Cocoa Almond Granola

Let's start off easy this year.

Let's start with breakfast - always a good idea.

Anyone else have the post-holiday blues?

(Christmas was only two weeks ago!  Where did it gooooo!)

I want to do something a little different this year.  In response to some curiosity expressed by friends who know, I want to describe in greater detail an eating style I've been building over the last few years.

It still needs a name.  Seasonalitarianism seems a bit bulky, but that's the working title.  I'm sure something smoother will come along at some point.

Basically I eat seasonally, transitioning from a semi-indulgent, holiday-friendly diet in winter to a fully vegan diet in summer.

And back again.

Plus exercise.

Sound crazy?  Maybe.  But I've been doing it for a few years now and really, I'm pretty happy with it.  Nothing is banned (not permanently), nothing is left out.  Exercise is built in slowly and aimed to coincide with enjoyment of the seasons.  I'm a brown, fit goddess in the summer (or that's how I feel) and a festive party-goer during the holidays.  I get to watch the sun rise while running along a hill top when it's warm, and I get to sleep late in my cushy bed when it's cold (or I would if it wasn't for the toddler).

I get to do and be everything! 

Anyway.  We'll start simple.  It's January, and I'm still in my everything-is-available-for-me-to-eat phase.  Lovely.  Whoever thought of dieting in January anyway?  It's much too cold and miserable.  Give me a diet in July, when all the fruits and veggies are in (except that's not a 'diet' at all, that's just enjoying the summer).  Don't leave me in the cold in January, with only turnips and tomatoes ripened in Chile to comfort me.

So here are my January plans.  I will:
Cook three meals a week, one meat, one vegetarian, and one soup.
Stop eating pork and pig products after the 15th (but feature it in my meat meals until then).
Run one day a week, not too far.  About 1/2 a mile. 
Do yoga or another gentle, indoor exercise the other five days (and have one day break, ha!).
Eat salad at least one meal a day (but you know, GOOD salad.  Like, with cranberries and sunflower seeds and stuff).

That doesn't sound simple?  Maybe I will make a chart!

I love charts.

Anyway, we'll make new goals come February, but for now let's start...basic.  With cocoa almond granola for breakfast.  Because it's still winter.  And baby, Christmas may be over but it's still cold outside.

Cocoa Almond Granola (adapted from Joy the Baker)

4 cups oats
1 cup raw whole almonds
1 cup shredded coconut (I used unsweetened but sweetened would be good too...sweet)
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup brown sugar (you can add more if you like, I prefer my granola less sweet)
1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup melted coconut oil (or vegetable oil)
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 

In a large bowl, toss together first six ingredients.  Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, honey, oil and butter.  Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves and mixture begins to bubble.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.

Pour the warm sugar mixture over the oat mixture and toss with a wooden spoon.  Spoon mixture onto prepared baking sheet(s) and slip into the oven.

Bake for 30 minutes, removing from oven to toss and stir 2 to 3 times during baking.  Granola is done when toasted around the edges and fragrant.

Serve with milk or yogurt.


dervla @ The Curator said...

I love this! Sounds like the perfect diet and exercise plan to me. Meanwhile I'm gearing up for a crazy spinning class tomorrow and my muscles are quaking in fear.

Anna said...

I enjoy making granola, but I never thought of including cocoa! Thanks for the inspiration.

Anne Regalado said...

Sounds like a good plan ! Go , Anna ! :D I've been meaning to make some granola for quiet sometime but haven't gotten around to making it :P Yours look yummy !

Brian said...


I have a quick question about your blog, do you think you could e-mail me?


LynnieBee said...

That sounds so delcious, I'm going to be doing a wheat-free experiment in February, and I'll definitely be using this!!!

Mumsfilibaba said...

Hi Anna, I started as well with some jogging on the evenings. Even if it is pretty cold here in Switzerland at the moment. I still have my dream of running a marathon one day...Great recipe. perfect for January blues...

a. maren said...

oo dervla, spinning is crazy! i hope you gave those muscles a good teaching :)

a. maren said...

anna - i thought it was pretty brilliant too. and great name!

a. maren said...

anne - i never bothered with granola until i had to go sugar free last year, for a thankfully short time, and then i experimented with sugar free versions and got hooked! homemade really is the best. and you can pop just about anything in there and have it turn out good.

a. maren said...

brian - how about YOU email ME? you can contact me through the home page :)

a. maren said...

good luck lynnie! this will definitely fit in with wheat free! i remember doing a lot of tortillas when i tried it...

a. maren said...

good luck mums! it would be really cool to run a marathon. i have dreams sometimes where i'm running and don't ever get tired...something like that!