I've always been a morning person.
I'm not necessarily someone who is perky in the morning. In fact, that's what I don't want to face first thing. But, I am able to get up and function in the morning without being poked and prodded by parents or alarm clocks.
I never slept in past 8:30 a.m. until I went to college. In my freshman year, there were 3 of us crammed into what should have been a double room because the dorms at my college were being renovated at the time. My roommates were used to sleeping in so I felt obligated to do the same. It was a strange concept to me to not wake up until 10 or 11 a.m. But I did because I didn't want to be the one who always got up early and disturbed the peace.
When I moved into an off campus apartment, I still slept in but the need felt less desirable. Not being trapped inside a single room also helped. Now, I feel plain guilty for sleeping in that late. It's like I'm wasting the day away.
Early risin' means that I'm not a night owl. You won't catch me staying up late unless I have to. I've never pulled an all nighter in my entire life nor have I ever felt the need to finish a project or study past 1:00 p.m. And I'm pretty proud of that. I have design friends who have survived on 10 hours of sleep over the week of finals. It's mind boggling to me how they can even function.
This may be in part to my ability to time manage well but I think it's mostly because I'm just not able to stay up that late. My friends like to tease me for being the first one to go to bed or announce being tired. I have my reasons. I don't go to bed late because I don't like to wake up too late.
I may be okay with waking up in the mornings but I don't like making breakfast complicated unless I have to. I'll save the pancakes, waffles, eggs, french toast, and omelettes for the weekend when I can take the time to make something fancy. My day to day breakfasts are actually kind of boring. Sometimes there's cold cereal, oatmeal, fruit, or maybe some toast or bread. A muffin or baked doughnut if I'm lucky. During the week, I like breakfasts that take less than 2 minutes to assemble. Granola is one of those wonderful things that can be made on the weekend and keeps for weeks.
I used to buy granola until Popo showed me how easy it was to make. The only thing you really have to do is follow your nose and keep an eye on it every 10-15 minutes. The ingredients can be whatever mix and match you want them to be. I've found that a 3:1:1:1 rule works best to yield 6 cups of granola. 3 cups of oats to 3 cups of whatever else you have on hand.
In this particular batch, I used oats, coconut chips, sunflower seeds, and cashews.
Don't like coconut chips? Substitute it out with almonds or pecans.
Are you only a fan of cashews? Then only put cashews.
For the wet ingredients, we emulsify 1/2 cup of maple syrup and 1/3 cup of oil. I'm kind of a maple syrup snob so make sure it's the real stuff. It'll make all the difference.
Then, mix everything together and dump on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper or a Silpat.
Bake at 275 Fahrenheit checking every 15 minutes up to an hour to stir and check for doneness. Once the granola looks golden brown, you can do one of two things. Remove from the oven to cool or turn the oven off and leave the granola inside to cool. I find the latter helpful if I make granola at night and don't want to fuss with putting it away immediately. In the morning I can conveniently grab a handful to consume while putting the rest away.
With yogurt, honey, and fresh fruit of course.
The Most Uncomplicated & Customizable Granola
Yields: 6 cups
The time it takes for the granola to finish varies depending on your oven. If in doubt, follow your nose. If it smells fragrant, check it. The worst thing would be to have burnt granola.
3 cups old fashioned oats
2 cups chopped nuts such as sunflower seeds, cashews, almonds, pecans
1 cup coconut chips
½ cup maple syrup
⅓ cup olive oil
Preheat oven to 275ºF.
Combine the oats, nuts, and coconut chips in a large bowl. Set aside.
In a small bowl, vigorously stir together the maple syrup and olive oil until emulsified. Pour over the dry ingredients and mix until thoroughly combined.
Spread granola on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat.
Place in the oven and stir every 15 minutes up to an hour to check for doneness.
Remove from the oven to cool or turn off the oven and leave the granola inside to cool.
Store in an airtight container or jar for several months.