Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A Day Downtown & Pumpkin Spice Granola

Yesterday I had an informal meeting/interview with a potential employer.  It was scheduled for late afternoon, downtown Chicago.  I decided to take the train rather than drive so I wouldn't have to worry about 5 o'clock rush hour traffic.

While planning my day mentally, I failed to think about the past times I've taken the train.  When my dad was diagnosed with cancer, he stopped working so I would use his parking pass & iPass to drive into the city rather than ride the train.  Suffice to say, it's been quite the hiatus between my other train days and now.  Let me just tell you, the second I climbed the stairs up to street level I saw 300 East Randolph, the Blue Cross Blue Shield building, staring at me from across the skyline.  And I remembered all the times I took the train into the city.  It would be to shop or walk around, but I would always stop to see my dad.  Whether it be to visit him at the office, eat a quick lunch at Qdoba or a sit down meal at Tavern on the Green, grab a strong coffee from Intelligentsia, or even just to catch a ride home with him to chat, he was always there after my train rides.  But yesterday, after my meeting, my dad wasn't there.  And when I got home last night, he wasn't there either.

After that, I'll admit I was in a bit of a funk.  I attempted to job search a bit this morning, but I really just needed to do something I enjoy - baking.  We have fresh fruit at the house and yogurt too, so I tried out a new granola recipe to mix in with everything for breakfast or a light snack.

Pumpkin Spice Granola
(adapted from this recipe)

1/2 cup Splend blend brown sugar - packed
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter - I used Peter Pan Whipped
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup canola oil
1 Tbs molasses
1 Tbs vanilla extract
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
3 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
1 1/2 cups raisins
1 cup semi sweet mini chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a mixer, combine the brown sugar, pumpkin, peanut butter, honey, oil, molasses, vanilla, and all the listed spices.  Mix until everything is fully incorporated.  Add the oats and mix until they are coated.  Transfer this mixture to your lined baking sheet.  Make sure everything is evenly spread, but do not pack it down.  It should be loosely placed on the baking sheet.  Bake for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, remove the granola from the oven and mix it around.  Add the raisins into the mix, making sure everything is still loosely placed.  Turn oven temperature to 300 degrees and bake for another 20-30 minutes (keeping in mind the longer you bake, the more crunch your granola will have.)

Remove granola and let cool for approximately 30 minutes.  After this cooling period, mix in the chocolate chips.  Store in an airtight baggie or container.  This granola should make about 5 cups and should keep for about 2 weeks.

This put off such a great fall scent while baking that I had to try it as soon as it was ready.  I poured mine into a serving of vanilla yogurt - so good.  And my mom paired hers with a dollop of yogurt and a banana which she also recommended.  I will be trying that combination for breakfast tomorrow!

1 comment:

  1. This looks amazing!! Putting it on my to do :)

    And even though your daddy wasn't there in body, he was most definitely there in spirit and IS there always.