Cranberry Ginger Granola

granola ready for delivery

If I posted every version of granola I come up with, that's all I'd do.  But here's this week's version, and a darn good one.  In the first few days after I make a fresh batch, I spring out of bed in the morning, looking forward to that crunch.

I still give some away.  When I first posted about granola, I bragged about parting with half the batch every time.  Ha!  I've gotten stingier and busier, I guess.   The (small) bag went to my sister, who turned 34 this week and has done a lot of nice things for me lately. I feel so lucky to live 10 minutes from someone who has known me my whole life.  And my niece and nephew...sweetest and cutest ever.

cousins

I listened to a story about inmates raising frogs today on NPR.  They're growing tadpoles in tanks on prison property, and have success rates higher than other scientist-run research sites outside prison walls.  One said, "All of us need a hand up in life, someone to help us on our way.  We've been able to do that for these tadpoles."  The other talked about his dreams of volunteering for a zoo when he got out.

You know me.  Of course I was crying in the car, thinking about how all us need to know we're needed, how all of us need meaningful work in the world, whether we're locked up, taking care of kids, at the office, or anywhere in-between.  I've nebulously mentioned all my work angst.  You might be glad I've spared the details or, if you're Emily,  you may want every juicy bit.  Regardless, what I want to say today is my friend and mentor Kathy came for lunch and I had a gigantic breakthrough about who I am, what I'm good at, and what the pathway might be for getting where I want to go. I'm not watching tadpoles grow, but I feel at least as elated as those inmates, proud of their handiwork and dreaming about the future.

I don't know what this has to do with granola except that it's going to help sustain me in the hardworking months ahead. If there was ever a time not to skip breakfast, this is it.

Cranberry Ginger Granola
For years, I've been making my granola with canola oil, but I'm into butter lately.  You can use all oil if you want, and sub honey or pure maple syrup for the brown sugar.  Really, all granola recipes are just a scaffolding for whatever you want to do or whatever you have in your pantry.  This recipes makes a lot in case you want to send some to your aunt or leave some on a neighbor's porch.

8 cups. thick-cut old fashioned oats
1 c. coarsely chopped hazelnuts
1 c. pumpkin seeds
1 c. whole raw cashews
1/2 c. canola oil
1 cube (1/2 c.) unsalted butter
1 c. brown sugar
pinch salt
1 1/2 c. dried cranberries
1/2 c. candied or crystallized ginger, finely chopped

Heat oven to 350 and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Combine oats, hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds, and cashews in a large bowl.

In a saucepan over low heat, combine oil, butter, brown sugar, and salt until sugar is dissolved.  Pour over oats, mixing thoroughly.  Spread out onto baking sheets and bake for 20-30 minutes until brown, checking often and rotating baking sheets halfway through.

While oats are cooling, add cranberries and ginger, stirring thoroughly.  Transfer granola to an airtight canister(s).