granola days

‘When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,’ said Piglet at last, ‘what’s the first thing you say to yourself?’
‘What’s for breakfast?’ said Pooh. ‘What do you say, Piglet?’
‘I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?’ said Piglet.
Pooh nodded thoughtfully. ‘It’s the same thing,’ he said.
— a.a. milne, the house at pooh corner


when the weather is nice, and my memory is in working order, i like to make granola. what i make is loosely based on this recipe from the new york times by melissa clark. when i say “loosely based” i should probably say “inspired by,” because i just looked at her recipe again and realized what i make is now in many ways dissimilar. but that’s okay. if you want precise measurements, use her recipe, because it is good. i like to throw new things in and experiment, though, so i make granola more by feel now than by measurement. that said, here’s the recipe for my latest batch of granola.

cardamom pine nut granola

  • 4 cups or so old-fashioned rolled oats (it depends on how big your container is, really)
  • 1 cup unsalted hulled pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • 3/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup flax seeds
  • 1/4 cup wheat germ or bran
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1 cardamom pod
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • olive oil

preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.

grind the caradmom pod and all but 2 tablespoons or so of the flax seed in a coffee grinder. this helps your body absorb the good things in the flax seed … and you really wouldn’t want to bite down on a whole cardamom pod.

place all the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir everything up. add enough olive oil to evenly coat the oat-seed mixture, but not so much that it pools at the bottom of the bowl. after the oats are coated, add the honey, and stir that all up. the honey will give some sweetness, of course, but will also help with the browning and will provide little crunchy bits here and there. if you like more clusters or crunchy bunches in your granola, add more honey.

pour the oat mixture onto a metal baking pan and spread it out so it’s fairly even. stick it in the oven for 15 minutes, checking every now and then to see how it’s browning. at the end of fifteen minutes, take the pan out (or just open the oven door and pull the rack out) and stir the oats around so that the underneath parts can get out and get crispy. bake for about 15 minutes or so. make sure you do check it, however, so that it doesn’t burn.

when it’s browned to your liking, take it out and let it cool, then store it in an air-tight container. this yields a granola that is more similar to muesli in its adhesiveness than the clustery kind you might buy in stores. those measurements are estimates, by the way — add or decrease the amounts according to your taste preferences and your number of granola eaters.

i like to eat mine topped with banana slices or blueberries (or both) and milk. along with a cup of coffee.

the nice thing about a basic granola recipe is that you can experiment  and add practically whatever you want. i’ve also used walnuts or almonds, unsweetened coconut flakes, candied ginger, powdered ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and maple syrup (in various combinations). once you have a basic recipe down, play with it until you make something just absolutely grand that is your specific, personal, signature (and maybe secret) granola.


p.s. i don’t own any birkenstocks, just for the record.