I have been spoiled by good roommates. There have been seven all together, and we’ve shared adventures, crises, shenanigans, and who knows how many meals cross-legged on the couch. Over the years, we’ve also shared a number of moves. Some of the lessons I’ve learned from moving: I have more houseplants than most people; Award-winning Naval Reservists make for very organized movers; and Always start a move with a good breakfast.
This weekend, my most recent roommate Ciara moved to a new apartment across town, so Dave and I came by to help. I made this granola the night before to give us a solid start – hearty, healthy, and good for the long haul. (As it happened, we ended up sleeping late and ate bagels on the go instead, but the granola made a very nice post-move, healthy late-night snack; Ciara fed us such a substantial thank-you lunch that it carried us right through dinner.)
I owe my granola-making to Catherine, another former roommate. When I was in undergrad, my housemates and I would pitch for the nuts and Catherine would make a massive batch of granola for the entire house – did I mention that I’ve been spoiled? While I’ve tried a few different granola recipes in my search to find one as good as Catherine’s, I’ve settled on this lemon granola from a cookbook that Mike (also former roommate) recommended on a visit to Ottawa a few years back.
The original recipe calls for dried blueberries, which are definitely delicious but also expensive and sometimes hard to find. I usually use raisins instead, or fresh blueberries or strawberries when they’re on sale. The only things you really need for this granola are the oats, some nuts, and the honey; everything else is a perk and workable around what you have in your kitchen at the time. It also works well with additions like flax seed & wheat bran, or substitutions like orange zest instead of lemon. I eat it over yogurt; Dave eats it under soy milk; it makes a passable apple crumble topping, too.
adapted from 12 Best Foods Cookbook
4 cups old fashioned (large flake) oats
2 cups nuts, chopped (almonds, walnuts, etc)
1/3-1/2 cup coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
1/4 cup sesame seeds
dash of cardamom
1/3-1/2 cup honey
zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup dried fruit or fresh berries
1. In a large pan over medium heat, cook the nuts, stirring occasionally, for 3-5 minutes; they will start to darken in colour. Add oats; continue stirring occasionally for another 3 minutes. Add sesame seeds & coconut; continue stirring occasionally for another 3 minutes. Remove from heat.
2. Sprinkle lemon zest & cardamom over oat mixture. Drizzle all with honey and stir until evenly coated. (If the mixture appears dry, add more honey.)
3. Scrape granola onto a baking sheet. Bake for 4 minutes at 350 degrees; remove from oven and stir to redistribute the granola. Return to oven and repeat, baking for 4 minute intervals and removing to stir, until granola is golden-brown (about 12-18 minutes). Allow to cool on the pan.
4. When cool, transfer to a container and add dried fruit (if using).