It’s just beginning to show the signs of spring here in Shanghai. The cherry trees have a slight pink haze to them, and the roadside stands are starting to stock different fruits. .

The other morning, it was downright pleasant outside, and to celebrate, Walker and I decided to have breakfast on our porch. We were looking for a calm morning, basking in the beginning of the Spring sun, with maybe a game of Scrabble thrown in. What could be more pleasant than a bowl of yogurt with some fresh fruit?

Adding granola, that’s what.

Well lucky for me, I’d made some granola the morning before as I was running out the door for work. It was still too warm to enjoy that morning and I was rushing in, so I left it there to cool. My work schedule is such that I don’t usually get home until late, so when Walker got home before me, he discovered the granola. I then got the following text message: “This granola is fing awesome!” Keeping it classy, Walker, keeping it classy. Though a girl does appreciate a compliment [on her granola] every once in a while. I hadn’t had any yet, and I couldn’t stop thinking about that granola.

However, I have to admit that with all the foresight of making granola the day before, my fruit selection was not the same. And in my mid-morning laziness, I didn’t get out to those fruit stands brimming with fresh strawberries. Instead I used up the bananas that were looking at me funny from over there on the counter, when I had thought I’d make banana bread, and then got side tracked by life.

But this granola recipe is fast and easy, and considerably healthier than the granola you can buy at stores, or let’s face it, the vast majority of granola recipes out there. This uses unsweetened apple sauce instead of large quantities of oil, and tastes all the better for it. I’ve been taking it in to work for snacks all week and munching on it on the way to work.



Granola

Makes about 2 pounds
Adapted from Feast, by Nigella Lawson, via David Lebovitz
5 cups (450g) multi-grain flakes or old-fashioned rolled oats
3 cups (375g) almonds, coarsely chopped
1 cup (125g) sunflower seeds
3/4 cup (100g) untoasted sesame seeds
1/2 cup (120g) packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon dried ground ginger
1 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 cup (180g) unsweetened applesauce (or another unsweetened fruit puree)
1/3 cup (100g) maple syrup
1/4 cup (80g) honey
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Preparation

1. Preheat the oven to 300F (150C). In a very large bowl, mix together the flaked grains or oats, almonds, sunflower and sesame seeds, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and salt.

2. In a small saucepan, warm the fruit puree with the maple syrup, honey, and oil.

3. Mix the fruit mixture into the dry ingredients until thoroughly dispersed, then divide and spread the mixture evenly on two jelly roll pans.

4. Bake the granola for about 45 minutes, stirring every ten minutes, until the granola is deep golden brown.

5. Remove from oven, then cool completely. Store the granola in a large, airtight container. It will keep for up to one month.

Critic’s Wild Misuse of Granola

The other night after a particularly long day at work, Walker and I just wanted to crash at home. We made oatmeal for dinner. I usually add brown sugar, he usually adds  brown sugar and honey. But this time, he decided he was going to add granola to his oatmeal.

For all of you out there who are thinking to yourselves “Hey, that sounds like a pretty good idea! That Walker is a smart fella!” You all didn’t read that ingredient list very closely, did you? It’s okay. I’ll remind you.

Oats. And what happens when we add moisture to oats (as demonstrated when we made oatmeal not a minute before)? They get soft.

After he had finished his dinner of oatmeal with granola, he said “It was good. But I think the granola has gone stale.”

No, not stale. It’s still been parfait for my morning parfaits. He had just softened it by adding hot liquid. This granola will keep without going stale for about a month in an air tight container. You know, if you don’t add it to your oatmeal.

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