Welcome to the New Year! Doesn't it feel good! Like anything can happen? Like you might actually get to sleep 8 hours, in a row! Like you might be able to have clothes that both fit and stay clean all day long. Like the end of a fussy period has ended and tantrums are a thing of yesteryear. I love this feeling. It won't stay around forever, so I am trying to grab onto it for as long as I can. Ahhhh..come back here feelings of all calmness and order.....
It feels like so long since we talked, I am not even sure where to start -
**There were the holidays with drinking and eating and presents and more drinking followed by some cookie making and then eating again. I hope you participated in this years festivities as much as I did. Ellie is just old enough to start to wrap her head around the idea of Santa and then I went and phrased it as 'So Santa is this old man with a big white beard who is going to come into our house in the middle of the night...' the look of fright was priceless and I knew I was about to lose her forever so I finished with 'and he is GOING TO LEAVE PRESENTS!!! FOR YOU!....YAY!' enter some jazzy-jazz hands and some cheerleader claps and she was on board. So santa came, presents were opened and all the cookies somehow got eaten.
**I started losing my hair in big handfuls . . . again! It happened with both of my post-pregnancy awesomeness. I mean really? Like gaining and then trying to lose all of the baby weight isn't enough, I have to lose almost half of my hair as well.. insert emoji with hands shaking to heaven! So I am now rocking a comb over. It's rreeeeeaalllllyyy fancy looking. I mean as fancy as any comb over can get. Must start a new page on pinterest for short bob haircuts....sniff sniff.
**I signed a book deal, and there is that!! My BIG news!!! Like a real book deal, a book with pages made of real paper, a cover, spine, a back, the whole shebang. It will be something that you will be able to buy in a bookstore. In May! That is 1-2-3-4-5 months away, as I count on my fingers. 5 months and you can own your own copy of my book! It is taking me some time to wrap my head around this, or that might be the abundant amount of wine that is still in my system, but this project is pretty much rocking my world! And is leaving me with some pretty intense anxiety hives!! Deep breathes.The best part is that there is a ton of toddler recipes in there - over 80! This part has been so fun for me to work on and has given me so much confidence in finding my voice in making yummy toddler meals that the entire family can eat. Count on a lot of toddler and family meals posted soon. So besides the usual holiday party food we have also been doing a lot of recipe testing for that book that my waistline will confirm is going very well but let's just say that I gave up today and put back on my pregnancy jeans again, hummmff.
Now that we have covered all the important topics - drinking, hair and books, let's move onto this amazing granola recipe. I have had this one sitting in my pocket for awhile now, and decided to finally share it with you all. If you can't tell, I am pretty much the biggest granola enthusiast out there. I looooveee it, would be an understatement. This love has transferred over to Ellie because we have both been caught sticking our hands in the granola jar on several occasions, and yes we have been caught with our hands in the cookie jar as well but that is another topic altogether.
A morning that starts with a big ol' bowl filled with fruit, yogurt and homemade granola is going to be a good day. Oh, don't forget the coffee. Coffee is key for any morning success. For it to be an exceptionally good day it has be homemade granola. Because why and how can they charge over $5 a bag for gourmet granola? I am beyond puzzled by this. It's oats, which is the cheapest thing in the bulk section, some nuts and maybe if you are lucky some dried fruit. Easy and simple. Nothing that is tipping the scale on rare and exotic in any of those items.
I always always make granola not when I run out or as needed, because let's face it I never let myself run out, but when my pantry is in a chaotic mess of plastic bulk bags that are falling out and spilling every time I open the cabinet door, swearing that I will someday get a good system for my bulk bin addiction. I then dump them all onto my kitchen counter and sort through the different nuts, seeds and dried fruit into different piles that will taste amazing together, or good enough, and start my granola making party. The pre-party is usually a party for one, so I pump the jam box up and mix away until the smell is so unbelievable that the entire family is gathering in the kitchen waiting not so patiently for the granola to cool.
The great thing about this recipe is that you can completely customize it with any ingredients you have on hand. Add any 2 3/4 cups of add-ins that you have and this granola will knock your socks off. Don't worry about getting just the right combo, just be okay with the just right for right now combo. Because most of the time the combinations that leave you scratching your head, shrugging your shoulders and wondering what you are thinking turn out the best. And if that is wayyyyy too open ended for you, go to the bulk section and get what is listed below because that combo is a nut winner.
It's time to get granola making.
The prep with this recipe is beyond easy, and will take you approximately 0.4 seconds to make. It goes like this -
1- Toss all ingredients into a bowl
4- Let Cool, snacking on the big chunks is totally required
5- Sprinkle on top of some yogurt
6- Sit on the kitchen floor with your toddler and stuff animal of choice, eat and enjoy.
That's it. I know you have time for that! Baked to a golden brown with big chunks that will be the prize to whomever can get their little fingers on them first, this granola recipe will be your families go to all time favorite.
You've Gone Nuts Granola
2 cups organic old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup raw organic pistachios, hulled and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup raw organic sunflower seeds, hulled
1/2 cup organic pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup organic cashew pieces
1/2 cup sliced or slivered organic almonds
1/4 cup flax seeds
1/3 cup organic maple syrup
1/4 cup organic olive oil
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp sea salt or any good quality salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1- Heat oven to 300F. Spray baking sheet (one sheet per batch) with olive oil or cooking spray.
2- In a large bowl, combine oats, pistachios, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, cashews, almonds, flax seeds, maple syrup, olive oil, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Mix until everything is nice and coated.
3- Place ingredients on baking sheet in an even layer and bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes and rotating baking sheet.
4-Take the granola out of oven and let cool. If you want a chunky granola do not stir after taking out of oven, if you want a loose granola, stir and then let cool.
Serving Tip: If using dried fruit, make sure to add it after you have baked and let cool the granola. This will ensure that the fruit stays nice and soft.
Store in air-tight container for up to 3 months.