Summer berry picking season is early this year, too, due to the unseasonably warm spring we had in March. I'm especially looking forward to picking some blueberries. Last year we went to a new blueberry picking patch, which turned out to be a great find, but we had to hike across the entire farm to get to the blueberry bushes. That wouldn't be so bad, except I had a 3-year-old and a 5-year-old with me, neither one of them exceptionally robust when it comes to hiking across a farm. (Don't even get me started about what happened when Cora told me she had to pee and couldn't make it back across the farm to the port-a-potty.) Adelle usually fills up on blueberries as she's picking -- for every one she puts in the bucket, two go in her mouth. I've often thought we should weigh her before and after so I can pay the difference.
Okay, recipe time. Since going gluten-free and Paleo, I do find myself missing particular textures or certain foods at times. Lately my craving has been for a crunchy cereal, probably because my mother-in-law keeps talking about how she really misses diving into a bowl for breakfast. There are some paleo-friendly cereals to buy, but they can be a bit pricey. And I'm a tight-wad. So I made my own cereal that can be eaten with some almond milk as breakfast or popped into your mouth dry as a snack. Either way, this grain-free granola really satisfied my craving for that sweet crunch in a bowl of milk. Cora ate it, too, after she picked out the pieces of large nuts -- I compromised by not saying a word about it.
Grain-Free Maple Granola Cereal
1 cup coarsely chopped almonds or slivered almonds
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup peanuts or cashews
1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/4 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened
4 medjool dates, pitted and diced small
2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup oil or organic shortening/ghee
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, toss together almonds, walnuts, peanuts/cashews, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, coconut, dates, salt and cinnamon.
3. Heat a small saucepan over medium heat and whisk together oil and maple syrup. Cook until lightly bubbly, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour over nuts and seeds and toss to coat. Pour mixture onto baking sheet, spreading out into a thin layer.
4. Bake about 20 minutes, stirring mixture half way through to prevent burning. Cool, break up into smaller pieces and store in an air-tight container. Serve in a bowl with milk or dry as a quick snack.