Mom’s 9 Grain Granola

Mom's Granola1

My mom is one of the most beautiful women I know. Beyond her beauty though is a woman who knows how to work. She’s always moving, creating and inspiring. She’s an educated artist, a mother of nine, a teacher, an industrious woman who knows how to grow fields of wheat, make quilts and knit funny slippers for all her grand-kids.  She taught me how to cook and gave me my love of vegetables. Even in Elementary School I loved spinach when all the other kids hated it.

momandmeMy mom and I in 1995

She’s been sharing some recipes with me that lately I thought you might enjoy. This granola is really special, it is packed with nuts and seeds and is chock full of goodness! It makes for an amazing breakfast start or as a “broken cookie” snack right out of the jar.

Mom's Granola2

Mom’s 9 Grain Granola

  • 2.5 C. rolled 9 grain cereal (or rolled oats if you can’t find it)
  • 1/4 C. wheat germ
  • 1/4 C. flax seed meal
  • 2 C. shaved coconut (not the itty bitty pieces)
  • 2 T. quinoa
  • 2 T. millet
  • 1/2 C. sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 C. raw cashews
  • 1/4 C. sesame seeds
  • 1/2 C. pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 C. sliced almonds
  • 1/2 C. pecans
  • 1/2 C. walnuts
  • 1/2 C. water
  • 1/2 C. raw sugar
  • 2 T. agave (vegan version, mom uses honey)
  • 2 T. pure maple syrup or unsulphered molasses
  • 1 T. mexican vanilla
  • 1/4 C. coconut oil
  • 1 t. sea sat
  • 1/4 t. nutmeg
  • 1/2 t. cinnamon


Method: Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the 1st 13 ingredients (9 grain cereal through to walnuts) and set aside. Combine the last 9 ingredients (water through to cinnamon) a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat on the stove top just until sugar has dissolved. Pour the liquid mixture over the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until everything is well coated. Pour the mixture onto your largest rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 30-40 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven, let granola cool completely on the baking sheet. Once cooled break into big pieces and store in glass jars (This nearly fills 3 quart sized jars).

BakedBaked Granola

PlainBroken into pieces

Serve with non-dairy milk (mom says cow’s milk smells just like cow’s breath). Sliced fresh, frozen or dried fruit is also a nice addition.

Mom's Granola3

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas. I’ll be celebrating the Holidays with my parents at their home in the woods and taking a little blogging break. I’ll touch base with you in a week or so.  -Love, Somer


Truck Stop Jo Jo Potatoes

Truck Stop Jo Jo Potatoes

Some of my fondest childhood memories are of the vacations I had with my family. Camping, river running, Redwood Forest, trips down to Mexico, California and then up the coast. We always had a good time and never missed out on great adventures. Somehow, we often left my little brother Morgan behind and had to turn around (sometimes a half an hour or more later) to go back and get him. As an adult, Morgan chose a career in the Marine Corps (No man gets left behind).

One particular trip our big ol’ Chevy Suburban broke down and we ended up spending the weekend in some po-dunk town in Southern Utah instead of our Lehman Cave destination. We still made it fun however, we ate at the local diner, did some skateboarding at the local park and razzed each other. Inevitably during our road trips we would stop and get gasoline at the Truck Stops, where we would almost always get Jo Jo potatoes and dip them in ranch dressing. This version tastes a lot like the original, without any nasty deep frying.

Truck Stop Jo Jo Potatoes

  • 8 red potatoes (small-ish) sliced into 8 wedges each
  • 2 T. safflower or other neutral tasting oil
  • 2 T. lemon juice
  • 1 t. liquid smoke (optional)
  • 1/2 t. ground black pepper
  • 1/4 C. arrowroot, cornstarch or tapioca starch (I’ve tried all 3 with only slightly different results)
  • 2 T. nutritional yeast
  • 1 t. smoked paprika
  • dash cayenne
  • 1 1/2 t. celery salt or 1 t. sea salt and 1/2 t. celery seeds
  • 1/2 t. onion powder
  • 1/2 t. garlic powder
  • 1 t. mustard powder

