Unbelievable Olive Oil Granola

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My plan for Easter Monday was to post about a bajillion photos of my family. Smiling outside the church in matchy-matchy Easter outfits. Grinning ear-to-ear, faces and fingers covered and coated in ham glaze or raspberry frosting. It’s the post-holiday, lazy-mommy blogger go-to. But alas, I cannot.

I took exactly zero photos of my kids this Easter. Zip. Zilch. Nada.

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I realize in our photo-obsessed culture, this is tantamount to missing the birth of my own children. An unforgivable lapse of negligence. There is probably a private circle of Instagram hell for wayward mommies like me. It’s okay, though. I bet we get margaritas.

I’m over it.

Actually, it was something of a conscious decision not to take pictures this Easter. (Something can be something of a conscious decision, right? That’s a thing?) Call me crazy, but I just wanted to enjoy Easter this year.

(Not that you can’t enjoy a thing while still snapping photos.)

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I made the decision that this one time, I was going to give myself permission not to worry about it. If I happened to see an opportunity and if my camera happened to be within arms reach, I’d take a picture. Otherwise, I wasn’t going to wrangle my kids for a pose. (They already indulged me by getting dolled up and behaving in Mass, I’d call that a win for the day.) Sure, it was Pumpkin’s first Easter, but neglecting to capture every Kodak moment didn’t make those moments any less precious.

Instead of snap-snap-snapping, I kept hands free for hugging, rolling pie dough, lifting praise. I gazed on the faces of my loved ones with no lens intervening.

Hopefully I won’t regret this decision a week down the road. But if I do, at least I’ve got my memories of a beautiful day full of sun, ham, friends, pie, green grass, laughter, and lots and lots of Jesus-induced joy!

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Incidentally, I did manage to get some pretty good shots of Easter prep. I’m saving my strawberry-rhubarb pie recipe for next year (sorry!), so you’ll have to stay tuned for that one. However, for today, I have a fabulous granola recipe to share with you. It’s perfect for the morning after. (After eating your weight in ham and potatoes, that is!)

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Olive oil may seem like an odd addition to granola, but trust me on this: It is delicious! It adds a savory note that makes this granola a little more grown-up and a whole lot of fantastic. I’ve tried a lot of granola recipes, but this one is my favorite. It has the perfect crunch and just the right sweet-to-salty-to-savory balance. (Also naturally allergen-free!) Atop a pillow of tangy yogurt, topped with fresh berries, or simply eaten out of hand it’s the ideal pick-me-up after a weekend of cream-covered, picture-perfect indulgence.

Unbelievable Olive Oil Granola
adapted from In the Kitchen with A Good Appetite by Melissa Clark

Makes 9 cups of granola.

This is truly an adaptable recipe. I adapted it from the original with what I had on hand. I’m hoping you’ll tweak it in turn to suit your unique and wonderful taste buds. The key is ratio. If you want to toss in some cranberries, don’t add them in addition the apricots, because you’ll throw the fruit balance out of whack. Instead, halve the apricots and sub an equal portion of cranberries. Or swap the apricots out entirely for some dried blueberries and ditch the pecans for almonds. Make sure you keep the sweet-salty-savory in balance. Replace like with like. Just don’t skimp on the olive oil. It’s the trick to keeping this balancing act in perfect proportion.

Print recipe here.

3 cups rolled oats (not quick cooking)
1 1/2 cups chopped raw pecans
1 cup salted sunflower seeds
1 cup shredded coconut (unsweetened) or coconut chips
3/4 cup pure maple syrup (or 1/4 cup syrup and 1/2 cup honey)
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 cup chopped dried apricots

Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine all ingredients except apricots (or whatever dried fruit you’re using) in a large bowl, then spread onto a large, rimmed baking sheet in a single layer. Bake 40 minutes, stirring occasionally and rotating tray if browning unevenly.

The oats will be golden at this point but the granola will not be “set.” Don’t worry. Take it out and let it cool; it will harden in a couple of minutes to perfect crunchiness.

Once your granola is totally cool, mix in the apricots then sprinkle some over a cupful of cool yogurt, top with fresh berries, and indulge.

Print recipe here.

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