Do you ever have days when you just feel blah? Today is one of those days for me. It’s nearing lunchtime and I’ve been in back-to-back meetings since 8:00 this morning. I’m worn out, stressed out and hungry. Perfect time to write about a homey thing like granola, huh?
As a military wife, there are things that I do to prove to myself that everything is normal. It’s very important that some things don’t change whether The Husband is deployed, on a “business trip,” or even if he’s stateside and sleeping by my side at night. It creates a (maybe false but it works) sense of normalcy. I remember during The Husband’s first deployment to Iraq (just 5 weeks after we married) I wouldn’t move his sunglasses. He’d left so suddenly. The sunglasses were on the stereo in our living room and I wouldn’t touch them… couldn’t touch them. They had to remain fixed in place where he’d last placed them. I seriously didn’t dust that stereo until he’d landed safely in North Carolina again.
The Husband’s sister came to visit during that deployment and I walked into the living room one day and she was sitting on my couch wearing his sunglasses! I won’t go into details, but I will say the sunglasses were returned to their spot immediately. Lessons learned.
One of the things that is a constant is the granola jar. The jar itself has changed over the years… the contents varied, but the thing that never changes is that it’s always full. Home or not, The Husband’s granola is in the jar. I’ve recently been talking about baking something that smells like home. Our house smells like granola every other Sunday- come rain or shine… I’m making granola. I thought I’d share my technique with you- it’s not so much a recipe as a method of sorts.
Granola, Cat’s Way
A Cat’s Pajamas Original Recipe
1/4 c light oil (vegetable, canola…)
1/2 – 3/4 c honey
2 t cinnamon (you can omit this is you’re not a cinnamon family)
1 t vanilla extract
5 to 6 cups Old Fashioned Oats (not quick cooking)
1 c shredded coconut (you can omit this)
1/2 – 1 c almonds, in whatever form you like them
1 – 1 1/2 c dried fruit, cut into bite-sized chunks*
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with foil and coat heavily with non-stick cooking spray.
In a large bowl, whisk together oil, honey, salt, cinnamon and vanilla until oil and honey are well combined. Add oatmeal, coconut and almonds and stir until the honey mixture coats the oatmeal. Spread out on the lined baking sheet and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes stirring every 5 minutes until the oatmeal is lightly browned. Remove from oven and cool for about 30 minutes before stirring in dried fruit. Store in an airtight container. If you love coconut, add more. If you love nutty crunch, add more. Take stuff out, add stuff in. Use peanut butter instead of honey! Go wild. Ohhh… I just though of something! What about peanut butter granola with banana chips! Dude. Now I need to make another batch. It’ll have to wait.
* I always have dried fruit around the house, especially papaya as it is good for your digestive system and eliminates acid from your stomach. The Husband cannot stomach raisins (another story for another day) so I usually throw in some chopped dates, apricots, pear, apple, whatever is laying around the house.