A Spiced Orange & Maple Granola
I love the mornings, I always have. Well, maybe not when I was a teenager but that's another story! Its that soft morning light peeking through the windows that cast the shadows that stretch along the floorboards. Its the birds striking up their choir and the hum that slowly builds with each passing car to begin yet another day.
Since the sale of the café a few months ago, one of the things that I have missed most are the sunrises that used to greet me from the front windows. Some mornings they would quite literally stop me in my tracks and I would find myself pausing for a couple of minutes to embrace every changing colour and appreciate the stillness before the day was well and truly underway.
Its that feeling of turning yet another page in a good book, you may know what lies ahead in the story but new adventures may await and twists and turns that were unexpected could pop up. With each new day comes new opportunities and new adventures and this excites me so much. Every morning we have the choice about how we are going to feel about each new day. How we are going to tackle that to-do list? Are we going to move our body first thing? Are we going to pour that soul-warming cup of something warm and soothing and enjoy that first sip of hot liquid touching our lips for a few minutes? Or, are we going to be in a mad rush because we pushed that snooze button too many times?
Everything we do in the morning sets us up for the day ahead. I find when I take that extra time to sit down and enjoy my breakfast that my day generally turns out to run a lot smoother than if I was to be rushing around like a headless chook!! This only leaves me feeling like I am chasing my tail for the entire day.
Even now, since entering this wonderful world of motherhood, the mornings are still my most favourite. Perhaps even more so, as every morning I am given the gift of seeing our little man, bright eyed and bushy tailed and ready to begin another day. Yes, of course there are times when all I have wanted to do is to roll back over in bed, shut my heavy eye-lids and drift back into the land of nod, but with little Beau bear now I don't have this luxury anymore.
Every meal could tell a story if we let it and one of the most memorable breakfast memories I have from my childhood is that of the mornings spent with my Nanna and Granny at their unit in Rosebud. It was always such a treat to stay with them. My brother and I would sit up at the breakfast bar, placemats laid out. The two of us on one side and Nanna and Granny on the other. Granny would have her bowl of All-Bran topped with prunes while Nanna would generously spread her slices of toast with lashings of butter topped with sliced tomatoes, lots of salt and pepper. My love for food and memories is so strong as they go hand in hand. They create so much of what life is all about, the simple things.
Beau and I also have our little morning routine or ritual as I like to refer to it. After going into Beau's bedroom, where I am greeted with a big gummy smile, we say good-morning to George the Giraffe, pull the blinds up and say good morning to whatever day of the week it is. After giving Beau his milk we then make the bed, or should I say that I make the bed while young sir supervises me from his chair. We then turn to a page in Meredith Gaston's beautiful book, 101 Inspirations for your journey and read the words that have so much meaning and thought. The kettle then goes on and I choose an essential oil to diffuse for that day. As the oats warm on the stove, the bowls at the ready we then sit up at the table and have our little breakfast date.
It is these mornings where I feel so very fortunate to be living this life that we have created. My wish is for Beau to grow up with a love for the mornings too. And I have no doubt that he too will be a lover of breakfast. Is there anything more satisfying than starting the day with a tummy full of nourishing, wholesome goodness? This is the reason why I have decided to share yet another granola recipe with you. It was in fact inspired by that other magical time of the year, Christmas, but can and most definitely should be enjoyed year round.
3 cups rolled organic oats
1 cup pistachios
1/2 cups pumpkin seeds
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground gingerbread spice mix or you could substitute ground ginger, but the gingerbread spice is really, really good. Gewurzhaus sells it.
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
zest of 1 orange
3 tbsp. pure maple syrup
3 tbsp. coconut oil, melted
pinch of salt
handful of freeze-dried cherries (optional, although they do provide a lovely surprise of sweetness)
handful of dried cranberries
Preheat your oven to 160 degrees. Place a sheet of baking paper on a large baking tray.
In a large bowl pop all of your ingredients in except for the dried cherries and cranberries. Mix it all together really well then simply just pour it out onto the tray, spreading it out evenly. Put the tray in the oven and bake for 10 minutes before giving it a stir and then popping it back in for another 10 minutes. Give it another stir, making sure you get into the corners as these tend to colour more quickly than the rest. You will probably have to put it back into the oven again for about 6-10 minutes. You just want it to turn a lovely even golden colour all over.
Once you are happy with how it looks, let it cool down (try not to eat it by the handful as its doing this!!! I always have one and then go back for another and another and before I know it half of it is already gone!) and then add in the cherries, if using, and the cranberries. Stir it all together really well and pour it into a container with an airtight lid.
Its really lovely with a big dollop of greek yoghurt and sliced seasonal fruits, be that plums, apricots, banana or even just a handful of fresh berries. Its also really yummy sprinkled over the top of a warming bowl of porridge, drizzled with honey.