What have I been up to lately? Hmm... I've been spending tons of time at this fantastic donut shop I'm so blessed to call part of my "SLOme". I've been staying up late with my closest friends, laughing harder than I have in months. I've been soaking up all that's left of summer and selfishly asking God to make it stay longer. I've been racking my brain and somewhat mindlessly scrolling through Pinterest for new and exciting recipe ideas, buuuuuut finding nothing in both places. Discouraging? A little.
Feeling a wee bit uninspired, I closed Pinterest and, instead, typed in the URL for my own blog. Yeah, like, this thing you're reading right now. It wasn't out of conceit, but rather out of hopes that I'd rediscover what made recipe-creating feel more simple than it does now. While I didn't really find any answer besides "Haley, stop working so much", I did come across this beloved granola recipe - one of my first original recipes. It's two whole years old (wow - like an ancient artifact in the historic land of Hungry Haley)!
Two. Whole. Years. Have I really been blogging for that long? Dang. Well, the Lord has definitely been putting in some serious work on my heart since I created this recipe, and after I finished reading through this and a few other posts, I could hear Him answering my prayer for some inspiration. Right now, I don't need to just keep creating more recipes. I want to polish up the ones I already have - the ones I've worked hard on and have held close since the very beginning.
Stirring the peanut butter mixture, combining the dry ingredients, sliding the pan into the oven - doing everything by hand, knowing all the ingredients, embracing the satisfaction and excitement of a homemade baked good - almost, almost, brought tears to my eyes. I know, it's just granola, but it kind of isn't just granola. It's a lot more. It's one of the first few breaths of this blog.
It's one of the simplest, most heart-warming recipes I know of. It's one I'll hold onto forever :) And I'm confident you'll hold onto it forever, too, once you give it a taste!
Makes about 2 1/2 - 3 cups
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup brown rice cereal
½ cup roughly chopped almonds
1/2 cup smooth natural peanut butter
1/2 cup coconut nectar*
1/2 tsp. cinnamon, to taste
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- Combine first three ingredients plus cinnamon in a medium sized bowl. Set aside.
- Whisk the peanut butter and coconut nectar (or sweetener of choice - see note below) until well incorporated, then pour over the dry ingredients and gently fold in, careful not to crush the brown rice cereal. Mix until fully combined.
- Spread the granola onto the cookie sheet and carefully separate the large chunks to ensure even cooking. Bake for 18-20 minutes.
- Remove from oven when granola is a dark golden brown. Allow it cool completely before serving, then store leftovers in an airtight container for up to two weeks.
* I used coconut nectar here because I don't have maple syrup on hand, and I actually prefer it over the latter anyway. It's darker, richer taste allows me to use smaller amounts when baking/cooking with it, and beats out other sweeteners by a landslide when it comes to nutrition. Plus, I found it for cheaper than pure maple syrup at Whole Foods! If you can't find it or don't prefer the taste, you can sub agave nectar or pure maple syrup.