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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Great Granola

There is something wonderful about making your own convenience foods. One of them is your own granola bars.  I honestly couldn't tell you if mine are less or more expensive than store bought, but I can tell you the taste if fantastic.  The only thing to remember is that these don't have preservatives in them, so when you wrap them up in individual servings, make sure you use them within a few days, or refrigerate or even freeze them.  You can also vacuum seal them in a Food Saver bag.

The second item is beef jerky.  Who doesn't love jerky? It's very easy to make.  The photos above are of jerky halfway dried, (not done yet) and the granola before I put it in the oven to bake for 20 minutes.

The granola recipe is not one I made up, but unfortunately I didn't save who did write it.

p.s. It calls for wheat flakes if you have a flaker, which is a great way to use your wheat!

Oatmeal Wheat Flake Granola Bars

1/2 cup wheat or white flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs or 1 whole egg and 2 egg whites, or dried reconstituted equivalant of 2 eggs
2 Tbl molasses
1/3 cup honey
2 tsp vanilla
2 Tbl canola oil or butter or 2 tsp dried butter with 1 T oil or water
1 cup oats
1 cup wheat flakes (or oats, or forego the oats and just use wheat flakes)
1 cup dried fruit (I use dried cherries and cranberries)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or almonds
(you can also add some chocolate chips, but I didn't)

Preheat oven to 350. Coat 9 x 13 baking pan with nonstick spray.

Combine flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt (use a whisk). Mix peanut butter, brown sugar, eggs, molasses, honey, vanilla and oil until smooth, add to flour mixture.

Mix really well, then add oats/wheat flakes, fruit and nuts. Plop into the 9 x 13 baking pan (I used a Pyrex 9 x 13 casserole), smooth out evenly using some plastic wrap or oil on your fingers to push it down.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes. You want them to be evenly, lightly browned. Put a knife blade into the middle to see if it's moist but not wet. Let cool a bit, then cut into squares and finish cooling. I get about 12 good size bars out of this recipe.

Beef jerk is very easy.  First you go to your local grocery that has a butcher area so you can ask the butcher to cut up meat for you for jerky.  Yes, that's exactly what you say! It's usually top round or another good meat.  You don't want too much fat on it, keep it as lean as you can, because fat won't dry well at all.

My recipe is:
  • about 3 pounds of top round, cut into jerky slices (fairly thin, a little less than 1/4 inch)
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup worchestershire sauce
  • garlic powder, sprinkled lightly over all pieces as they marinade
  • garlic salt, " "
  • pepper
  • coarse pepper combination
  • red pepper flakes, in the amount you like, if any
In a 9 x 13 pan, put a layer of sliced meat on bottom, sprinkle with above spices and some of the soy/worchestershire sauce.  Add another layer, and do until done.

Let marinate overnight, turning once or twice as you can to let all pieces marinate.

Drain for a few minutes on paper towels so they're not sopping wet, and then put in dehydrator on shelves.  Dry for 6 hours or so, checking after that to make sure they are done.  They will be leathery and good!

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