25th May 2015
Hello there! So as the universally-feared exam period reared its ugly head, I've been taking a little break from this whole blogging lark to prepare myself both physically and emotionally. This is the return of the Jack.
This is another episode of 'pretending I can do ordinary human things and taking pictures of it', this time it's breakfast. Before making it myself, I thought granola was just an urban myth concocted by savvy health bloggers and on-point Instagram feeds, but I stand corrected. Granola is actually a really delicious way to get some essential nutrients into your diet, as well as energising youself throughout the day. This is my super simple even-an-amateur-like-me-can-do-it-so-you-can-too 'Mug Granola' recipe.
For this particular recipe, you will need:
Pecan nuts, almond flakes, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, coconut oil, maple syrup, an oven, dried fruit (I chose raisins and cherries) and whole load of oats. You'll also need something to contain the finished granola and a big enough bowl to put it all in as you work your magic. You can also add different nuts or seeds as you fancy.
The final thing you'll need, if you hadn't guessed thus far, is a mug. I chose this one simply because it fitted with the colour scheme of my background. Yes, I am officially a professional blogger. The beauty of this recipe is that everything is proportionally measured using the mug so there's no need for scales. We all know scales are only ever bad news. For once, I'm not the only mug.
Next, you'll need a mug of flax seeds to add to the mix, followed by a mug full of pumpkin seeds. Eating pumpkin seeds is one of the best ways to get magnesium, zinc and omega-3 into your system, but taste pretty carboard-y on their own. One of the things that makes granola so great is the mix of these seeds and nuts actually creates something really tasty AND beneficial.
First thing's first, you'll need a mug full of pecan nuts. These need to be broken down into much smaller bits, either by whizzing it up in a blender or just by utilising an old-fashioned knife. We chose a knife because we're retro. If you can't get almond flakes, do the same thing with almonds. If you do have almond flakes then fill half a mug and add both sets of nuts to your big ol' mixing bowl.
Now it's time to grab your mug again and fill it with sunflower seeds, then pour this into the bowl as displayed eloquently above. Then add three full mugs of oats, which I definitely didn't forget. Finally, add your selection of a dried fruits. I used a full mug of raisins and a full mug of cherries, but you can use just about anything. The dried fruits really improve the texture of every mouthful, and I definitely wouldn't have granola without it.
Now it's time to get technical. Turn the fire on the hob on or, alternatively, kindly ask your loving mother to do it for you (as I did). Next, add two tablespoons of coconut oil (which is solid at room temperature because science) and let it melt into a transparent liquid. Then add 3 tablespoons of maple syrup and add a dash of cinnamon if you're feeling spicey. The maple syrup I used was sent from my lovely family over in Canada and it tastes AMAZING.
Once the maple syrup / coconut oil concoction is complete, pour it over the contents of the mixing bowl and get stuck in. You're aiming to get the syrup to coat as many of the nuts and seeds as possible, so it's best to get your hands involved. A quick warning: don't be surprised if you end up with a majority of the flax seeds clinging to your fingers afterwards; you can't fight the inevitable #deep #relatable
Finally, pre-heat your oven to 180* and pour everything into a baking tray. Next - yes, you guessed it - put the tray into your oven and leave for 15 minutes. After this time has passed, take your baking tray back out of the oven with oven gloves on and mix it up a bit. You want everything to turn a nice golden brown colour, so stick it back in the oven for a further 20 minutes. Keep an eye on this.
And there you have it, the finished product! Allow the granola to separate apart, because you don't want it to turn into one massive cereal bar. I poured mine into a large Kilner jar, with a sealed lid to prevent the granola becoming oxidised. I then poured the leftovers into another container, which I use to top up the jar.
There are so many ways to eat granola, I'd be here all day if I tried to name them all. Personally, I choose a few tablespoons of yoghurt and either a handful of fresh berries or a chopped up banana. This is the perfect breakfast to keep you going on a long day or as brain-food during the exam period where you need as much mental power as possible.
Hopefully this is somewhat coherent and easy to follow for you. No matter what, if all else fails, at least you can take a cool picture for your Instagram and trick people into thinking you know what you're doing with your life. I'd also like to say a massive thank you to my wonderful mum who acted as my (somewhat) glamourous assistant and basically did everything for me while I took pretty pictures for your viewing pleasure.
I'm also really pleased to announce that I'm going to be uploading a new blog post every other Friday (at least) throughout the summer, commencing Friday 5th June. There will still be a few extra posts and photo galleries here and there but I'm determined to give myself a proper upload day for the first time since the website began. I've got an extra long summer break which means loads of time to make good quality content on a more regular basis. You may have also noticed that I've given the site a tiny make-over in order to uptown funk it up a little bit. If you make 'Mug Granola' yourself then please tweet me a picture! Thanks again for your patience throughout the last few months and have a brilliant day. Until next time, goodbye!
By Jack Edwards