Method: Get out your rimmed baking sheet and Preheat oven to 425 degrees with the baking sheet heating up in there too. Slice the potatoes into wedges (as described above). Toss the potatoes in the liquid ingredients, then add the dry ingredients and spices. Toss until evenly distributed. The potatoes may stick together so pull them apart if they do. Carefully remove hot baking sheet and dump the seasoned potatoes onto it in a single layer. Bake for 30-35 minutes, turning potatoes halfway through the cook time until golden and cooked through. Serve with Vegan Ranch. You can also use russet (brown) potatoes for this recipe, but they’ll take 15 minutes longer to bake.

I dipped these in a homemade low-fat vegan ranch dressing

Vegan Ranch

Dip it!

Update: 12/16/12 Another Happy Herbivore Abroad Cookbook Giveaway is going on over at An Unrefined Vegan today. Go over there and enter for another chance to win! Today is also the last day to enter my contest.


Vegan Aebleskivers

When I was a teenager, I visited Solvang California while on vacation with my family. We ate Aebleskivers at a restaurant there and we haven’t been able to stop eating them since. They have become a Holiday or special occasion breakfast tradition. They take a little practice to learn to make properly and in my previous omnivore life, I was quite the little aebleskiver maker.

Sadly, when I went plant-based, I thought that I would never eat another aebleskiver again. They rely on white flour, egg whites beaten stiff, melted butter and buttermilk for their fluffy tenderness. I thought they couldn’t be veganized. Thankfully, I thought wrong.

That darling restaurant in Solvang gave my mom their aebleskiver recipe. I’m terribly sorry that I  don’t know how to give them proper credit, It’s been too many years and a Google search reveals there are many little such restaurants in Solvang. I have a copy of it in my heavily abused used family cookbook, it just needed a little big modification ;) Note to self: these are a special treat, and because they use oil and earth balance, remember not to make them every day or Dr. Esselstyn won’t be your friend anymore.

Vegan Aebleskivers

  • 2 C. plain soymilk + 4 T. lemon juice, mixed and set aside (vegan buttermilk)
  • 2 C. whole wheat pastry flour OR 2 C. gluten free flour + 1/2 t. xanthan gum
  • 1  T. Ener-G egg replacer
  • 2 t. baking powder
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 2 T. pure maple syrup
  • 4 T. Earth Balance natural buttery spread, melted
  • 1 T. vanilla
  • neutral vegetable oil of your choice for aebleskiver pan (I used safflower)

Method: preheat aebleskiver pan over medium heat before mixing all ingredients, if it’s not hot, your aebleskivers will be  a disaster. In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients with a wire whisk (including the egg replacer, you do not need to mix it with water first). Add the wet ingredients and stir just until combined.  Put 1/2 t. vegetable oil in the bottom of each aebleskiver pan cup. Pour 2 T. (I use an 1/8 cup measuring cup) of batter into each cup.

After about 30-60 seconds, Turn the aebleskiver halfway out of the cup using a knitting needle, crochet hook or chopstick. The batter will pour out of the cooked portion and start to form a ball.

Cook 30-60 more seconds and turn another quarter turn. Cook 30-60 more seconds.

The final turn should have the cooked side facing entirely out and the batter forming the last bit of the ball in the bottom of the cup.

Place cooked aebleskivers in a warm oven to keep them crisp while cooking the next batch, you will need to add more oil to each cup in between batches to keep the batter from sticking. Split open and serve hot with a dab of earth balance (if you must) strawberry freezer jam and a sprinkling of powdered sugar.

Laugh at guests who ask for maple syrup.

Dad’s Cowboy Beans

My Dad, despite being a self-confessed carnivore, is one of the biggest supporters of my new vegan lifestyle. He's seen me go through hell and back so I know it truly makes him happy to see how healthy my diet has made me.

Last week he emailed me and asked me to share a recipe with you that he specifically adapted for us "Veg Heads."

