And then there are moments when I just want to pull the emergency brake on the train. I want to step outside myself – step outside the world, and burrow away in a corner with a bowl of quinoa and those partially-read stacks of magazines until I feel settled and sane again.
This past Friday evening, I was feeling particularly harried. The weekend ahead promised to be one full of more errands than fun, and I needed a few hours to exist just for me. So I went to a Bar Method class, I cooked myself Moroccan tofu for dinner, and then I returned to the kitchen to whip up a batch of pumpkin spice granola.
It seemed strange to be experimenting with a new recipe on a weekend when I was already worried about other recipes I would need to make – including my mom’s notoriously finicky caramels – but I wanted to take the time to make something for me. More importantly, I wanted to feel like I had the time to make something for me.
There was no pressure involved with this kitchen experiment. If it was terrible, nobody would know. If I burned it to a bloody crisp, only my upstairs neighbors would be troubled. And if I didn’t want to photograph or write about it, that would be perfectly acceptable too.
But it wasn’t terrible, I didn’t burn it, and when I got my first peak of the amber-colored granola in the light of day the next morning, I couldn’t wait to photograph the heck out of it.
After I ate some for breakfast – just me, myself and a much saner and settled I.
Pumpkin Spice Granola
Adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod who adapted it from Baking Bites
2 ½ cups rolled oats
½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup + 2 tablespoons brown sugar
¼ cup pumpkin puree
2 tablespoons applesauce
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup dried cranberries
½ cup pecan pieces, toasted
Preheat the oven to 325° F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine oats, spices, and salt. Mix well.
In a medium bowl, whisk together brown sugar, pumpkin puree, applesauce, maple syrup and vanilla extract. Whisk until smooth. Pour wet ingredients into oat mixture and stir until the oats are evenly coated. They will be moist. Evenly spread the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 20 minutes. Remove pan from the oven and stir. Bake for an additional 15-20 minutes or until the granola is golden and crisp. Remove from the oven and stir in dried cranberries and pecans. Let cool completely. Store in an airtight container.
Serving suggestion: Vanilla-flavored Greek yogurt with chopped chilled banana.