On a Chilly Morning: Granola

by Jen Wanous

A fellow friend from California just told me that she is in denial about winter coming. We walked out of a dinner party, it was brisk out, but she didn’t put on her sweater. She said that if she put it on then it would actually mean that the season is changing–and she wasn’t ready.

I hear you sister! Winters are scary for us West Coasters. This will be my fourth galosh-wearing winter on the East Coast. Though my jacket that resembles a sleeping bag does give me great me peace of mind, I’ll never quite adjust. My mom has never owned an umbrella. I saw snow fall for the first time when I was 22. On a San Diego Christmas morning, I’d be playing on the driveway with my new toys, no jacket required.

Like my post from last week reminded me, there is magic that happens when you’re outside of your comfort zone–and by golly, if winter doesn’t get you out of your incubated comfort zone, then I don’t know what would. The gift of magic that comes with that trade off is a big one. Serenity, glitter and introspection. I’ll have to keep these things in mind as I zip up. For now, I know we’re not quite there yet, with an entire fall to savor.

Here is a recipe to make when you get up in the morning and it’s chilly but you don’t want to turn on the heater yet because that would mean that the cold has really come. It uses olive oil as the base, which I find I always have on hand, and the health benefits are far better than other commercial oils. You can switch it up to use different sweeteners like agave or brown sugar. You can also switch up the additions, like pistachio and apricot or cashew and cranberry.

Olive Oil Granola With Walnuts and Raisins

3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

1 cup raw walnuts

1/2 cup maple syrup

1/2 cup honey

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom or nutmeg

1/2 cup dried raisins

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a large bowl, combine oats, walnuts, maple syrup, honey, olive oil, salt, cinnamon and cardamom/nutmeg. Spread mixture on a rimmed baking sheet in an even layer and bake for 20 minutes, stirring after 10 minutes, until golden brown and well toasted.

2. Transfer granola to a large bowl and add raisins, tossing to combine.

Yield: About 6 cups.

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