Thursday, July 8, 2010

Too Much Month and Too Little Money

So it’s July 9th and I’ve already blown over half of my month’s allowance for food. Not good. At this point, Mama (meaning me) has to start looking for ways to stretch what’s already in her fridge and pantry. Well, at the moment, I have an overabundance of zucchini (and now cucumber) from the garden, but that’s just not cuttin’ it when the Mama has a sweet tooth.

Now, I’m trying to cut back in the sweets department simply because I tend to go a bit overboard with it. In my mind, a simple scoop of ice cream is a complete waste of my time. But, if you up it a scoop or two, drizzle that bad boy with some peanut butter sauce, and break up a couple Reese’s cups on top, now we’re talkin’. Unfortunately, I was speaking that language about every night for the past 3 months, and while it feels great going down, I wasn’t feeling so great in the mornings, all groggy and achy from what I’m sure was 3 days’ allotment of sugar being consumed in one sitting.

So I’m cutting back. But I still have a sweet tooth that needs assuaged. I know, I know. All you saintly eaters out there are saying, “Just grab a piece of fruit. That cures my sweet tooth every time.” Personally, I don’t think you have the slightest notion of what a sweet tooth actually is so I’m going to kindly ignore your comments and deal in the realm of reality. I need sweet, not fruit.

The one thing that’s been scratching my itch for the past couple of weeks is a bowl of homemade granola every night after dinner. I was getting to the place where I really loved it and my memories of those decadant ice cream sundaes started to fade. Then the money ran out. See, my homemade granola is chock full of all kinds of yummy nuts and dried berries, none of which are in my pantry at the moment, and all of which cost money, something I’m running low on. So I got creative and here’s the result: some stinkin’ good peanut butter granola that’s massaging the heck out of my sweet tooth and using up the contents of my pantry.

Sweet Tooth Peanut Butter Granola

4 ½ c. old-fashioned oats (I don’t think the results would be disastorous if you used quick oats but I like the chunky texture old-fashioned oats provide)
1 c. peanuts
1/3 c. peanut butter
1/3 c. honey
¼ c. peanut oil (I’m currently out of vegetable oil so it was a toss between peanut and olive—I went with the obvious choice and I wouldn’t change it for anything. I think it adds an added kick of peanutty flavor which I really like.)
Preheat oven to 275 degrees. (Now, I differ with a lot of homemade granola makers out there in the temperature I like to use. I keep the oven heat nice and low because I hate my granola to get even slightly burned. It does take a tad longer to get to that golden brown color, but I don’t mind pampering the old girl a bit to get what I want.)

In a big bowl, mix the oats and peanuts. In a separate small bowl, whisk together peanut butter, honey, and oil. Pour oil mixture over oat mixture and mix till coated. Spread on baking sheet and cook for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool granola by spreading on a sheet of foil, then store in a sealed container.

I’m not sure how my heart feels about adding some chocolate chips to this cooled granola, but my belly says, “Yes, please!” I’m gonna leave that call up to you. I’m afraid that if I start with the chocolate chips, before you know it, I’ll be adding M&M’s and broken up candy bars to it and still trying to pass it off as a healthy alternative to my monster sundaes. You’ve got to know where to draw the line for yourself. I trust you to make the right decision.

Before I sign off till next week, I just wanted to say a heartbreaking farewell to a dear friend who passed away on Wednesday after battling cancer for the past 5 years. Jen Hudson was a 36 year-old wife and mother to three beautiful children and an inspiration to so many who watched her fight this disease courageously, and she was also a food lover like all of us. So, Jen, here's to you. I know you are now enjoying a far better feast than any of us here on earth could imagine, and you finally have a body well enough to fully enjoy it. You will be greatly missed, my friend.

Have a great weekend, and enjoy this gift of life. I know I will.


  1. Oh Maile, I'm so sorry to hear about Jen. What an amazing woman and fighter she was, a complete inspiration! Thinking of you lots today especially!

  2. Thanks so much, Shar; I really appreciate it. Very very sad for Dave and the kids today...

  3. Maile--Thank you for finally saying what I've always thought: fruit is not the same as "sweets." I had a friend who would tell me, when I was craving chocolate, to "just grab a handful of raisins." Raisins and I have a rough relationship to this day--they just make me if they're trying to stand in for a chocolate chip. Fakers.