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Archive for the ‘Cooking’ Category

HOMEGROWN Life: A Granola Recipe to Feed the Masses (or One Very Hungry Teen)

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014



Having a 16-year-old boy in the house means we go through food faster than I ever thought possible. Things you’d think would last at least a week are lucky to make it two days around here. So, if I want to make granola, it’s in my best interest to make a very large batch. The granola recipe below will probably last the average household a month. Here, we’ll get maybe two weeks out of it. It takes a lot less time to whip up one ginormous tub compared to making multiple regular-sized batches, but if you want to cut this recipe down, it’s easy to do so.


One of the ingredients might make you scratch your head. I learned to add pepper from a recipe for cinnamon rolls. It helps create a more complex flavor profile. Trust me: You’ll love it.

  • 16 cups rolled oats
  • 2 cups chopped pecans
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded coconut
  • 3 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups sunflower oil
  • 2 cups honey

1. Preheat your oven to 275 degrees F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. In a very large bowl, mix together the oats, pecans, coconut, cinnamon, salt, and pepper.

3. Add the oil and honey to the dry mix. It works best if you measure out the oil first then use the same measuring cup to measure the honey. This way, the honey pours easily, without sticking to the measuring cup.

4. Mix all of the ingredients well, until the honey and oil are well incorporated and the dry mix is evenly coated.
Pour the mix onto the baking sheets and press it down into an even layer.

5. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove the sheets from the oven and mix up the granola, bringing the outside edges in then packing it back down into an even layer. Switch the sheet locations and bake another 30 minutes. Repeat this one more time, baking for a total of 90 minutes.

6. Allow the granola to cool completely before breaking it up into chunks and storing it in an airtight container. Enjoy!

HOMEGROWN Life blog: Rachel, of Dog Island FarmRachel’s friends in college used to call her a Renaissance woman. She was always doing something crafty, creative, or utilitarian. She still is. Instead of arts and crafts, her focus these days has been farming as much of her urban quarter-acre as humanly possible. Along with her husband, she runs Dog Island Farm, in the San Francisco Bay Area. They raise chickens, goats, rabbits, dogs, cats, and a kid. They’re always keeping busy. If Rachel isn’t out in the yard, she’s in the kitchen making something from scratch. Homemade always tastes better!

HOMEGROWN Life: Uncovering My New Home’s Old Secrets

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014


HOMEGROWN-LIFE-MAGENTAWe’ve learned so much in such a short time on our new land. Pretty quickly I caught on that knotty pine is not as fashionable as it was 50 years ago—and that it requires numerous coats of paint to cover. Whoever created wallpaper deserves a good flogging. And a fox’s “vixen scream” may be the most haunting sound to scare a 16-year-old girl since The Conjuring was released in the movies. I’ve also learned that families sometimes pass down love in the form of a home. If you listen carefully, a house has a story. Some people will argue that a space holds memory and time, but I say home is where the heart is.

Somewhere around one week after moving in, I began to pull everything out of my new kitchen. Wallpaper removal was involved and, folks, things got ugly. Cover-your-ears ugly, with lots of bad words tossed about. But the kitchen was what mattered to me. In my 16 years as a mom, cooking has been one of the best and most personal ways I’ve shown my kids that I love them. Every night they have a home-cooked meal from locally grown ingredients­—sometimes from our own yard. If nothing else, it’s warm, it smells good, and it makes them happy. And that makes me happy.

Back to the kitchen demo: I took off all of the cabinet doors and pulled out all of the drawers in preparation for painting the knotty pine a bright white. When I pulled open the last drawer, it was full of boxes. The house had been meticulously emptied and cleaned, so this drawer surprised me. I opened the aged containers to find recipes inside. Some were clippings; others bore the pretty handwritten scroll of the house’s previous owner, Marion. I felt like I was spying on someone, looking into the past and seeing her preparing this food out of love for her husband and kids. It was a striking reminder of what I was in danger of forgetting while cussing at wallpaper and schlepping boxes: Even covered in construction dust, I am creating a legacy.

