Homemade Sweet Pickles

I love homemade things.  Well, I guess every time you cook something it’s homemade, so that makes sense, but I love things that you usually buy but that you can easily make homemade.  It makes them seem so much more special, and they make great gifts.  Also, I’m bored a lot, and cooking eases the boredome.

My mom is a big fan of sweet pickles and I really like them too, especially now that the weather is warming up.  They’re a yummy, cool, crisp snack.  I found this really easy recipe on Allrecipes.com.  It’s easy.  It’s like, so easy.  If you don’t feel like clicking the link, here’s the recipe.

1 cup apple cider vinegar

1/8 cup salt (I actually used about half this and found it to be the right amount)

1 cup white sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric

1/2 teaspoon mustard seed

2 pounds cucumbers

2 sweet onions

In a small saucepan at medium-high heat, combine cider vinegar, salt, sugar, tumeric and mustard seed. Bring to a boil and let cook for 5 more minutes.
Meanwhile, slice cucumbers and onion. Loosely pack the vegetables in a 1-quart canning jar or other similarly sized container. Pour hot liquid over the vegetables in the container. Refrigerate for 24 hours and enjoy! Keep refrigerated.
I did a couple jars with spears, like this.  And then I did a jar of sandwich slices.  Those actually were even better because they absorb more of the flavor and you can put them on sammiches!
Highly recommend these tasty treats.  They are the perfect summer snack.  Buen provecho!

 

Sugar-Free Sweet & Savory Granola

Granola.  It’s one of those things that’s kind of good to have around.  You can eat it in yogurt or with milk or just munch on it to curb a craving.  I tend to prefer my granola on the savory/salty side just because those are the flavors I enjoy more and they make the sweet taste even sweeter.  That’s why they put salt on caramel or in chocolate chip cookies.  Did you just learn something?  No?  Well.

I have almost never found a ready-made granola that I really like, mostly because they’re usually too sweet or come with one or two ingredients I don’t really like.  The nice think about granola is that it’s easy to customize your own.  I got a lot of ideas for this one from my friend Radford, who’s a vegan.  She made a granola for us to take on a long bus trip and we probably finished it all off in about an hour.  Fat kids always need snacks on long trips.  But, you don’t have to like the ingredients I use.  You can use my recipe or invent one but the really essential part is how you sweeten it.

as you can imagine, this involves honey.

Sweetening concoction:

1/2 cup honey

1/4 cup maple syrup

3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

2 tbsp vegetable oil

Combine these ingredients in a small saucepan and put it on the stove over low heat.  Let it heat up while you make the rest of the granola, stirring occasionally.

The rest of the ingredients:

*Disclaimer:  I pretty much eyeballed these when I made them because I bought it all in bulk so I couldn’t really measure it at the store.  I know what you’re thinking:  Why didn’t you just measure it once you got home?  Well, reader, because I am just that lazy.

evidence.

Okay, the ingredients for realz:

2-3 cups rolled oats (uncooked)

1 cup raw pumpkin seeds

1/2 cup roasted, salted sunflower seads

1/2 cup wheat germ

1 cup dried currants

1 cup roasted almonds, crushed

1 tsp kosher salt

Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl.  When the sweetener has been heating for about 5 minutes, pour it over the dry mixture and mix in thoroughly.  If it looks really gloopy, add a few more oats, but you want it to be semi-gloopy.

just the right amount of gloop.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9×13 casserole dish and fill it with the mixture, spreading it out evenly.  Pop it in the oven.  You’re going to leave it in there for about 40 minutes total, until it’s nice and golden brown, but you want to stir it around every 7 minutes or so.  When it’s done, take it out and stir it again.  It might still seem a little moist but once you let it cool for a while it will crisp up.  And you’re done!  I eat it every morning with milk because I hate yogurt.  

Just kidding.  Well, but yeah I eat it with milk.

not pictured: milk.