Somehow, I manage to end up at academic institutions attended by failed presidential hopefuls and enough closet hippies to swing the political bent to the more extreme side of the left.
Despite my surroundings, I've always felt a little detached from it all. It's not that I'm not a political liberal [I am] but I'm too pessimistic to entertain the possibility of living peacefully with nature in communes, or decimating political structures and nurturing anarchy. The extreme idealism required to actually advocate such ideas becomes, for me, kind of like that socially awkward and annoying "friend" you have that you stopped extending your sympathies to and inviting out because you just find yourself consistently embarrassed at being associated with them. And it honestly doesn't help when said "friend" doesn't believe in using deodorant.
But that doesn't mean I don't love granola.
Slightly sweet, crunchy clumps of oats, nuts, seeds, and dried fruit are a favorite way to start a morning. Too bad the hippie in me refuses to actually purchase the stuff at the store. My budget can't justify spending $6 or more for a small bag of granola, and besides, I can make it in bulk for the same amount of money.
Which is almost a problem; how much granola can one girl eat, after all? But just when temperatures start to dip, and apple season has me looking around for an excuse to bake, a few willing
guinea pigs friends on bicycles show up from NYC. And cobbling together inspiration and a previously-tested recipe, I'll turn on the oven and get to work, mixing and baking a batch of the good stuff.
Sprinkled over some greek-style yogurt or eaten right out of the tupperware container, it's an equally perfect breakfast or [pre-ride] snack. It'll make your entire apartment smell like apple pie but isn't as cloyingly sweet as the kind you might buy at the store. It's also one of the easiest things I've shoved into my oven.
The resulting mix of oaty deliciousness fueled one friend through a 'cross race, another through a mellow ride to Dover, and me through class, homework, and all the drama that comes with law school.
And if that's not enough for you, it's totally NYC Velo certified, too.
[Like most homemade granola, this doesn't produce the incredibly crunchy kind of granola, nor is it very sweet by itself. The dried fruit provides most of the sweetness, but you can always just up the maple syrup or brown sugar factor. I'm also not a huge fan of sunflower seeds or shredded coconut so I kept the recipe fairly basic; but granola recipes are incredibly forgiving so feel free to add/replace your favorite seeds/nuts.]
Ingredients: 5 cups rolled oats 3 tablespoons ground flax seed 2 teaspoons cinnamon 2 tablespoons brown sugar 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup slivered almonds [I used raw but roasted is fine] 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons maple syrup 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 1 1/2 cups dried cranberries and raisins
Directions: 1. Preheat the oven to 350C and line two cookie sheets with aluminum foil or parchment paper. 2. Mix the oats, flax seed, cinnamon, brown sugar, salt, and almonds [and any other nuts/seeds] in a large bowl. 3. In another bowl, mix the applesauce, vanilla extract, maple syrup, and oil. 4. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry. 5. Spread the mixture out onto the cookie sheets. This is when clusters form so be careful not to break it up too much. 6. Bake, carefully stirring every 10 minutes, for 20-30min, or until it seems to have dried out. 7. Cool in the pans before adding in the dried fruit [alternatively, you can just throw in the dried fruit immediately before you devour the stuff].
[Store in an airtight container or in the refrigerator.]