Not for the faint of heart

We did a fair amount of camping this summer, mostly on the return leg of a mid-summer road trip.

My husband’s birthday landed on the weekend before Nina started kindergarten, and so to celebrate both of these milestones, we drove out to Stone Mountain. Three days of hiking, camp fire cooking, star gazing, and Nina’s first proclaimed boyfriend. (I see an interesting year ahead of us.)

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When we camp for more than just one night, there are two things I never leave home without: cold-brewed coffee and granola. Lots of stick-to-your-ribs, sustained energy-supplying granola.

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Stone Mountain is a great rock climbing destination, but Nina’s a bit too young for that yet.  Luckily, the base is scattered with boulders of every shape and size. While Mar set up camp, Nina and I hiked to the mountain’s base and did a bit of boulder hopping.

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On day two, the three of us hiked up to the summit. It was swarming with Cub Scouts, one of which was the current love of Nina’s life. At the top of this beautiful mountain, though, she was 100% Daddy’s Girl.

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This granola – it’s not for the faint of heart. It has quite a bit of oil, which gives it an icy sheen and makes the larger bits shatter between your teeth with a very satisfying crack. It’s perfect for a day-long hike, as a post-run snack, or sprinkled sparingly over yogurt for breakfast. I don’t recommend it for mindless munching, though. This is not that kind of granola.

I’ve been making Heidi Swanson’s granola from Super Natural Every Day for a couple of years, and it morphed into this recipe. As long as one stays close to this ratio of oats : add ins : sweetener + oil, it can easily be changed to accommodate whatever’s in your pantry (or on sale in the bulk bins) without any trouble.

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Stone Mountain granola

3 C rolled oats
3/4 C raw sliced almonds
3/4 C raw hulled pumpkin seeds
1/2 C unsweetened coconut chips or flakes
Large pinch kosher salt
1/2 C coconut oil
1/2 C maple syrup
1/2 C dried fruit, optional

Preheat the oven to 300 F/150 C degrees and position a rack in the center. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine the oats, nuts, seeds and coconut and mix thoroughly. In a small saucepan, whisk the coconut oil and maple syrup over low heat until the oil has completely melted, then add to the oat mixture. Stir until everything is well coated. Spread out in an even layer on the baking sheet, then sprinkle with a generous pinch of kosher salt (no need to mix in). Bake until golden brown, about 45 minutes, stirring once at the halfway mark. Upon removing the granola from the oven, stir in dried fruit, if using. Once cooled, store in an airtight container; this will keep well at room temperature for a week.

Note: My favorite fruit to add to this are dried cherries or apricots, cut into bite-sized pieces.

Yield: about 6 cups

Prep time: 5 minutes, Cook time: 45 minutes

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10 thoughts on “Not for the faint of heart

  1. Ooh, I have a bunch of coconut flakes to finish up, and I can’t get enough of granola, so your post couldn’t be any more timely.
    Also, Nina’s first proclaimed bf, what-what?

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    • It’s really good with coconut flakes of any size (even the shreds), but I like it most with the big chips. In fact, the reason I use pepitas, sliced almonds and coconut chips is because they are all roughly the same size and flat shape, making my OCD all the happier.

      And yes – a bf! She went from crushing on Ron Weasley and Mickey Smith to in-the-flesh boys.

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  2. Ha, I did a double-take with Stone Mountain–definitely *not* the one in Atlanta (though it looks so similar from the base picture)! Looks like a great hiking/camping adventure and, mmm, that granola look delish too!

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    • Oooh, that looks good! I’ve just started sprouting things again (it’s just too bloody humid here to spout all summer long) and have been toying with a sprouted granola. I loaned my copy of Rawsomely Vegan to a friend and have been in a sprout-less, raw food-less funk. This recipe will help snap me out of it. 🙂

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  3. Heh, our rescue cat is called Nina so I feel an instant connection! 🙂 I love mountains & hiking and such a camping trip sounds like a dream to me. Alas, I can’t carry much on my back so bringing a tent, sleeping bag and cooking gear is not an option. Can’t load everything on Mr Gnoe’s shoulders, now can I?

    I think your daughter is quite a tough one!!!

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  4. Yep, Nina’s a toughie all right! No wimps allowed in this family. 😉

    We don’t carry our gear in very far – at least not yet, Nina’s too young for hikes that strenuous. We almost always choose state or national campsites, which allow you to drive your vehicle right up to your tent slip. That’s how we get away with having a big chest cooler and other accoutrements – we keep them in the trunk.

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