The mud is deep here on the homestead. The frost reluctant to release it’s hold on the depths of soil beneath dormant grasses, beneath feet. The top layers of the earth have given into the sun’s relentless boldness and softened to accommodate the new found warmth, but below, deep within the frost still holds tightly to it’s grip on the earth. This makes for a very soggy homestead experience, as the top of the ground has thawed and released, but the deeper levels still linger, frozen solid, so the moisture of the thaw and intermittent rains have had nowhere to go, nothing to sink into. No settling, or seeping, only just remaining on the surface wreaking havoc with the topsoil. Spring in Northern Minnesota. One day you can sink a foot into the ground, get your mud boot stuck in the muck, and the next day, blizzard, again.
As our bodies yearn for spring alongside the awakening earth, I decided to spiff up my granola recipe to fit more seamlessly into our evolving diet. This past year and some months has sparked a fire within me for a deeper commitment to our traditional diet. This means that I am allowing myself the time and space to s-l-o-w the pace and really cherish my time not only in the kitchen, but in the planning of how best to nurture my family.
Rather than just not making granola anymore, I decided to go deeper and create a beautiful soaked granola that is nourishing to both body and soul. Soaking grains, nuts and legumes is traditionally how they were all prepared. This soaking time allows the anti-nutrients to be diminished, and unlocks the available nutrients to be fully utilized by our bodies. Our ancestor’s wisdom of allowing time for preparing soaked grains, nuts and legumes is a gift of intentional preparation that we can give ourselves and those we love. It really doesn’t take extra time, only a little extra attention, which I like to call love.
Becoming intentional in the planning and preparation of your meals, and the beautiful food that you welcome into your home, elevates the experience for all. In the prep of my grains it feels welcoming and nourishing to pray blessings over them, and give thanks for the deep nourishment we are receiving from this step. Healing, gratitude, blessings, and joy become a circle of creation, a magical alchemy, in the kitchen. Our feelings and intentions, the energy we bring to the food we eat greatly influences the experience that we have when we eat the food. Food created with love brings that energy to the table and becomes a part of the experience of the meal. Likewise, food that was rushed or created in a state of stress, frustration, or anger brings those feelings to the table.
I choose love. I choose to create, nurture, and nourish in love. I choose to cook with love, for myself and my family. When I find myself in a rush, a mood in the kitchen, I stop. I breathe deep. I accept and explore what I am feeling and what may be the cause. Then I ask myself if I can shift into a space of love. I breathe into my heart and allow myself to experience the expansion of love physically within my body. Some days this takes a few deep breaths. With practice I have become more aware of my feelings and intentions when I am creating in my kitchen. I practice gratitude for the food we have. I pray love and peace and deep nourishment over the kettle, bowl, or pan. I forgive myself when I haven’t gotten it right, and take a break when I need to step away.
This way of nurturing, nourishing, slowing to create and cook brings a deeply connected experience to all who partake of the meal or offering. It takes things below the surface of the daily muck, deeper into the safe and cozy cocoon of the soul, it settles gently in bones, satisfies and satiates every craving, every desire, and creates soulful contentment. Mmmmmmm…..
Ever wonder why Grandma, or Mom’s, or Great Aunt Ruth’s meals were so fabulous? They knew the secret ingredient. They understood that a heart full of love and gratitude makes beautiful food, and deep soul nurturing goodness.
I invite you this week as you plan and prepare, cook and create, to do so with intention and love. You won’t be disappointed, go deeper, go through the muck to get to the still quiet place of contentment you crave in your bones.
Simple Soaked Granola
makes approx. 12 cups
6c. thick rolled oats (gluten free if necessary)
2/3c. sunflower seeds
1/2c. sesame seeds
2c. roughly chopped almonds
1 quart (4cups) tepid water
freshly squeezed juice from one lemon
1/2c. melted, unrefined coconut oil
1/2c. pure maple syrup
1/2c. liquefied raw honey
1/2t. Redmond real salt
2c. coconut chips
optional: Add 1-2 cups of dried fruit of your choice. (We used freeze dried strawberries in this batch to help settle our spring fever)
In a large mixing bowl with a lid, combine grains, seeds, and nuts. Pour over one quart of water, and the freshly squeezed juice of one lemon, stir.
Add melted coconut oil, maple syrup, liquefied raw honey, and salt. Stir well to combine, pressing granola mixture down into the liquid. (It will not be fully immersed, but just pressing it down, packing it a bit into the liquid will suffice)
Place lid on the mixing bowl and set aside for twenty-four hours.
After the granola mixture has soaked for twenty-four hours, add coconut chips, stirring to combine.
Prepare two large baking sheets with parchment paper to avoid sticking, turn half the soaked granola mixture onto each sheet. Spread into an even layer.
Turn oven onto it’s lowest setting*.
Place both sheets of soaked granola into the oven. After 30 minutes, stir gently. Bake 4-6 hours on lowest setting checking in and stirring every 30 minutes. Granola is done when it is baked through, dry and crisp in the center of the clumps when you break them apart.
Once granola has cooled completely, stir in the optional dried fruit of your choice, store in an air tight container or jar. Enjoy!
*Timing on this varies with each oven. The ideal temp is 170 degrees, but my oven is warmer than this so the cook time was approx. 4 hours. You may also use a dehydrator if you do not want to babysit the oven, following manufacturer’s instructions on the dehydrator. I found this process to be really hands off, and was pretty relaxed about the stirring, I wanted to have chunky granola, so that is stirred less often, leaving clumps intact, just paying attention to turning it over to get a more even browning of the granola. If your oven has a pilot light and is always gently heating, this may also be a great way to slow cook your soaked granola. As always, when first making a recipe, be attentive to the process as you become acquainted with your oven and how much time and attention a recipe needs.