A Sleepy Doctor and My Favorite Granola

Scott wakes up very early everyday he works, which is six days out of the week.  I think his average wakeup time is 5:00AM.  I say “think” because I am never awake to verify this, I am happily unconscious when he wakes up, while eats breakfast, gets ready, leaves for work, and even when he arrives at work I am usually still sleeping.  This past Thursday morning, I went to the kitchen to indulge in my favorite part of the day, breakfast, before heading off to work. (Yes!  I am working now!)  Sitting on the counter I saw a Honey Bunches of Oats box that was not closed properly. 

Then I realized that it would not close because the bottom had been opened and it was upside down.  

 “Oh Scott,” I thought, “you poor thing, did you open the bottom of the bag too?”  

“Yup.” I figured he must have either been in a rush or very tired when he opened the box and for a brief moment I was worried that both the top and the bottom of the bag might be open.  I secured the bottom of the box and flipped it over and found that luckily that was not the case.   

When I asked Scott about the cereal box at supper that night he said, “You know, I remember thinking that the box was abnormally difficult to open.  I was so tired I did not realize why.”  So there you have it, patients beware!  Just kidding.  I promise!  Since patients are much more important than boxes of cereal, and because he has been awake a full hour (instead of a mere 30 seconds) before working with patients, I am confident when I say Scott’s cognitive abilities are fully functioning once he arrives at work.  You do not need to worry. ;)

Since we are talking about breakfast I want to take this opportunity to share with you my new, all time favorite granola recipe.  I am in love with this granola!  It was my wonderful mother who first came up with this recipe and every time we would go home to visit she would always have a jar of it sitting on the counter.  It was probably the first and last thing I would eat on my visits home and definitely the thing I would nibble on the most often!  It is addictive!  The recipe uses both real maple syrup (which has my undying allegiance forever and ever), and freshly grated nutmeg.  The two combine to make the most delicious, delightful granola I have ever popped into my mouth—and there has been many.  I cannot say how many different versions of granola I have made over the last two years, I even blogged before about a healthful one here before, but this is my hands-down favorite.   Try it, and see if it is not yours too!

Mom’s Maple and Nutmeg Granola
Not only do I love the flavor of this granola, it is a snap to make and I almost always have all of the ingredients on hand.  I also strongly suggest that you use nothing but real, pure maple syrup here.  I prefer the “dark amber” variety for its richness and depth of flavor.  To make sure you have real maple syrup look on the ingredient list, the only ingredient listed on the bottle should be “maple syrup.”  I know this is more expensive than the fake stuff, but I believe it is more than worth it.  Also, when you buy it, by the biggest jar or jug you can find, as this will almost always give you more for your money.  Finally, fresh nutmeg, this is not as expensive as you would think.  You can buy a good size jar for a great price that will last you a long time at World Market.
**If you love this recipe as much as I do, double it, use two sheet pans to bake it, and then freeze half of it until the other half is gone!**
Here are the ingredients you need:
3 ½ cups rolled oats
½ cup pecans or walnuts, quartered
½ cup slivered almonds
¼ cup brown sugar
½ tsp course salt
¾ tsp nutmeg, freshly grated
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup plus 2 Tbls pure maple syrup
½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
Craisins, raisins, or other dried fruit (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  In a large bowl, mix together rolled oats, nuts, brown sugar, nutmeg, and salt.  
Mmm freshly grated nutmeg smells so good!
All the dry ingredients in a bowl ready to be mixed!
Stir in extra-virgin olive oil, maple syrup, and vanilla extract until evenly coated.  Spread granola mixture on a large rimmed baking sheet and bake about 25 to 30 minutes, stirring mixture halfway through.  Add desired amount of dried fruit if you wish, and let mixture cool completely on the pan.  Store in airtight container at room temperature up to 2 weeks, or can freeze in ziplock bags up to 3 months.  

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