I didn’t meander far to reach a whole other place…

Labor Day hooky–

I had one of those non-stop, stressful weeks keeping up with my several jobs and crazy schedule. When the Labor Day weekend finally arrived, I really just wanted to stay home. No wild parties or traveling for me. So, instead, I took a trip to the past and sifted through my mom’s recipe box for sentimental goodies. I found a recipe from 1985 (the year I was born) for my favorite food in the world: homemade granola.

My mom used to make everything from scratch when my brother, sister and I were kids. We lived on a small farm, had little money, but ate very well. We always had homemade cheese, yogurt, bread and granola. I remember my mom stirring giant mixing bowls of raw oats and hot maple syrup and reaching my hand in to steal some.

My brother Ezra blowing out a candle on his second birthday with a large white container of granola in the background (left side of bottom photo). In the photo above, the two of us chubby and happy playing on our parent's farm near Holly, Michigan.

Back then, we would have had our own wild harvested maple syrup and homemade butter to make this recipe. I don’t make my own maple syrup or butter, but I was able to make sure all the ingredients I added to this recipe were organic and I used locally harvested maple syrup and butter. The syrup was made by one of my dad’s friends in Wolverine and the butter was purchased through a milk share program.

To buy milk through a share program means you purchase a portion of the dairy’s herd. My family has a share in Cradle Knoll Farm in Levering. That means we can buy and drink raw milk, which is otherwise illegal to sell.

The following is an excerpt about Cradle Knoll Farms from an April issue of the Petoskey News-Review:

“This 40-acre farm originated with Bob’s grandparents, Edward and Anna Strong. Along with Cindy, Bob is the third generation to run the farm with help from the fourth generation — their son, Seth, 24, and daughter, Kassia, 14. ‘Since we offer raw milk, which is fresh from the cow and unpasteurized, we can’t sell it to the consumer. With this program, a person has their own share in a herd of dairy cows,’ said Bob. He further explained that by purchasing a herd share, a member will actually own a portion of a cow, thereby making it possible to have access to their raw milk. At Cradle Knoll Farm, one herd share is equivalent to approximately one gallon of milk per week. To purchase a share, there is a one-time cost of $20 along with a boarding agreement. Each week, there is a boarding fee of $3 per share for care of the herd. ‘In the past year, we have about 35 people who have purchased shares. You’d be surprised how far people are willing to drive to pick up a gallon of fresh milk,’ said Bob.”

The smell of oats and maple syrup mingled and brought me back 20 years to my childhood on our farm in southern Michigan.

I followed the recipe but included butter instead of canola oil, substituted maple syrup for honey and dates and dried bananas for the raisins. I also added chia, pumpkin and amaranth seeds. It turned out really well. All of the seeds gave it varying levels of crunch, outstanding texture! And the flavor of the maple syrup, almonds and dried bananas combined perfectly to create a sweet, tropical taste. I actually poured some coconut milk over it and the flavors went really well together.

The whole process only took about 30 minutes and a half recipe made two full quart jars of granola. It was an easy and inexpensive way to enjoy my weekend and have wholesome, tasty breakfasts for the next week.

The finished product. Yum!

Great Lakes state song of the week–

May “Daisy May” Erlewine is a Michigan singer-songwriter whose music I fell in love with about six years ago when I first heard her at the Blissfest music festival north of Harbor Springs. I purchased her album, “Heart Song” there. It quickly became one of my favorite albums and one to which I’ve attached many good memories.


May Erlewine- Simple Secrets of My Heart