The Story Behind this Post
I know, not another food blog, right? Wrong! This will remain a blog about illustrating, I promise. But I’ve had a couple of people on instagram ask me for recipes of the food I’ve made, and I thought this afternoon that it would be fun to post recipes every now and again. Would this be something you’d be interested in? Food (preparing it, reading about it, taking stock of it, preserving it, and growing it) is a huge part of my creative process. Being in the kitchen using my hands helps me to process my illustration work in an indirect way—a much less stressful way. Strange though it sounds, I probably even feel more confident in the kitchen than at my drawing desk. In actual fact, I’ve probably put in more hours preparing food than making art, when you consider all the breakfasts, lunches, dinners and desserts in a lifetime. And most important of all, eating healthily at home, for me, is a requisite to being productive and accomplishing all the things I want and need to do during the day. Those who know me know I am an utter basket-case if I’m not eating properly. I don’t think I’m alone in this. And there’s my reasoning for why posting recipes on this blog is relevant.
The Story Behind the Recipe
I have no idea where I got this recipe from and I’m sorry I can’t credit it. In fact, most of my recipes are scrawled out when I’m pouring over books and the internet searching for my perfect idea of a thing. This means that the recipes I write down are a conglomerate of several—a little bit I liked from one recipe and a little bit I liked from another. I have an inkling this may have been mainly from the blog Orangette but I have a distinct recollection of sitting at the coffee table in Port Union, Newfoundland on a sunny, wintry morning, sifting through recipes just so I could turn the oven on for some heat.
In any case, making granola is a big reward with very little effort. Grocery store granola tastes like either sawdust or cardboard mixed in with a whole lot of sugar. And it’s not cheap! This takes 10 minutes to make, plus the 15-20 in the oven. Also, use whatever’s in your cupboard! I like to go to the Bulk Barn, buy things on sale that I imagine would make a good granola, and then it’s always there when I need it. I’m giving you the bones of the recipe, and then you can have fun adding what you like.
4-5 cups oats
1 cup sliced almonds, pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts, cashews or a combination (I like a combo of whatever I have)
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup canola oil (or flax, or a light-tasting olive oil or whatever you have)
1/2 cup honey or a combination of honey and maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla essence (for god-sakes not the fake stuff)
1/2 cup pepitas (which is the Spanish culinary term for pumpkin seed)
1/2 – 3/4 cup dried cranberries, raisons, slivered apricots, dates or other dried fruit or combination
Preheat oven to 325F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper (I have these silicone sheets that are wonderful for it. I use two baking sheets instead of 1, to get a thin layer of granola which speeds up cooking time).
In a large bowl, mix oats, nuts, coconut, cinnamon, and salt. In a small bowl, stir together oil, honey (or honey/maple syrup combo), and vanilla. Pour over oat mixture and stir to get it all well coated.
Spread evenly on baking sheet(s). Bake for around 20 minutes depending on your oven, until golden. Keep an eye on it because when it’s almost done it’ll get brown quickly. Half-way through I give the granola a stir so things get browned evenly.
Remove from oven, let cool slightly. Stir in pumpkin seeds, and dried fruit.
Cool completely and store in pretty mason jars!
**On my piece of recipe paper, I have written down in the ingredients section “1/2 cup brown sugar” but I had scratched it out and wrote “not necessary” due to the fact that it already has 1/2 cup of honey/syrup. Use your discretion but I really recommend not using it as I find the sugar really burns everything too far and the honey or maple syrup is just enough. **