I think, as humans, we return to what is comfortable. MyCupkeiki is comfortable to me. I know it, but I’ve struggled lately with it. The same is true for Granola. I love making granola. I know the ins and outs of working with my ingredients, because I do it over and over again. I know that if I don’t stay close, I miss the smell that says the oats are done toasting. I know that if I don’t wait long enough and let the oats, seeds and nuts cool, the dried fruit takes on a different flavor-not always for the best. I know that cinnamon and vanilla are my secret ingredients (there it is, not so secret anymore) and that the best granola comes from slow work (like half an hour really). It is a tranquil, bonding (when when my cupkeiki and I bake it together) or self reflective activity.
Every time I make granola, I do something different. Add a little more of this, a little less of that. I change it depending on my mood, taste, or what my cupkeiki wants.
But there are some basics that never get skipped. Oats, cinnamon, agave, cashews, almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, cranberries, blueberries, cherries, papaya, banana. Our add ins are coconut flakes, vanilla, chia seeds, poppy seeds, ginger…
Once it’s finished, there’s an excitement (at least between my cupkeiki and I) about getting the first taste, still warm and slightly sticky from the heated agave and oil and pungent from the warm cinnamon. We react much the same as a subject in a Pavlov experiment
My/our granola never lasts long in the house. It quickly disappears by the handful; either for breakfast in yogurt, from simple rummaging or as a quick filler before heading out. I owe my deep appreciation (really it’s a love) for granola to a dear friend and “hanai mother” from Hawaii. She started something that I’ve now passed on to my cupkeiki. I think of her every time I make it. I should send her some of our granola…
Here’s my (unoffically titled) “Not Your Granny’s-ola”
*Note: I work by the handfuls, and by personal taste. If you want to see where the base for the recipe came from, check out “Jamie’s Food Revolution: Rediscover How to Cook Simple, Delicious, Affordable Meals” : http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/fruit-recipes/homemade-granola-with-berry-compote/#uXOWUDZWbC10CCk7.97
2 C. Oats
By the Handful/Preference: Raw Pumpkin Seeds, Sunflower Seeds, Cashews pieces, Almonds, slivered or chopped
By the Handful/Preference: Dried Cranberries, Blueberries, Papaya, Banana, Cherries, diced up.
Chia Seeds (opt.) about 1/8C.
Coconut Flakes (opt.) about 1/8C.
Preheat oven to 350F. On a baking sheet add oats and nuts/seeds. Spread out evenly. Pour a few tablespoons olive oil over the mixture, then add agave (a few passes of the bottle over the mixture…about 1/8C.), sprinkle some cinnamon and mix everything together. Bake for 15-20 minutes, stirring at least once halfway through. Remove from oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes, then add dried fruit and chia seeds and coconut flakes (if using). Stir everything together, allow to cool completely and store in an air tight container.
*if using/wanting vanilla, add a few teaspoons to the mixture with the oil and agave, before baking.
Enjoy by the handful, over yogurt or with milk.