Special Edition: “Breakfast Week”

“Join me as I eat my way through a week of new breakfasts.  Thanksgiving marks the finale, which means I have one full week to try a new breakfast each and every morning.  It could be delicious (it could be outrageous!)  But the whole idea is to just have fun.”

Granola makes me happy.

My cupboard always has at least 1 mason jar filled with the chewy bits of oats and nuts and dried fruit.  When it gets below half a mason jar, I suddenly develop separation anxiety and quickly make another batch.

It’s a good thing granola is easy to throw together.

Aside from eating this granola by the handful (and spoonfuls and bowlfuls!) I also like to use it as part of my breakfast.

This morning, it became a granola parfait.  Super simple to make, even simpler to eat.

If you make the granola ahead of time, this breakfast can become part of you busy week’s breakfast repertoire.  Delicious.

Your Basic Granola

I call this my basic granola for one reason: you can tweak it any which way you want, thereby making a completely different recipe out of it.  Add some chopped dried mango and ginger.  Add chocolate chips (after it’s cooled) and pistachios.  Try it with molasses or honey or agave for the sweetener.  Consider this your basic granola…just the starting point for many new and wonderful possibilities.

  • 2 cups regular oats
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1/2 cup sweetened coconut
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 cup crushed flax seed
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • dash of sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries
  1. Preheat oven to 300.
  2. Combine oats, nuts, coconut, flax, cinnamon, sea salt, and vanilla in a large bowl.
  3. Combine maple syrup and olive oil.  Add to dry mixture and stir well until combined.  Spread evenly on a sprayed cookie sheet and bake for about 30 minutes, flipping and stirring every 10 minutes.  Granola is ready once it’s browned lightly (beware of overcooking!)  Add cranberries after granola is cooked.
  4. Cool and store in containers.  Last 1-2 weeks.

QUESTION: Do you have a favorite brand of granola?  Favorite recipe?

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Life’s Big Decisions.

Some decisions are easier to make than others.

Chocolate or vanilla?

Fall or spring?

Red or blue?

Go running or not?

But.  Then.  There are those pesky big decisions like college and internships and…well…my future.  I’m not so good with those.

Back when I was a freshman in college (paying $20,000 a year as an undecided student) I applied to UMass.  And when I received a note saying “you’ve been accepted into the nutrition program,” what did I do?  Did I dance up and down?  Let out a squeal of delight?  No.  Me and my mature self speed dialed dad on the cell phone.  Our conversation went something like this.

“DAD!?!”

“Oh, hi Sarah.”

“I got accepted to UMass!?!”

“That’s great!”

“No, because I don’t know what to do!!  Because I want to stay here because I have housing plans for next year with one of my friends and it’s all planned out!!  But I also want to go to UMass…DAD!?!…I don’t know what to do!”

(Thank God for Dads who listen and love.) 😉

It’s always kind of bugged me when people state the simple.  “Follow your heart.”  How is that even possible when there are a million and one other voices clammering to be heard?  Media.  Friends.  Relatives.  Mentors and advisors.  What does a heart’s voice even sound like?

Well…if I were you…”

Somehow, despite all of that–because of all that?–I’ve managed to follow a road that fits me.  I went for my nutrition degree.  I went for the dietetic internship.  I took the Registered Dietitian exam.

Really.  In spite of myself, it’s all worked out.

This doesn’t, however, make me feel one speck better about today’s decision: I turned down a job.

This took a grand total of about 54 seconds on the phone, with me stating that I appreciated their time and support but that, in the end, I wasn’t ready to take the job.

I’ll be honest.  This decision is making me feel slightly sick (having nothing to do with that one last handful of granola.)  I really need a full time job.

But then, at the risk of sounding ridiculously cheesy, let’s just say that I finally heard my heart.  I didn’t want to live in the area where I would have had to move.  And I most definitely didn’t want a 2 hr. commute.  So, in the end, I ultimately didn’t want the job.

This might turn out to be the most foolish thing that I have ever done.  But I can’t help but feel slightly giddy over how easily I made my final decision.  It felt good.  Actually, it felt downright delicious.

I heard my heart’s decision and I went with it.  And then I whipped up a batch of granola to calm myself down.

But.

For dinner?

I’m not making any decisions.  What are you in the mood for?

Olive Oil and Pistachio Granola—as seen in “In the Kitchen with A Good Appetite,” with some minor tweaking.

This is by far my favorite granola recipe.  Beware!  It’s ridiculously addicting.

  • 1-1/2 c. old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 3/4 c. raw pistachios, hulled
  • 1/2 c. walnuts
  • 1/2 c. sweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/4-1/3 c. pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 1/3 c. packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 c. dried apricots
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine oats through ginger.  Spread mixture on a large rimmed baking sheet in an even layer and bake for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until golden brown and well toasted.
  3. Transfer granola to a large bowl and add the apricots, tossing to combine.  Let cool completely and place in airtight container to store.
QUESTION: What are some BIG decisions that you’ve made in life?  Were you ultimately happy with these decisions?