Oats!!! Oats are the main ingredient found in granola. But what’s so bad about oats you ask? Oats for gluten free consumers like myself were once considered taboo. The controversy surrounds the fact that most oats were not considered to be “pure” and were processed with a contaminant that people with gluten sensitivity could not tolerate. As the demand for more variety in gluten free foods rise, more research and refinement in the preparation of oats free of any gluten contaminants has become a booming and helpful source of fibrous nutrition for the gluten sensitive or allergic person. One of my favorite frozen desserts contains gluten free granola. These frozen yogurt granola cups are easy to prepare and taste great! They are creamy, sweet little treats that are perfect on a spring day.
1 cup granola
1 Tbsp. melted butter
1 Tbsp. honey
24 oz gluten free yogurt any flavor (ie Chobani)
fruit of your choice (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries)
Combine 1 cup granola, 1 Tbsp. melted butter, and 1 Tbsp. honey. Mix well.
Line a muffin tin with the cupcake holders and line the bottom with equal amounts of the granola mixture.
On top of the granola mixture, fill each cup with yogurt.
Top with fruit.
Freeze for 2-4 hours.
These refreshing gluten free treats can be kept frozen for a quick snack on the go, or for a light dessert after a meal. Oats have never tasted so good, and of course they are gluten free!
Inspired by the instagram chef, Jacques La Merde, who mimicked the plating techniques of haute cuisine using junk food, I attempted to create my own gourmet-looking dishes using the food from Annenberg. Here are a few of the plates that I made:
Vegetarian Frittata Garnished with Carrots, Greens, and Tabasco Sauce
2. Sausage Links with Quinoa Raising & Black Bean Salad and Barbeque Sauce
3. Vegetarian Chili with Lettuce, Green Pepper Sauce, and Dijon Mustard
4. Pound Cake with Yogurt and Red Wine Vinaigrette
5. Chicken Bake with Lima Beans and Ketchup
6. Carrots, Cucumber, and Corn with Balsamic Vinegar
Granola and Yogurt with Peanut Butter and Strawberry Jelly
8. Herb Roasted Chicken with Penne Pasta and Puttanesca Sauce
Summers always hold the possibility of the unexpected. Bucket lists, vacations to new destinations, spontaneity. My summer was filled with such unexpected activities and outings to places I’ve never been, but of a different variety.
My mom, a recent empty nester since I came to college, had an idea. She was going to turn the granola she and her mother had been making since she was a kid into a company. She was going to account for all those now trendy dietary restrictions that mark the products lining Whole Foods’ shelves—gluten-free, vegan, low glycemic. She was going to live that ‘Shark Tank’ dream and make a hit product.
And she did. Well…she’s on her way.
Last winter, Dragonfly Granola was just an idea. By the spring, she was baking in a commercial kitchen and starting to sell at a Farmers’ Market on Sundays. This summer, one shift at the commercial kitchen turned into two and that one Farmers’ Market turned into four.
In a few weeks, I will be going home for the weekend to help fulfill an order for 250 bags of Fig Hazelnut granola for one of the biggest artisanal grocery stores in New York.
The first time my mom and I went to that commercial kitchen, she dropped a tray of granola and I sliced my finger on a knife. Over the weeks, we’ve learned how to use the industrial dishwasher and operate the walk-in oven. We’ve graduated from making batches 5 times the original recipe size to making 20 times. We’ve developed new flavors (our Chocolate Espresso with Almonds is a personal favorite) and had barcodes made for the products.
This summer put my basic economics to a test as I struggled to determine wholesale vs. retail pricing, and how to account for all costs to determine profit. It taught me the New York State code for food sanitation and just what coconut sugar is.
At Farmers’ Markets I got to know Dragonfly Granola customers—the regulars and the first-time buyers. As they tried our samples and responded with smiles (or on occasion a remark of ‘that is the best granola I’ve ever had!’), I couldn’t help but be proud. And then there were remarks on the calorie count or “this is too sweet » or, quite often, “$12 for a bag of granola?! »
It is true. This is expensive granola. And if I were one of those samplers, I might have considered buying a bag of Dragonfly Granola and then decided I would get dinner out one night instead.
But when you have contributed to every bag, watching ingredients become a product, $12 seems like not much to pay. I’ve learned that buying pistachios in bulk is shockingly expensive, and getting every bag to weigh exactly 14 ounces is hard.
Owning a small business is a dream, but it’s incredibly difficult in the age of Walmart and comparable bags of granola that cost $5. The difference is that Dragonfly Granola is made by hand (literally.) Those oats from Maine were measured by me, and mixed by my mom. The labels were affixed to the bags as an excuse to watch some bad reality TV. This granola has become my mom’s second child and she treats it with as much care, love, and affection as she would a baby.
The parting gift from my mom as I left for school this fall was a bag of granola. As I use it to top my d-hall oatmeal, I can’t help but think ahead to a day when HUDS provides Dragonfly Granola. Or maybe that’s just much too wishful thinking. Instead, I imagine a day when Dragonfly Granola doesn’t come in a care package from home, but from a Cambridge Whole Foods. To a day when a factory seals the bags and the oven accommodates hundreds of trays. And being able to remember what it was like at the very beginning.
Be sure to check out dragonflygranola.com to shop online for delicious granola!