Sometimes the best cooking dates happen spontaneously without any pre-planning at all. It was my good friend Jackie’s birthday last week, an endlessly fun time celebrating. We make the most out of our birthdays, with various lunches and dinners. Throw in a stellar time baking together and you’ve got a winner birthday week. Every friend deserves a birthday like we give one another.
Anyway, with sniffles and sneezes holding us back from our morning exercise routine, Jackie and I decided to have coffee together at her house. Feeling a bit lousy, neither one of us was inclined to get any work done so we decided to bake together. There’s nothing better than hanging out for an hour and half, talking and bringing home several dozen muffins and quarts of homemade granola.
Our time together is a respite from the business of life, a chance to listen and help one another with our life’s ambitions, dilemmas and challenges. Jackie, with a keen sense, is always encouraging me and inspiring me to go for it, whatever the “it” of the week is. We decided together how important cooking with each other is for our friendship and our lives as women. We’re healthier, happier and dealing with life without therapy.
I made a yummy granola using Agave instead of honey for my husband who needs a low carb diet. It’s delicious, sweet and much healthier than store bought granolas. Since I forgot the wheat germ, Jackie and I substituted bran after learning through a quick Google search that they are derived from the same wheat berry, with bran taken from the inside of wheat berry and wheat germ from the outside.
Coconut Agave Granola
Makes 2 quarts
4 cups rolled oats
¼ cup canola oil
½ cup Agave syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cups slivered almonds
¾ cup coconut flakes
¼ cup bran
½ cup dried cranberries (or other fruit)
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
Mix the oats, oil, agave, vanilla, almonds, coconut and bran together well. Spread evenly on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat mat. Bake in the oven for approximately 30 minutes, rotating the pan a few times.
Remove from the oven and let cool for about 10 minutes. Add the dried fruit and transfer to a container.