Forever ingrained in my memory is that of my sweet grandmother, Vivian, moving swiftly around the kitchen; light on her toes yet seemingly at lighting speed. She loved being in the kitchen and making simple dishes from scratch. Nothing made her more happy than feeding her family and making sure they had a delicious meal on the table. You could trust that you would never go hungry at her house. In fact, one of my absolute favorite childhood memories is of my grandmother cooking and baking away while my brother and I would sit around the dining room table, eyes wide and trying to be as patient as possible while waiting for the next treat to magically appear out of the oven.
One of my favorite sweet treats was always my grandmother’s granola.
She never followed an exact recipe, but merely played it by ear each time using similar ingredients except without much measurement. Per my typical request, she used to make a huge baking dish of granola at least once every couple of months. After my grandma moved in with us when I was in high school, this special treat became even more sentimental to me. It was such a blessing to be able to walk through the door after school as scents of brown sugar, sweet cinnamon, and roasted nuts drifted throughout the house and welcomed me home. We would then sit down together in the kitchen nook, dishing granola into a bowl and topping with either a pour of milk, or even a scoop of rich vanilla-bean ice cream if that particular moment called for it. Sitting side-by-side, we would talk about our day, share stories and bond over something as simple as a homemade bowl of granola.
After my grandmother passed, I have found that nothing allows me to remember her more than by making the dishes she always loved. My mom recently made a batch of granola, in the same worn, large, and oval black metal baking dish that my grandmother always used.
She sent me home with a jar that I have happily sprinkled on everything from yogurt to cereal to oatmeal.
Anything to just give me a tiny taste of the sweet memory of my wonderful grandmother.
Mom’s ‘Sweet and Nutty’ Granola
- 1/3 cup Butter
- 1/3 cup Brown Sugar
- 2 tablespoons Honey
- 1 tablespoon Vanilla Extract
- 3 cups Oats
- 1/2 cup Unsweetened Coconut
- 1 1/2 cup Nuts (Almonds, Pecans, Walnuts, or Your Choice!)
- 1 cup Dried Fruit (Cranberries, Cherries, Golden or Plum Raisins, Apricots, or Your Choice!)
|Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine butter, brown sugar, honey and vanilla in a large bowl. Microwave until the butter is melted (30 seconds at a time, stirring in between), then stir ingredients together one last time.|
|Add the oats, nuts and coconut to the melted butter mixture. Stir until coated.|
|Pour mixture on a large cookie sheet, (covered with parchment paper), and spread evenly across the pan. Place in oven and bake 30 minutes, stirring the mixture every 10 minutes. Add dried fruit and continue to bake for 10 more minutes.|
|Remove granola from oven and spread on wax paper to cool. Once fully cooled, place in storage containers or dig right in!|
Questions for You:
- Are you a fan of granola? What are your favorite ingredients in granola?
- Do you have any favorite memories of your grandmother or mom in the kitchen?
- What are your plans for the weekend?