Homemade Coconut Almond Granola
One of my children is honest. So honest. She tells me clearly what she likes and doesn’t like. Last week, while driving home from a family night on the town, she asked if she could “talk to me alone” when we got home. Yes, little woman. You can have anything you like if you persist in being this open and mature and downright splendid.
So we got home. She reminded me she’d made an appointment to speak. Took me upstairs and sat me on my bed. Then said,
“I get scared every night about carbon monoxide. So I pray and it makes me feel better.”
She was nervous and couldn’t look me in the eye. This was close to her heart and she was giving it to me aloud. Her lip quavered, her eyes watered. I was stunned by the beauty of her willingness to offer her vulnerability, even as she was afraid to admit it.
“I pray about it every night. And sometimes I’m afraid about the wind, too. So I pray about that.”
No. You can’t adopt her. Stop being jealous. She’s all mine and I shall hoard her forever.
And then she said,
“And right before Christmas, I prayed for all the poor people to be taken care of. And I think God heard it.”
At which point, I pulled her in my arms and assured her she was safe, and loved, and listened to by the heavens. I then gave her great, sucking kisses. The sort where you try not to bite because you find the cupid-cheeked recipient so utterly delicious that you’d like to find a way to stick them in your soul and envelope them in your heart all at once.
My children teach me things. And the vulnerability that this little girl of mine so willingly offers reminds me of the gift it is to give yourself to others. I’m always trying to temper my love, trying to tiptoe around everyone’s schedules and preferences that I forget to just open myself up wide, wide, wide, and be raw and soft and show my honest neediness.
So, in the spirit of my daughter-teacher, I offer my soul to you today. I’m going to be honest.
Michael Pollan’s Food Rules are hard. Remember last week when I said this year on Cheeky Kitchen will be a devotion to the beautiful list of best food practices Pollan outlines in his book?
Well, I spent all week trying to think of one, single recipe that I could feed my family in the middle of insane schedule week with the added benefit of post-christmas blues. And, as you might have noticed from my lack of posting, I did not succeed.
But, I was so inspired by you. Your comments and excitement and goals remind me that we are all seeking a realistic way to be more healthy, more vibrant, and better fed, and to fit such food into our daily diets. So, I’m walking into this week, having recovered from the New Year’s lazies, ready to rock your freaking world. And mine.
I will be poring over cookbooks, health books, favorite websites, and grocery ads to pull together beautiful menus that us real world people can actually eat. Sometimes I might misfire. Sometimes I might downright fail. I’m scared to pieces I’ll be back to making sloppy joes for dinner by Wednesday, but I believe it’s possible for a person who isn’t a natural “cook” to make healthy, beautiful food that feeds body, mind, and soul. And so, the charge is set.
And granola starts us off.
And while we’re being totally transparent here.
O.M.G. How does eating ham, potatoes, cake, cookies, and fourteen ounces of candy canes per day equal five new pounds? W.H.A.T? Who made this system up?
I have no idea. But you and me, baby. We’re gonna take this system down.
And by system, I mean bathroom scale.
And probably a dance floor. Let’s get down on one of those, too.
3 cups old-fashioned oats
1/8 cup chia seeds
1/8 ground flax seeds
1 1/2 cups finely shredded organic coconut
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup brown rice syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
1/2 cup raw almonds
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Stir the oats, chia seeds, flax seeds, and organic coconut together in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together to coconut oil, honey, brown rice syrup, and vanilla. Drizzle the honey mixture over the oat mixture. Stir to mix until well coated. Add the almonds to the mix and stir once again.
Turn the granola onto your prepared baking dish. Bake for 18-25 minutes, stirring every four to five minutes to evenly cook the mixture. Once it's golden brown, you can pop it out of the oven and let it cool.
Serve by the tablespoon over berries and yogurt.