I Heart Granola

All photos by Laura Hobbs
I used pistachios, shredded coconut, sesame seeds and dried apricots – a perfect mix of textures and sweet and salty flavors.

I have this strange pattern with breakfast foods. I tend fixate on a certain food for the better part of a year, eating it every morning without deviation to the point that I burn myself out on it and move on to the next fixation, creating this endless cycle of fixate-burnout-refresh-fixate-burnout-refresh. I’ve done this with Frosted Mini Wheats, oatmeal, peanut butter toast, peanut butter toast with bananas, peanut butter toast with honey, peanut butter toast with extra peanut butter (apparently, I just can’t quit the p.b.). My current fixation is Greek yogurt with honey and granola, and I’ve been eating it for over a year – maybe I’ve finally found a breakfast I can stick with!

Cardamom & Cinnamon

There’s a lot to love about Greek yogurt with honey and granola. First you’ve got the Greek yogurt, which is crazy high in protein and low in fat – it’s also so thick and creamy that if you squint your eyes and hold your mouth just right, you can imagine you’re eating frozen custard for breakfast. I’m partial to the plain kind, so I can sweeten it to my own taste buds’ liking. Then you’ve got the honey, adding a wonderful layer of sticky sweetness, which is perfectly thick and syrupy. Then, of course, there’s the granola, with its crunchy, satisfying bite. I’m telling you, it’s hard to go wrong.

Rolled Oats

But there’s a downside to this breakfast – as many of us have experienced, it’s expensive to eat well! Unfortunately, it’s way cheaper to eat a bowl of sugary puffed something-or-others than it is to eat a wholesome bowl of yogurt, honey and granola. Just cruise the cereal aisle, and it’s apparent that market researchers seem to think that people who buy granola also drive Porches and use hundred dollar bills to wipe their noses. So I decided to take matters into my own hands: I’ll just make my own, thank you very much.


My latest Everyday Food magazine has a whole spread on making your own granola at home, and personalizing it with goodies like cashews, candied ginger and sunflower seeds. Not only do you get a batch of granola that contains your all-time favorite ingredients, but the batch you make is big enough to last you at least a week, if not longer.

For my granola, I used pistachios, shredded coconut, sesame seeds and dried apricots – a perfect mix of textures and sweet and salty flavors. I tossed them around with some rolled oats, and a wonderfully sticky combination of melted butter, honey and sweetened condensed milk, delicately flavored with cinnamon and cardamom. This, of course, is only the tip of the iceberg for granola combinations and add-ins – as I always say, use what you like and get creative! Just a half an hour in the oven, with a little stirring and mixing in between, and you’ve got yourself a batch of the best tasting granola, personalized to fit your own taste buds. Enjoy!

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Homemade Granola

(makes about 6 cups)

Download this recipe

3 c. rolled oats (not quick cooking)
1 c. pistachios, shelled
3/4 c. coconut
1/4 c. butter
1/4 c. honey
1/4 c. sweetened condensed milk
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
Pinch of cardamom
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. dried apricots, diced medium

Preheat the oven to 300°. In a large bowl, combine the oats, pistachios and coconut, tossing to combine.

Out of the Oven

In a small saucepan, combine the butter, honey, sweetened condensed milk, cinnamon and cardamom, and heat over medium heat until the butter melts, about 2 minutes. Pour the butter mixture over the oat mixture and toss well to coat the granola evenly.

Transfer the mixture to a rimmed baking sheet and spread into an even layer. Bake until the oats are golden, 30-35 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Allow to cool completely on the sheet, placed in a wire rack. Once cooled, stir in the apricots. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 weeks.

* If the above slideshow doesn’t load, you can view all the photos from this recipe on Flickr.

Laura Hobbs
Laura is a regular contributor for the Fayetteville Flyer. She was born and raised in Fayetteville. She is a self-proclaimed foodie and avid cook. For more of Laura’s contributions, see her Flyer Foodie author page. For more cooking, recipes, and other food-related inspiration, visit Flyer Foodie on Facebook.