My life is a bit hectic lately. Three kids, 6 and under. I have three kids 6 and under. I say it, I type it, but it is hard to believe. Three little people who depend on me and Bubba entirely. Most days I feel overwhelmed and exhausted. At times I find myself fantasizing about sitting on a beach, alone with a good book and an ice coffee. I dream about the sun on my face and the sound of the waves crashing near me, and then I am catapulted back to reality by the sound of little voice saying “mama.” Mama I need you. Mama can we have breakfast now? Mama the baby is crying again. Mama…I gather what energy I have left and take care of them. 2o years from now I may miss this time or parts of this time at least. Or maybe 20 years from now I’ll feel relief; relief my life is more my own again. Maybe the only thing I will miss is a small voice saying “mama.”
One thing I won’t miss is eating sandwich crusts, stale Pirates Booty and half eaten apples. I am constantly eating their leftovers instead of giving myself a real snack. Before N was born I occasionally made granola. It is the perfect snack food for me. I eat a handful and it keeps me going for a while. After my 6 week post-partum check and weigh in, I decided eating more healthy snacks is necessary. I need to take care of me, so I can take care of everyone else.
I found a recipe for Big Cluster Maple Granola by Smitten Kitchen and altered it a bit. This is one thing I loved about granola. Make it however you like it! I added quinoa because it is time to get cozy with this super food. Quinoa is not going anywhere so I will embrace it! Any nut or dried fruit will work here. I had raw almonds, golden raisins and dried cranberries on hand. I love the maple syrup; the real stuff not the imitation junk. I recommend using real maple syrup in this recipe. I used 1/2 cup of syrup, but add 1 cup of maple syrup if you prefer a sweeter granola. The granola takes about 50 minutes to cook and an additional hour to cool completely. It will last in air tight container, at room temperature for up to two weeks. Maybe make a double batch and take some to a new mom. She’ll thank you for it!
Maple Quinoa Granola Clusters with Almonds and Dried Cranberries
recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen
makes about 7 cups
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup quinoa, pre-rinsed
1 cup raw almonds, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup toasted wheat germ
2 tbsp. coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 large egg white
1 1/2 cups dried cranberries and golden raisins (any dried fruit will work here. if in large pieces, chop small)
Pre-heat your oven to 300. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
Combine all ingredients except for the dried fruit and egg white in a large bowl. Toss to combine ingredients evenly.
Whisk the egg white in a small bowl until frothy. Pour egg white on granola mixture and stir to combine thoroughly. Spread the granola on the prepared baking sheet in a single layer.
Bake for 45-55 minutes or until golden brown, rotating the pan the tossing the granola half way through baking. Once brown transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack to cool completely. Once the granola is completely cool, break it up into chunks, big or small, whatever you prefer. Gently add dry fruit.
The granola will last in an air tight container at room temperature for up to two weeks. Enjoy!
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