There’s a cluster of things I feel holy about which are totally earthy and wholly temporary – except that they speak truths to me about immeasurable joy. Baking is on my short list.
Granola making stirs up stories which waft through the kitchen like steaming cinnamon when ever I get out the wide spongeware bowl and reach for the oats. Each part of the process calls me back to different moments that collect to flavor my days.
My granola-love started in Kristen’s kitchen. When I was a new mother, my daughter and I found a Community Bible Study in our area, and I taught in their children’s ministry. As a teacher, I earned free curriculum for the wee one, and was invited to sit in on the group leader’s weekly meeting which happened at Kristen’s. She was our area Teaching Director and the Jesus loving Mother Earth of my little world. And she made granola.
Kristen’s granola sat in a giant blown glass jar, corked shut on her perfect 80’s kitchen counter. It was cuddled by crocks filled with baking staples and ingredients that her school-aged kids could help themselves to. And the kids weren’t the only ones dipping in for a fistful.
Without fanfare, granola was wed to secret dreams of the woman I hoped I was becoming – smart, wise, spiritually sensitive, and welcoming. And with it, smells, tastes and intentions baked into my “normal”. That’s how it goes. Tasks and rituals become unimpeachable practices that make us smile and say, “that’s just how it’s done”. Ask why, and you’ll find your reasons are macerated in your stories.
There has been a jar of granola in all of my kitchens for 25 years. When I was dieting, it had no oil. When I was a vegetarian, it had extra nut protein. And when I was flush, it had vanilla bean seeds. Today’s batch is my take on Angela Liddon’s recipe in Oh She Glows Everyday, which you may want to add to your Christmas list immediately! I love her powerhouse combination of nuts, oats, seeds, almond butter (really) and my sweetener of choice, NH made maple syrup.
But those are just ingredients. Granola says much more to me.
❤️ Choosing a new recipe to try or grabbing a fall-back shows me the wisdom of staying open-minded.
❤️ Measuring oats reminds me of raising toddlers because they love that part.
❤️ Deciding which sweetener I’ll use, whether it’s brown sugar, honey, or maple, whispers to me of every income bracket we’ve ever passed in and out of – a far from linear excursion.
❤️ Splurging on ingredients like dried blueberries and cherries from Trader Joe’s does not alter the core recipe that never asked to be dressed up. Even expensive dried fruits turn to rocks when left in granola – so add them at serving time, no matter what the recipe tells you.
❤️ Finally (although it never stops talking), granola says that lean living makes us extrasensory, and every joy is enhanced when it comes after waiting.
At this tradition-laden time of year, when it’s common to pull out the grease stained index cards scrawled with family secrets, it feels like home to me to NOT bake a Christmas recipe. Next week there will be Buckeyes (yes, Julia, there is a Santa Clause), Swedish Cardamom Braid, just in time for the 25th, and maybe even Risgrøt for David….
….but today the tall glass jar in the kitchen got replenished with holy wholesome granola. A recipe that’s decades deep. Wedged between coffee and cookbooks, spooning up with moments of truth.
Google Angela Liddon’s granola recipes and you’ll see she has a lot of favorites!
This One , dubbed The Last Granola Recipe at TheFauxMartha.com
looks incredible too and riffs off Megan Gordon’s Recipe,and you know how I love her Whole Grain Mornings.
The recipe I love lately is in Oh She Glows Everyday, and is not available online,
so you may just have to go get the book!
Don’t let the secret ingredient throw you – it makes the whole thing work.
I generally use Ghirardelli 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate chips to cut the sweetness a tad.
On Christmas Eve, Norwegians eat this porridge hot with cinnamon and butter for dessert, and on
Christmas day, the cold version is folded with whipped cream and served with raspberry puree. Really.
Oh. My. Goodness. Try this even if you aren’t Swedish. I won’t tell.