Oh yeah, I have been caught amidst the craze that is Christmas and the approach of the new year as well. But the good news is that I´ve been receiving plenty of work lately, which being a freelancer means more money for my pockets and for the trip I´m making to the US in April (more on that later.)
And the increase in my workload hasn´t stopped me from hanging out with my friends and family: especially since my dear friend Jenny was moving back to Seattle and leaving Buenos Aires, and my older brother Javier, who lives in Spain, is here for a visit. So off I went to enjoy springtime in the city before it got too hot (as in, days like today where the farthest I´m willing to go is my own patio before the sun goes down.) This past Tuesday I also got to enjoy the last show of two music legends: Serrat and Sabina, which was a true blast.
And the cooking hasn´t stopped either. Granted, I´m not cooking as often either, but I do have plenty of material to write about here, the problem is there has been little time to sit and write, and, to be honest, sometimes I don´t feel like sitting in front of the computer for an extra hour or so after being tied to the desk for most of the day.
But today was the day, and it was time to break my unanticipated break from blogging. And since everyone is going to be stuffing their mouths full with cookies and pies soon. I decided that it was a good idea to share a great recipe for something a bit healthier: homemade granola.
I got Heidi´s book a few months ago and this was the first recipe I decided to tackle. And I certainly didn´t regret my choice for one minute. It´s got tons of grains, subtle yet charming flavors and even making half a batch, it yields quite a bit, so I got to enjoy it for over a week.
Heidi uses tropical flavors, but I didn´t want to go in that direction, so I omitted the grated coconut and coconut oil, replaced the tropical fruits with apricots and plums, and added a touch of sesame to the mix.
So by the time you are done reincarnating the cookie monster, prepare some homemade granola, enjoy it with a bit of yogurt and a drizzle of extra honey, and wipe off your guilty feelings while indulging in something delicious and seriously filling.
(PS: The Daring Bakers challenge is due either tomorrow or Sunday, but I´m not sure I´ll be able to make the deadline this month, so as Truman would say: “In case I don´t see you, good afternoon, good evening and good night”, or in my case, Merry Christmas!)
Grain-ola (adapted from Super natural cooking by Heidi Swanson)
makes about 10 cups (I halved the recipe and still had plenty)
4 cups old-fashioned or quick-cooking rolled oats
3/4 cup unsalted raw sunflower seeds
1 cup walnuts or macadamia nuts, chopped into halves or quarters (here I went with almonds instead)
1 and 1/2 cups assorted sulfur-free dried fruits (she used tropical fruits because she added shredded coconut to the mix, I used dried apricots and plums), chopped
Grated zest of 2 oranges
3/4 cup raw mild-flavored honey
1/4 cup oil (she used coconut oil, I didn´t have any, so I went with corn oil and about a tablespoon toasted sesame oil instead)
sesame seeds, 2 tablespoons (optional since this is my own addition)
Preheat the oven to 300°F and set aside 2 rimmed baking sheets.
Combine the oats, sunflower seeds, almonds, dried fruits, and zest (and sesame seeds if you are using them) in a large bowl. Heat the honey and oil in a small saucepan over low heat, whisk to thoroughly combine, then pour over the oat mixture and stir until everything is well coated.
Divide the mixture between the baking sheets and spread into a thin layer. Bake, stirring every 10 minutes, for about 40 minutes, until toasty golden brown. Cool completely, then store in an airtight container at room temperature.