Chocolate granola and the socks meter

Chocolate granola from chef in disguise

This past September, my son started KG1. I was really worried at the time that he would find the transition from staying at home to going to school full time too hard.

I drove him to school on his first day with his little bag packed with pencils, crayons and his favorite lunch box that he carefully prepared the day before. We introduced him to his class and his teacher, he chose his closet where he placed his bag and then he said good bye mommy and set out to play!

No tears, no panic, no begging to go home! I spent months before that day preparing him for his first day of school, we read stories, went on orientation visits to the school and had many talks as I was putting him to sleep at night. Despite all that, I was taken back by how calmly he handled it! In fact, I think the mommy in me was hurt because he was able to let go so easily. The teacher told me that he is doing great and that she would call me if anything went wrong.

I went home to write a post about how much I’ll miss the little guy. We had our morning rituals. My son may be four but he loves tea and I loved sharing my morning tea with him. It had only been a couple of hours but my morning seemed so empty without him. The post I wrote ended up being deleted because it was too sad and gloomy and that was not the way I wanted to remember his first day of school nor did I want him to feel sad some day down the line if he got to read it.

I went to pick him up when school was over and he was still playing, beaming with a smile. After that things went smoothly for a month. He would jump out of bed in the morning at the mention of the word school and race his sister to get ready.

But just like the calm before the storm, that did not last. He started complaining that his socks were not comfortable and I would try to adjust them, take them off and then help him wear them again and we’d be fine. Then as days passed that was not enough, 10 minutes of each morning were spent changing pair after pair of socks, trying to find one that felt right. Then things progressed and none of the socks in the house, no matter what shape or color they were would make him comfortable. I bought him pairs and pairs of socks and they would be fine for a day or two at most and then we would be back to complaining.

I knew this was his subtle way of saying he did not want to go to school. Ibrahim is just like that in everything. He is gentle and subtle in everything that he does.I checked with his teacher on a regular basis to see if he was having any problems but he didn’t. He had many friends at school and he loved learning letters, words and numbers. He came home everyday with jokes and stories about his friends and when he had homework he raced to do it but the idea of going to school every single day seemed to be too much for him.

We had good days when his socks would fit perfectly the first time and days when 10 pairs of socks didn’t! His socks became our meter for his mood. My mum and dad would call to ask :”how are Ibrahim’s socks today?”

I did my best to help him through this time. We spent some mommy son time every day, I encouraged him to take part in all the different activities at school. We had our little star chart where we would add a star  with every new achievement, be it a new word that we learned, a new friend that he made or whenever something at school happened that made him smile.

It took another month for his socks to fit well again, it was a journey with ups and downs and now the socks meter is just our little joke that we tease him with sometimes but he still insists that the socks were the problem :)

Through that crazy socks month, I could use all the help I could get in the morning. I did not need an argument about breakfast on top of the dozens of socks all over the floor so I would have an arsenal of breakfast options ready. Granola is one of my most powerful weapons in that arsenal.

The ultimate chocolate granola

Chocolate granola

3 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats

1 cup coconut (optional)

1 cup hazelnuts (optional)

1/2 cup powdered milk (optional)

1/3 cup chia seeds (optional)

1/2 cup coco powder

1/3 cup honey

1/3 cup oil

1/3 cup brown sugar, agave nectar or maple syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon instant coffee

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon cardamom

1/4 teaspoon salt

In a bowl toss the oats, coconut, chia seeds, powdered milk and hazelnuts

In a pot add the honey, coco powder, oil, spices,  coffee and vanilla

Heat gently until the mix is homogeneous (do not allow the mix to boil)

Pour and honey coco mixture onto the oat mixture and toss until the oats are coated with chocolate

Spread the granola onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper, a wide pan with a low rim will give you the best results as it will allow you to spread the granola thinly and that helps it get crisp and crunchy

Place in a preheated oven at 180 C for 15- 20 minutes or until the edges are golden brown

Lower the heat to 150 and bake for 15 more minutes then turn off the heat and leave the pan in the oven until the oven cools down completely.

Keep in mind that it won’t be crunchy when it’s done baking; the granola will set and harden as it cools.

If your granola is not crunchy after it cools down , heat the oven to 180 C for 10 minutes, turn it off then spread the granola on a baking sheet and place it in the hot turned off oven until the oven cools down completely.

Amazing chocolate granola


How to get granola clusters?

Pat the granola into an even layer on a baking sheet. Pressing the granola helps it to hold together and form clusters

Do NOT stir the granola while baking it. Just bake normally , let it cool completely in the pan, and then break into whatever size chunks you fancy.

You can also use one egg white. Whisk in a small bowl until it’s foamy, then add to the granola mixture.

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  1. As wonderful as your photo presentation is, the real star of your post is the sock story. I guess we all have our way of dealing with stress.

  2. This is a great post! No without my breakfast! :)

  3. Motherhood is not for sissies… As you know, I’ve never had kids, but through my sisters first, then most of my friends, then my nieces, I’ve heard all kinds of stories, and I know it’s not easy to know what to do. When to be tough, when to be soft, when to protect, when to challenge

    I know you can sense it all and do what is right, so your kids are very lucky to have you to open their horizons!
    and to brighten up their mornings with a fantastic bowl of granola!

    can I move in? ;-)

    • Thank you so much Sally,
      Knowing what to do in every situation is indeed hard. I personally struggle with the decision making and then spend an eternity questioning my decision lol
      We are moving to the UAE in June, maybe you’ll get a job offer there and we can become neighbors?

  4. What a cute story! I love it. Of course he’ll always have the sock meter to look back on and laugh about. Who could worry about socks when they had chocolate granola that looked this good? Not me!

