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Granola - A staple of my kid's prison diet

granola with greek yogurt and honey- prison food at it's finest

In another few weeks, I am going to start work on TIFF - The Toronto Film Festival. Usually, I work pretty much every day doing makeup on actors who are here to promote their films and although it is a ton of fun, it turns my household into a tail spin every year. It's the only time of year that I work every single day for 10 days straight and as much as I try to plan for it, it is always really stressful for all of us. This year, Shack is working on a film and since he has not had a day off in about five weeks, I am going to assume that he will not have any time off during TIFF either.

That leaves the 12 year old on his own for mornings. The Kid is a bit spoiled when it comes to breakfast - it's always some type of egg, pancakes, french toast or porridge. Breakfast = hot, delicious and nourishing around here. Once, when our stove was not working, he had to have toast and yogurt and told his teacher that I had fed him a prison breakfast.  I would like to visit this prison that serves it's inmates lovely, homemade whole grain toasted bread,  homemade jam and delicious greek yogurt with honey. Maybe he was thinking of a Dutch Jail.

Anyway, this year we are going to have to prep the kitchen so that for those ten days, he can set his alarm, get himself up, dressed, fed and watered and off to school on his own. This means an entire week and a half of prison food. Thankfully, his school provides him with lunch so he just has to deal with his own breakfast and after school snack.

First up for the penitentiary selections will be homemade granola. The Little Prince doesn't really do cereal but he does like granola. Next up will be some jailhouse jam, lock up loaves and slammer smoothies.

After looking at lots of recipes, I settled on the one I found on Smitten Kitchen because it used less oil and less sweetener than most. Even then, I left out the 1/3 cup of brown sugar and although my granola didn't really get nice clumps, it's really tasty and not too sweet and a wee bit healthier. We all hate coconut so I left that out and subbed in some extra nuts and seeds.
I will make it again but the next time I am going to cook it longer and at lower heat too. I will report back with the next batch of prison granola

adapted from Smitten Kitchen

3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup sunflower oil
1/3 cup pistachios
1/3 cup cashews
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
1/3 cup sliced almonds (1 oz)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup mild honey
1 tsp cinnamon
Pinch kosher salt
1/3 cup roasted, unsalted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1/2 cup dried blueberries
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup diced freeze dried strawberries
2 3/4 cups mixed dried fruit of your choice

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 375°F. Stir together all ingredients except the fruit in a large bowl until combined. Spread mixture evenly on a large (17-by 12-inch) shallow baking pan lined with parchment paper and bake, stirring occasionally, until golden brown about 20 minutes in my oven although the smitten kitchen recipe calls for closer to 30 minutes. Keep an eye on it after the 15 minute mark so it doesn't burn. Transfer granola, in pan, to rack to cool stirring occasionally, about 45 minutes.

Stir in dried fruit.

Granola keeps, frozen (the fruit’s moisture softens granola if not kept frozen) in an airtight container, a few months.

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