Thursday, November 4, 2010

Saving My Sanity With Pumpkin Spice Granola

Life has been moving pretty fast for me lately. Responsibilities and commitments have been piling up like the stacks of partially-read epicurean and health & fitness magazines I hide under my TV stand. There are moments when I’m exhilarated by the mounting pressure – moments when I feel like I’ve never been more alive. It’s nice to feel needed, and nice to feel like I have a reason for being.

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.


Maria said...

So glad you liked the granola and glad it saved your sanity..ha!

Esi said...


Ashley said...

Little packages of this would make a good holiday gift. Now the wheels are turning.

Gastronomer said...

Glad to hear you made a leetle bit of time for you. I appreciate all that you're doing on the EMB front. We couldn't do this without you :-) XO!

Anna A. said...

Homemade granols are truly amazing.

Monet said...

I'm glad that this granola helped to restore some peace to your mind! We all need more of that. This looks like a great, seasonal granola recipe. I may make this for holiday gifts! Thank you for sharing!

Diana said...

Maria - I knew as soon as I saw your recipe that I had to make it! So glad I did!

Esi - Hah! That's a very telling smile you got going there... ;)

Ashley - I was actually thinking about doing that last year, but ended up doing David Lebovitz's nut mix.

Cathy - And I do love doing it! Wouldn't miss being a part of it!

Anna - True that!

Monet - It would be perfect for holiday gifts!

bagnatic said...

that looks like a good popcorn replacement as i watch t.v....yum, love pumpkins of all kinds.

Nomsnotbombs said...

Justin just bought me some pumpkin spice granola from TJ's...but now I feel like we're slackers for not making it ourselves!