Growing up, my family referred to ourselves as the Griswolds when it came to family vacations. Like the movie family, we were (and still are) a goofy, loving bunch who set out on vacations with the best intentions but often met with some hilariously disastrous events along the way. We even drove around in a sweet station wagon that we nicknamed the Family Truckster. We’ve gotten lost in a state park and on a bridge. We’ve left the tailgate down on the truck with all of our luggage in the truck bed, running over a suitcase and scattering fishing poles along the highway before realizing our mistake. We’ve stayed in a house infested with bats and (possibly) ghosts, which my uncle still swears weren’t there before we arrived. While staying in that same house, my little brother had a fall in the bathroom that resulted in a fairly serious dental injury and my other uncle ended up in the ER for a whole bunch of stitches after cutting his wrist open. Needless to say, we weren’t invited back there for a few years.
Now that I’ve long ago moved out of my parents’ house and no longer take vacations with the whole family, I was pretty certain I had left the vacation bloopers behind me. Ah, but doesn’t life tend to surprise us? As I found out this Christmas, I still have a little bit of Griswold left in me: About half way through the four-hour drive to my parents’ house on Christmas morning I had a sudden thought that I wasn’t sure if I had remembered to put my overnight bag in the car when I was loading up the trunk. As it turns out, I had remembered to pack absolutely everything except for my bag. It was way too late to turn around at that point, so I spent our two-and-a-half day trip wearing my Christmas outfit and borrowing whatever else I needed from my mom and my sister-in-law. Oh, the fun never ends!
Our trip ended up being lovely, despite my little mishap, and I did manage to learn a couple of important lessons:
1. My suspicion that I’ve been putting too much effort into taking care of other people’s wants and needs at the expense of taking care of myself seems to be spot on.
2. I don’t need nearly as much “stuff” as I think I do.
So it looks like my New Year’s Resolutions, which I never intended to make in the first place, have been determined for me. And in the spirit of these resolutions of simplicity and self-care, I offer you my favorite granola recipe. It’s easy to make, healthy, and includes a little treat in the form of crystallized ginger, which I think we all know is just candy in disguise.
Wishing you all a very happy new year, full of friends, family, fun, and food….and hopefully with a minimum of Griswold-esque shenanigans.
Coconut and Ginger Granola
I love the surprise sweet and spicy bites that the crystallized ginger adds to this granola, but if you’re completely against any sort of candy in your breakfast cereal you can feel free to substitute dried fruit instead. Something tropical like pineapple, mango, or even banana would be delicious.
3.5 c rolled oats
1 c uncooked quinoa
1 c sliced almonds
1/2 c hemp hearts
1/2 c melted coconut oil
1/4 c honey (or other liquid sweetener)
1/4 c freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 tsp salt
1 c large flakes dried coconut, unsweetened
1/3 c chopped crystallized ginger
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment.
Combine the oats, quinoa, almonds, and hemp hearts in a large bowl.
Combine the coconut oil, honey, orange juice and salt in a small bowl or measuring cup. Stir well, then pour over the oat mixture. Stir well to combine.
Pour the oat mixture onto the two prepared cookie sheets and spread out into a thin layer. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so, until the granola just begins to take on some color. Add half of the coconut and ginger to each cookie sheet and bake for another 10 minutes or so. The granola should be a light, golden brown.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the cookie sheets. Once cooled, transfer to airtight containers and store at room temperature.
Yield: about 7 c