Spring is giving way to warmer summerish days. The fields that were lush green just a couple of weeks ago have started trading sun-kissed golden yellow color for their vibrant green. In my attempt to hold on to spring just a little longer I set out looking for signs that spring is still here.That there is still a chance for a fresh and new beginning even when it seems it might be too late. A sign that even when it seems everyone is well on their way to their summer, you can still start, fresh, vibrant and hopeful.
My parents have a small garden, yet dad has planted 3 vines, one lemon tree and 3 fig trees in it. One of the vines is a late bloomer, she doesn’t care about the fact that summer is well on its way. She doesn’t care that the other two vines have already started showing flower buds. She is not stressed out by the competition nor worried about what people may think
I love watching her bloom every year, at her own timing, love watching those shiny new and hopeful leaves unfold and reach for the sky.You see, sometimes life feels like a mad race, there is so much competition, so much that you must do, need to do, are expected to do. It is so easy to feel overwhelmed, to feel like it is too late and you’ll never catch up. My little vine friend reminds me, year after year that life is a journey not a race and even if you are a late bloomer, don’t worry about how far ahead people are or what they may think of you. Just unfold your leaves and reach for the sun, give it your all and enjoy it.
Speaking of beginnings, my favorite way to start the day is with a bowl of granola and some milk or yogurt. Homemade granola is really easy to make, tastes a lot better than anything you can buy, it is much cheaper that anything you can buy and the best part is, you can make it your own way. You can add the nuts, dried fruits and spices you like and mix and match till you find the perfect blend.
I like adding puree dates to mine to increase the nutritional value and add another layer of flavor and some sweetness. Apple sauce serves the same purposes, together the apple sauce and the dates help the granola form chunky clumps which I love snaking on.
Home made granola
4 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 and 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 cup date puree (recipe follows)
1 and 1/4 cup apple sauce (recipe follows)
1/3 cup syrup (I used the syrup left from making the apple sauce)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup flaxseed (optional)
1 cup pistachio (optional)
1 cup almonds (optional)
Shredded coconut (optional)
Mix your dry ingredients, oats, brown sugar, flax seeds(if using), cinnamon, cardamom and nuts (if using).
Mix the apple sauce, date puree, syrup, orange juice and oil.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry and toss to combine
Lightly oil your baking sheet, spread your granola mix and press it slightly if you like your granola to have clumps
Bake in a 180 C oven for an hour to an hour and a half (depending on how crisp you want it to be), take it out every 15 minutes and stir it to insure that all the parts get crispy
1 cup dates pitted and chopped
1 cup boiling water
Pour the water over the dates and stir, set aside and stir every 10 minutes till it cools down then pulse in the blender or food processor.
If you are short on time, pour the water over the dates and allow to cool then place in the refrigerator over night, the water will soften the dates and you won’t even need to pulse them
4 apples – peeled, cored and chopped
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon or one cinnamon stick
- I like my granola really crisp so what I do is bake it for 1 hour (stirring every 15 minutes) and then turn off the oven and leave it in the oven till it cools completely.
- If you decide to use pistachios add them after the first half hour, if you add them from the beginning they will burn.