As the wind whips the trees and rain sluices down the windows, riders climb aboard looking more like characters in a maritime disaster movie than weekday commuters. So among the drenched and weary, he stands out. Tall, with vaguely vulpine features and reddish-grey hair, his ankle-length charcoal trench coat is immaculate, and dry as a town under the thumb of a temperance league. His eyes, although moving this way and that, seem to be unfocused. He waves, jauntily, to a set of empty seats, and takes a few steps towards them, almost careening into an Emo Dude, who is oblivious due the floppy hair covering his eyes. At the moment of expected impact, with a slightly startled look on his face, the tall man vanishes entirely. When it is a holiday for many, the bus can seem more like someone’s dream of what a bus ride is like. In extreme cases, the dreamer actually joins us for the ride.
With each twitch, fidget, and furtive glance, he convinces me that a human-ferret hybrid is no longer science fiction.
For someone who cooks like I do, with more attention to dishes that comfort the soul and revitalizing forgotten recipes, the prospect of creating meals during a 4-week “elimination diet” was a challenge. The big ticket items in the elimination have been refined sugar, cow’s milk, eggs, wheat, gluten, almonds, and onions. In my search for breakfast and snack foods that would fit the bill, I found this very nice base recipe for homemade granola. So starting there, I came up with the recipe below which is now something I think I’ll make regularly, even when we put several things back into regular rotation. It’s eminently customizable to your own tastes and likes.
Richard’s Homemade Granola
4 cups old fashioned oats (*make sure they are marked gluten-free if that is needed for you, and not quick or instant oats)
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (if you don’t like coconut, then leave it out and add more oats, fruit, and nuts)
1 big pinch salt (don’t skimp on this, it gives it that wonderful salty-sweet aspect)
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground mace
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1/2 cup salted sunflower seeds
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup dried apricots, sliced
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup agave syrup
2 tablespoons honey (leave this out and this becomes a vegan recipe)
1 heaping teaspoon sunflower seed butter (or your favorite nut butter)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
Mix all the dry ingredients (everything above up to the coconut oil) together in a big bowl.
Mix the remaining ingredients in a small bowl. You may need to heat up the coconut oil so it’s a liquid and not a solid…make sure you let it cool a little bit, but not so much that it solidifies again.
Slowly mix the wet ingredients into the dry, making sure you thoroughly coat everything and all elements are well blended.
Spread the mixture into the baking sheet in an even layer and bake for 30-40 minutes until golden brown and very fragrant. If you want your granola to stick together, don’t stir it at all. You can stir it if you want halfway through baking to break it up, but why would you?
Let it cool and store it in jars or in a covered bowl.
Dad teaches wee boy about trains, morning ablutions (if you are a bunny), and smart phones. Curiosity is king of the toddlers.
Black coat over zipped up black sweater. Black pants. Black sneakers. Black messenger bag. Jet black slicked-back hair. Red folder. White and pink documents. Red pen. With furrowed brow and clenched jaw, the portly man in black flips pages, clicks the red pen and makes notes. Sometimes large sections gets crossed out. Other pages receive only a quick flick of the red pen, wielded like a champion fencer’s épée. The documents are filled with text, charts, equations, and each has a delicately crafted logo in the corner; a stylized design of stars and planets. The Universe is all about balance. When Good comes up with ideas, Evil gets to have a minion edit them.