  5. I’m glad you waited until you felt right about telling your son’s 1st day at school story, as the one you told here is just so special, and magic

  6. basmandahleh

     /  January 25, 2014

    Beautiful :)

  7. It is so sweet, your relationship with your son! It is also so lovely how you encouraged him to keep going :)
    And this granola looks absolutely delicious, can’t imagine how good it would taste!


  8. How touching! He sounds like such a sweetheart. I’m glad he conquered whatever was the issue.

  9. My story was always “my goldfish will be lonely.” At least his claim is a little more legit. Nothing bums me out more than uncomfortable socks. Also, any excuse to eat chocolate for breakfast is heaven!

  10. What a wonderful socks story, and what a wonderful calm and patient mother you are.. the granola looks fantastic, c

  11. G’day and a healthy breakfast indeed Sawsan and always enjoy your posts, photos and especially about Ibrahim’s socks; please share with them a G’day from me! :)
    Cheers! Joanne

  12. oh what a cutie patootie.. !! A socks barometer.. he is a man after my own heart!! I too am very particular about my socks.. I think we need to meet!! :)))

    and you read my mind about the granola.. was just thinking of making some!!

  13. Khadijah

     /  January 25, 2014

    Maa shaa’ Allah! I love this sweet story about Ibrahim! I had to run tell my husband the story right after I read it :) Thanks for sharing.

  14. How touching Sawsan, did you ever find out the real reason he didn’t want to go to school? I’m glad his transition was smooth and tearless (for him), but I can certainly see how it would be sad for you. Just wait until he’s off to university, many of my friends are going through that now.
    The granola looks delicious, it would be dangerous for me to have in the house, it looks that tasty.

    • Hello Eva :) It was a combination of things, he missed the things we did in the morning, a couple of kids made fun of a drawing he made as a gift for the teacher, and other little things like that. We handled them one issue at a time and slowly things became better.
      The idea of him going off to the university is one I try my best to block out completely! I know that won’t be easy at all but I will cross that bridge when I get to it :)

      • Some of my friends have Uni-aged kiddies so I can only imaging what they are going through. I’m sure that the way you are raising your children they will be loving and loyal to you all their lives.

  15. Sawsan, I love how you described your son as gentle and subtle. He sounds like a darling boy and he’s blessed to have a Mom who recognizes his traits and how he communicates, even with socks. What a wonderful story! I’m going to try your chocolate granola — it sounds delicious. By the way, your cabbage rolls were also a big hit at my house!

    • Hello Kim, thank you for the kind comment. I do try my best. I hope he will think I did a good job at being his mum when he grows up :)
      I am really glad you enjoyed the cabbage rolls and I can’t wait to hear what you think of the granola

      • Sawsan, my chocolate lovin’ heart thanks you! Next batch I’m going to wait to add the coconut until towards the end of baking though — mine turned out pretty crispy, ha! (Could be my oven or attention span…) It is SO nice having a “treat” that’s good for me and CHOCOLATE, too! Thank you. xo

      • Oh my bad, the kids like the coconut toasty and crispy. I should have pointed that out. I am glad you still like it and that there is going to be another batch :)

  16. What a sweet story! I love how subtle and complex little kids are. I hope when I have my own, I am as patient as you. Lovely granola, too!

  17. That granola looks amazing – and love that story about your son!

  18. I love reading through this, and hugs to you for being such a lovely mom though I know how stressful that can be for you! Granola is our staple too, here we have porridge-meter. On good days she would eat her porridge and on bad days everything is wrong due to the porridge!

  19. These look fantastic!!

  20. Completely gorgeous. Loved this post Sawsan. Your son sounds like a little sweetheart. My two are back to school in 2 days, after our Summer holidays; which means back to early morning breakfast preparation. This granola is most definitely going on my list. As we speak I’m cooking your baked oats – we still make those weekly! x

    • Hello Saskia,
      We go to back to school next week and I am planning to make some granola this week :)
      Despite the cold, my kids’ favorite is the refrigerator oatmeal. Especially with pumpkin

  21. What a fantastic treat for breakfast.

  22. Your granola looks fabulous and I’m so glad that your son’s socks are comfortable again…

  23. Kate

     /  January 26, 2014

    I love chocolate granola and have definitely been coping with the cold with it. I’ll be interested to try your recipe. And thanks for such a funny, sweet story.

  24. Chocolate is so wonderful with practically everything. This sounds perfect! No wonder your little ones have trouble leaving home from time to time! :)

  25. LOVELY, sweet story and a delicious recipe, Sawsan. My best, Shanna

  26. Oh, I love kids! They are so creative and inventive and sweet! We usually have some sort of granola for our breakfast, too. My little one doesn’t have a big appetite for breakfast and just picks at it. Granola works well because she can graze on it for a while. We will have to try this recipe out!

  27. Aw, that’s so sweet Sawsan – I don’t think I was so… diplomatic when I was younger. If I didn’t want to go to school you can sure bet I kicked and screamed and yelled and tried to find ways out of it!

    Goodness, though – 4 seems so early to start school. Kids don’t really start until 6 or 7 here (the parent can choose).

    Love the look of your granola Sawsan – haven’t made any in a long time myself!

  28. Can I put your recipes in my blog and state that it is from you? They look amazing!!!

    • Thank you for your interest in my blog and my recipes but please don’t take my recipes and place them in your blog.
      These recipes take a lot of time and effort and I would appreciate it if you did not place them on your blog

  29. que delicia! hum…

  30. Look’s delicious! Great recipe!

  1. Chocolate Granola Recipe -

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