I’m feeling conflicted because everywhere in the country it’s starting to get cold and people are starting to prepare for fall and/or winter but Vancouver is beautiful and sunny and still 25 degrees. I am in no shape or form complaining AT ALL because I know it won’t be long before the deluge begins and the brollies are out. Why i’m feeling conflicted is because I am dying to switch gears on the food front and start making fall meals. I love it when seasonal ingredients shift from light and fresh to earthy and hearty if that makes any sense at all. The flavours of summer start to disappear and you start seeing things like butternut squash, amazing apples in season like the honey crisp…(my personal fave) and people start going mental for everything pumpkin.
Now don’t get me wrong, I like pumpkin and it’s versatility but people go goo goo gah gah over pumpkin to the point of being ridiculous…bright orange latte’s, pumpkin scented candles…really? By November, I usually want to just stop people and be like ‘If you like it so much why don’t you marry it’. I’m sure I will whip up a few recipes with pumpkin in it but not quite yet, i’m just not ready.
Dear Pumpkin: It’s not you…it’s me! I need some space and will let you know when i’m ready okay? Sincerely, your moody little friend.
Today I felt like making something with fall flavour, not heavy but something I could use when the weather starts to get cooler and I feel like these exact flavours. So, I got creative and whipped up a batch of what i’m calling Orchard Harvest Granola. It’s got notes of apple and cinnamon and I put some pumpkin seeds in there to make even those cray cray pumpkin lovers happy.
Super easy and in 20 minutes you got yourself some deliciousness to add to your breakfast and snacking routine. Damn…you could even add this as a topping to the Acai Bowl (read my earlier post on that)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees
First rinse your quinoa (pronounced keen-wa…NOT keen-a-wah Susan, although it still cracks me up every time you say it that way) for a few minutes in a mesh strainer. It can be a bit bitter because it has a natural coating of something called saponins but this will naturally dissolve once its been rinsed. If you don’t rinse it, quinoa will taste pretty bitter and I think that’s why it gets a bad wrap. Its super high in protein and so versatile. Pat the quinoa dry.
Spread oats and quinoa on a parchment lined cookie sheet and then toast in the oven for about 8-10 minutes. Make sure you stir once during this time in the oven, maybe at the half way mark.
Shout out to my neighbour who saved my heiny on this one by letting me have the last of their parchment paper!! I bought saran wrap by accident…DOH!
Remove from the oven and pour in a bowl with the dry ingredients in this recipe (Pumpkin Seeds, Raisins, Dried Apples, Nuts, Cinnamon)
In another bowl or glass measuring cup, combine your wet ingredients (Maple Syrup, Apple Butter, Coconut Oil and Vanilla Paste) *You could use vanilla extract here too…I just have the paste on hand and it’s the bomb so I try to use it where I can.
I have to take a moment to go on a complete tangent about Apple Butter…Skip to the recipe if you don’t care. I won’t be offended in the slightest.
I grew up in Ontario and one of my favourite things to do in the fall was go apple picking with my dad and brother. We would climb crazy trees to get the best apples and through them down to my dad, we would eat a few on our travels and I don’t know why but for some reason we always tried to sneak some free ones by strategically placing in the car in what we thought was a hidden spot when no one was really checking anyway. I have no friggen idea why we did that but we did and we seemed to take some satisfaction of getting our 6 free unclaimed, unpurchased apples…I’m shaking my head at myself right now! I seriously loved going apple picking, wearing old shoes, an oversized sweater and getting to go for some cider afterwards. It was only about 4 years ago when my dad came out for a visit after going to the apple festival that he brought me a jar of apple butter. Mind BLOWN! I had never ever once tried it and it was amazing. I almost looked forward to toast every day so I could have apple butter with it. Suddenly, every time someone came to visit I would be all like…pack apple butter or you can find your own accomodation. IT was crazy. I am not as hardcore now but I still like a jar every season.
I’ve tried other apple butters and they kinda suck so they give it a bad wrap. This brand from Ontario (pictured above) and the Davison Orchard in Vernon, BC are by far the best! On a side note, check out the Davison Orchard if you are passing through Vernon…Especially if you have littles!! They have an awesome play area and their cider and apple juice is OFF THE HOOK!!
This granola is a tribute to that time of year where everyone starts to go apple picking and you get to spend time at orchards having a blast!
Pour your wet mixture over the oat, nut and fruit mixture and combine really well until all ingredients are mixed.
Spread back on the parchment lined cookie sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes depending on golden you want it.
Let it cool and break in to clusters. Store in an airtight jar for 4 weeks. Confession…I have kept mine longer than 4 weeks, eaten it and not died or shat myself but I feel like I should be responsible and put a time limit on this for people that are overly concerned about that stuff.
Here’s the finished product:
Orchard Harvest Granola
- 2 Cups rolled oats *This can be subbed for gluten free oats if you want
- 1/4 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed well and pat dry
- 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1/4 cup chopped pecans
- 1/4 cup chopped almonds
- 1/3 cup raisins
- 1/4 cup chopped dried apple
- 1 Tbsp ground flaxseed
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/3 cup apple butter
- 1 tsp coconut oil melted or softened
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp of vanilla bean paste (sub Vanilla Extract if you don’t have paste, it’s all good)
- Preheat your oven to 325 degrees
- Spread quinoa and oats on a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake/toast for about 8-10 minutes. Stir around at the half way mark
- Remove from oven and pour in to a bowl with the dry ingredients such as fruit, nuts, cinnamon
- In a different bowl or large glass measuring cup, combine: Maple Syrup, Apple Butter, Coconut Oil and Vanilla bean paste. * if your coconut oil is still solid, you can always melt it in the microwave for a few seconds. Pour over the dry mixture
- Combine everything really well and then spread back on to the lined baking sheet.
- Bake for another 15-20 minutes
- Let cool and then break granola in to your desired size pieces. Some people like bigger clusters.
- Place in an airtight container or jar.
*This stuff is great over yogurt or even icecream.
Hope you enjoy it!!