It’s pretty easy to see things I’ve inherited. I have my dad’s olive skin, my mom’s round face, the bump on my nose found in both sides of my gene pool. I like good conversation, working in the garden, making a big meal to eat with people I love. And, sometimes, when I laugh very hard or hear myself telling a story like it’s a routine, I think how my grandma used to do those things.

homemade granola

Of course I’m thinking about this today, an August 4 that not only marks this blog’s two-year anniversary, but also eleven years since Grandma died, eleven years since I saw her or talked to her or touched her hand. It’s strange to think about that, strange to know that as things continue to develop and change—with this blog, with this life, with the world—she remains the same, a memory, one I have to work to keep fresh, more so as time goes on. Whenever I think about that, about her, I’m reminded that life is a gift, that today is an opportunity, that the interactions and decisions and ways we spend our time are not nothing, but they are what we have, now, and that I don’t want to waste them.

homemade granola on baking sheet

This blog has been so good for that. I mean, it’s been good to sit down and write about a night making soup, for example, or about the awe of seeing tomatoes grow—because doing so forces me to notice and appreciate those things.

When I think of how many times I get laser-focused or task-driven to the point of ignoring the moment, I am glad to have this blog to calm down with. Even now, as I’m typing this out, just the act of counting up and remembering the food, the places, the meeting so many of you that the blog has brought is creating this overwhelming sense of gratitude.

As part of yesterday’s giveaway, I got to read about how some of you found this place, whether it was at the very first post or just this week, and I’ve been thinking how incredibly kind it is of you all to want to read what I have to say. Every now and then, one of you will shoot me an e-mail with some gracious words like about how you enjoy the way I use commas, and it will totally make my day. And all the time, you leave comments. You send recipes. You rejoice with me. You empathize with me. You come back. So thank you. Really, thank you. I feel so blessed.

homemade granola with soaked oats in a jar

I wish we could have another party and that all of you could come, and if some of you couldn’t, I wish I could mail you a great big box of home-baked goods. But, given that I’m self-employed now and still trying to figure out what the heck a variable income is like, I’ll offer this instead.

homemade granola in a bowl

This homemade granola, made with soaked oats, is the kind of granola that reminds me of my favorite, Grandma’s old-fashioned oatmeal cookies, and yet at the same time, it highlights the new-to-me 2010 changes in my eating habits.

In other words, it’s the best of both worlds, this granola, and I’m sending some to two of you.

Essentially, the granola is a two-day process. The first day, you soak the oats in melted coconut oil, melted butter, buttermilk and water. A day later, you combine this mixture with heated liquids and bake it on low heat for around four hours, adding additions just before it’s done. This last part helps dehydrate the oats and turn the whole thing into a more granola consistency.

Health-wise, this process benefits you by making the oats easier to digest; time-wise, it’s really nice to only have one or two small steps each day; and taste-wise, this is some mighty nice granola, fragrant, golden, with clumps of oatmeal-cookie-like pieces throughout.

Giveaway Day #3! To enter this giveaway, you just need to subscribe to Food Loves Writing (via e-mail or RSS Reader) and e-mail me the secret password shown in the feed. Winner will be chosen via Random Number Generator Sunday night, August 8, at 9 PM CST.

The prizes: One quart of this granola! Plus a dozen homemade cookies! (Note: if the winner has allergies or special sensitives, I’ll make something else just for you. So don’t be afraid to enter!)

Homemade Oatmeal Cookie Granola with Soaked Oats

3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
3 Tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup buttermilk
around 1/2 cup of water (less or more as needed)

1/4 cup raw honey
1/4 cup sorghum syrup (or you could use maple syrup)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1.5 teaspoons cinnamon
1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 cup almond meal (coconut flakes would be better)
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/8 cup dried cranberries

Mix oats with butter, coconut oil, buttermilk and just enough water to create a moist consistency throughout. Cover with a cloth or a plate, and let sit on the counter for a full 24 hours.

The next day, preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Mix honey, sorghum (or maple) syrup, cinnamon and vanilla in a glass measuring cup in a pot of water on the stove. Bring water to gentle simmer while stirring honey mixture until it’s thin. Add honey to oats, mixing well.

Spread mixture over two rimmed baking sheets lined with parchment and bake for about four hours. (Note: the thinner you spread the oats, the less total cooking time you’ll need.) Allow to cool in oven before removing to container. Add all the additions and store the granola in an airtight container.

Shanna Mallon

Shanna Mallon started Food Loves Writing back in 2008, as a way to remember her grandma and write about her life through food. Since then it's become a place leading her to a lifestyle of eating whole foods, a new home in Nashville and the love of her life, Tim. Follow Shanna on Twitter @foodloves, keep up with Food Loves Writing on Facebook and stay inspired with the monthly newsletter.

