Today is Teacher Appreciation Day at our kid’s school. I wanted to give them something special, that was not only heartfelt, but affordable as well. Money is tight right now in our house, as it is for many, and I could not afford to spend $10 or $15 on each teacher, as that would be $75!! Ack. Not gonna happen. I love to bake, and thought about making cupcakes for all of them, but wanted to make them something that they could keep at their desks and munch on.
At breakfast yesterday morning it dawned on me to make a batch of my granola for them. It could stay on their desk as a snack, or they could take it home. Either way, it would stay good longer than a day or two and is a smidge healthier. Luckily, everything looks like a nice gift when placed in a Mason jar, and I happened to have a whole bunch of them waiting to be filled. Feel free to use the tag I made at the top of this post for yours, the template I modified is from this site. The poem is unfortunately all mine, hey, I was in a hurry :).
Here is the recipe I have come up with for granola that MY family likes. Feel free to add or subtract at will, as granola is basically toasted oats with anything you wish to add.
· 1/2 c vegetable oil
· 4 cups of old fashioned rolled oats
· 1 tsp cinnamon
· 1/3 c of honey
· 1/3 c packed brown sugar
· 2 tsp vanilla extract
· 2 tsp sea salt
· 1/3 c water
· ½ c each of any dried fruits you want
· cooking spray
· 1 c peanuts, walnuts, or whatever nut you prefer
Heat your oven to 275. In a large bowl place all of the dry ingredients, minus the fruit, which will be added after the granola, have been cooked. In a medium saucepan combine water, honey, brown sugar, and vanilla. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar is dissolved. Drizzle the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients bowl and combine until the oats appear to have an even coating.
Turn the entire mixture onto a baking sheet covered in foil and sprayed with cooking spray. Cook granola for one hour, mixing the granola every 15 minutes. You can tell when it is finished as it will be a lovely golden brown color.
Allow to cool completely and then add your dried fruit. We went with some Fit & Active stuff that was very cheap at Aldi. Make sure to add the fruit AFTER the granola has had a chance to cool. This is true for glazed nuts as well.
A word of caution to all of you: glazed=sugary and delicious (think donuts) so beware. I think I ate more than I put in the granola.
You can make the jars as decorative or as plain as you would like. Since I started on mine after my son's baseball game at 9:00 PM, I opted for a simple clean look (aka time crunched mom chic) and put the label around the mouth of the jar with some pretty ribbon and viola.
Store in an airtight container and restrain yourself from munching all day long on it. I always mess up this last step.
On an unrelated note, her is a picture of my son pitching......so worth getting home at 9:00 for :)!
And a picture of him while "we" were making the granola:
P.S. To all the teachers out there, thank you for all you do!!!!