on ego, ideals, and a batch of slow-cooker granola

January 19, 2014
slow-cooker granola

I’ve been thinking about this brilliant passage on the subject of ego and ideals…

“I’ve discovered that people without ideals are like machines. Machines for churning out words, making money and love, degrading others and exalting themselves, machines for supporting their own egos.”

The lines come from the book No Saints or Angels written by award-winning Czech playwright and novelist, Ivan Klima.

It’s so true. People without ideals and principles ARE like machines. But, ideals? Principles? Who even talks about ideals and principles any more?

I think how many times I’ve been in the path of people who, “make money and love, degrading others while exalting themselves,” merely to support their own egos.  Much too often! I think many of these people may just be narcissists. And yet, I fear our society, at least our Western society, buys into believing these people who often hold themselves in such high regard.

For me, Klima’s words are  life-changing. I know – that’s easy to say. But really, it is so true. His lines make me stop to think about my past, my present, and how I want to go forward. About who I want to associate with. About my own principles and ideals. It’s not that I don’t care about money or success – it’s that I don’t want to be blind to ideals and principles. I want to place value and live my life acting on the things that actually matter – honesty, kindness, fairness, decency, loyalty, compassion, humility, and integrity. I’m sure there are more. But these characteristics often pale when up against success, power, prestige, self-promotion, self-interest, and arrogance.

I think the same values that I like in people, I also like in food. Humble, decent. Food with integrity. Food that takes the high road. So it seems fitting to write about this granola which I merely happened to make this weekend. I didn’t plan this! I’ve been making granola for years but only just discovered that you can cook it in the crock pot or slow-cooker. Humble, decent, delicious AND incredibly energy-efficient!

You insert a wooden chopstick between the crock-pot and lid to vent the steam so your granola does not end up soggy. It only take a couple of hours to make a batch of this – and with your crock-pot on low – you’ll be using about the equivalent electricity you would be using a standard incandescent light bulb.

Slow-Cooker Granola

5 cups oats
1 cup rye flakes
1 cup coconut (I used unsweetened, shredded)
1 cup dried cranberries or raisins (I used cranberries)
1/2 cup sunflower seeds, roasted, unsalted
1/2 cup cashews, lightly salted
1/4 cup flaked almonds
1/4 cup ground flax seeds
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
dash salt

Mix all the dry ingredients together. Next time I make this – I’ll add the cashews and cranberries towards the end of the cooking period. Live and learn…. 

Melt the coconut fat and honey together and stir through the dry ingredients. Place the granola in the crock-pot and insert a wooden chopstick or skewer between the lid and the pot to allow steam to vent. Cook on low for about 3-4 hours, stirring occasionally to prevent burning.

A word of warning here – crockpots or slow-cookers vary dramatically in how hot they get. I have two – I cooked this batch of granola in my large Rival crockpot on low for 4 hours and it was borderline too well done. I would try again for 2.5 hours to 3 hours. But depending on your crock-pot – it may take as long as 5 hours. Once you make a batch – you will know better how long it will take in future.

When cool, store in an airtight canister.

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27 Comments

  • Reply Johnny Hepburn January 19, 2014 at 8:57 pm

    Not that it’s exactly along the same lines but I wondered recently if I could cook a sort of crumble/biscuit on the hob using my trusty little le Creuset saucepan. So far it seems to be working, if it’s left alone on lowest heat to do its own thing. Haven’t tried to use coconut oil as yet. Loving the idea of slow-cooking and using skillets. Neither of which I have. I might even start eating breakfast!

    • Reply A Taste of Wintergreen January 19, 2014 at 9:07 pm

      Oh that’s brilliant Johnny – using your trusty little Le Creuset saucepan to do its thing! Coconut oil is kind of miraculous because it is delicious and apparently oh-so-healthy.

  • Reply ohlidia January 19, 2014 at 9:09 pm

    Oh, that granola looks wonderful! I wish I had a crock pot. I love what you said. About moving forward. About who you want to associate with. About principle and ideals. You’ve hit the nail on my sentiments exactly. You know, with the new year comes all these new thoughts about yourself and your future. Well said!

    • Reply A Taste of Wintergreen January 20, 2014 at 3:19 pm

      Oh Lidia! Your blog title always makes me smile -it’s perfect! thank you for your lovely comment. I think we must be kindred spirits. xo

  • Reply Ada ~ More Food, Please January 19, 2014 at 10:27 pm

    What a fantastic recipe! I never thought about making granola with a slow cooker–will have to try this next time!

    • Reply A Taste of Wintergreen January 20, 2014 at 3:22 pm

      Ada – I hadn’t thought of making it in the slow-cooker and I had a moment of thinking I was a genius but alas not 😉 – turns out if you Google it – it’s been done many times before! If you do use your slow-cooker – watch the granola as it cooks more quickly than I thought. My slow-cooker is a feisty number – even on low things cook quite rapidly. So the first time you try this make sure you are home and around the kitchen to keep on eye on things.

      • Reply Ada ~ More Food, Please January 20, 2014 at 3:47 pm

        It’s crazy how many things have already been thought of! I thought my avocado deviled eggs recipe was unique, but apparently it isn’t haha. Thanks for the tips! Will be sure to keep an eye on the granola.