This Post Has 18 Comments

  1. Kim Shenberger

    Happy Bloggy Anniversary, my friend!

  2. Melssa (My McDonald Meal)

    Happy Anniversary! What a beautiful picture you have painted of your grandmother. Hold tight to memories.

  3. Shaheen {The Purple Foodie}

    Happy happy blog birthday, Shannelee! :)

  4. Lan

    happy blog birthday!

    so i am interested in this recipe. i’ve never used coconut oil before, would any other oil work? also, instead of using sorghum or maple syrup, could i use honey or agave?

  5. Jacqui

    happy birthday, food loves writing! here’s to many more adventures, and to the change that comes with them.

  6. Tim

    Happy Birthday, FLW!

  7. jordan

    happy birthday! HAPPY BIRTHDAY! it really is a lovely place to visit, i’m so glad we’ve stumbled upon each other. your passion, your drive, your eagerness to change…i love it. you took that leap. :)

    this: “life is a gift, that today is an opportunity, that the interactions and decisions and ways we spend our time are not nothing, but they are what we have, now, and that I don’t want to waste them.” warms me to the core.

    thank you shannalee.

  8. jessiev

    another happy birthday! and i, too, thank you so much for the joy you bring to my life – whether it is reading your lovely articles, and dreaming about food, or making it for my family. my husband is so addicted to your quick pickles that we are on the 3rd jar, which is amazing, since you JUST published the recipe last week LOL. thank you, thank you, thank you!

  9. Jenny

    This looks unbelievably comforting. I’m still avoiding most grains – and looking forward to the day the acupuncturist clears the allergies, so I can try things like this! Yay, Bioset! :-) PS – big jar of pickles on my counter. Not nearly as pretty as yours, but full of big taste potential. :-)

  10. Amanda

    Happy Birthday to FLW, and congratulations, Shanna, on a beautiful place with lovely words and delicious, inspiring recipes. I love coming to visit!

    This granola recipe is my NEXT one to try. I’ve tried several, and the last soaked one I tried called for using a dehydrator (which I don’t have) so I cooked it for like 8 hours on my oven’s lowest setting. It didn’t turn out very exciting…at least, not for all that work.

    So I shall print this one out, put it on my counter to remind myself that it needs to be made. Especially since my three year old is currently in a granola-crazy phase. And he’s pulling my 19 mo. old along with him, even though he doesn’t even have enough teeth to crunch the granola yet. He wants “na-nola and ogurt” just like brother.

  11. hana

    oh this is so awesome! Happy birthday! I hope I can join next year’s blog birthday party :)

    And that granola looks TOO good

  12. Dana

    Happy Blog Birthday! Three years is a far way to come with a project like this. Congratulations and keep up with the good work.
    I’m half way through a week of working at home, and haven’t managed many breakfasts. Maybe I’ll wake up early and make some granola.

  13. TJ

    Happy Blog Birthday and many, many more!!!

  14. Melissa

    Hi there!

    Just wanted to stop and say how much I love your blog. Thanks for posting. I will be back for updates. :-)

  15. Shannalee

    Thank you all so much for the birthday wishes!

    I already emailed Lan a response, but in case anyone else was wondering, butter would be an easy substitute for the coconut oil, and I think using honey would be fine instead of the syrups (it just will change the flavor).

    Amanda, I just had to tell you kudos on trying that recipe even without a dehydrator and baking it for 8 hours! Seriously, that’s awesome. I hope this recipe turns out a little easier and better and that both your boys love it. :)

  16. heather @ chiknpastry

    Great story – it’s amazing how much comfort we find in this little blogging world. And I love that we can share memories here too – like those of our grammas. My gramma died a couple of months ago, and the first thing I did when I got home was make her pound cake and blog about her and that cake. I felt a lot better afterwards, even though I was happy for her before then, just sad I’d be without her.

    As for the granola, I’m definitely going to try this. I have a standby chai granola that i have been making like it’s going outta style, but i like this idea of soaking the oats – you are a soaker, it seems!

  17. Kristen

    Happy Blog Birthday!! I love your blog and the beautiful words you write…

  18. Shannalee

    Heather, I am a soaker indeed! : ) I’d love to know what you think of this method, especially compared to the traditional one. I find the oats so much easier to digest. And thanks for sharing the story about your gramma. I’m sorry to hear she died a few months ago, but I love hearing that you made her pound cake afterwards. I like to think she’d have loved that, too.

    Kristen, Thank you!

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