HOMEGROWN-life-recipesAs the days go by, I often find myself revisiting that box of recipes or opening the pantry door where all of the heights of the house’s former child residents are marked, along with their corresponding dates. I stroll through the garden and silently thank Marion for leaving me a yard that offers up more beauty every day, including gorgeous peonies. I think she must have known that I have never ever been able to raise those, even though they’re my favorite flower! All of these signs of a family’s love remind me that I am a matriarch, the glue holding the family together and an important part of a loving legacy. Although I am a worker bee in the corporate world, my true calling is creating a home and a life full of as many joys as possible for myself and my loved ones.

This home we were so lucky to find came with a legacy of its own attached—a history of family and warmth that I first encountered long before I found the drawer full of recipes.

We closed on our home on April 15. Our Realtor had asked me for a date, and I pondered for a brief moment before deciding on Tax Day. I chose this day out of the air, but it just felt right. In between signing papers, we chatted with the sellers (the owners’ son served as power of attorney) about the number of deer taken the season before and who, among the house’s five children, had used each room. I confirmed that the plant on the porch is a Clematis, the previous owner’s pride and joy. An outbuilding on the property that had once been a hen house would be returned to its former glory within weeks as a coop for our girls. I learned that the former owners had raised quail and Irish Setters. Clearly, an agricultural theme had been set. They also told me it was a home full of memories and life, but after Marion passed, it had became a sad place. Now her children were uplifted, knowing life and happiness would be restored to their well-loved home.

We said we would take care of this house, of their home, and we meant it. Once they knew this, the sellers slid something across the table and asked me to inspect it. My eyes scanned the old, yellowed paper, finally resting on the date.

HOMEGROWN-life-deed“Nineteen fifty-nine,” I said, recognizing the year the house had been constructed. I wasn’t sure where they were going with this, assuming they just wanted us to have the original deed of sale. They smiled and told me to look at the date more closely. Once I did, it was like being struck by lightning. The original deed had been signed on April 15, 1959. Exactly 55 years prior to the day of our settlement. I’ll take that as a sign!

Related HOMEGROWN Life posts by Michelle:

HOMEGROWN-life-michelleAlthough she’s something of a newbie homesteader herself, Michelle comes from serious pioneer stock: Her great-grandmother literally wrote the book. It’s this legacy, in part, that led Michelle to trade in her high-stress life for a home on the grounds of a Pennsylvania CSA farm. You can read her monthly posts on beginner homesteading with kids and more here in HOMEGROWN Life, and sometimes you can find her popping up in The Stew, HOMEGROWN’s member blog.


HOMEGROWN Village Returns to Maker Faire Bay Area This Weekend!

Monday, May 12th, 2014


California, here we come! is headed west this weekend for Maker Faire Bay Area, the ginormous annual festival of all things sawed, hammered, welded, programmed, and—yep—grown. Farmers are the original makers, after all! For the sixth year running, HOMEGROWN and our big sibling, Farm Aid, are partnering with Maker Faire to put on the HOMEGROWN Village, a curated haven devoted to food, gardening, and eating.

Most definitely eating.

Maker Faire Bay Area runs Saturday, May 17 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday, May 18 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the San Mateo Event Center. You can snag tickets here—but first, get a preview below of what to expect in the HOMEGROWN Village. Makers, start your taste buds!




Roll up your sleeves and dig into these hands-on homesteading how-tos! Full schedule below.


» 11:30 a.m. Kraut-a-thon, with Todd Champagne of Happy Girl Kitchen (Can’t make it Saturday? Get your kraut fix, same time on Sunday!)

» 1 p.m. Chinese Noodle Making, with Mr. Wang (Can’t make it Saturday? Catch more noodle magic, same time on Sunday!)

» 3 p.m. Unraveling the String Cheese Knot, with Louella Hill, a.k.a. the San Francisco Milk Maid

» 5 p.m. Making Marshmallows, with Cristina Arantes

» 6 p.m. Sourdough Starters, with Brandy Reynolds (as in, take home your own starter!)

