mom’s granola

A lot of the recipes that I love to make are the ones that remind me of memories – special occasions, holidays, that kind of thing. But I have to say, the ones that are the most special are the ones that take me back to my family’s kitchen. Spending time in there, especially as my sisters and I got older, are some of my most cherished memories. Nowadays, whenever we can all make it back home for a visit, that’s where we spend the most time. Grouped around the kitchen island with assorted goodies and drinks, bumping elbows and sharing in conversation, I find myself brimming with happiness and love.

Since the hubs and I live several hours away from my parents, I find myself recreating dishes that remind me of home. It’s a great way to “transport” us there, in a way. It might not be exactly the same, but it certainly does a great job of making me feel there! That’s where today’s recipe comes in – for lack of any better name, I’ve dubbed it Mom’s Granola. It’s a super simple, super customizable recipe, but it takes me back into her kitchen each and every single time I make it.

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Most of the ingredients I’ve called for are ones you probably have on hand. However, like any other cook, I’ll find myself in a pinch…a few ingredients short…and have to sub in or swap out certain items for others. I’ve shared a few of my favorite *optional* add-ins, but don’t hold back! They can be added in as you see fit, in any amount. That’s the beauty of home cooking, in my opinion. It is so easy, and so satisfying, to take a recipe and make it your own, but still have it take you to a special memory or place.

Enjoy!

~~~

Mom’s Granola 

A nostalgic recipe that brings me home every time I make it, this granola can be easily adapted to fit the taste buds and needs of anyone who wants to make it. It comes together in no time, leaves the house smelling wonderful, and most importantly – it’s good for you!

Ingredients:

5 cups rolled oats

1-1/2 cups slivered almonds

1 -1/2 cups walnuts, coarsely chopped

1 cup raisins

1 cup cranberries

2 tbsp. cinnamon

1 tbsp. vanilla

1 small can of sweetened condensed milk {can be any fat content}

1/4 cup molasses

pinch salt

optional add-ins: chia seeds, flax seeds, unsweetened coconut, chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, assorted dried fruits, pumpkin seeds…etc. 

To Prepare:

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Generously spray a large rimmed baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray, and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients {except for the molasses, sweetened condensed milk, and vanilla}. Toss liberally to combine, making sure that the cinnamon is evenly distributed. Add in the sweetened condensed milk, molasses, and vanilla; fold in carefully, making sure to evenly distribute.

Pour onto the prepared baking sheet and smooth into one even layer. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes; remove and toss the granola {you want to give the top some contact with the bottom of the pan, ensuring everything gets crispy}.

Turn the oven up to 350 degrees, and bake for another 15-20 minutes, depending on how dark and crunchy you prefer your granola. Once cooked to your liking, removed from the oven and let cool completely.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week; any longer, transfer to the freezer to maintain freshness.

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