In the past two weeks, I’ve taught two writing workshops. In them, I have a habit of oversharing (no surprise) example life stories, and letting no one leave who hasn’t written an acceptable thesis statement. I tell you this so you know…these aren’t glamorous writing workshops. It’s not really about tea drinking and awkward/creative brainstorming.
They’ve made me infinitely aware of my … happenings. (In the same way I remember the dog hasn’t been walked when his face is on my lap, blocking a view of the snow out the window… I don’t always stop what I’m doing to walk.)
They’ve made me remember just how much I love teaching…and simple, reliable structures, like five paragraph essays. (Does anyone else in this world really think this way, and then admit it on the internet?)
Oh. One more lesson thrown in my face these two weeks? That regular routines need to be spiced up a little sometimes. Especially in January. It’s why I stepped away from my desk for a few hours and got in front of people’s faces to talk about sentences and paragraphs.
It’s also why I emptied my spice cabinet into the granola recipe I’ve been making on repeat for the past few months.
We just need to do this sometimes.
In its most basic form, this granola is studded with the best things already: walnuts, almonds, dried cranberries and cacoa nibs. It’s coated with an olive oil/maple syrup/honey combination and baked long and slow. I like this.
In this most recent batch, I added cardamom, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. These things make their way into chai tea a lot, and add subtle spiciness that gives things a serious flavor depth. I love this.
I try to keep a container of granola on the counter all the time. I lazily chop and microwave apples, then top them with a few spoonfuls. It makes it into yogurt most often. And! I’ve been sneaking dark chocolate chips into a small bowl that gets drowned in almond milk in the mornings.
It’s a reliable comfort food made slightly new.
Seriously…things like new nail polish colors and spiced out granola are giving me a whole new life perspective. It might be a cry for help/summer. I dunno.
Chai Spiced Granola
recipe adapted from the Joy the Baker
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup chopped almonds
8 cups rolled (old-fashioned) oats
3 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons cardamom
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup maple syrup
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup cocoa nibs
Chop walnuts and almonds, and combine in a large mixing bowl with oats, spices and salt. Set aside. In a saucepan, combine oil, honey and maple syrup and stir over low heat, until melted/thinned. Remove from heat and whisk in vanilla extract. Pour over the oat mixture and toss to coat. Spread granola onto two baking sheets, lined with parchment paper. Bake in a preheated 325° oven for 45 minutes, stirring halfway. Allow granola to cool completely before adding dried cranberries and cocoa nibs. Store (for several weeks…seriously!) in an airtight container. PS: I baked my granola in two batches because two baking sheets is tricky business in my oven. I found that placing one on a lower rack burned the bottom of the granola…but you know your oven best!