I always say I’m not a morning person, I never have been, and it’s true that everyone is different when it comes to the best time of day for them to be productive, energised and motivated. However, I recognise that there is an energy that comes with rising early that, when I manage to catch it, just feels so good! With the suddenness and shock of the UK’s lockdown we’ve all found ourselves thrown into a period of uncertainty. I didn’t realise how much I needed a base level of predictability until there was none. I needed to find a way to create that base level, so I looked to my mornings.
I recently read Mira Manek’s new book, Prajñā, which inspired me to take control of my day and give it more structure by introducing some loving, nourishing rituals. Manek’s book draws from Ayurvedic traditions, but the underlying idea feels so applicable right now. I’ve started to begin my day with a period of quiet reflection, journaling and movement (for me in the form of yoga) and a small, delicious breakfast. It allows me to start my day with a calm mind rather than a scattered one, and with that sense of certainty and predictability that sets me on the right track.
I’ve decided that making my own granola regularly on a Sunday evening is a great way to set myself up for the week ahead. It gives me something to look forward to when my alarm goes off early in the morning. I scoop some probiotic yoghurt into a small bowl, top with a couple of spoonfuls of delicious homemade granola and a sprinkle of frozen homegrown raspberries from last year’s harvest. The probiotic yoghurt is a great immune boost and best to have first thing on an empty stomach so that the beneficial bacteria can do their magic. The nuts and seeds in the granola are full of fibre, protein, essential fats, vitamins like vitamin E and minerals like magnesium. The fresh raspberries provide antioxidants, vitamin C and potassium – and colour! I love that I am giving my body a nourishing start to the day, plus it feels all the more special because I’ve made it myself and especially eating it with our homegrown fruit. It might be “just breakfast”, but it lifts my spirits right from the word go.
I’ve put dried fruit as optional in this recipe, as dried fruits are a standard ingredient in most granola recipes, but I’ve personally been leaving them out lately. I find that the granola tends to keep its crunchiness better in the jar without the fruit, and I can always add the dried fruit as a topping when I come to eat it.
I’ve designed this recipe so that it can be customised. I love to tweak and change the flavours each time I make it to give myself some variety, but also depending on what I’ve got in the cupboard or what’s available. The most straightforward version of the recipe below would use mixed nuts, mixed seeds, and mixed spice – simple! The benefit of this version is that it’s not only super easy, but you get the varying nutritional benefits of the different nuts and seeds. It’s nice to switch things up sometimes though, so how about trying these:
- Use hazelnuts/cobnuts and flavour with 1 tbsp cacao and a pinch of cinnamon.
- Infuse a black teabag with the heated honey for ten minutes making sure it doesn’t boil or burn. Use dried figs as the dried fruits.
- Use mainly sliced almonds and minimal flavourings, but pop a couple of drops of orange blossom water into the melted coconut oil mixture just before mixing into the dry ingredients. Use dried apricots.
- Use macadamias, add coconut flakes at the dried fruit stage and freeze dried raspberries when the granola has fully cooled.
Easy Granola Recipe
- 300g oats
- 200g nuts (see notes on customisations above)
- 50g seeds (see notes on customisations above)
- 1 tbsp spices/flavouring (see notes on customisations above)
- 100ml honey/maple syrup (about 5tbsp)
- 3 tbsp coconut oil
- Pinch salt
- 150g dried fruit (optional)
- 2 egg whites (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C Fan/350°F/Gas Mark 4.
- Mix the dry ingredients excluding the dried fruit if using.
- Heat the coconut oil, honey/syrup and salt in a pan until melted and combined. Mix into the dry ingredients.
- Stir the egg whites into the mixture.
- Spread onto baking tray and bake for 35 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so to ensure everything cooks evenly. Add the dried fruit about ten minutes before the end of using so that they have time to plump up but shouldn’t burn.
- Once baked, allow to cook completely before storing in an airtight container. If I make mine on a Sunday evening I lightly cover with a tea towel and leave to cool fully overnight.
I’d love to hear what kind of granola you like and how you would customise this recipe. Let me know if you try this in the comments!