Warm Up with Crunchy Homemade Granola and Creamy Porridge

Reader Contribution by Mary Ann Reese

My husband enjoys the fresh homemade granola that I’ve been making regularly for several years. Normally, I make granola with honey, although I’ve tried agave, too. Recently, while experimenting with sweetener alternatives, I came up with a brown sugar and molasses syrup. This combination is a much richer flavor than straight honey or agave.

We eat very little sugar. The only thing I use white sugar for is making yummy kombucha and brown sugar is usually reserved for our delightful breakfast porridge. I make our granola plain without adding any fruits or nuts in the cooking process. This allows us to customize our own breakfasts at the table to what each of us feels like adding.

Economical Homemade Granola Recipe


• 1 cup brown sugar
• 3/4 cup water
• 1/2 cup molasses
• 2 lbs. rolled oats


Preheat oven 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

1. Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.

2. Continue to boil for one minute.

3. Reduce heat to low and continue stirring occasionally for five minutes. Syrup is supposed to be thin.

4. Pour rolled oats into large oven-proof bowl. Using a large metal spoon in each hand, fluff the oats.

5. Pour warm brown sugar syrup around on the oats. Fluff again with the two metal spoons.

6. Place in oven. Bake 60 minutes, fluffing every 20 minutes or so. The general color of the oats will darken slightly. At this point, the granola is finished. If you like your granola darker or crispier, bake another 20 minutes.

When granola is the color you like, set on counter to cool, fluffing periodically. When completely cool, pour into airtight container, preferably glass. Enjoy!

Options: Add any of the following during or after cooking or at the table: Raisins, Dried Currants, Nuts, Dried Fruit or coconut.

Oat Porridge

When you don’t feel like the crunch of granola, try making creamy velvety Oat Porridge. Its buttery rich flavor will soothe your morning and start your day off right. Granola and Porridge are a perfect treat to any breakfast table any time of year.

When I make Breakfast Oat Porridge, I like to add homemade crème fraîche for that unique creamy texture and taste. The secret to making a delicious breakfast porridge is to cook the oats in milk instead of water.

Porridge can be made for a light relaxing meal during the day or for a steadfast morning breakfast. It’s versatile and can be augmented with an assortment of ingredients. There are no rules in making delicious porridge. What you add to your bowl can be savory or sweet but always to your liking. Porridge is an easy dish for wherever you are and whatever you are doing, at home, traveling, camping, cooking with kids. Porridge is an ideal comfort food for anytime.

Homemade Oat Porridge Recipe


• 3 cup milk
• 2 cups oats


1. Hold milk and oats at a boil for 3-5 minutes. Cover.

2. Turn off heat and let rest for 5 minutes.

3. Add currants, slivered almonds, slivered coconut or anything else that suits you.

4. Stir in 1/2 cups crème fraîche and 1 Tablespoon Agave. Enjoy!

Homemade Crème Fraîche Recipe


1. Pour 1/4 cup buttermilk into a pint canning jar, or similar glass container.

2. Add heavy cream to almost fill the jar leaving an inch of space at the top.

3. Cover the jar with a small piece of cloth and screw on just the ring of the canning jar. If you are using a regular jar you can put a rubber band on the top to hold the small piece of cloth on the jar.

4. Place in warm area overnight. I usually put the jar in the oven with no heat but just the light on. The heat from the oven light is just the right amount for the Crème Fraîche culture to ferment into a yummy creamy addition to the porridge.

5. The next morning remove the cloth top and gently stir the jar of thickened cream.

6. Put the full metal top and jar ring on the jar and store in refrigerator for at least six hours. Crème Fraîche can be used in substitution for sour cream or yogurt in any recipe. It’s a delightful spread for morning toast or crackers. The fermentation helps with digestion and adds an amazing depth of flavor.

Mary Ann Reese is a certified mentor in designing, building, and operating food bank farms. She has also been certified to teach cooking classes to low-income families. As an organic grower, Mary has owned a mini-farm, greenhouse, chickens, ducks, and geese raised from eggs in an incubator and is happy to share years of wiser living advice with her readers. Read all of her MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.

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