I could not be more ready for fall. I think it’s my favorite season. The clothes, the weather, the smells, FOOTBALL – everything about it makes me happy. It’s also the commencement of holiday season – and then every month following has something different worth celebrating. October is Halloween, November is Thanksgiving, December is Christmas (or Hanukah), January is my Birthday!, February is Valentines day and or Mardi Gras, March is also potentially Mardi Gras, April is Easter etc. etc. I mean basically there aren’t many months that don’t have holidays, but at least the beginning part of that strip really gets me fired up.
I start to lose interest usually a little before my birthday, but I still love any reason to decorate or be festive. And there are so many flavors that are synonymous with the fall season; pumpkin, apples, nutmeg, cinnamon! I mean the smells alone make me feel warm and cozy inside. And for the first time since boarding school, I get to experience REAL seasons again. I’ll never forget fall at the Hill School in Pennsylvania. The campus was so beautiful during this time of year and the leaves turned the most vivid oranges, reds and yellows. Thus, I decided to make as many fall-flavored goods as possible to kick off the season (because the “trees” in Manhattan don’t really do the trick).
First stop, pumpkin granola. This recipe was my second attempt, because the first came out too hard and kind of bland for my taste. The smells that were coming out of my kitchen were outrageous. Sure, it’s deciduous and a great snack compared to the processed and store bought varieties, but I would honestly make this again simply for the way it smells. I mean talk about FALL. I should note the first time I made it, I had 1/8 of a teaspoon more nutmeg and ground cloves, which made it smell incredible compared to the more mild version I have below. And one more thing – did you notice I got a new camera? Because I love it I love it I LOVE IT (and thank the LAWD I do because that bad boy was steep for a poor young lady like myself)
- 4 cups old fashioned rolled oats
- ½ cup pumpkin puree
- ¼ cup 100% maple syrup
- 2 T coconut oil
- 3 T of brown sugar
- 2 T vanilla infused splenda
- ⅛ tsp. nutmeg
- ⅛ tsp. ground cloves
- 1½ tsp cinnamon
- 1 egg white
- ⅛ teaspoon of salt
- 1 T of wheat bran
- ⅓ cup raw almonds, roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons of white chocolate chips
- 2 tablespoons of dried cranberries
- Preheat the oven to 300 F.
- Melt the coconut oil in the microwave for about 30 seconds
- Mix all of the ingredients together in a large bowl except for the oats and mix-ins
- Add the oats and almonds and stir until completely covered with the pumpkin mixture
- Spread out the granola evenly on a nonstick jellyroll pan.
- Bake for 20 minute intervals, making sure to stir the granola so that it bakes evenly. Do this 3 times for a total of 60 minutes.
- When the granola has cooled completely, add the dried cranberries and white chocolate, if desired.
- Store in an airtight container or mason jar.