By Jessica Phillips
With Thanksgiving’s passing, we have officially entered the countdown to the end of 2014 and the season of giving. There are so many things that I love about this time of year; celebrating with family and friends, reflecting on the year that’s coming to a close, and the one that lays wide open ahead.
But I find that it can be easy to get overwhelmed with commitments. Instead of the feeling of gratitude softening my heart, I can find myself feeling dragged around by all that I’ve said yes to. Stepping into the kitchen is one of the ways I practice returning to myself. I enter the kitchen. I slow down. I notice my breath and start to feel what it’s like to be in my body. Maybe I stay in the silence, or put on some good music or a little talk radio. I gather my ingredients and move into the actions of creating, savoring one simple step at a time. At the end I am rewarded with a calmer center, a home filling with delicious smells, and an end product to gift my loved ones — and myself.
In the spirit of “DIY Week” at The Sweat Life, I offer you my DIY recipe for granola. There are SO many options to buy at the store, but once you have your pantry stocked, it is simple and speedy to make in bulk. While the best granola is going to use costly ingredients, it is still cheaper to make large batches than what you can purchase. It’s quickly tailored to your preferences, you can even take the same base and alter it at the end with different mix-ins. And however you package it, super cute or just in a Ziploc, homemade granola is a wonderful gift for all, your next host, best friend, or holiday visitor.
Practices that invite us to soften the places that harden are so important at this time of year. Whether it’s yoga, quiet writing and contemplation, a good run, or getting active in the kitchen — however you do it, allow yourself time to reconnect to your center and to each other.
Jessica Phillips’ DIY Granola
All of these ingredients can be adjusted based upon what you have in your kitchen and your own preferences. Play with different nut and seed combinations. Alter the spices. Make it less or more sweet. This is just a good DIY place to start!
A note about ingredients: Buy your best quality ingredients, organic.
All nuts and seeds are raw and unsalted.
3 cup rolled oats (not quick cooking, just regular)
1 cup flaked coconut
1 cup buckwheat (GF optional easy add in) or 1 cup wheat germ
¼ cup oil (olive oil or coconut oil)
3 Tbsp maple syrup (or honey)
1 cup chopped walnuts (or see below)
1/2 cup shelled sunflower seeds
1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Different Spices to play with
Ginger, Cardamom, Nutmeg. I have some pumpkin pie spice leftover that I will try my next batch with.
½ cup chopped dried fruit: Cherries, cranberries, raisins, goji berries, apricots (read your labels and watch for hidden sugars and preservatives here)
¼ cup “ super foods”: Chia seeds, ground flax seeds, hemp hearts, cacao nibs
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Whisk together oil and maple and vanilla. If using a solid oil (coconut oil), in a small saucepan over low-medium heat, whisk oil and sweetener together.
3. In a large bowl stir together so all dry ingredients are well mixed: oats, germ, nuts/seeds, coconut, sea salt, spices
4. Pour oil and sweetener mixture over dry ingredients and stir very well to coat.
5. Spread out on a cookie sheet lined with parchment. (Easier clean up!)
6. Bake for 15 minutes; remove from oven and stir. Switch trays if using two. Place back in oven, but remove and stir every 5 minutes or so until the oats are golden brown. (Approx. 25-30 minutes)
7. As it cools stir in dried fruit, super foods, flax etc. Store in glass or plastic containers after cooling completely.
Jessica Li Phillips has been in the wellness field for the last 14 years as a yoga teacher, integrative chef, and wellness consultant. She holds the E-RYT 500 level accreditation from the Yoga Alliance, and continues her contemplative Buddhist studies at the Ordinary Mind Zendo in NYC. Her background includes a B.A in Psychology and Dance, and she is a graduate of the Natural Gourmet Institute. Her extensive work with chronic illness and disease informs her belief that healing takes place on many levels.
Find Jessica at www.jessicaliphillips.com