Oatmeal is delicious. Warm, sweet, and gooey - especially in the fall and winter - but I can't handle too much gooey. It sets off my gag reflex, and as much as I love the brown-sugary goodness, I just can't choke down more than a few bites of oatmeal-textured oatmeal.
Enter Granola. I always top every bowl of oatmeal with handful of granola. Suddenly my tasty oatmeal is gooey, chewy, crunchy and perfect. Like a delicious cookie.
What a perfect breakfast.
As we are midway through pumpkin-flavored-everything season, I decided to make some granola last week using up a bit of my pureed pumpkin.*
slightly adapted from Two Peas and their Pod
5 cups Rolled Oats
1 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
1/8 tsp Cloves
1/4 tsp Ginger
3/4 tsp Salt
3/4 cup Brown Sugar
1/4 cup Apple Sauce
1/4 cup Maple Syrup
1/2 cup Pumpkin Puree
1 tsp Vanilla
3/4 cup Dried Cranberries
1/2 cup mixed nuts (I used 1/4 each of walnuts and almonds, though you could definitely add pumpkin seeds - I just like them savory, not sweet*)
1. Combine oats and spices in one bowl. In another whisk together brown sugar and other wet ingredients.
2. Pour wet mixture over oats and mix well. Spread on to a parchment-covered baking sheet.
3. Bake 35-40 minutes at 325 degrees, stirring once - until granola is golden and crisp.
4. After the granola is cooked, mix in craisins and nuts. Store in an airtight container (Mine are in a gallon ziplock).
Granola is easy to make. Really easy. I had no idea.
And this particular granola is a really tasty snack, or delicious served with milk, yogurt, or oatmeal.
Especially pumpkin oatmeal! Ready for my pumpkin oatmeal recipe?
Make Oatmeal. Add a giant spoonful of pumpkin puree to your bowl, sprinkle with pumpkin pie spices, and sweeten with brown sugar and maple syrup. Top with a handful of pumpkin granola.
It tastes like pie.
A perfect start to a perfect fall day.
*Since pumpkin puree inexplicably costs as much as a small can of gold might cost, while also only tasting mediocre, here is how to make your very own pumpkin puree, which is both cheap and delicious: Take a small sugar pumpkin (often labeled as "pie pumpkins" at grocery stores) and chop it in half. Then half again. Then scoop out the seeds and stringy guts, leaving the flesh on the rind. Put the chopped up pumpkin insides-down into a cake pan, and add a half inch or so of water in the bottom. Bake at 350 until the pumpkin meat is soft, about 45 min. Drain the water, and let cool. Then scrape out the pumpkin from the rind and blend it on up, adding a tiny bit of water if need be.
You can steam pumpkin, too, but don't and here's why: Roasting makes the flavor stronger and you don't have to peel that sucker. Peeling pumpkins is the worst ever.
And then, you can stick the whole thing in a tupperware and add a scoop to your pancakes here, a cup and a half to your cookies there, or stick it into the freezer and save it for Pumpkin Pies at Christmas. And it costs about half as much as the canned stuff. Yup.
Hope your weekend is lovely, and filled with pumpkin-flavored things.