I’ll never forget the first time I experienced a yogurt bar (because that is something no one forgets, right? One for the baby books for sure.) My boyfriend, now husband, and I were in London visiting my sister. We had stayed in her tiny little dorm room all week because we were poor and pretending we weren’t by flying to Europe, accept we still kind of were, so a free room seemed like a good way to balance that. Only this was a DORM room, so tiny. And stinky, because maybe when you study abroad you don’t have time to shower, or wash sheets. Anywho, we decided to, once again, pretend we weren’t poor for our last night and stay at this really cool boutique hotel. Ahhhh. This place felt magical after that week. And the morning continental breakfast was just icing on top of the donut, sprinkled with my first ever yogurt and granola bar. All these pretty silver dishes filled with all sorts of fruit and granola and real yogurt, like not the French vanilla low fat crap but real rich and creamy whole fat yogurt. You would have thought the Queen herself had invited me over for tea. I had never been so impressed. And if I remembered any culinary experience from London, this might just be it (although those fish and chips can still not be beat.)
If you have ever had the pleasure of calling yourself an overnight guest in my home, you have probably been offered some version of this morning treat. Yogurt topped with fresh fruit and crunchy granola is one of my version of offering my guests the same royal treatment. Probably quite similar to my philosophy on crostini bars, a yogurt and granola bar with various fresh fruit, creamy yogurt, always whole of course, granola to crunch on top and honey to drizzle, this is such an easy way to entertain guests in your home. It can be laid out when you wake up, which would be early if you are me, and as your guests wake up slowly at their leisure, they are free to serve themselves as they like, when they like.
Conitnueing on the path of sharing recipes from the Ladies Rendezvous in Portland, this granola and yogurt plan was ideal for our large group of ten. Some of us, especially those not accustom to Pacific time zones, tried their darndest to sleep in, but failed miserably each morning, regardless of the late night before. Ahh well, at least there was plenty of hot coffee to greet us. Others preferred to start the day with a jog, some yoga, or a quiet walk. And then there were others I envied who could sleep like they had not a care in the world. But regardless of the morning routine, it was easy to leave out ingredients for a quick but filling breakfast, whenever they designated the time for it.
And this granola I brought was oh so good. It is nothing but nuts and seeds and dried fruit, much like a trail mix. The toasty nuts are my favorite parts of the granola so when I saw this recipe kept only the best parts, I knew I would like it. It is sweetened with just enough maple syrup to pair with the tangy yogurt. And the granola never gets soggy in the bowl because there are no oats. So much protein deliciousness, even if you aren’t a Primal eater I think you will find this granola is just right for your morning treat. Or grab a quick handful on the way out the door if you need some noshing on the go.
Make your guest feel special in the morning. Make them think they just woke up in this incredible boutique hotel in some foreign land and they will never forget that morning they experienced your incredible generosity. Set up a yogurt bar. And eat this granola. You’re Welcome.
Hey Sis, try this...
Nut and Seed Granola
2 cups blanched, sliced almonds*
1 cup pecans*
1 cup chopped walnuts*
1 cup sunflower seeds*
1 cup pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds)*
¼ cup sesame seeds*
¼ cup ground flax seed or flax seed meal, you can also use almond meal in place of the flax
¾ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
½ cup maple syrup, or honey
6 tablespoons coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
½ teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
¾ to 1 cup dried cranberries, raisins or other dried fruit, I preferred the cranberries
Preheat oven to 275˚F. Lightly grease a sheet pan or, for easy clean up, line a sheet pan with parchment paper or foil. If you use foil, lightly grease it.
Combine all the nuts and seeds as well as the coconut in a large bowl (DON’T SCREW UP LIKE I DID AND ALSO INCLUDE THE DRIED FRUIT! Burned raisons are no fun to retrieve individually once your granola is finished and there are burned balls throughout. No fun at all.)
Over low heat, combine syrup and coconut oil until heated through. (You can also heat the honey and coconut oil in the microwave on high heat for 90 seconds.) Remove from heat and stir in vanilla, spices and salt.
Pour over nut/seed mixture and mix well. Be sure to scrape all the good syrup/oil mixture that's left in the bowl. Spread mixture onto prepared baking sheet.
Bake for about 45- 60 minutes or until golden brown, stirring every 15 minutes to keep granola at the edges of the pan from burning. Watch carefully after 45 minutes as ovens vary. Once the granola is a nice golden brown, remove it from oven and allow to cool**.
Add dried fruit after granola has cooled
*The beauty of granola is you can mix and match to your heart’s content. Just keep the measurements the same and go crazy. But I would recommend trying this version first. The combination of different sizes and textures is very satisfying.
**If you like your granola more clumpy, then don't stir when you pull it out of the oven to cool.