Coconut Granola

When I go for a run in the morning, music is a necessity. I try to pick songs that make me want to dance, which is my way of tricking myself into thinking that this repetitive straight forward motion is akin to dancing and it feels great!

I take playlists seriously. Like really seriously. I intentionally put a totally rad jam on at key time markers – like around 20 minutes in, when I know I’ll be deciding whether to make it a long or short run, I’ll bust out Bootylicious. (I’m going through a 90’s nostalgic phase right now.)

But a lot of the time, good music isn’t enough to keep me occupied for 50-60 minutes. (Ok, 45 minutes.) I need things to think about, figure out and bounce around in my brain.

Some days are inevitably more interesting than others. I’ll plan what I’m going to wear out to dinner that night, try to come up with an idea for a blog post, or suddenly realize that Aretha Franklin is totally my spirit animal…or maybe it’s Hugh Grant when he’s dancing in Love Actually. Can a movie scene of an Englishman dancing be a spirit animal? I mean, why not?

Bam. I just ran 4 miles.

Most of the time I just think about food. What I’m going to cook for dinner today or tomorrow, and what I want for breakfast.

There are few things better than having a good workout behind you and digging into a big bowl of fruit and yogurt with a sprinkling of crunchy, slightly sweet homemade granola. That’s treating yourself right.

I’ve been dreaming about an extra coconutty, honey-sweetened granola for a while now and the other day during a run, I decided that was the day to do it.

I didn’t put any dried fruit in this granola because we’re coming into mango season in Sydney, and that’s pretty much all I want with my oats these days.

But if you’d like to add some dried fruit to yours, mix it in after your granola is baked and cooling. I used both coconut flakes and shredded coconut for extra coconuttiness and flavor…which might be a little obsessive. Feel free to omit one or the other, based on what you have at home.

Make some granola this weekend, you deserve it!

COCONUT GRANOLA

adapted from Two Peas in Their Pod

2 cups old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup coconut flakes
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup pepitas
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup honey (warmed so that it’s more liquid-like)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Heat the oven to 300 F/150 C. Line parchment paper and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine oats, coconut, pecans, pepitas, sunflower seeds, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. In a small bowl, whisk together coconut oil, honey and vanilla. Pour liquid mixture over dry ingredients. Stir until dry ingredients are well-coated.

Pour the granola mixture onto the prepared baking sheet. Spread granola into an even layer. Bake for 30 minutes or until granola is golden brown, stirring every 10 minutes. Let granola cool completely. Store in an air-tight container for up to 1 month.

Makes about 4 cups of granola.

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Peanut Butter and Date Granola

Let’s talk about peer pressure.

I think it gets a bad rap. I’m actually a big fan of peer pressure.

It doesn’t always involve doing something potentially dangerous or bad. Sometimes your friends just persuade you to do something different that turns out to be a great idea.

Like an impromptu road trip to suburban New Jersey. Sure, that doesn’t sounds particularly enticing, but when there’s home cooking, puppies, and sweatpants (NOT velour ones) at the end of that drive, it’s pretty hard to see a downside.

There are only so many times that I can read about sweet or savory crunchy, creative, and satisfying homemade granola before I feel a pull to my kitchen. All of the sudden, I’m reaching for the oats and getting down to it.

I’m chalking the urge to make my own granola up to food blogger peer pressure. It’s not that I’m anti-granola, it’s just that I’ve been in a natural muesli phase for a couple of years now. Not that that’s a real excuse.

Anyway, a peanut butter twist sealed the deal, and the result was a happy one.

A subtly sweet, nutty, crunchy granola made with natural sugars and organic oats hit all the marks. Thanks, peer pressure!
I feel a granola phase coming on…

Can’t wait to make some savory granola next.

Peanut Butter and Date Granola
Inspired by this and this and this

- 1 cup of old fashioned rolled oats
– 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
– 1/2 cup wheat germ
– 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
– 2 tablespoons pepitas
– 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
– 1/2 cup peanut butter (I go for crunchy, but that’s a personal choice)
– 1/3 cup honey
– 1/2 cup dates
– 1 teaspoon water

Preheat oven to 150 C/300 F

Combine your oats, coconut, wheat germ, sunflower seeds , pepitas and sunflower seeds in a large bowl.

Place dates in a food processor with a teaspoon of water and puree until a paste forms.

Heat honey and peanut butter together in a medium saucepan over a low heat until just melted together. Remove from heat.

Pour oat mixture into the peanut butter and honey and stir until all the oats are coated.

Add date paste and mix until well combined.

Spread the mixture on a baking sheet.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so, until deep golden. It’s ok if the mixture is still a little sticky at the end of that time, it will dry out. Let granola cool on the baking tray.

Store in an air-tight container for up to a week.