Special Needs Hack: Homemade Granola

Awhile back, I found this recipe for homemade granola. The first time, it took me about 45 minutes to make it. I was reading and re-reading and measuring and stirring and re-reading again. Now, I can get a whole batch in the oven in less than 15 minutes. Add another 5-ish minutes on the end and you have 16+ cups of granola for 20 minutes of work and significantly less than what you pay at the store. Here is our standby {memorized} recipe. I have also perfected the order, which cut down on dirty dishes and time spent scraping honey from a measuring cup…so about a minute. But when you have three kids, a lot can happen in 60 seconds. Last week, Bess somehow opened a drawer, opened a Ziploc bag, found a Sharpie, opened the Sharpie, and colored on her green corduroys. Because Graham accidentally put the Sharpies in that lower drawer, Bess ruined her pants. Oh well. They were just pants from a yard sale. The real problem: Graham crying, “I can’t stop cywing! Fix dem! Fix dem!” for about 30 minutes. And that, my friends, is how raising a strong-willed child pushed me to become a Diet Coke drinker. Where were we? Granola…

1 c. olive oil

1 c. honey

1/2 c. brown sugar

4 tsp. vanilla extract

2 tsp. cinnamon

15-16 c. old-fashioned oats

First, wait until it is almost bedtime or you don’t need your oven for anything else. Then, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Measure brown sugar, oil, and honey into a small sauce pan, stir, and heat on low for a bit. See, I measured the brown sugar first, then the oil, and then the honey. The honey just slides right out. Plus, I can use the same measuring cup for all three. Lazy baking brought to you by Lyndse.

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Next, grab your crock pot. It’s the biggest bowl I own…and I don’t even own it. My crockpot died and my mom-in-law loaned me hers. You may have giant bowls. Good for you! But, if you are like me, get that crockpot and measure 7.5-8 cups of oats into it. If you have a brand new cylinder of oats, just dump half of it in there!

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Now, turn the sugary oil to medium and it will start bubbling. Put your cinnamon and vanilla in there, stir it up really fast, bring it to a boil, and remove from heat. Turn off the heat. (Dave is notorious for leaving burners on or turning on the wrong burners. Wrong burners almost every single time.) Pour half the mixture into the oats. Take a wooden spoon and stir.

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Spoon the oats onto baking sheets and into cake pans. Just working with what I have. You may having giant pans. Right next to your giant bowls. Not judging you. I just don’t live like you.

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Measure 7.5-8 cups of oats {or the rest of the cylinder} into the crockpot and repeat all the dumping and stirring and spooning onto and into things.

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Put them in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Amy turns her oats. I do not. This is where you choose sides. Amy or me?

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Then, turn off the oven and keep it closed all night. The next morning, you open the oven to 16 cups of goodness.

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As you sample some for safety, put the rest into a storage container. Now, I do use giant containers. I guess I am a hypocrite.

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Put the container in the pantry your husband built for you and enjoy the pretty color.

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We have also used Amy’s peanut butter version. So good. I am going to make the pumpkin version next.

Why is this a special needs hack? Adelaide eats mostly finger foods. And Bess eats finger foods that are gluten-free, dairy-free, cocoa-free, peach-free, some-other-things-free and soon-to-be corn-free and soy-free. When I can feed the same food to my daughter with disabilities and my daughter with food intolerances, I am one happy Mama!

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And while they are both smiling and happy and eating, I can go double-check on those Sharpies…

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