Edward Abbey, Milo, Ken Sleight

To give you a little background on Milo (my dad), he's an animal lover, an environmentalist, a real estate developer and rare book collector. Though some of these things may sound contradictory, he worked hard to make his real estate projects environmentally friendly and when I was a child I remember him going to Washington D.C. on a mission to protect the endangered desert tortoises in the Southern Utah area.

He may best be known for his ability to clear a room with a belch.

Growing up we were always vacationing, going river running or camping. Since there were 9 of us kids, we had to travel in a big vehicle, a giant Chevy Suburban that was aptly named "The Tackle Box."

Dad's Man Cave

Our home was always open to strangers and friends, at any given time there was at least 1 or 2 strays staying with us. We always had plenty of good food. My dad really knows his way around the kitchen and he gave me my unrequited love for mashed potatoes.

The real men of Lydia's Canyon, Dad is second to the right

When it comes to food, I have a 4 day leftover rule. After 4 days it gets chucked out. My dad has closer to a 2 week rule.   Because everyone in the family knows his food rule, one holiday family gathering while we were all at my parents house, we were all afraid to eat Dad's Cowboy Beans because we didn't know how long they'd been incubating the fridge. So while dad made a trip to the store, someone secretly dumped the Cowboy Beans and buried them in the woods. When dad came back in, we pretended we had eaten them. It was at that point he told us he had just made them the day before in anticipation of us all coming to stay. Sorry dad….

Dad's Cowboy Beans


  • 1 can Kidney beans
  • 1 can white beans
  • 1 can pinto beans
  • 1 can garbanzo beans
  • 1 can stewed spiced tomatoes
  • 2 white or yellow onions diced
  • 1 small can green chopped chilies
  • 3 shots (vegan) Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 shots Soy sauce
  • 1 big squirt table mustard and another of Dijon
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped garlic
  • ½ C. to 1 full C. brown sugar
  • Salt and pepper as desired

Method: Cook chilies and chopped onions till well done, throw the rest of it in after draining off about ½ of the bean juice and bring to a boil. Simmer on low heat anywhere from ½ hour to 2 days until the flavor and consistency are superb. Eat with big bowl and large spoon. Leave the house and walk 4 miles or one hour after consuming to protect the family and neighbors. 10 servings

Thanks dad for taking these photographs.

The Bear 100 – Curtis #823

Okay, I know I promised you I wouldn’t post until Monday, but my brother Curtis is running an ultramarathon today, one that is 100 miles long with an insanely difficult mountain course. It will likely take him more than 30 hours to complete, The Bear 100.

Curtis and Somer, Ragnar Relay Wastach Back  2011

I’ll have you know that although he seems superhuman, Curtis only started running 4 years ago. He started running shorter distances like a 5k, then a half marathon, then a marathon.

Curtis at the finish of the Las Vegas Rock & Roll Marathon in 2008, looking really tuckered out.

I think it’s an amazing testament to the human spirit and what we are capable of. Curtis eats an extremely healthy whole foods diet. He’s taught me a thing or two about nutrition, indeed, I had my first “chia indoctrination” while running with him a couple of years ago. This is not his first Ultra, Curtis has run the 50 mile Buffalo Run on Antelope Island, multiple times. Last year he ran like 35 miles at the Ragnar Relay Wastach Back on an Ultra team. He has run the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim in a day.

But this is his first attempt at the 100 miler. Join me in showing him a little love and support.

Avon Pass, Curtis and Dan discuss the fine art of creek jumping.

If you comment below, I’ll forward your comments to him! Best of luck Curtis! Love- your sister, Somer

p.s. if you care to track Curtis, click here. His bib number is 823

Update: He did it! He finished the race in 33 hours and 50 minutes!!! WOOHOO!!!

Comment from Curtis Post Finish: Wow! I am very thankful to Somer and the rest of you for your support. Quick update…recovery has gone much better than expected. After getting about 10 hours of sleep I was able to get up and move around with very little residual soreness.