I'm not one for clutter. Once a year I gather up all the clothes I haven't worn in a few years, the books that I realize will never be read again for they have no great memories or adventures of our times together stitched into the bindings, and perhaps a strange and warped kettle I had in college that has survived all the previous moves. They get stacked into boxes (or tossed into a bin if it's really no good) and it goes to the Goodwill where I leave it on the step and never remember to get that yellow donation ticket for my taxes.
I find clutter and disorganization to be a major source of stress and always have. I willingly inflict it upon myself, too. No matter how frustrated I am I will vacuum, scrub, wash, etc. Even miserably. I will bitch like no bitch has bitched before with a dishrag because it's not like my husband or roommate - god love 'em both - are gonna do it.
How things change... The last few months all I could see were kitschy designs and vibrant wallpapers closing in all around me. Ugly banners did not genially introduce you to the blog and my sailor's mouth, but rather blared at you like a buzzing vuvuzela. The towering and cluttered sidebars told you to look somewhere other than the content itself.
This is a gingerbread granola. Gingerbread in that it has lots of ginger, molasses, honey, brown sugar, spices, and candied ginger to give it that classic sweet and bitter and spicy gingerbread taste. It's studded with cranberries, pepitas, and some pecans for extra crunch. Seasonally appropriate. Comforting. Outstanding drowned in some full fat yogurt with a splash of sticky and dark maple syrup because it's cold outside and why not, right?
Enjoy, everyone. There'll be no post next week because that day is Christmas and I'm taking a week off of all writing because sometimes even the writers need a vacation.
4 cups rolled oats
1 cup pepitas
1/3 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup flaked coconut
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
heaping 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/3 cup unsulphured molasses
2/3 cup honey
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons apple juice
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup candied ginger, minced
1. Preheat your oven to 350º and adjust the top rack to the middle of the oven. Place the oats, coconut, pepitas, pecans, and spices in a large bowl and stir. Whisk together the molasses, honey, apple juice, vanilla, and brown sugar in a saucepan and place over medium heat until almost smooth.
2. Pour molasses mixture over oats and stir gently to combine and the oats are well coated. Spread out onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil. Bake for twenty minutes. Cool completely. (If some of the granola is still sticky and wet bake it for another 7-10 minutes.) Break into pieces and add the dried fruit. Store in an airtight container.