TGBTS Recipe Edition! Best Damn Granola – EVER {Guest Post!}

Our return from Taiwan was even sweeter because of how our dear friends took care of our food needs.  Vanessa was one of our many friends who kept us well-fed in those first few blurry, jet-lagged weeks.
Here’s Vanessa to share the recipe for the best damn granola ever.
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With the news that the newest member of the Hackbarth-Brewer household would soon be arriving, loved ones couldn’t wait to stock the family with all things baby:  clothes, toys, books, furniture, good wishes, advice.  And food.  Lots of it!  Every new family needs it, but in the first few weeks with a new baby, who has time to chop carrots when there are songs to be learned and long walks to be taken?

Tami’s fellow yogi, Madeleine, rallied friends to sign up on Mealtrain, a website that helps organize meal-making and delivery.  Safe home from Taiwan with Sacramento’s newest resident in tow, Tami and Jed began receiving deliveries of hot, nourishing meals from friends eager to feed them lentil soup, black bean soup, chicken soup, hearty chili– all foods to fuel the new parents through jet lag and diaper changes and a new life with the sweet babe.

I couldn’t wait to get in on the action, but living more than an hour away, I wasn’t going to be able to casually drop off a casserole.  So I looked toward less perishable options and immediately thought of one of my favorite recipes, a slightly tweaked version of the very best granola ever, which is handmade by Early Bird Foods in Brooklyn.  It’s a delicious play of sweet against salty, made luscious by a generous hit of olive oil.  There’s plenty of room to adjust the ingredients to your taste by, say, leaving out the sunflower seeds and adding in a cup of chopped almonds instead.  If you want to add in dried fruit like currants or chopped apricots, wait for the last 20 minutes of cooking so they don’t get too dried out.

You might look at the amount of olive oil, maple syrup, and brown sugar and think you can save a few calories or fat grams by using less, but don’t do that.  Their proportion (along with the salt) is what gives the granola its magical addictiveness.  Eat the granola with yogurt or milk or as an ice cream topping, or do what Tami does and use it to top cooked apples.  Usually I just eat it by the handful, pausing occasionally to lick the salt off my fingers.

Ruby (and Tami) helped me whip up another batch of granola this week.  From the looks of it, I’d say there’s a new cook in the family!

Bon appétit to Ruby and her mom and dad!

Welcome Home Granola

3 cups rolled oats (not baby oats or the quick-cooking kind)
1 cup raw, shelled sunflower seeds
1 cup raw, shelled pumpkin seeds (also known as pepitas)
1 1/4 cups coconut flakes (the thick, wide ones, sometimes called coconut chips)
1 1/4 cups raw, chopped pecans
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (something bold and fruity is preferable)
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup pure maple syrup (any grade is fine so long as it’s real maple syrup)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup raw cocoa nibs

Preheat oven to 325ºF.

Combine all the ingredients except the cocoa nibs in a large bowl and mix them together to coat everything evenly.  Spread the granola out on a large, rimmed baking sheet.  Bake for 40-50 minutes, carefully stirring the granola every 10 minutes;  pay special attention to keep the edges from burning.  During the last 10 minutes of cooking, stir in the cocoa nibs.

The granola should be uniformly light brown when it is done. Remove from oven and allow to cool thoroughly.  Taste and add a little more salt if you like.  Store in an airtight container.

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Questions? Comments? Love for V3 or me?

Do you have any recipes or favorite {dairy free} foods to share?

granola

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