For us, the past month has been exceptionally harried. Stomach flu, more stomach flu (11 days worth!), my husband’s work conference (6 days alone with the kids while he was away), the loss of a treasured family member. And now, our third round of stomach flu. Not easy. While I had all sorts of good intentions about the posts I was planning for this month, we’re actually just barely making it through the week. Everything else has just fallen by the wayside until life returns to normal.
With that in mind, here’s my suggestion for a bit of energy when life does the same to you. A batch of homemade granola for the person in your life going through a rough time.
If you’re giving this as a gift, present it in a DIY-etched jar. The etching process is relatively quick and easy. All you need is a glass jar, etching cream, a foam brush, some letter stickers (choose those that adhere well to curves), and a bit of tape.
Apply the tape to the “borders” of the area you plan to etch. Spell out “granola” or “yum” or “snicky snack” or whatever you’d like it to say. Over several layers of newspaper, apply etching cream over the letter stickers and between the tape borders. This is best to do in a ventilated area. Apply a relatively thick layer of etching cream with the foam brush, and allow to sit for about 10-45 minutes. Longer time will result in darker etching. Periodically check for drips to make sure the etching cream has not crossed over any of the tape borders. Rinse off the cream thoroughly and peel away the stickers and tape. Wash and allow to dry.
This granola recipe is quite versatile. This is Ina Garten’s base recipe, adapted with my favorite mix-ins. Add in your own favorites and serve with yogurt and berries. Or plain with some milk.
adapted from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook
2 cups old fashioned rolled oats*
1 cup sweetened, shredded coconut
1 cup sliced almonds
¼ cup + 2 Tbsp canola oil
¼ cup honey
1 cup dried tart cherries**
1 cup pecans
½ cup walnuts
Preheat oven to 350°F. Toast pecans and walnuts on a small sheet pan (about 10 minutes). Break into small pieces and set aside.
Mix together oats, coconut, sliced almonds, honey, and oil together in a bowl. Bake on a sheet pan, on parchment paper, for about 45 minutes (until golden brown), turning periodically (about every 10 minutes).
Immediately after baking, add in toasted nuts and cherries. Allow to cool and store in an airtight container. This will keep well in a cool, dry place for a few weeks.
*The recipe can be successfully doubled or quadrupled, depending on how many people you’d like to feed.
**Other ideas for mix-ins: cashews, dried apricots, orange zest or cinnamon, hazelnuts, and semi-sweet chocolate chips (add chocolate only after mixture has completely cooled)