I start and stop. Backspace. Backspace. Start again. Write a paragraph and delete once more. How do I explain where I have been, how do I pick up where I left off? It might have only been a month, but lifetimes have passed and my heart has been through hell and back again. The worst may not yet be over and I try to brace myself, but there is no way to prepare for what life brings. One frigid morning I couldn't take it anymore. I needed a break from the constant chatter inside my own head. A thermostat reading one degree did not manage to deter me from what I needed to do. I needed to take a walk, get some fresh air, and still my heart.
I knew where I wanted to go so I grabbed my camera and hiking boots. Have you ever walked in the woods after a snowstorm? I take a few steps off the marked trail and the rest of the world just fades away. I instantly find tracks, lots of them. All the creatures that live here can no longer hide. These impressions quickly expose warm dens, hollowed out logs and dark holes in the ground. Some tenants are home and others prefer to be left in peace. I eventually pick up deer tracks. My father is a hunter and visions of him teaching us as children momentarily keep my heart warm. The tracks, though unmistakable, are reaffirmed by a quick whiff of musk. I walk on, not wanting to disturb anyone further. I was only out for about two hours, but that short amount of time in the chilling silence was all that I needed. A transitory escape. The weight of the world lifted for an instant. A chance to loose myself in the majesty and surrounding beauty. Gently reminding me that I need to do this more often.
So if you made it this far with me and are wondering where granola came into the picture, your guess is as good as mine. After my little walk along the river, for some reason I started thinking about lingonberries. There is actually a perfectly cromulent reason, but lets just continue on anyway. To my delight I found a website that sells wild lingonberries, but the price of shipping such beauties from so far away was a little more then I wanted to pay. If the order was over a certain amount shipping would be free. So I added some huckleberry syrup and dried lingonberries to my order of six pounds of fresh frozen wild lingonberries. And there you have it! I'm still not sure why granola was first on my list, but I did tell you that it was only inevitable. Inevitable granola, that is what I should have titled this post.
How adorable is that little jar with the face on it. It is for separating eggs. A little gift from one of my sisters on Christmas. This is the pottery shop she brought it from. I think everyone should have one!
There are so many granola recipes out there, and so many of them don't work. I have tried countless recipes with no success until I stumbled upon this one about a year ago. I have made it several times, always changing the ingredients and it never disappoints. If you aren't ready to ship lingonberries across the country then by all means substitute regular dried cranberries. Throw in some coconut or pumpkin seeds. Use chia instead of flax. Be bold, be adventurous, and by all means make some homemade granola, any food blogger would tell you the same.
Granola with dried Lingonberry (Low Bush Cranberry)
adapted via Whole Living Going Granola6 cups of old fashioned rolled oats (I used 4 cups of oats, 2 cups of flaked spelt and an extra 1/3 cup of quinoa flakes) *Want to keep it gluten-free - use 6 full cups of certified GF rolled oats
1 1/4 cups of chopped nuts (I used 3/4 cups of pecans and 1/2 cup walnuts)
1/3 cup flax seed meal
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of cardamom (optional of course)
3 large egg whites
3/4 teaspoon flaked sea salt
3/4 cups of organic brown rice syrup (or use honey)1/3 cup coconut oil in liquid form1 cup dried fruit, coarsely chopped if large piecesPreheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl combine the oats, nuts, flax see meal, cinnamon, and cardamom and set aside. In another bowl, whisk the egg whites and the salt until frothy. Continue to whisk in the brown rice syrup and coconut oil. Add the wet ingredients to the large bowl of dry ingredients and stir until all the oats are evenly coated. Spread the mixture out onto two rimmed baking sheets. Bake for twenty minutes. With a spatula toss the granola moving the outer edges to the center and carefully spreading it back out. Place the granola back in the oven and bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Let the granola cool completely on the pan, then transfer to a large bowl and toss in the dried fruit. And then toss some more for the heck of it!