For me, the start of autumn has always felt a lot more like the start of a new year than any day in January. While the weather doesn't exactly have most of us in the northeast begging for chunky sweaters just yet, the kiddies are back in school and it seems that most of the population has left their beach days behind them in search of pumpkin-flavored lattes. Which means, for me at least, that it is time to open the windows, let in a fresh (albeit, still somewhat humid) breeze, and begin to settle into a new routine.
Anyone who knows me will contend to the fact that I am whole-heartedly a summer gal: I live for flip flops, tanned shoulders and long days with my toes in the sand. However, this year, after a decidedly hectic summer (one which proved to involve very little beach time and a whole lot of Home Depot time), the fall months are looking pretty promising: the shop is open, the first few weeks of trial and error are over, and the renovations (dear god, the renovations) are finally complete (save for one fancy shelf we installed this afternoon to display all the flavors of Boylan sodas we carry).
While we've hung up our makeshift tool belts, life at the shop has still been just a little bit insane (which is the goal, right?). However, I like to think of it as a controlled sort of insanity, one that is developing into a pattern that includes a few hours per night of sleep, a few spare minutes per day to do things like call our friends, and a ten-minute period nearly every afternoon that is ideal for a brief walk around the neighborhood to appreciate the sights that surround our new little universe (see above and below). In short, slowly (very slowly) we are beginning to fall into something that resembles a routine, both in the shop and, in turn, in our home. Which is why, a few days ago, as the chef and I found ourselves standing in line at a chain donut shop purchasing day old blueberry muffins (which we're still not even sure were actually made of blueberries at all), I had an epiphany: "So, now that we're kind of in an almost normal routine, we should probably start doing practical things, like eating breakfast again and stuff."
This granola is the epitome of a fall pantry staple. However, I should warn you: it never lasts long in our house. The combination of cinnamon and vanilla extract makes this granola reminiscent of a perfect oatmeal cookie, even though, unlike a cookie, it contains very little sugar. Instead, much of the sweetness comes from plump golden raisins, whose moist texture are offset by heart-healthy, breakfast/after-school snack-approved whole almonds, which, by the way, add the ideal amount of crunch to the perfectly golden clusters that will form on your baking sheet, thanks to my favorite granola-making binder: a single, magical egg white. I hope this Vanilla & Raisin Granola will become part of your autumn routine, too. Feel free to leave a comment about your experiences with this recipe. Happy fall, and thanks for dropping by!
Vanilla & Raisin Granola
- 1 large egg white
- 3 cups old-fashioned oats
- 1/2 cup honey- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon whole flaxseed
- 2 tablespoons (packed) light brown sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup almonds, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup golden raisins
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
Combine egg white, oats, honey, olive oil, flaxseed, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, vanilla, and almonds in a large bowl. Toss to combine. Evenly spread the mixture on the parchment-lined baking sheet.
Bake the granola, stirring every 10 minutes, until golden brown, about 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately mix in the raisins. Allow the mixture to cool completely before transferring to an air-tight container.