Many years ago when I first began to get to know my good friend Madeleine she accused me without ample observation of being “soo granola”. Those were my Scottsdale days when I was keen to express myself creatively in how I dress, so anyone could have also accused me of being so fifth avenue. I had the clothes, shoes, the hair and nails, and I doubt I left the house without makeup. Maybe I am guilty of trying on the fancy lady role a few times in my Connecticut life. I used to save all cosmetics shopping for once every other month when I’d go into NYC to the Saks on fifth avenue to shop. It was a fun treat in those days. But I don’t miss it. And it’s really not me at all.
What Madeleine saw was the careful way I eat. It’s a celebration of how perfectly God has designed the food for our bodies that will give us the most vitality. It’s how I love to be out in nature more than in the malls. It’s how I’d rather ride my bike for errands than drive my car. It’s how I won’t skip my prayer time in the morning, and I rarely go without a good all over body stretch…aka… yoga. (I’ve never actually been to a live yoga class. I taught myself with videos and books and mixed it with my ballet knowledge and now I have my own perfect do anywhere routine. It’s my best fitness secret. Definitely the reason I stay tight.) And finally when she saw I cook to improve health benefits for my whole family, and not because I want to be in the kitchen with all my free time, she declared me “soo granola”.
I proved it again to myself yesterday morning. I was in regular rush to get out the door in time for 8:15 church. I’m always the last one in the car and I just can’t stand those faces that stare at me telling me I’m making them wait. Not a word is said, but I can read that silent tolerance. I need a lot of calories before 8am, my hunger was fierce, so I was fixing my regular bowl of home made granola. The top to the jar was stuck and before I could catch it the jar slipped out of my hands and shattered all over the kitchen. I was beside myself with disappointment because I couldn’t have my favorite meal of the day. I am sure everyone could see I was moping on the way to church, even though I tried to conceal it.
The price of good granola at the store is sky high. So are cereals. It’s so simple to make I could do it while I get a bunch of boys out the door in the morning. I’m going to share that recipe, but first let me give you some time saving tips. Buy the nuts in bulk and only get what you need for about five recipes. When I’m mixing up the dry ingredients I do about five or six recipes at once and put them in a ziploc to store in the freezer for the next batch. Never put more in a batch than the recipe calls for, trust me, it won’t work. Stay with these proportions and keep the batch small. I’ve tinkered with this recipe for years and this way it stays consistent and delicious. . . and nutritious.
- 2 cups thick rolled oats (can buy this bulk also)
- 1/2 cup pecans chopped into chunky pieces
- 1/2 cup walnuts chopped also into chunky pieces
- 1/2 cup blanched slivered almonds (I just like the texture and size of these but others will do just fine if you want to chop up whole almonds)
- 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds (not in shells- should be a green kernel)
- 1/3 cup canola oil
- 1/4 cup real maple syrup (not aunt jemima)
- 1//4 cup honey
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. You can sprinkle a little cinnamon if you like.Mix all of it in a bowl. Spread evenly on a cookie sheet with a lip around the edge. Bake for 6 minutes. Remove from the oven and carefully stir to mix. It’s good to get the edges moved into the center so they don’t get darker. Bake again for 6 minutes. Again, stir and mix. Bake one more time for 6 minutes. Don’t be fooled by it’s softness. It’s done. Salt the top if you like. (I like.) Set on the counter to cool.
When it’s cool use a good scraping spatula and carefully break it loose. It feels like scraping ice off a winter car, and pieces tend to fly all over the place so go easy. Keep in an air tight container. Mine is gone in about a week, and it’s disappearing even faster now that I stopped buying cereal. This recipe is a cost saver in the kitchen.
One last thing. When I put a half cup in my bowl I also put a big pinch of thick unsweetened coconut, and a handfull of dried Michigan cherries. (any dried fruit will do, but I have to have my cherries.) My favorite is almond milk poured over it. Mmmm…delicious. My mouth is watering. Enjoy!