I tend to shop at the grocery store for the same items every week. I might have one or two special meals that require ingredients I wouldn’t normally buy, but for the most part I stick to the Chrissy and Billy staples. I have a menu routine that works for us and, with so many other balls to juggle in my life, I’m grateful for the comfort of my familiar groove.
Such a stroke of inspiration hit me one cold afternoon this past February. I was waiting to pay for my standard groceries, staring at the shelves lined with last-minute “necessities” curated for the captive audience trapped in line, when a container of granola caught my eye. I never buy granola, but there I was, lost in that same curious trance, fantasizing about granola yogurt parfaits in tiny little mason jars.
Surrendering to whatever force inspired me to buy granola launched me on a creative adventure; it delivered me from the monotony of winter and the comfort of my familiar groove. And boy did it taste good. Like Frank’s RedHot, I put that sh*t on everything. I loved it so much that when it ran out I decided to make my own. I even substituted my go-to ingredient, butter, with coconut oil.
I know. (Moment of silence.)
The coconut oil adds a surprising richness to the granola. It’s delicious. That said, you can definitely taste the coconut, so if you’re not a fan I would recommend substituting the coconut oil with vegetable oil or 4 tablespoons of melted butter, not that I’ve tried either of these substitutions but I’m sure they’ll work great; please do report back with the results.
Ohm My Gosh I Can’t Believe It’s Not (Made With) Butter Granola
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
3 cups oats
1 cup almond slivers
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Toss all of the ingredients together. Spread onto a baking sheet in a thin layer and bake for 25 minutes (shaking occasionally so it doesn’t burn), or until golden brown. *Note: You can absolutely follow your tastes and your intuition to create your own granola concoction: dried fruit, nuts, toasted coconut, chocolate chips . . . go bananas.
My creativity went into overdrive as I tried to come up with excuses to eat my h(om)emade granola. My first thought was to create a yogurt, granola and jam parfait. I ate this all winter long, polishing off an entire jar of my friend Lip’s plum jam! Luckily it won’t be long before I head back to Heathen Hill to restock!
I used small mason jars, which are perfectly sized for one serving, or for goodness on the go.
I had so much fun coming up with different flavor combinations. Stone fruit is obviously the perfect choice this time of year — cherries with slivered raw almonds; peaches with honey and granola; juicy, multi-colored candy plums — it’s all so delicious, you can’t possibly go wrong.
The highlight of my parfait bonanza was most definitely the creation of my very own chocolate “pudding”. Just stir a healthy dollop of Nutella into some yogurt. I topped it off with bananas and walnuts. It was so, so good.
Here’s what I learned from my granola adventure: Trying new things broadens our perspective. I realize that that’s the most obvious and cliché thing I’ve ever written, but it’s true. There’s a lot of comfort in what we already know, but growth happens outside our comfort zones. Granola, of all things, lured me out of my creative slump with a trail of coconut-toasted crumbs. That’s the thing about going with the flow. When you trust that visceral voice inside, it might just lead you to the exact thing you never knew you needed.