Today I feel grateful and thankful for so many reasons. I would like to say thanks to my family for being there for me unconditionally. Thanks to many great friends, who unselfishly share their time, laughs, stories, and comfort me in moments of self-doubt. Thanks to my Ody, who besides being ridiculously cute, is also quite the charmer - I love you to pieces despite the fact that today you jumped onto the counter and ate half a loaf of African coriander bread and 3 English muffins, but you were kind enough to leave me two. You know what you want, and I can respect that. Thanks to my wonderful husband for believing in me, especially during times when I don't quite believe in myself. Thanks to my barista, who puts a smile on my face everyday with her adorable latte art - especially that swan you made last week. You have amazing talent, and I am pretty sure I will never be able to make a coffee quite as good as you. Thanks to Columbia City Bakery for making a delicious loaf of bread, which I use as a vessel to ferry avocado from my plate to my mouth. Thanks to Odd Fellows for allowing me to spend most of my days sitting in their humble abode, sipping coffee and eating my veggies, and occasionally trying to cure my writers block with orange juice and champagne (p.s. thank you alcohol for existing). Finally, I would also like to thank you guys, my wonderful readers, for taking a moment out of your day to visit my site, and for leaving thoughtful comments. It means the world to me. You motivate me to become a better person, baker, writer, and photographer. To you, I am grateful.
As well as showing gratitude for people I love, I also feel grateful for the simple things in life. The simplicity that surrounds me everyday, that I may not always be able to see. For example, this recipe for granola. Extremely delicious, healthy and satisfying, and yet so simple. I guess it takes weeks of preparation, hours slaving over the stove, to really appreciate a recipe that can be easily made with a handful of ingredients, and prepared (minus the cooking time) in less than 5 minutes.
I truly am a sucker for a nice sweet crunchy granola. I enjoy it best sprinkled on top of thick plain Greek yogurt, with a few mixed berries and a drizzle of honey. Although, don't get me wrong, I am perfectly content just eating it by the handful. That's the joy of granola - perfectly acceptable for breakfast, yet also provides the same satisfyingly sweet pleasure that one gets from eating a cookie. It's a win-win.
Before diving into the world of granola, I did some research. After my last failed attempt at making granola - one that didn't live up to my granola standards, this time I decided not to let my precious ingredients go to waste. I found a great read on Deconstructing Granola by Gourmande in the Kitchen. I was excited to read her post, paragraph by paragraph, realizing that I am not alone in my desires for the perfect granola, and that indeed we do share the same preferences. The combination of half old fashioned and half quick oats was a great suggestion for a light, crispy, crunchy texture. Adding the nuts half way through baking prevents them from burning, and adding dried fruit at the end ensures that they stay soft, plump, and moist. Using a generous amount of honey helps the mixture stick together, and clumping it with your hands ensures that you will get those large satisfying pieces. I am completely smitten with this recipe. It's one that I will likely turn to time and time again. For some variety though, I'll likely switch up the nuts and dried fruit. Enjoy!
makes 3 cups
notes: You can substitute the cherries and hazelnuts for any of your favorite dried fruit and nuts. Also, orange juice can be substituted with apple, grape, or cranberry juice.
1/4 cup honey
2 tbsp orange juice
2 tbsp canola oil
1 tbsp vanilla
1 cup old fashioned oats
1 cups rolled oats
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup hazelnuts, chopped
1/2 cup coconut flakes
1/2 cup dried cherries
Preheat the oven to 300ºF.
In a small bowl, whisk the honey, orange juice, canola oil, and vanilla.
In a large bowl, combine the oats and salt. Add the wet to the dry and combine.
Layer a baking sheet with parchment paper. With your hands, grab handfuls of the granola and squeeze tight. Drop the clumps onto the baking sheet.
Place the baking sheet into the oven and bake for 25 minutes.
Remove and add the hazelnuts. Continue to bake for 15 - 20 more minutes or until the granola becomes golden brown. Remove from the oven and combine with the coconut flakes and dried cherries. Let cool.
Store in an airtight container for up to a month. Make sure to let cool completely before storing.