Vegan since 1975, I decide to answer the question, "What DO you eat?" These posts tell about some meals and recipes my family and I have enjoyed over the years.

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Saturday, September 18, 2010

Granola and Soy milk


At the risk of making a mockery of myself, I offer a GRANOLA RECIPE and HOMEMADE SOY MILK RECIPE. It is easy to make, cheaper than buying boxes of cereal, and makes your house smell good. Also, you can hide all sorts of nutritious ingredients in it, and design it around your own dietary restrictions and taste requirements.

I use a large stainless bowl both to mix up the granola, and later in which to dump the toasted cereal before transferring it to a large metal tin. It is also necessary to have on hand a couple of flat baking sheets with edges. I use two cookie sheets. Other than a large spoon, that is the only equipment needed.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

The granola I made started with a lot of rolled oats. Did I measure them? Not exactly, but I would estimate there were between eight and twelve cups.

I added about a teaspoon each of turmeric, ginger and cinnamon, and about half a teaspoon of salt.

You could also add some kind of flour at this point, which would assist in making larger clumps of granola, if you like it that way, but it isn't necessary. Add about a half cup to a cup of flour. This would be a good time to add something nutritious like buckwheat, or to add in some different grains, like rice flour or corn flour. I didn't add any flour this time, though.
After stirring it around I added about a teaspoon of vanilla and then about three quarters of a cup of sunflower oil, stirring it some more.

At this point I added in about a half cup of maple syrup, and later a little more agave syrup.
I adjusted the amounts of the liquids to how coated the cereal appeared, especially after I had added in a half a bag of puffed rice and puffed millet. I added those because I am trying to work my way through a case of each I purchased before I realized nobody liked them much. They stretch the granola and lighten it at the same time. Sometimes I add a flaked cereal if we have it around. Just stir in what you have, included chopped nuts or seeds, and adjust the oil and flavorings until you get it how you like it. You could use molasses with some ginger, or you could add in some peppermint leaves for a change.

Spread whatever mix you've come up with out on your baking sheets so it is no more than an inch thick, and pop them in the oven.

Set a timer for fifteen to twenty minutes, but also be sure to use your nose to make sure it isn't scorching. Take the pans out of the oven and stir the outer parts into the center, and the center to the outside, more or less. The hardest part about making granola is keeping the edges or bottom from burning. You could use a double layer of cookie sheets to keep that from happening, or you could stir more often. Or you could just learn to love some burnt pieces mixed in. Put the pans back in the oven, set the timer for fifteen minutes and repeat until done.
This last time my granola wouldn't get crisp, but kept being chewy (possibly because I hadn't preheated my oven to begin with, not being one to follow directions, even when they are my own), so a last resort after stirring is to return the pans to the oven, turn it off, and just let the granola sit in there a few hours or overnight. The next time I checked, it was good and dry, at which point I dumped it back in the big bowl, and then transferred it to my large tin. You could add dried fruit at this point or not. It's good to snack on, as well as to eat with yogurt or milk.
Speaking of SOY MILK, I haven't mentioned my soy milk maker yet, but I have been using it consistently since I bought it in the spring. I ordered a Soyapower Plus made by Sanlinx, Inc. from Amazon, after hearing about it from my friend Stevenie. It has settings and recipes to make other kinds of milk, but mostly I am using it to make soy milk. It is something like an opaque blender that heats up, and it greatly simplifies the process. It comes with a few pieces of equipment to help the process.
I soak a cup of dried soybeans overnight, and the next morning scrub them in a bowl of water to release some of the loosened skins, pouring off and picking out the skins--this makes for a smoother milk. I measure out a cup of these rinsed soaked beans and place them in the soy milk maker with water up to the designated line in the base. I secure the top, plug it in and press a button.

Twenty minutes later, having heated and ground the beans, the machine begins to beep. At this point I unplug the machine, open it up, and pour the hot white liquid through the included sieve and into the included pitcher. I add a little salt, sugar and vanilla, and stir it with a whisk. I pour it into glass milk jugs my friend Jill gave me that work perfectly, after having previously suffered with mason jars, which don't pour very well. I sit the jug in a bowl of cold water in the sink to cool off before I refrigerate it.
I do it all again for my second batch, cursorily rinsing off the machine parts and other utensils in between. For one or two people, you could just make one batch at a time, but I am making it for four to five people.
When I am done I have three quarts of soy milk from a cup of dried beans, a little electricity (I looked up the watt usage and found it used very little for how often I use it), and less than an hour's work. I like that I can control this important food item in my life, both for its quality and its safety. I like knowing that I can make milk on my own and not be dependent on being able to buy it from somewhere else. I like not having to keep a cow in slavery.
At the end of the process, I wash all the parts off with the included scrubbies and set it to dry, to be used again in a few days. I have read that some people scald their equipment to be sure there is no bacterial contamination, just like in a real dairy. It would keep your milk fresher for longer. So far this hasn't been an issue for our family, since we use it up fairly quickly.

If a batch ever comes out not quite to your liking, you can always use it to make corn chowder or pudding. Those recipes will have to come later, as will a use for the okara or soy pulp that is left over in the strainer. I also save it in the freezer and give it to a friend who likes to make Soysage with it. It still has a good quantity of protein left in it.
Soy milk, of course, can also be made at home with the use of a regular blender to blend up the soaked beans and water, cheesecloth to strain it, and a large stainless pot to cook it in. The problem with that is having to stand and stir the soy milk, waiting for it to come to a boil, because when it does, it bubbles up and over the pan and makes a mess of your stove.

This method is well documented in The Farm Cookbook, along with many other useful recipes and ideas, and is useful for large batches. I just like the convenience and tidiness of the soy milk maker, and the fact that having it helps me make the milk more often.

I haven't been successful so far in adding calcium or other vitamins to the milk, so I will have to use another source for those, after years of counting on the store-bought soy milk to provide them for us. There are about 34 mg of calcium and 40 mg of magnesium in a cup of homemade soy milk.

I will need an additional 250 mg of calcium to equal that found in cow milk, which is about what is found in three quarters of a cup of collard greens. Luckily, I love my greens. If children won't eat their greens, I would give them supplements. That way you'll be sure they are also getting their B-12 vitamins, too.

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