Coconut Cardamon Granola

_DSC0534Soup soup soup

Some weekends remind us how far we’ve come.

Half of the time, I grew up in a Splenda house.  A non-fat milk, sugar-free chocolate, ten-calorie popsicle, crazy-fiber-muffins-for-breakfast-make-for-super-embarrassing-drives-to-school kind of house.

The other half of the time I spent eating cantaloupe for dessert.  Cantaloupe or Jell-o with whipped cream.  Cantaloupe is what you eat when you’d rather be eating brownies.  Cantaloupe tastes like the back of a fridge.  Cantaloupe is diet food, and I can’t look at a cantaloupe today without feeling bad about my body.

I spent my entire adolescence eating around the food that was actually good for me.  I thought I knew what the “right” food choices were.  But do you know how much better coffee with half-and-half actually tastes?  Or how much better simple olive oil, balsamic, and salt tastes than some Newman’s reduced-calorie vinaigrette that oddly never seems to mold or expire?

I can’t say I’m wholly reformed today.  I still sit in classrooms ignoring important career panel discussions because I’m deciding if “it’s a good idea” to get another cookie from the buffet spread.  But these days, I’m more scared of the non-fats, low-fats, sugar-frees, and Splenda, than I am of going back for seconds.

A couple of weekends ago, I sat on the couch and fisted handfuls of homemade granola into my mouth with a demented half-grin on my face.  I drank an enormous cup of delicious, over-priced coffee that had some real, full-fat cream in it.  Then I stood up, waved my freak flag, and felt proud to have entered a new phase of my life where eating has more to do with satisfaction than with fear.

_DSC0536-2Soup soup soup

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Makes two 8 cups of granola — or 2 quarts (in mason jar language)

What You Need

“The Granola”

3 C rolled oats

1.5 C shredded, sweetened coconut

2 T fennel seeds

2 T sesame seeds

1/2 C sunflower seeds

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cardamon

1 C dried, unsweetened cranberries (reserved for after)

“The Glue”

2/3 C agave nectar

3 T (heaping) coconut oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

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_DSC0544Soup soup soup

How To Do It

Just a warning: this granola is unbearably addictive.  Parental supervision required.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a pan with parchment paper.  In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients for the granola except for the cranberries. Over medium heat, melt the agave, coconut oil, and vanilla. Pour over the granola and mix until all the granola is well-coated.  Spread the granola onto the parchment paper so it is evenly distributed.  Bake until the edges of the granola begin to crisp up (about 10 – 15 minutes), remove from the oven and mix it all up again.  Cook for another 10 – 15 minutes until granola is a nice golden color.  Mix in the cranberries.  Leave your house and walk back in so you can enjoy the smell.  Let cool on the stove for at least 20 minutes.  Store in an airtight container.  Enjoy!

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