Well, it’s BEEN here. But now that it’s already Halloween I feel even more guilty that I haven’t posted a single pumpkin recipe yet this fall.
Fall is my favorite season because everything about it just breeds nostalgia. Walking through the chilly San Francisco winds makes me just want to get home as soon as possible, so that I can put on my warm fluffy socks and cuddle up to a cup of hot cocoa. The leaves changing, falling into splashes of reds and golds on the cement sidewalks take me back to the large backyard of my childhood home, where I used to rake up the giant leaves of the Live Oaks watching over me.
This nostalgia makes us crave comfort foods. Which is why I feel that around this time of year, the baking scene is filled with overly sweet and decadent treats. This is why I have yet to post a pumpkin recipe. With my trip to Miami coming up soon, maybe I don’t want to eat something that will go straight to my thighs.
So I thought of a way to incorporate all the flavors of fall into a baked treat that makes a healthier alternative to the overly decadent pumpkin cakes, pies, cookies and cheesecakes that seem to be closing in on us from every bakery, grocery store and food blog.
7 Ingredient Pumpkin Spice Granola
I love making my own granola, just because the stuff at the grocery store is always so packed with sugar, and the good stuff is so expensive. With this recipe, I use pumpkin spice as an ingredient that infuses it all with the warm flavors that we all crave around this time of year. Here, the “pumpkin” comes in the form of raw pumpkin seeds (aka pepitas) and the cranberries add a pop of tart, chewy sweetness. Chia seeds and peanut butter pile on the fiber and protein, making this granola and all around pretty-good-for-you treat.
I’ve gotten into the habit of eating greek yogurt every morning, and there’s nothing I love more than topping it with a good hearty granola to help me power through my day.
You can get creative here by adding flax seed, pecans, raisins, candied ginger, etc. Back in college, the roommates and I loved tossing some dark chocolate chips into the mix as it came out warm from the oven.
And yet again…I do not have a costume planned for this year. Nor any plans in general. In a perfect world, adult trick-or-treating would be allowed without the accompaniment of children. But we don’t live in a perfect world, so maybe I’ll decide to stay in with my fluffy socks and hot cocoa because I feel old, or decide to go out and party at the last minute for that same reason. Happy Halloween everyone!
7 Ingredient Pumpkin Spice Granola
2 cups rolled oats
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds or pepitas
¼ cup chia seeds
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup smooth peanut butter
¼ cup honey
1 ¼ tsp pumpkin spice mix
Pantry ingredients (not included in count because ya’ll should have these):
¼ cup olive oil, or coconut oil
½ tsp salt
1. Preset oven to 350F. Combine peanut butter, honey, olive oil and pumpkin spice to small saucepan and warm over medium-low heat just until all the ingredients are incorporated. Keep stirring, being careful not to burn the mixture.
2. In a large bowl, combine oats, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, and salt. Pour warm peanut butter-honey mixture over the oat mixture and toss with hands to combine and coat evenly. Spread onto two lined baking sheets. Bake at 325F for about 15 minutes, toss the granola and rotate the pans. Then bake for another 12-15 minutes.
*Every oven is different, so use your best discretion and your nose when determining the best temperature and baking time. The idea here is to bake the granola low and slow for a longer period of time to get that nice crunch factor.
3. Place baking sheets on cooling racks. Once cooled, toss with cranberries. Enjoy over a bowl of greek yogurt.