I was born to…what? When I try to finish that sentence, nothing comes to mind. I think I was probably born to simply hang out here for a while and enjoy myself, hopefully helping out a few others or doing more good than bad along the way. My Secret Recipe Club blogger, on the other hand, was born to cook.
After looking through a ton of delicious recipes on Melissa’s blog I Was Born to Cook, I wholeheartedly agree with her conclusion. I seriously considered many of the recipes before narrowing it down to three choices. I thought long and hard about roasted shrimp with either thousand island dressing or chipotle lime glaze before I did a complete 180 and settled on Vanilla Granola.
Melissa writes that granola is one of those things she never made at home prior to starting her food blog. After realizing how easy it is to make homemade granola, coupled with how delicious it tastes, store bought granola is a thing of the past.
The recipe calls for ingredients that are probably already in your pantry, and the ones that are not are easily substituted (like vegetable oil for coconut oil). I love all the adaptations granola recipes can take, and I Was Born to Cook features a number of other delicious granola combinations like cinnamon-walnut, pumpkin, peanut butter and maple-almond as well.
Now for how to use it. I typically eat granola as I would a bowl of cereal, but I also enjoy it sprinkled over a bowl of vanilla Greek yogurt or ice cream. My go to granola recipe, prior to this sweet vanilla granola, was a quinoa-based granola. Now that I have a new recipe to enjoy, I went in search of more things to do with it.
I came across suggestions to use it as a topping for muffins or baked fruit. Others suggested adding granola to banana bread, pancake or waffle batters. My favorite idea was to fold granola into cookies. Here are two recipes to get you started: granola cookies from NPR and granola cookies from CHOW. You’ve got the granola. Now go get your week off to a good start. Enjoy!
- 3 cups quick-cooking oats
- ½ cup slivered almonds
- ½ cup Craisins
- ¼ cup flaked or shredded coconut
- ⅓ cup coconut oil
- ¼ cup honey
- ¼ cup brown sugar, packed
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- In a large bowl, combine the oats, almonds, Craisins and coconut. Set aside.
- Combine the coconut oil, honey, brown sugar, water and vanilla in a saucepan over medium high heat. Cook until melted and mixed, about 3-5 minutes.
- Pour the liquid sweet mixture over the dry oat mixture and stir to coat.
- Spread the mixture across a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Bake at 275 degrees F for 30 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. The granola should be golden brown when complete. If it is not yet done after 30 minutes, allow it to continue baking, checking at 5 minute increments.
- Allow to cool completely, also stirring occasionally to help break up the granola as it cools.
- Store in an airtight container.