» 6:30 p.m. DIY Tea Blending, with Christopher Coccagna




» 11:30 a.m. Kraut-a-thon, with Todd Champagne of Happy Girl Kitchen (Can’t make it Sunday? Get your sauerkraut fix, same time on Saturday!)

» 1 p.m. Chinese Noodle Making, with Mr. Wang (Can’t make it Sunday? Catch more noodle magic, same time on Saturday!)

» 3 p.m. Shake It Like You Mean It: Butter Making 101! with (Yep, that’s us! Shimmy over and say hello!)

» 3:30 p.m. Ginger Beer with Wild Fermentation, with Jennifer Harris

» 4:30 p.m. We Can Pickle That! with Kelly McVicker




Head here for a jam-packed lineup of food and farming demos! Full schedule below.


» 11 a.m. Making the Perfect Dip, with Kelly Manzo

» 11:30 a.m. It’s All in the Crust: Making Your Best Pie, with Suzanne Kissinger

» Noon Gastronomy + Chocolate = Make a Unique Dessert, with Vanessa Holden

» 12:30 p.m. Making Pearl Sugar, with Sivan Wilensky

» 1 p.m. Making Bean to Bar Chocolate at Home, with Greg D’Alesandre

» 1:30 p.m. Making Fresh Chevre at Home, with Nicole Easterday of the totally awesome-sauce FARMcurious (She’s a HOMEGROWN member!)

» 2 p.m. Home Coffee Roasting, with Byron Dote of Sweet Maria’s

» 2:30 p.m. Backyard Beekeeping, with Kendal Sager

» 3 p.m. Backyard Livestock, with Dog Island Farm‘s Tom Ferguson and Rachel Hoff, a.k.a. HOMEGROWN’s very own crazy-rad blogger (and a HOMEGROWN member!)

» 3:30 p.m Tiny Homes on the Move, with Lloyd Kahn, author of a 2012 book by the same title, as well as the 1973 classic Shelter. Don’t miss him.

» 4 p.m. Your Place in the World—An Intro to Biointensive Sustainable Mini-Farming, with Justin Cutter

» 4:30 p.m. Soil is Life. Tillage is Death. The Awesome Future of Agriculture, with Paul Kaiser

» 5 p.m. Bringing Home the Grain, with Doug Mosel




» 11 a.m. String from Sticks! with Tamara Wilder

» 11:30 a.m. Mushroom Cultivation, with Patty and Ray Lanier of the Mushroom Maestros

» Noon Home Kitchen Food Handling & Safety, with Bill Waiste

» 12:30 p.m. Root to Stalk Cooking: Discovering a New Way of Looking at Vegetables, with the James Beard Award-winning author Tara Duggan, who was kind enough to share the recipe for her no-cook fennel-Parmesan  salad with HOMEGROWN last year

» 1 p.m. Lactoferment Just About Anything! with Nicole Easterday (yep, the supercool HOMEGROWN member)

» 1:30 p.m. DIY Yogurt, Greek Yogurt, and Cream Cheese: A Simple DIY Science Project for the Whole Family, with Tyler Henthorne

» 2 p.m. Art of Dehydrating: Dehydrating Pineapples into a Hibiscus Flower, with Michelle Francia

» 2:30 p.m. Your Sustainable Home Brewery: Crash Course in Building It and Using It, with Amelia Loftus

» 3 p.m. Aero Press: Coffee from the Future! with Chris Casassa

» 3:30 p.m. Wet Block to Finish Product (homemade jerky!), with Randall Hughes

» 4 p.m. How to Make a Good Sweet Potato Pie, with Charles Swift




» Browse HOMEGROWN Village photos from last year’s Maker Faire Bay Area

» Be your own maker! Find all kinds of DIY projects to craft, plant, grow, cook, preserve, and beyond in the HOMEGROWN 101 library!