  • Reply An Embarrassment of Freedom January 19, 2014 at 10:52 pm

    Wonderful to reflect on those principles and ideals and try to live by them as that is what life should be all about.
    Recently I’ve been rather housebound with an injury but doing much better now with rest. During that time I’ve relied on making the most of the pantry and home cooking to avoid going out shopping for groceries.I had been well trained as a farm daughter to make do and use what is at hand. Your granola method is similar to the recent culinary arts around here…it is all good when kept simple and honest…

    • Reply A Taste of Wintergreen January 20, 2014 at 3:25 pm

      I love that culinary trend! Also love shopping in my own pantry rather than the store!
      Hope you’re healing well and will be raring to go again soon…

  • Reply Mary January 20, 2014 at 9:51 am

    I love how you always align your food and thoughts. And I was just having this EXACT conversation yesterday–all of it is so true and so important in life.

    • Reply A Taste of Wintergreen January 20, 2014 at 3:26 pm

      What a wonderful thing to say – thank you. Much much appreciated. And so glad you’ve been thinking along the same lines. Kindred spirits….

  • Reply Butter, Basil and Breadcrumbs January 20, 2014 at 11:24 am

    Your granola…like your words… is beautiful. Wonderful post. I’m so glad to know you. <3

    • Reply A Taste of Wintergreen January 20, 2014 at 11:33 am

      Thank you and it’s completely mutual – I’m so happy and thankful to know you. ♥♥

  • Reply apuginthekitchen January 20, 2014 at 3:07 pm

    I need to read Klima, great analogy and unbelievable recipe. Crock pot granola, never in a million years would I have thought of that. A very good read as always:o)

    • Reply A Taste of Wintergreen January 20, 2014 at 3:29 pm

      thank you Suzanne. Ivan Klima is a big seller in the European world and his books have been translated into many languages but he’s not such a big thing in North America. He has some moments that are wonderfully profound – and that stay with you forever. I always think that’s the mark of really great writing – those moments that linger on forever afterwards….

  • Reply 10 legs in the kitchen January 21, 2014 at 1:43 am

    How prolific and true. I am in the path of similar people now and find myself taking a moment to reflect on that reality. People who take themselves in high regard, yet offer little substance in return, certainly can convince others, for a while. It is those that take the high road that will sleep better at night and enjoy each bite of life. Integrity might not always win but it tastes better in the end

    • Reply A Taste of Wintergreen January 27, 2014 at 12:26 pm

      I LOVE THIS! How very fitting for a food blog – “Integrity tastes better in the end.” How incredibly apt. Thank you! I’m going about my day thinking this very thought.

  • Reply hearthomemade January 21, 2014 at 9:24 am

    never made granola in the slow cooker before. Cool idea!

    • Reply A Taste of Wintergreen January 27, 2014 at 12:24 pm

      I love using my slow-cooker because I always feel like it does the job mostly unattended. Like having a cook!

      • Reply hearthomemade January 28, 2014 at 9:47 am

        I agree. Same reason I love my rice cooker 🙂

  • Reply Nancy Malachowski January 21, 2014 at 11:12 am

    Enjoyed your “nourishing” recipe. Must add this playwright, Klima, to my reading list as well.

    • Reply A Taste of Wintergreen January 27, 2014 at 12:23 pm

      Nancy – late late Happy 2014 to you! Klima writes some good short stories. You’ll find him in your library. He is always fuel for thought.
      I am looking out my window at a very wintery world remembering digging wild leeks with you. Another few months and we should repeat! xo

  • Reply tinywhitecottage January 24, 2014 at 3:54 pm

    You are right, how fitting to include a slow cooker granola with such a profoundly insightful thought fueled post. And what a contrast between these two set of words: honesty, kindness, fairness, decency, loyalty, compassion, humility, and integrity VERSUS success, power, prestige, self-promotion, self-interest, and arrogance! Your granola is wonderful. I love granola!

    • Reply A Taste of Wintergreen January 27, 2014 at 12:20 pm

      Seana – I feel I need to remind myself daily about what matters in life. And I find it comforting that food is on that list of what matters daily! I love hearing from you here – you matter too. Really, truly. Thank you for the friendship via the blogosphere. Thinking of you in Seattle as I write this amidst swirling white snow and deep blue skies here in Ontario. xo

  • Reply chef mimi January 25, 2014 at 3:50 pm

    What a great idea!

  • Reply Maria Dernikos January 26, 2014 at 11:31 am

    Ivan Klima words are strong but I think they have been formed from his experiences and his families in his early life. I thought your words of what you wanted were very true. Our lives have become so complex and multi layered. Success? what is success today? Money. power, being well known or just being able to cloth. feed and love your family? You can never have it all. Trouble with the world today is that we are constantly told ‘its not quite enough’. Love your recipe.

    • Reply A Taste of Wintergreen January 27, 2014 at 12:14 pm

      Maria – what you write is SO true. Recognizing ‘enough’ is an ongoing challenge. We need a mantra… “I am enough.” Love your comment. As always. Thank you. xo

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