"Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”
_ William Morris
, 19th century craftsman, designer, writer

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Monday, February 9, 2015

I Heart Granola

Following a recent business trip to the Seattle area, my husband brought home the most amazing homemade granola given to him by Mandy Levenberg, chief cook and bottlewasher of Greater Good Granola a small business based on the honor system and created with a mission for giving back to the community. 

Every week, the baker/mother/business consultant whips up batches of granola goodness, packages them in mason jars and leaves them in a fruit crate on her front porch. The idea: take a 1 or 2lb jar, leave your cash. You can also subscribe to the granola service and bring back your jar each week for a refill. Simple as that. Profits are donated to hunger-based charities in the Seattle area. If you don't live in the neighborhood, Levenberg will also ship.

Inspiring on so many levels.

I kept meaning to photograph the cute bag of Greater Good Granola tied up with string for the blog...but I ate it.  I couldn't help myself. It was irresistible on my banana every morning...on yogurt, ice cream, as a snack... I kept thinking: Okay, just one more scoop -then, I'll photograph it...You get the idea.

Once it was gone, I suffered homemade granola withdrawal -and decided it was time to take matters into my own kitchen mitts.

With Valentine's Day coming up, it could also make a great gift! But I have to warn you, like any great love affair, it may be habit forming...
Leaning heavily on the Basic Granola Recipe by Roxanne Weber, I also incorporated elements of the granola recipe in The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook and took inspiration from the Vanilla Almond Granola recipe I found on Sally's Baking Addiction.
3 cups rolled oats 
3 Tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup coconut oil
1-2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Add-ins: (note, these are suggested amounts add more or less to your heart's desire!)
1 cup dried cherries
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup coconut 
1 cup diced dried figs
1 cup diced dried apricots
1 cup chopped cashews
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup pistachios

1. Preheat oven to 300 and move rack to center position.
2. Combine all dry ingredients in one big bowl: oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Mix together.

3. Next, combine honey, oil and vanilla in a smaller bowl, stir to combine. Then, pour over the dry ingredients and mix until oats are thoroughly coated.

4. Spread the oat mixture in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, then stir and continue baking until the granola has turned a light, golden brown -about 5-15 minutes more. For me, it was another 15 minutes.

5. When you take the pan of golden brown granola out of the oven, place it on top of a wire rack and allow it to cool to room temperature.  Stir occasionally. It's hard to wait.

6. While the granola is cooling, about 20 minutes, prepare your add-ins. Dice up larger dried fruits and chop nuts if necessary. I chose dried apricots, cherries, figs, cranberries, shredded coconut, sliced almond and chopped cashews and pistachios - but you could use almost anything - even chocolate chips! In the future, I want to experiment more with seeds. If you have any favorites, please let me know in the comments below so I can try!

7. Finally, gently mix everything together in the big bowl. Woohooo! 

The granola will stay fresh in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks...if it lasts that long.
To give as a gift, consider using decorative cellophane bags; baggies placed inside of brown paper lunch sacks and tied with twine or ribbon; or mason jars tied with a ribbon.

Happy, healthy Valentine's! xo


  1. Wow this looks and sounds amazing! !!!

    1. Thanks, Connor Joe! It was easy and the whole family likes! Winner!


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