Salted butter pecan granola_FeedMeDearlyGranola gets a bad rap.

It’s so often associated with Vegetarian or Vegan food lovers, Birkenstocks, waist-length hair, and questionable hygiene practices.

Let’s put those old school views – of Vegetarianism, Veganism, and of course granola, into a time capsule and send it back to the 1960s and 70s where they belong.

Because these stereotypes don’t exist anymore. I wrote a love note recently to my clean eating friends because I find the textures, colors and flavors of plant-based food to be so vivid and inspiring. People aren’t solely eating consciously because they should for health or socioeconomic reasons. People are getting hooked because healthy foods really do taste as good as their less nutritional counterparts.

Although I’m usually a sausage and eggs for breakfast kind of girl on the weekends, I’ve been on a granola kick recently.  It just feels like a healthier way to start my day. And it’s downright heavenly, the perfect canvas for so many different flavor combinations. Granola can be earthy, with plenty of seeds and grains, or decadent, studded with chocolate chunks and cherries.  It can be All-American with almonds and coconut, or exotic with spices like ginger or cardamom.

I was in an ice cream state of mind this week when I found myself wanting to bake a batch of granola. And if it’s ice cream for me, it means butter pecan. I love the salty, sweet combo, the crunchiness of the nuts. I’m old school like that. I like simple flavors – I’m not the kind of person who goes for a Ben & Jerry’s fully loaded cookie dough brownie batter toffee bit spectacular. Too much going on. Not to mention my gag reflex when I come into contact with raw cookie dough.

So what better concept than a salted butter pecan granola, packed with the same flavors as my favorite ice cream, minus the guilt. And by guilt, I mean relative guilt. because this (nor any of my food) even comes close to being fat free. But reassure yourself that although this granola calls for a stick of butter (we are talking salted butter pecan after all), it will take you many bowls of this stuff before you exhaust your supply.

The best part of this recipe is that it only has 6 key ingredients, making it a snap to prepare: Oats, coconut, pecans, brown sugar, maple syrup, melted butter.

Just mix the wet and dry ingredients separately, combine, bake, and you’re done.

Now you have the basis for creating the perfect breakfast treat. Like this bowl of heaven with maple syrup and figs:

Granola with figs_FeedMeDearly

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CoconutWhat’s with the strawberry and banana theme?  Maybe the kids were knocking back strawberry banana Pina Coladas on some kind of kids’ night out.  I blame our trip to Jamaica last year.  They clearly snuck out while Rodney and I were sleeping.  I’ve been somewhat nervous to try coconut at home with Lauren because of her nut allergies.  Even though she’s never reacted to it in her blood tests, I don’t trust those results 100%.  But she was fine, which is great because I love to cook with it – baking, curries, granola.  You name it.  We just weren’t psyched to eat it straight from the shell.

ME: “Ok you guys each want a piece of coconut?”

ME: “Here we go, what does it look like?”

SAM: “It looks like strawberry coconut water.”

ME: “I want you to describe something without saying the words strawberry or banana.”

SAM: “Banana.”

ME: “I want you to stretch your brain.  So, so far.  What does it look like? Stretch it out.”

SAM: “A banana.”

ME: “Lauren, what do you think?”

LAUREN: “I think looking at Sam’s it looks like an ice cream cone.  Without the ice cream.”

ME: “What do you think about the color?”

LAUREN: “White!”

ME: “Sam, what about you?”

SAM: “Strawberry–colored.”

ME: “What does it sound like when you knock it on the ground?”

LAUREN: “I think when you rub it, it sounds like bees.”

ME: “Interesting.”

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