Let's talk cozy. The word that's been gaining more and more popularity as the temperatures get lower and lower. A word associated with some of the best things we can ask for - fleece blankets, hot mugs of tea, fireplaces, thick wool socks. I've been craving coziness since October, when Andrew gave me Adrianna's new book, The Year of Cozy, as a random gift. I was reminded of it after listening to Alex and Sonja's newest podcast. And again when talking to a friend about wearing clothes like baggy sweaters and soft Patagonia fleeces. Inspired, I took to the kitchen to pump out a morning recipe that reflected these feelings - feelings of warmth and inner peace and slowing down.
Now, if you're ever around me for a hot second, you normally don't associate the words "slowing down" and "inner peace" necessarily with me. Usually it's more of a wide eyed, somewhat panicked expression, or hunched up shoulders in anticipation of the next moment, or a nervous laugh followed by an extremely awkward comment. But over the past couple months I've been trying to internalize the concept of relaxation and taking things a little easier. Less freak out moments (except for the one last Sunday, sorry Andrew) and more mindfulness. Slowing down when I can, so I can be a little more efficient throughout the day. This has included more mornings with waffles and a mug of coffee, and evening walks listening to podcasts. I find now that on the days I have to kick my butt into study gear, I'm less emotionally drained and more mentally prepared.
So this granola is one of those cozy breakfasts. It's a little spicy with the pepper, and the cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and cardamom give it a special warmth that reminds you of drinking chai tea. The espresso provides the kick it needs for a medical student morning, and the slightly bitter coffee flavor prevents it from being an overly sweet breakfast. The walnuts add more substance to keep you fuller for longer in the cold mornings. Make it this week and cuddle up to a bowl with a splash of almond milk and a cup of coffee. Play your favorite tunes and just sit and enjoy watching the sunlight creep into your bedroom. Get cozy this winter.
Dirty chai granola
1 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons maple syrup or honey
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 1/2 tablespoons of espresso mixed with 2 tablespoons hot water
Preheat oven to 325 F and line baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, mix the oats, walnuts, and spices until combined. Set aside.
In a small bowl, mix the maple syrup, brown sugar, oil, and espresso mixture until combined. Pour this mixture over the oat mixture and stir until the oats are coated.
Spread mixture out onto prepared baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, then take the pan out, give the granola a stir, and bake for another 10 minutes, or until you start smelling a wonderful toastiness coming out of the oven. Remove from the oven, and let the granola cool completely. If you want this for breakfast, I'd eat it with vanilla yogurt. If you want this for dessert, eat with coffee gelato or add some dark or white chocolate chunks.