Granola Greatness

As many of you know, I am moving back to South Dakota at the end of May.

The reason I’m bringing it up is because I am currently writing this while sitting on my porch surrounded by flowering trees, a cloudless sky, and enough wind (it’s Oklahoma after all!) to make it a perfect 73 degrees in the shade.

In South Dakota….they just had an ice storm.

When I think about moving back to what feels like 9 months of winter as I sit outside in April….I want to cry.  😥

The only thing that could pull me inside on a day like this would be…fresh, homemade granola!

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(and maybe a beautiful roommate!)

This granola is super simple, but super impressive.  That by the way, is one of my favorite combinations.  (The other is french fries dipped in a chocolate frosty…just in case you were wondering.)

Anyway, I found this granola on a blog while searching Pinterest for granola ideas.  I had recently become  very bored with breakfast and wanted something different but still cheaper than boxed cereal (which I don’t love in the first place unless it’s 99% sugar…).

This is a vanilla chai granola…and it’s my current obsession.

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Sorry there’s a blur where Rebecca’s arm should be…action shot and all.

After throwing all your dry ingredients plus vanilla into a bowl, you bring the liquids to a soft boil and mix everything all together.

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Look at that jar of honey…mmmmmmmmmmmm.

After mixing, it’s onto a lined pan and into a 325 degree oven for 30-35 minutes with a stir halfway through!  Quick and simple, right?!

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Like a fool, I forgot to take a picture of the finished product….but it basically looks like this with more browning and dried cranberries added.  It’s nummy.

Vanilla Chai Granola

adapted slightly from Chik n’ Pastry

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups old fashioned oats (you can use quick oats, but the texture will be a little different)
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped raw cashews (any nut that floats your boat will work)
  • heaping 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes (I had to search for flakes, but shredded would just as well)
  • 4 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • scant 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Chai spice (use a store bought one or the recipe included below)
  • 1 vanilla bean or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil (you can sub vegetable/canola oil if you have to)
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons honey
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons molasses
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries, to be added after baking (or any dried fruit that you enjoy)

Chai Spice – makes about 3 Tablespoons (if not using a store bought mix)

  • 1 Tablespoon ginger
  • 1/2 Tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper (weird, right?!)

Preheat oven to 325.  Mix all the dry ingredients plus vanilla together in a medium sized bowl.  Make sure the sugar and vanilla gets thoroughly mixed in.  Combine the wet ingredients in a small saucepan (plus vanilla pod if you used a bean, you want to get all possible flavor out right? just discard the pod before baking…), and bring to a soft boil.  Remove and pour over the dry ingredients and mix very well.  You want everything to be well coated.  Bake for 30-35 minutes, making sure to stir halfway through so that everything gets evenly toasted.  After baking, add the dried fruit and try not to eat the entire pan as it cools.  Store at room temperature in an airtight container.  It is great on its own, with milk, or with yogurt.

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