Bake Sale Part 2

Healthy Chocolate Muffin
Time for another student council bake sale. I got the e-mail yesterday.

Luckily, this time, there are two additional bakers added to the mix and we are each responsible for 36 muffins. One of the parents had a healthy cookie recipe, but because the recipe had chocolate chips in it, it was given the axe. I suggested a recipe that I found, and clipped, from a local parent magazine (Bay Area Parent) which was written by a nutritionist at ClifBar. I am not a “health food” type of person, but I do, generally, like to cook healthfully (caramel corn, brownies, pineapple upside down cake, etc. excepted…).

But, we have these new California guidelines that have to be adhered to – painful, to say the least: no more than 35% sugar by weight, no more than 35% of calories from fat, no more than 10% from saturated fat.

So, unlike last time, where I tried on my own to figure out the nutritional content of a recipe, I found a website with a nutrition calculator. What a find. All you do is type in the ingredients and quantities, servings per recipe, and it figures out the total nutritional profile – just like on packaged foods. I still had to calculate the percentages of sugar, fat, etc., based on the total grams – makes me feel like I still know math.

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Bay City Granolas?

After re-living my youth in my last post, I realized that the granola I had in the oven while blogging was first made popular around the same time-frame. I used to call it Super 70’s Granola, but I think I’ll rename it “Bay City Granola” after the Bay City Rollers and San Francisco, where I have tweeked the 70’s version.

granola-recipe

My granola recipe is on a stained yellow index card with my tween-age handwriting, in pencil. It has handwriting that, for sure, I was trying to copy from my older sister. And, the recipe was copied from the older daughters of one of my mother’s best friends (we tried to emulate those girls at every opportunity). I have no idea where the recipe originally came from because I think their’s was probably on a notecard or piece of binder paper. College rule, I’m sure. And, if my sisters have been looking for this recipe, the jig is up. I nabbed it from my mother’s recipe file, many moons ago.

This granola is not a particularly sweet variety. It is not one that comes in big sticky clumps. It is very basic and more like a dry cereal. In the 70’s, it may have been a little sweeter, because I’m pretty confident that the original version meant to use sweetened coconut. I doubt that the unsweetened was widely available. So, if you want it to be sweeter, you could substitute angel flake coconut.

I change the way that I make the granola on a regular basis. Lately, I use only whole wheat flour and sprinkle in some flaxseed meal. Tonight, I added a little almond meal, too. And, a few shakes of cinnamon. I don’t usually add whole nuts, like many granola recipes have you add. I think that nuts are a pretty personal taste and I don’t usually like nuts with my yogurt, which is how I typically eat this granola. I’ve made it with some honey and I’ve made it with all maple syrup. It is a pretty flexible formula.
granola-ingredientsgranola-mixed
If you store this granola with any dried fruit, it gets soggy pretty quickly. It is a crisp, crumbly, and toasty granola, which is the way I like it. It stays crunchy for a long time, perhaps indefinitely, in an airtight container. Continue reading

Taste Memory

pita-pizza
When I was a kid, not so long ago, my mother would always have the best dinner parties. My three siblings and I couldn’t wait to dig into the hors d’oeuvres that she would make. She has always been big on pre-meal meals. Most people would be stuffed before going in to dinner – then continue to unabashadly eat her delectable meals. My grandparents also had great little bites before a big meal. Typically smaller than my mom’s spread, their hors d’oeuvres were called “canapes” (can-uh-pays). One of my favorites was a cornichon wrapped in salami, held together by a toothpick, that my mother’s mother used to serve.

So, today, when L couldn’t figure out what she wanted as a snack, I looked around the counter and said, “I know the perfect snack for you. My mom used to make pizzas out of pita and everyone loved them!”

L said, “Pizzas?”

I said, “No, not the kind you are thinking of. No sauce.” I had made pizzas out of tiny pitas a couple of weeks ago and J thought they were fabulous, but L did not. “You’ll see. You’ll love them. I loved them.”

I haven’t had these little “pizzas” in more than 20 years. But, I still remember how good they were. Mom made them using this EXOTIC bread called “Sahara” bread. Pita, like we have in every market today, was not widely available and Sahara bread was one of the first commercially available, I think. Made by Thomas’s, and still around, it is a bit thicker and chewier than most pitas.

Mom cut each Sahara bread/pita into 2 halves and opened each pocket so that she had 4 pieces. Then, she buttered each piece lightly and toasted it in the oven. Once out of the oven, she sprinkled grated sharp cheddar on each piece, dusted it with some “fines herbes” seasoning and popped it back into the oven until the cheese was bubbly and the edges of the pita were nicely browned. Then, she cut each moon shaped piece into 4 pieces. Mom would even make these ahead, freeze them and re-warm them in a hot oven (if there were ever any missing….she never let on that she noticed that we would nab them occasionally). They taste good hot and at room temperature.

I just made these pizzas as a snack for L. She loved them, as I thought she would. I bit into one and was whisked back to the ’70s. They taste just as good as ever and I think I may serve them at a dinner party.

Retro is so hip.