Almond Coconut Granola: Photo by the Author: Trista Signe Ainsworth
One cannot think well, love well, sleep well if one has not dined well.
― Virginia Woolf
I love to create delicious, healthy food in the kitchen. My journey with food has been a long and winding road. My relationship with it has always been one of love. The granola recipe below is one that I created a few years ago out of my love for breakfast.
My Beginnings As a Cook and Baker:
It all started with a small, yellow, tattered children's cookbook. It was love at first sight. My mom gave me this book and said that it was hers when she was a girl. She had learned how to cook with this book, so now she was passing it on to me. I still have it on my shelf.
With that book, I learned how to make lemonade, cinnamon toast, and other recipes. I have memories of making fresh lemonade and bringing it out to my parents when they were working in the garden during the summer. I was so proud to provide refreshments.
After I learned the basics, it was on to more complicated recipes. That is when my love of baking took hold. During high school, I spent a large portion of my free time learning how to bake cakes, cookies, and bread.
All of that study paid off. Not only was I able to contribute delicious treats to our family gatherings, but I also planted the seeds for future business endeavors.
My First Food Business:
After I became an English as a Second Language instructor, the love of baking was still in my heart. Since I worked part-time, I decided to start a small baking business.
My sister-in-law and my mom joined me. Every Friday (during the farmer's market season), we baked from 7 am to 5 pm. On Saturdays, we brought our goodies to the market to sell.
We created recipes based on family favorites and made new creations as well. Some of our most popular sellers were rhubarb custard pie and ginger scones.
I learned so much through this business. Most of all, I found that you create bonds with people through the love of food.
It was so beautiful how we created joy through our goodies. We had so many customers tell us that our rhubarb custard pie was just like their loved ones used to make. It was an old-fashioned recipe you did not see very often.
After four years, we all got busy with other endeavors, and we decided to leave our baking business behind. I, however, decided to carry on. I created my own pie business that I ran alone for two years.
It was a learning experience for me. I loved the creativity, but I missed interacting with people every week. That was the missing link for me.
After that, I had a meal service business for another two years. When that ended, my final two forays with food were working at a farm store kitchen and becoming the chef at a local coffee shop.
It was through the coffee shop that I fell in love with this granola. With my meal service, I had catered to people with celiac or gluten allergies. They were so appreciative that I had something to offer them.
This long and winding road ends in that I love food, cooking, and connecting with people.
What I finally learned is that I love all three of those things, but I prefer to cook in my home kitchen just for my friends and family.
Life is beautiful when you simplify it. It does not need to be complicated.
Find what you truly love and do more of that.
Connections with Food in 2020:
The very first thing that I did when quarantine began last year was to make a quiche. The making of a loved dish brought a sense of calm.
Throughout the year last year and into this year, I have shared food with friends and family. I sent cookies to friends and family far and wide for birthdays and holidays.
Whenever I had extra food, I could drop it off and share it with friends.
I knew that my pizza dough recipe made too much, so I gave half the dough to a dear friend. She and her kids were able to have fun making pizzas with it.
I brought back loving memories when I sent cookies during the holidays, making sure to make all of everyone's favorites and some new ones as well.
I had friends that went through surgeries last year. I sent them a variety of healthy snacks and tea so that they could rest, relax, and recuperate.
For me, the answer is always food.
Coconut Almond Granola:
I love the delicious simplicity of this granola. It contains just a few ingredients, but when combined, they are heavenly! Make this recipe often, and don't forget to share it with your friends!
3 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1 cup chopped almonds
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
3/4 cup pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons coconut extract
- Heat oven to 325F.
- Mix dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Mix wet ingredients in a separate medium bowl.
- Combine ingredients and stir with a spatula.
- Spread out onto a rimmed metal baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Bake for 20 minutes, stirring after 10 minutes to make sure all of the granola gets toasted.
- Let cool for 15 minutes.
- Serve as a cereal with your favorite milk, or use it to top fruit or granola.
I hope that you enjoy this delicious granola recipe. The great thing about it is that it is very adaptable.
You can substitute different nuts or spices or add in chopped, dried fruit after baking.
My wish for you is that you find your path in life. It may take a while, and there are many twists and turns. Just trust that you are where you need to be at this moment.