Granola: wake up to a bowl of sunshine

Hello! Michelle here, making a cameo to cover the most important meal of the day. Max always posts photos of elaborate lunches and dinners but breakfast doesn’t usually get much attention. Considering that 95% of the mornings we spend together involve eating the granola I make, I thought, “What am I? Chopped liver?” Pride aside, I also figured people might be curious to know what he eats for breakfast to accommodate and/or compensate for the 10,000+ calories consumed throughout the day made up of extravagant variations of bread, meat, and cheese.

I’ve noticed a few different schools of thought when it comes to sharing breakfast with your boyfriend, significant other, romantic fling…whatever politically correct term floats your boat. First, there’s the overachieving meat-loving couple who will cook up multiple courses, complete with bacon, eggs, waffles from an actual waffle-maker…the whole nine yards. Next, on the opposite side of the spectrum, there’s the anti-gourmet couple who lacks foodie tendencies… who don’t own basic cookware but are content with that. They want nothing more than to open up a box of Cheerios. Then, there’s the middle ground couple…the culinary equivalent to someone who describes themself as “fiscally conservative and socially liberal.” This type wants to have their (pan)cake and eat it too. They want it tasty and homemade but at the same time don’t want to put in that much time and effort…and if it’s healthy? Great! An economic surplus! Making granola is the perfect solution for that third type. The benefits to granola are as follows:

(1) It can be made way far in advance.

(2) You can make massive quantities of it at once. (I almost always double my recipe.)

(3) It requires minimal effort that morning. Ideal.

(4) You can do it on the cheap. (Buy those oats in bulk!)

(5) It travels well. Put it in a Ziploc and you’re good to go.

(6) It’s zero-calorie, no sugar added, nonfat, non-GMO, Fair Trade Certified, wild-caught…jk granola isn’t that healthy. Sorry to say it sort of has a placebo effect. The fruit and whole grains hide enough sweeteners and oil to classify it as dessert…but it’s full of the good type of fat and has tons of fiber right? Right. Ignorance is bliss. Just keep reading.

 

So sultry

In an effort to not get an automatic F for plagiarism, I must cite Pinterest as my source here. But the recipe I finally settled on as THE recipe is a product of my own trial and error, collaboration and experimentation (like music, eh?). I call it ‘Kitchen Sink Granola’ because I throw so much stuff in there (imagine Oprah shouting “You get a car! You get a car! You get a car!”). Feel free to simplify. I just always try to channel Oprah’s mentality.

Kitchen Sink Granola:

3 cups rolled oats (DON’T use instant 1 minute)

1 1/2 cups nuts (pistachios, almonds, pecans, cashews, etc.)

3/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

1/3 cup maple syrup

1/3 cup honey

1/4 cup brown sugar (Queue “Brown Sugar” by D’Angelo)

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (polyunsaturated fats FTW)

1/4 cup coconut oil (makes the granola crispier…plus you can do a coconut oil hair mask at the same time)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/4 tsp kosher or sea salt (the salt + olive oil makes you go “mmm, what’s that?”)

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1 cup dried fruit (my favorite combo is dried cranberries, dried apricots, and golden raisins)

STEP 1: Heat oven to 300 degrees

STEP 2: Mix the wet ingredients together in a bowl. *If needed, microwave for 15-30 seconds to combine. (It depends on if your coconut oil is in a solid state or if your kitchen is a sauna and the oil is alread liquified.)

STEP 3: Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl. (If you buy whole nuts, this is the time to crush them into pieces in a Ziploc bag using a heavy object. Your moment of empowerment.)

STEP 4: Add the wet stuff to the dry stuff.

STEP 5: Bake for 45ish minutes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (DO NOT use wax paper or tin foil. Trust me, it won’t end well…Queue “Burning Down the House” by the Talking Heads.) Check on the granola every 10-15 minutes…give it a little mix and some TLC.

STEP 6: Add the dried fruit. Every recipe I’ve read says to wait until after the granola’s done, but I like adding it at the 40-minute mark so the fruit gets to be a tad chewy and dance around a bit before the dj cuts the music.

STEP 7: Let it cool. Once it’s golden brown, take it out of the oven. As it cools it’ll get nice and crispy. Patience is a virtue.

Makes your place smell amazing; queue “Just Like Heaven” by The Cure

Bon Appetit! Just add fresh fruit and milk. Max and I usually treat it like the last supper with the amount of fruit we chop up. Definitely bananas, strawberries, and sliced up dates on top. Always. If persimmons are in season, I add those too. My favorite, actually.

Enjoy with a cup of jo as you queue up “Lovely Day” by Bill Withers, “Sunday Morning” by The Velvet Underground, and “Good Day Sunshine” by The Beatles.

Sunday with Fareed and the feast of five fruits

 

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