I was a hot mess with a nasty cold this weekend, so while I spent much of the past few days in a hoodie, yoga tights, and slippers. The extent of my exercise included carrying two gigantic pumpkins across a parking lot from the store to my trunk. It left me breathless and no joke, my arms are sore. Not wanting to waste the fall sunshine, I ate hot cereal (I know I’m not the only one who craves childhood comfort food when I’m sick) on the front stoop while Nik raked and mowed our lawn.
It was GORGEOUS outside and it pained me to sit on the sidelines (not from lawn care, from running only), but I suspected trying to run would find me either miles from home and totally pooped or back in bed for days by compounding exercise and a compromised immune system, or both.
Between naps, I spent quite a bit of time in the kitchen using up the last of some groceries and getting stocked up for the week ahead with giant batches of croutons (so much leftover Italian bread!), raspberry applesauce, chicken tortilla soup, guacamole, and two trays of granola. I squeezed the heck out of the oranges I zested for my granola recipe for fresh juice, hoping to feel well enough to enjoy more than just the Red Sox victory very early Sunday morning.
Because it is Monday and I’m a firm believer in breakfast being the most important meal of the day — I never skip it, neverever — I thought I’d share the granola recipe that has won my heart. It’s from my favorite and most reliable cookbook: super natural every day by Heidi Swanson. The recipe isn’t transposed verbatim, but it works for me.
4 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 cups walnut halves
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 tsp. sea salt
2/3 cup dried fruit (dried cherries are my favorite, but this week I used cranberries. The recipe calls for currants)
Grated zest of 2 oranges, plus a good squeeze of each
1/3 cup melted butter
1/3 cup good maple syrup (the recipe calls for 1/2 cup, but that’s too much for me. I get some added liquid by squeezing the oranges)
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Set out two rimmed baking sheets. Combine oats, nuts, coconut, sea salt, fruit, and zest in a large bowl. Heat butter in a small sauce pan over low heat until melted. Stir in syrup and whisk until thoroughly combined. Pour butter/syrup mixture into the oat mixture and stir gently to combine, at least 30 seconds, until everything is coated. Divide the mixture onto each of the rimmed baking sheets, spread in a thin layer. Bake 40 to 50 minutes until granola is deeply golden and toasted. Stir a few times and rotate the pans halfway through, if you’d like. Cool completely and store in an airtight container. Makes about 8 cups.