So about that elephant.
A funny thing happened last week.
I stopped worrying about him. I should be worried, or at the very least angry, depressed, scared, bitter and a host of other emotions that lend themselves to destructive behavior involving marathon sessions of the "The Real Housewives" and Dreyer's Mint Chip ice cream, but I'm not.
I'm oddly, inexplicably okay.
More than okay.
I was fully prepared for the ugly other -- an apartment accented with crumpled tissues, an inability to move from my bed without the promise of alcohol, and blubbery, hour-long phone conversations with my mother structured around the singular, wailing question, "Whhhhhhy?" (Inspiration of course derived from the "Stella" scene in A Streetcar Named Desire.)
In the midst of what I, in the moment, considered the lowest possible low, I realized I had a choice. I couldn't control the situation, but I could control my reaction to it. Channelling my inner Marlon Brando and numbing my brain with reality television wouldn't make me feel better, nor would it change what had happened. I didn't want to play the victim. I didn't want sympathy or drama.
I wanted to be happy.
It's a rather freeing concept.
This past week and a half, I dove headfirst into this happiness. I ate tongue and tendon tacos at the LA Weekly's Gold Standard event (my impressions captured in this video at 7:20); I spent four hours drinking sparkling wine with my favorite partner in food crime at Freddy Smalls; and I made granola.
Granola has always been a touchy subject for me. Not because I hate it, but because I could easily demolish quarts of it with nary a drop of milk or spoon in sight. I'm talking me, sprawled out on the couch, scooping up fistfuls of the sweet, nutty clusters and cramming them into my mouth until my gums become sore and flecked with minor oat cuts.
In other words, it makes me really happy.
This granola, Early Bird Foods Granola via Orangette, is especially joy-inducing. I've been eating it spooned over Greek yogurt with slices of cold banana. I've been taking straight shots of it in the middle of the afternoon. And I have every intention of spending at least one evening this week sprawled out on the couch with a tub of it.
Because I choose happiness. And I choose granola.
Olive Oil and Maple Granola
From Orangette who adapted the recipe from Nekisia Davis, Early Bird Foods, and Food 52
Adaptations: I didn't do much to disturb this near flawless granola recipe. My only changes were to halve it since one singular person does not need 7 cups of granola lying around in tub form, and to leave the brown sugar unpacked since I tend toward more wholesome-tasting oats. Everything else remains virtually intact. Except, of course, my will power.
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/2 heaping cup raw pecans, roughly chopped
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut chips
1/4 cup loosely packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/4 cup olive oil
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
Combine oats, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, pecans, and unsweetened coconut chips in a large bowl. Add the brown sugar and sea salt and mix together with your hands, making sure to break up any clumps of brown sugar. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil and maple syrup. Pour over the granola mixture and stir until evenly distributed.
Spread the granola out onto the baking sheet and bake for approximately 45 minutes. stirring every 15 minutes. To ensure clumpiness, don't stir any more frequently and try to crowd the granola a bit on the pan so it sticks together. When toasty and brown, remove from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack. Again, avoid stirring, and shove it together a bit as it cools so it creates those delicious clusters. Store in an airtight container.
Orangette notes that it will keep at room temperature for up to a month.