Being born and raised in Minnesota, going to college out in the East and settling down in Vermont as a part of my professional ski racing team, I never spent much time in the West. In fact, I used to sort of scoff at Westerners…you know, the people who can’t stand enclosed spaces, panic if there isn’t a snow capped mountain in site, and thrive in limited Oxygen scenarios.
But when I visited my boyfriend at his new home- Rapid City-my perception completely changed. He lives in an apartment complex that bumps right up against 20 miles of mountain bike trails, a trout creek a five minute walk away, and literally hundreds more miles of trails and rivers within an hour’s drive. I loved it. I made it a goal to mountain bike at least once a day (and no excuses as the trail head was a 15 SECOND bike rom the door). I caught my first trout, and learned all about the ways of the West.
With all of these adventures just a short walk or drive away, two things become important regarding food. One: It must be filling. When you hop from mountain biking, to fishing, to golfing, to hiking over the course of 12 hours, you need some go to snacks. Two: It must be quick. 12 hours and four activities doesn’t leave a lot of time for long meals. And, I guess there is a third: It must be delicious.
Enter homemade granola. Granola is a great food, especially when you make it yourself. You can add whatever you want, subtract whatever you want, and it can act as both a breakfast and a snack. And this particular version is pretty easy, so head out for a day of adventuring, get back home and whip this up to sustain you for day number two (and three and four…).
Healthy Homemade Granola
Adapted from Cookie and Kate
(makes about 7 cups of granola…which can last anywhere from two weeks to two days)
4 Cups Rolled Oats (not quick cooking!)
1.5 Cups Nuts (I used 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, 1/4 cup almonds, 1/4 cup walnuts, 1/4 cup pine nuts, 1/2 cup pecans…I like variety!)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup dark Maple Syrup (grade B…you can use any kind, but I like the more intense flavor, and it is a little thicker which helps get those tasty granola clumps)
3/4 cup dried fruit (I used apple juice sweetened dried cranberries)
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper (not necessary, but certainly expedites the cleaning process)
- Mix the dry ingredients, then add the vanilla, olive oil, and maple syrup. Stir until every single oat is covered (you can’t over stir this).
- Pour onto prepared baking sheet, and pat down with a wooden spoon. Let sit for 30 minutes if you have time- also to help the clumping!
- Bake for about 25 minutes, using the wooden spoon to pat down every 1oish minutes (clumping!)
- Remove from oven, and let completely cool. Once cool, transfer to an airtight container or ziplock bag, add your dried fruit, and give it a good shake.
- Eat, and adventure!