Before my husband and I were married, breakfast was a bit of a sticking point. While I liked a big, hearty American-style breakfast, my European sweetheart ate nothing but cornflakes and milk. This didn't seem to bother him one whit, but was a problem for me; who wants to poach just one egg or whisk a tiny dollop of hollandaise sauce? While bringing Arnoud breakfast in bed was as easy as pouring milk over flakes, I never received the same special treatment in return, and really, who could blame him? It would have involved hours of chopping potatoes and flipping omelets.
This rift was healed, symbolically and actually, on our first morning as husband and wife. We woke in our charming room tucked under the eaves of the J.D. house, a bed and breakfast in Mendocino, to the smell of cinnamon and toasted almonds. Following our noses downstairs, we were served bowls of homemade granola with yogurt and fresh fruit. Finally, the perfect breakfast to satisfy us both: hearty and full of enough protein to keep me content for hours and crunchy sweet grains to please my sweetheart. And we lived happily ever after.
Homemade Granola, the simple recipe for a lifetime of wedded bliss
Although there seem to be a lot of ingredients, you probably already have all of this in your pantry. But don't worry if you're missing something as substitutions, additions and creativity are very welcome. It all comes together very quickly and it makes a big batch, so your little bit of effort will be rewarded every morning for quite awhile.
7 cups rolled oats
3 cups nuts and/or seeds (any variety. I've used almonds, walnuts, cashews, hazelnuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and flax seeds. Mix and match, be creative, go wild.)
1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup powdered milk or soymilk (optional, adds a bit of protein and creaminess)
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup oil (vegetable or a mild flavored olive oil)
1/2 cup maple syrup (or substitute honey)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, cherries, banana chips or chopped dates, apples, apricots, etc)
1) Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
2) Mix the dry ingredients (oats through salt) together in a large bowl.
3) Add the wet ingredients (oil through vanilla) and stir well to coat. If you've used honey, you should warm it with the oil and vanilla so it will spread evenly.
4) Spread the granola on two ungreased baking sheets and toast in the preheated oven, stirring every 10 minutes, until warm and just starting to turn golden brown, about 30 minutes total.
5) Return the granola to the mixing bowl and stir in the dried fruit. Cool completely before storing in an airtight container.