Hestia’s Granola



We don’t serve breakfast here, but maybe I should start stocking the cottages with this granola.  It’s so good!

Inspired by The Big Fat Surprise, by Nina Teicholz and Good Calories, Bad Calories, by Gary Taube, by Buzz and I started a low carb eating plan in mid-December – yes, just before the holidays!  A friend has had wonderful results with low carb eating, and we’d like to see if mild inflammatory symptoms change (a a few pounds drop off) by avoiding grains and sweeteners, which seems like it won’t do us any harm.

So this granola is off-limits for us right now.  But we were assigned to provide breakfast for an out-of-town extended-family gathering.  I remembered how much we’ve enjoyed this granola in the past and I decided it would be an easy food to transport.  My granddaughter and I made a couple of batches, leaving us with plenty to give as gifts.  It does have many ingredients, but its the best granola I’ve ever had, and there is plenty of flexibility in the recipe.  I thought you might want to try it too . . .


Hestia’s Granola

6 cups Rolled Oats

5 cups Grain flakes (anything that can be flaked; I made it with more rolled oats so it would be gluten free)

5 cups Nuts (I used 2 cups pecans, 1 cup cashews, 2 cups walnuts and 1 cup hazelnuts – all roughly chopped)

1 cup Sesame seeds

1 cup Flax seeds

1 cup Sunflower seeds, raw

1 cup Pumpkin seeds

1 cup Coconut shreds or flakes

3 and 1/2 cups Maple syrup or honey (I used equal amounts of both)

2 cups Oil (I used Green Pastures Blue Breeze coconut oil/ghee, but I’ve also used local squash seed oil and grape seed oil and walnut oil)

6 cups Dried fruits (suggested are raisins, apple, cranberries, apricots or currants – but I’ve used dates, dried black currants, freeze dried strawberries and sour cherries)

1 cup Roasted soy nuts (optional – I don’t use them now out of concern for their reputed estrogen mimicking properties, but they are tasty)


Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

Mix all grains, nuts, seeds in an extra large bowl (NOT the fruits – I’ve made that mistake – the fruits don’t need to be toasted!)

Gently heat sweeteners and oils together over low heat.

Pour liquids over grains, nuts and seeds in large bowl and mix well..

Pour mixture out into three 11’x13′ glass dishes in a one inch layer.  Metal trays tend to stick

Toast the granola.  Bake for 20 minutes then stir.  Bake for 10 minutes and stir again. Bake for another 10 minutes and check to see if the granola is toasted to your desired level.  If so, it’s done.  If you’d like it a little darker, continue toasting it in the oven until you reach your ideal – but keep watch – burned granola is nasty!

Cool the granola.  When it is just a tad warm, mix in the dried fruits

Yield: 6 quarts which disappear fast.


As mentioned above, this recipe is quite flexible – any grain you can flake (or find flaked) is fine, any fruit you like can work, maybe you’d like to try adding chocolate after the granola has cooled, trying cutting the sweeteners with erythritol and stevia to reduce the absorbed carbohydrates, skip the seeds if you don’t want the reputed extra Omega 6’s but instead increase the nuts, etc.

If any of your ingredients are pre-toasted (sunflower or pumpkin seeds for example), add them with the dried fruits at the end.

This recipe can be increased by 1/2, but doubling it will become completely unwieldy.

This recipe comes from Peasant Dreams Farms owner, Katie Quinn-Jacobs, who lives nearby.

My web designer tells me I must add the keywords best luxury rental B&B lodging cottage in Ithaca!  I’m not sure how to do that, but I imagine eating this granola while looking out at the snow falling (as it is today) or sitting at the stone table outside in warmer weather, might bring all of those keywords to mind! ; )

Metropolitan Opera in Ithaca?


Front row seats to live shows at the Metropolitan Opera? In Ithaca? You bet.

As an opera lover, one of my favorite Ithaca activities is catching live Met shows via simulcast at our local Ithaca Regal movie theater. Its not quite like the real thing… sometimes its better! Every seat in the house is a good one (though it helps to arrive at the cinema early for the best seat selection), the sound is excellent, and I can nosh on popcorn while I watch!

If you also enjoy an afternoon or evening with Puccini, Mozart, Verdi, or Bizet then check in on the Met Opera Live in HD page for the schedule, reserve a ticket, and plan an evening at the movies during your stay in Ithaca. Coming up in January are Lehar’s “Merry Widow” with Renee Fleming and Nathan Gun, and Offenbach’s “Les Contes d’Hoffmann” (I really enjoyed Kate Lindsey as Nicklausse when it was last shown).  For Valentine’s Day enjoy a double bill of Tchaikovsky’s “Iolanta” (which I just learned was composed to compliment the Nutcracker Suite) and Bartok’s “Bluebeard’s Castle”.  Rossini’s “La Donna del Lago” is presented in March, and April finishes the season with another double bill, Mascagni’s “Cavalleria Rusticate” and a new production of Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci.

Here is an older but good article on the pros and cons of simulcast Opera vs. the real thing: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/15/arts/music/15waki.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

My ideal is to see the operas twice – once in HD and again at the Met . . . mostly a dream though . . .

“Ithacating” vs. The Spring


Spring of 2014 may go down in history as one of the most beautiful that Ithaca has ever seen. We had a slow start, we worried winter would never break, but once the Great Lakes melted it turned to perfect ‘pea-weather’ as they say around here, just enough rain and sun in the right proportions, warm and mild to a fault (and perfect for growing snap peas in case you were wondering)

Ithaca is often maligned for its frequent rain (the Cornell students call it “ithacating”). But all that rain, fog, and general moisture is worth it… it gives us the explosion of green and flowers that we’ve been reveling in all spring.

So… heres to the cold winters, nourishing snows, and everlasting rain and the beauty it leaves in its wake. Heres to Ithacating!

Incredibly Green! Our newest apartment is an eco-dream


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Opened in May of 2012, the Tower Cottage, is one we’re very proud of for its small environmental footprint and I wanted to write more in-depth about its green features.

It’s small, and thats a good thing :-). Small means doing more with less. For example fewer materials were used, but we used only the highest quality handmade tiles, stone, custom wrought iron, and hardwoods. The ‘slate’ tiles on the tower roof are actually made of the  virgin plastic waste left over after cutting out the leg holes from disposable diapers, keeping that material out of the waste stream.  And by cleverly using the space, it takes less energy to cool in summer and warm in winter while maintaining all the amenities and luxuries of a stay at the Stone Quarry House.

We sited the Tower among the trees to make use of their natural cooling effect. Putting the bedroom at the highest point of the structure naturally gathers the heat during colder months, while plenty of windows means a refreshing breeze during the summer as the tower functions as a chimney pulling cooler air through the building.

The Tower Cottage is powered by the solar arrays near the pond and at the top of the hill. These arrays produce more just a bit more electricity than we use at the Stone Quarry House.

But the most exciting green technology in the Tower is… wait for it… the toilet! It’s a waterless composting toilet and uses very interesting technology.  Guests add 1/2 cup of wood chips to the toilet instead of flushing.  A small fan keeps the air gently moving away from the bathroom as any odors are vented away from the cottage.

Waste passes to a sealed collecting/composting chamber in the basement which has two sections.  We aerate the ‘active’ section once a week or so with a crank on the outside of the chamber.  Once every couple of years, it is emptied into the second section below the first. [We haven’t had to do that yet, but it is supposed to be an easy task.]  After another couple of years one rakes out the fully composted material which we will use for our landscaping plantings and the orchard – though it should also be safe for the vegetable garden.


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