PDT) How good it is to know we are on the ‘getting brighter’ side of the calendar!