Here’s the thing.
stubborn Capricorn ambitious millennial, I tend to take a lot of pride in my ability to achieve. I am what I can accomplish, and I never strive for anything less than 100%. It’s not easy to admit it, but in many instances I feel my successes have defined me, while my failures are seamlessly concealed or even ignored. Even when things are very clearly heading south, I fly in the face of convention and persist, thinking that if I try hard enough, I can control and orchestrate each and every element of my life.
Which is why when I started to fall sick last week, I decided that I wasn’t having any of it. I prioritised my 6:00 AM workouts, “powered through” hectic days at the office, and refused to turn down any social engagements – all with a side of ginger shots, vitamin C and Echinacea tea, of course. If you’d like to know how well the above approach worked, I think the image of me eating boiled potatoes in bed at 4:00 pm on a Sunday (the start of the work week in this part of the world) should suffice as an answer. Needless to say, I wasn’t doing my body any favours.
In any case, thanks to a lot of herbal tea, a little conventional medicine and most importantly rest, I am hopefully finally on the mend. On to today’s food-related topic of choice: granola.
Now don’t get it twisted, I’m no cereal snob – I love store bought granola just as much as the next person, but the two things I can’t stand about it are a) how extortionately priced it is and b) the unnecessary amounts of sugar and oil that sneak onto the ingredients list of even the best “natural” and “organic” brands. Luckily for you (and me), this granola recipe is super simple, budget friendly and contains no nasties.
- 2 cups of rolled oats
- ¼ cup of raw almonds, roughly chopped
- ½ cup of raw pecans or walnuts, roughly chopped
- ⅓ cup of unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1 heaping tbsp of cinnamon
- Pinch of sea salt
- 1 tbsp of coconut sugar
- ¼ cup of date molasses or maple syrup
- ¼ cup coconut oil, melted
- 2 tsp of vanilla extract
- ¼ cup of dried dates, rolled in flour
- Preheat oven to 160 degrees C (320 F) and line 2 baking sheets with parchment or baking paper.
- In a large bowl, combine all of your dry ingredients save for the dates and mix well.
- In a smaller bowl, whisk together your wet ingredients until well combined.
- Pour the wet mixture over the dry and stir with a spatula until the granola is evenly coated.
- Spread on two baking drays in an even layer and bake for 20 minutes, making sure to stir it at the halfway mark and turn the pan in the oven so that it cooks evenly. Be sure to keep a close eye on it as granola can burn very easily.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool before stirring in your dates or other dried fruit of choice. Store in an airtight container outside of the fridge.
There are few things that can make a kitchen smell as heavenly as freshly baked, cinnamon and vanilla infused granola.
Sure, cakes and muffins are good too, but there’s just something a little bit more magical about granola. Yes, I said magical.
Cooking notes, as always:
- I’ve used both maple syrup and date molasses as the liquid sweetener and they both fare well, but it’s important to note that the former will result in a darker looking granola which meals you’ll need to be extra vigilant to ensure it’s not burning
- Feel free to use brown sugar in place of coconut sugar, the use of a dry sweetener helps the granola caramelise and crisp up when baked
- I personally love dried dates, but if they’re not your thing you can substitute any dried fruit like raisins, sultanas or cranberries.
- Make sure you stock-up on nuts and dried fruit at the bulk bins of your local supermarket, those pre-packaged bags of nuts are far more expensive. Alongside their whole counterparts, some supermarkets will also offer “broken” cashews, walnuts or pecans for a cheaper price which is always a bonus – less chopping!
My favourite way to serve this granola is with fresh berries and almond milk or on top of a thick smoothie bowl, but any way you have it I promise you it is divine.
Until next time, dear readers!