November 28, 2014 Leave your thoughts
Hi everyone! My apologies for again being on hiatus for the past few weeks…I’m trying to think of what I was busy with, but I don’t have a good excuse, so I’ll just say I was preoccupied with back bends and making Proust questionnaires (which I renamed “Dates and Figs”) for my friends.
In any case, I hope you all had a wonderful, (somewhat) relaxing Thanksgiving filled with food, family, and friends. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to go to Paris like I did last year (next year, though, is a different story), but I had an absolutely lovely meal at home with my parents. I cooked everything myself, and thankfully, everything turned out deliciously.
For the turkey, we got a heritage breed bird from our friends at Saugatuck Craft Butchery, which I spatchcocked (or butterflied) by hand and dry-brined with salt, pepper, fresh sage, thyme, and allspice for 24 hours, then roasted with onions, carrots, celery, garlic, and white wine in a super hot oven for an hour and fifteen minutes. It was beautiful–crispy, golden-brown skin all over–and both the white meat and dark meat were moist and flavorful. I’m thinking it’s the best turkey we’ve ever had, if I do say so myself.
For side dishes, I made a cornbread stuffing with chestnuts, onions, apples, and celery (of course I made the cornbread myself), an orange cherry-cranberry sauce with shallots, roasted brussel sprouts and purple potatoes, and a tasty gravy with homemade turkey stock and the pan drippings.
And what would Thanksgiving be without a pumpkin-flavored dessert? I made a pumpkin cheesecake with a graham cracker crust…and yes, I made those graham crackers from scratch. Worth it? YES YES YES. Yum.
I am so thankful for all of the incredible food we shared. I would have preferred to have spent Thanksgiving with no one other than my mom and dad.
You might think I’m completely sick of cooking at this point (I’ve probably spent upwards of 12 hours in the kitchen over the course of the past two days), but no. I’ll be back in there today whipping up another batch of this almond butter and cranberry granola, which we can never seem to keep for very long around my house.
Sweet, crunchy, and nutty, this granola is perfect for throwing in yogurt or topping a smoothie bowl. I love when it forms clusters and you just bite down into a mouthful of cinnamon and almond.
Me personally, I love oats. There’s something about their flavor and texture that is just so appealing…I don’t know what it is. They seem to go so well with everything, especially with the tartness of the dried cranberries and slight hint of vanilla I put in this recipe.
If you’ve been buying granola from the store, STOP. NOW. Making granola at home is a breeze, and besides, you can control everything that goes in it, greatly reducing the sugar content and removing all of the crappy additives you often find (glycerin, anyone?). Simply preheat the oven to 350 degrees, mix together the dry ingredients in a bowl…
…heat the wet ingredients together to melt them…
…pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients, mix to combine, and spread on a parchment-lined baking sheet…
…and bake until golden-brown and crispy! Just top with cranberries when it comes out of the oven and dig in.
This recipe is also very easy to adapt, too. If you can’t do oats, substitute them with raw buckwheat groats and/or more almond slivers or other nuts. If you can’t do almonds (or nuts), substitute them with sunflower seed butter and either pepitas or sunflower seeds. If you want to reduce the sugar content even more, feel free to scale back a little on the coconut sugar and maple syrup–just don’t eliminate them altogether, because that would be absolutely disgusting.
Yield A lot of granola
5 cups of gluten-free rolled oats
1-2 cups of blanched almond slivers (optional)
1/4 cup of coconut sugar (or unrefined cane sugar)
1 tablespoon of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/4 cup of coconut oil
1/3 cup of maple syrup
1/2 cup of smooth, unsalted almond butter
1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
1 teaspoon of almond extract
1/2-3/4 cup of unsweetened dried cranberries
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a large rimmed baking sheet with coconut oil.
In a large bowl, mix together the rolled oats, almond slivers (if you’re using them), coconut sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside while you mix together the wet ingredients.
In a small saucepan, combine the coconut oil, maple syrup, and smooth almond butter. Turn the heat to medium-low and whisk together until the coconut oil has completely melted.
Remove from the heat and add the vanilla and almond extracts.
Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir everything together with a spatula. Make sure you don’t break up too many clumps–granola clusters are the best part.
Spread the granola onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Stir, then bake for another 10-15 minutes, stirring every few minutes to ensure even browning.The granola is done when it is golden brown and firm to the touch.
Immediately upon removing the granola from the oven, sprinkle it with the dried cranberries and let it cool completely before serving. Yes, that means don’t eat it all as soon as it comes out of the oven. Because I may or may not have done that.
Pictured above: one of my favorite smoothie bowls, an acai-banana-cacao bowl with the granola, goji berries, hemp seeds, and cacao nibs. 😀
What is your favorite flavor of granola? Leave me a comment here or on Facebook and let me know!