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Cherry-Vanilla Almond Granola

January 15, 2015

It’s the New Year and… wait, we’re already halfway through January… I can’t let anything slip by you, can I?

I had the best of intentions, but my little body had other plans for me. You see, I’ve been busy preparing to go to New Orleans to give a couple of talks motivating physicians and nurses to become more fully engaged in their work to help achieve better outcomes in people with chronic conditions. That sounds like a lot of jargon, doesn’t it? But it’s not. It’s just about opening people’s hearts and minds a little bit more.

They say the eyes are the windows to the soul. I think my right knee is the window to my little musculo-skeletal system. I tried to get up last week and nasty pain came screaming out of my knee. Stand on it? No way. Anti-inflammatories, x-rays, an MRI and a cortisone shot later, I’m finally re-surfacing. It’s a little grisly inside that knee, but it’s mine and I love it. If I don’t, who will?  It needs some rest so I’m tooling around in a wheelchair this past week, bumping into Novio a lot. Maybe my knee wanted to give me some R&R before I go. Maybe it couldn’t see walking all around a convention center. Maybe I have an active imagination. We’ll see how it goes.

Meanwhile, I’m finally here to report this:

My Food Blogger LA friends were heading over to our house for a beginning-of-the-year brunch. Since my kitchen is kosher, I planned a healthy vegetarian brunch, no meat and no shellfish. I knew it would be amazing. And it was: Salads with kale, black-eyed peas and more, Pears poached in saffron sauce, Two-Nut Phish Salad (a creative vegan take on tuna salad made with garbanzos, almonds and tuna salad-type add-ins), Baked  French Toast, Galette des Rois (French King’s Cake). Wow. Special thanks to Nancy and our friends at Melissa’s Produce for providing all the terrific winter citrus (check out the bowl filled with Pixie tangerines in the middle of the table).

FBLA BrunchFBLA does Brunch

French Galette

Poached saffron pears

winter fruit saladI put together a Winter Fruit Salad (post to come – one day)… a combination of a cooked compote and a fresh apple/pear salad, in addition to the granola I will eventually get to…

bloggers eatingsome bloggers eatin’

bloggers posingsome bloggers posin’

We always have a theme and this month’s theme was Visions to Reality… turned out to be a relaxed open discussion covering why we began our blogs, what we’re up to now and visions for the future.

My blog has to shimmy over a bit and share the room with my new project, the documentary I am busy with these days . It’s called Life On The Bridge and it’s about overcoming challenges and creating joy. We just developed the website that goes with it and…. well, go check it out here, spend  a little time and you’ll get why it’s going full speed ahead.

Back to the brunch. I wanted to serve homemade granola. Offer fixings to make a parfait… fruit and yogurt topped with super-delicious granola. I looked in my pantry  and spotted an unopened container of dried sour tart cherries, that didn’t get used over the baking adventures of the past month. Cherry-Vanilla. An automatic association. Plus, I like to say it. What’s a natural combo with cherries? Definitely almonds. Voila! A new version of granola! Priscilla has a very similar version on her great blog She’s Cookin. I used the same technique she uses and heated the liquid mixture before folding it in.

oats, coconut and nutsI toast the oats, nuts and coconut a bit first.

coconut and cherriesflavor boosters

liquid flavorsOlive oil, maple syrup,brown sugar, vanilla and salt –

we can’t go wrong with this combo

pre-baked granola

Baked granola

dried cherries on granolaAdd dried fruit after granola is baked

storing granolaStore granola in whatever works for you


adapted from


3 c. rolled oats (old-fashioned oatmeal)

1 c. slivered almonds

1/2 c. pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

1 c. unsweetened shredded coconut

1/3 c. canola, olive or grape seed oil (a mixture works too)

1/4 c. maple syrup

3 T. light brown sugar

2 t. vanilla (you can use 1 t. vanilla…  but I like a lot)

3/4 t. salt

3/4 c. dried sour tart cherries, roughly chopped



Preheat oven to 300ºF. Place oats on an unlined rimmed baking sheet.and bake for 8 minutes. Add coconut, slivered almonds and pepitas. Stir and bake for 6 more minutes.

Meanwhile heat up oil, maple syrup, brown sugar over a low flame  and stir to blend. Remove from heat and add vanilla.

Place oat-nut-seed mixture in large bowl. Pour warmed liquid mixture over the top. Add salt. Blend well until dry ingredients are thoroughly coated.

Line the baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place granola in a flat layer on the pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes until browned.

Do not stir to create chunks as well as loose granola.

Cool in pan. Sprinkle cut-up dried cherries over the top.

Using a spatula, break into pieces. By using this technique (instead of stirring it every 10 minutes) you will end up with some chunks. Unfortunately, I didn’t end up with too many chunks because I ate most of them standing at the counter.

Allow granola to come to room temperature before transferring to storage container(s). You may want to lightly tent with waxed paper or paper towel to discourage passers-by (including yourself) from decreasing the inventory.

Stores well in the refrigerator for a few weeks,

Excellent over yogurt and fresh or cooked fruit. Terrific mixed with  cold cereal, oatmeal or any hot cereal. Of course,it’s great as a snack.


Cherry-Vanilla Almond Granola

Eat in Joy

Protect Your Knees


From → Breakfast, Fruit

  1. hsimpsongrossman permalink

    My dear Judy,

    Sorry you had to go through a knee crisis and I hope you’re feeling much better.

    I haven’t made granola in a while – eating my oats raw, mixed with yogurt, lately (actually not bad at all), but after my exams I need to give this combo a try.

    Have a safe trip and a great time,

    Love to Novio as well,


  2. This granola was awesome! I had 3 servings! Want more asap! P.S. Have a wonderful time in New Orleans!

  3. Andra permalink

    Best Granola EVER!!!!! Salty and sweet! Just perfect!

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