Happy New Year!
I never understood why, but with every new year, most people think that turning that leaf of the calendar has some sort of magical property to it, a property magical enough to inspire us to make robust resolutions of how we will change our lives, be happier, eat healthier, lose weight, exercise more, sleep longer, stretch every day, stop biting our nails, etc. Now, there’s nothing wrong with that, and I can certainly appreciate the effort. After all, we all need newness and freshness and regular reminders that we are leading life consistent with the things that make us happy. Maybe 2019 will be the year that we change careers, apply to that job we have always been dreaming of, move to another part of the country, or tackle a long-awaited goal that will make us feel fulfilled but for which we need a little more confidence to believe we can get there. The problem is that, for most of us, keeping the resolutions long-term can be quite hard. We’re human. We’re creatures of routine. The old habits creep back and seize us with their mighty claws and we’re back to our wacky ways. So, in my case, I have very few illusions about my ability to observe lofty resolutions. I have to chart the course day by day towards smaller, more intermediate goals; otherwise, I get discouraged. When it comes to health and wellness, if I really decide I want to eat healthier, or cleanse, I know that it takes me a ton of willpower. I have never been able to observe any kind of diet for very long because I love food so much. I have my favorites like steak and fries and caprese salad, which are both healthy and delicious. No problem there. However, I have other staples that I crave for the exact reason that they are tasty and unhealthy, like flaky croissants and homemade bread and silky chocolate pudding and all-butter crust hand pies and alfajores and decadently rich chocolate cake. Then when you combine that taste with my wanting to try new recipes and make everyone I know a birthday cake, it really is kind of impossible to make any kind of resolution about healthy eating since I am surrounded by endless creamy batters, delectable buttercream frostings, the smell of fragrant rosemary bread rising in the oven, and countless other concoctions in my kitchen that are just too good to resist. As Oscar Wilde said, I can resist everything except temptation.
So, OK. Maybe I won’t make a resolution about healthy eating, but I know many others do and are able to keep them. So in an effort to provide a recipe that is healthy, practical, quick, and versatile, I put together this easy almond-cherry gluten-free granola. If you want to sleep in longer, this recipe might be the very thing you want to have for breakfast, a huge time-saver to sprinkle it over Greek yogurt with a drizzle of honey or a smatter of berries. If you’re looking to eat healthier, this recipe is made of wholesome gluten-free ingredients and it packs fiber too. You can store it in jars and have it as a quick go-to snack in the pantry. It can make a great gift. It is portable so you can take it to work or school or on the trail, and it can be a lifesaver if one day you’ve overslept and you want a hearty breakfast but don’t really have time to whip something up.
So without further ado, here below you’ll find the recipe. I hope 2019 is a wonderful year for you and it brings you the fulfillment of all your long-awaited dreams and goals, many moments of fun, and much happiness.
Almond-Cherry Granola (gluten-free)
Prep time: 15 min.
Cook time: 45 min
- 1 ¼ cups gluten-free rolled oats
- 2/3 cup slivered almonds
- 2/3 cup dried cherries
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- pinch salt
- ¼ cup pure maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1/8 cup coconut oil, melted
- 1/8 teaspoon almond extract
- ½ tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup warm water
- Preheat oven to 300°F
- Line a baking dish with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a small bowl combine oats, almonds, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
- In a smaller bowl, combine coconut oil, honey, almond extract, vanilla extract and maple syrup.
- In a small bowl, place the cherries. Bring the 1 cup water to a boil and pour over cherries. Let stand for 5 minutes. Drain.
- Add cherries to the oats and almond mixture.
- Drizzle the coconut-honey-maple mixture over the oat mixture, making sure it is moistened through. It is OK if some clumps form.
- Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, stir to coat, bake for 15 minutes more, and remove a second time to stir. Bake for a final 15 minutes for a total baking time of 45 minutes.
- Let cool and store in an airtight container.
- Serve with milk, over yogurt or ice cream, over fruit, or on its own.