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.