Feeling Crunchy? Make Granola!

This weekend, Virginia gave us a taste of summer. When temperatures started climbing, I got my butt out the door to enjoy the ever-increasing hours of daylight. The general warmup has inspired me to go to the river several times already this year. The appearance of local spring vegetables and the blooming of flowers all around me remind me of what’s to come.

Summer will be here before we know it, and if today’s weather (at highs in the upper eighties) is any indication, it’s coming early this year. The warm temperatures always make me want to come out of hibernation and do spring and summery things, so I have been having a wonderful time in the great outdoors. Last week, I went to the river in the late afternoon to read a good book and catch some rays before sunset.

Today, I rode my new bike for the first time! My old bike was a great starter bicycle, and I got good use out of it over the last year or so, but I recently decided I was ready for an upgrade. I bought a Torker Graduate a few weeks ago from Carytown Bicycle Co. and I finally went on a short ride today to test it out. I met up with Adrienne and Liz to ride from Ellwood Thompson’s to Byrd Park. I had a great time and so far I love my new bike. I can’t wait to log some more miles though and really get a feel for it. I want to ride so much that I get to know my bike so well that it feels like an extension of my body. That would be really badass, right? I hope to someday be that legit.

Maybe it’s all the time in the great outdoors that made me want to make granola this week. Hiking, biking, gardening, hanging out at the river. . . it turns you crunchy if you weren’t already there. Lately I have been reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, and it makes me want to cook and bake everything from scratch. The nice warm weather has me yearning for summery flavors, like mango and coconut.

If you are ready for your fix of summer, or if you just want a great snack for hitting the trails, this homemade granola is very easy and inexpensive to make. This mango coconut variation on my basic granola recipe feels tropical and tastes sweet and delicious. It stands up well to milk to make a cold cereal, and it works wonderfully in a parfait. I layered my mango coconut granola with vanilla yogurt and sliced bananas for an afternoon snack, and I almost felt like I had been transported to an island.

If mango coconut isn’t your thing, try out my basic granola recipe and substitute your own mix-ins. I think my next batch will feature dried cherries and chocolate chips. Yum!

Mango Coconut Granola

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/4 cup unsalted sunflower seeds
  • 2 Tbsp golden flax seeds, fresh ground
  • 1/8 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp coconut extract
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup dried mangos (unsweetened, diced, and dehydrated- I used the Bare Fruit variety)

Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Combine the oats, coconut, almonds, sunflower seeds, and ground flax seeds in a medium-sized mixing bowl.
  3. Combine oil, honey, and brown sugar over medium heat in a small sauce pan. Bring to a simmer then remove from the heat and whisk to combine.
  4. Carefully pour the oil-honey-sugar mixture over the granola and stir to combine. Add vanilla and coconut extracts, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt and toss all ingredients together.
  5. Pour the granola mixture onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Use a wooden spoon to spread it into an even layer.
  6. Bake in preheated oven for 8-10 minutes, then stir to turn over and return to oven for 8-10 additional minutes at 325 degrees F. Granola should be golden brown when finished; remember to take it out before it gets too crispy or it will taste burnt! For a color guide, see my original granola post.

Mango Coconut Granola Parfait

For a tasty and refreshing parfait, simply layer your favorite yogurt with mango coconut granola and fresh sliced banana, mango, or the fruit of your choice. This works great for a nutritious breakfast or snack that will stick with you throughout your day.

Here’s to more sunny days to come!

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “Feeling Crunchy? Make Granola!

  1. So glad the graduate and The Graduate finally got some time together! Keep fueling with quality carbs!

    • I had a nice ride after work today too before the sun went down. I never noticed the rolling hills in Forest Hill and Woodland Heights before I had to climb up (and cruise down) them on a bike!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s