Washington Evening Journal
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Washington, IA 52353
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'Julia, Austin, wake up. We're ready to go make granola at the store!” At the mention of granola, sleepy eyes popped open. The long-awaited day was coming to reality.
The evening before we had gone to the store and prepped for the following day when we would be toasting our 500 batches of granola. Thanks to you readers who took the time to pop a note in the mail to request your free bag of granola!
The fun of opening mail was now coming to a close, and now we were ready to tackle our long thought of ideas and plans on granola making with an 812-pound batch. Daniel came up with the idea of using a stainless steel bulk milk tank that is no longer in use. It proved to work perfectly.
The first evening, excitement reigned high as we unloaded 13 cases of graham crackers and set the 300-gallon milk tank in the room where we planned to mix up the granola ingredients.
The children were like a five hitch team of young horses, ready to dig in and set to work. I don't know who had the most fun as all five of them gathered around me, helping open 500 packages of graham crackers. Julia and Austin would open the top of the boxes so the three youngest could dump the cracker packages in totes and boxes that I provided. In no time there were empty boxes everywhere; again I explained how they need to throw all the empty boxes into larger boxes provided. Next, they helped Daddy who was taking charge of mixing up half of the dry ingredients in the bulk tank. They felt quite grown up using the five-foot wooden spoons we use for large iron kettles over campfires.
Daniel, with the aid of a few others, mixed up dry ingredients. After crushing 4,500 crackers and the children all had their fill of dumping crushed crackers from the packs, they joined in unwrapping 1,000 sticks of butter. Now I don't know if you can picture that or not, I know I couldn't until I saw it with my own eyes. Picture 10 large roasters with butter, ready to be melted. Lively conversations were being hashed and stories told as we unwrapped stick after stick.
By 8:00 it was time to pack up and head home. The children thought they couldn't wait until the next morning. Julia sweetly told me that she would like for me to wake her earlier so she can help get ready to go in the morning and get breakfast ready to take along for the children. Smiling I asked, 'What do you think we'll have for breakfast?” We had a good laugh together. Why granola of course!
At 7:00 the next morning we were on our way with five thrilled children, ready for the day.
They loved their granola, believe it or not, they even eat it untoasted, as they didn't want to wait that long for their first bowl of cereal.
Daniel dumped five roasters of melted butter into the dry ingredients, mixed it up, scooped it into totes, and carried it to the kitchen where two ladies who excel in kitchen work took charge of toasting. Bless their kind hearts, they hung in, toasting until all large cookie sheets full were toasted, and everything was scrubbed and back in place.
As the first batches came out of the large commercial ovens the smell came wafting throughout the store, in fact later that afternoon people remarked how they could smell it, coming up the road.
After toasting, we sprinkled butterscotch chips on top, then wheeled shelves loaded with cookie sheets of granola into the large walk-in cooler to be cooled to room temperature. When cooled it was dumped into totes then scooped into bags and tied. Once more eager little hands were there to help, this time to fill bags.
Next came the packaging. We set up tables in the main area of my uncle's store where we slid granola packets into envelopes. One by one they were addressed as I went through my tablet where I had carefully taped all your return address stickers along with the requested amount and other notes. It was amazing to see it all come together, ready to be shipped to 18 different states. With several people working together I was quite concerned that nothing will get confused. Glancing at a note that was written to answer a specific question and was meant to be stuck in a package that had already been sealed and buried somewhere in one of the shopping carts full of packages, I clutched my head with both my hands. 'This is awful,” I told myself, 'What if something else got missed?”
'I'm too blessed to be stressed,” I said out loud in hopes to soothe myself. We inched on. When everything was completed we placed all the packages into the 300-gallon bulk tank, reading each label till we found the packages that needed to be double-checked. Really now, if any granola requests somehow fell through the cracks please do let me know!
We were almost ready to take the load of packages to the post office with tractor and trailer when we discovered there had been a misunderstanding; the one pound packages cost way more to ship than we thought. Oh. The only reasonable route was to slide all 300 one pounders into flat rate shipping envelopes. So that's what we're working on now.
Okay for those of you who have not tried the granola recipe, here you go! We enjoy eating it as a snack, over yogurt, or dumping some good old cows milk over it.
Our large recipe amounts are listed in parentheses.
GLORIA'S BUTTERSCOTCH GRANOLA FOR A CROWD
(2,500 cups) 5 cups quick oats
(500 pkgs) 1 package graham crackers (crushed)
1 cup coconut(optional)
½ cup chopped pecans (optional)
(188 cups) ⅓ cup brown sugar
(10cups) 1 teaspoon soda
(5 cups) ½ teaspoon salt
(500 cup) 1 cups butter
(250 cups) ½ cup butterscotch chips- or chocolate or peanut butter chips.
Melt butter and add to dry ingredients. Spread evenly on a large cookie sheet.
Bake at 300 for 40 minutes stirring every 5 – 10 minutes.
Sprinkle butterscotch chips over granola immediately after removing from oven. Let set til cooled.