grainfree granola sweetened with sorghum

Saturday morning I met my old roommates for brunch at a newish place in 12 South, the three of us gathered around an enormous round table that had me leaning in to listen and talk. We’ve been doing these get-togethers sporadically over the last few years, one month a dinner at a new Lebanese place, another month a brunch at the fancy historic building in Rutledge Hill. One standout was the macaron-making party we held the month before Tim and I got married, a night in which Sara rocked my world by tilting her glass bowl while beating egg whites, a simple but fantastic strategy that has forever turned what, to me, was always a chore into what I now deem part miracle, at least.

Between our work schedules and our social schedules and all kinds of random trips out of town, finding a day and time that works for the three of us to meet up always takes us a dozen or so emails back and forth. So when we finally are sitting down to eat, there’s been some space since our last meeting and there’s a lot of surface life stuff (i.e., Who’s moving? Who’s starting a new job? Are the allergies better? How’s your injury?) to work through before we’re talking what’s really going on in our hearts, what the things are that are on our minds a lot, what we’re struggling with and why. Our waitress came around probably three times to see if we were ready to order before we’d focused long enough to pick an omelette and two orders of quiche, all immediately following some pistachio cherry sticky buns Sara and Sarah were going to split.

“Aw, but you didn’t have any of the sticky buns!” the server said to me when she was collecting our appetizer plates before bringing our meals. This was after she’d described them to us as “life-changing” and after the Saras had all but polished them off. “So are you gluten-free?”

As anyone who’s done a cleanse or a diet or who’s been diagnosed with a condition that requires certain food restrictions or who has allergies or sensitives or so on would tell you, explaining to a good friend that you’re eating a slightly different diet is hard enough, but explaining it to a stranger is ridiculous. There’s not time, in a brief, one- to two-sentence answer, to provide context or explanation, so you’re left to condense health concerns, goals and problems into the kind of quick 10-second soundbite that you hope will make some sort of sense.

“No, just a short cleanse,” I responded, waving my hands the way I do when someone asks me about the blog: “Oh, it’s just a thing we do for fun,” I’ve been hearing myself say lately, “a hobby. I’m a copywriter for my main job.”

“That is so great! Good for you!” Our sweet, energetic server was all congratulations in response. “It takes so much discipline! I could never do something like that.”

It wasn’t until I was driving home, post conversation about a potential move west and a potential move east and marriage and parasites and a giant health encyclopedia we stood searching through on the steps before we left, that I realized I could have given a month of grain-free eating a better rap than to deflect it and laugh. Like any quote unquote restricted diet, taking something out of your diet is never as hard when you consider all the things you have left. Things like vegetables and fruit and meat and dairy and nuts and seeds and, hey!, this granola—adapted from a version my friend Jen, who works with Tim at LFA, posted to her boot camp’s Facebook page. She got it from a friend who got it from somewhere else, and I’ve made it twice this month, marveling each time at the way such simple ingredients can make something so good—clustery and crispy, sweet and snacky, as tasty in milk as it is eaten by the fistful in the car.

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not,” the philosopher Epicurus said. “Remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”

Tim and I sat down to Sunday lunch a few hours ago, and when I started naming specific gifts to God as we prayed before eating, I was almost shocked at the moments that keep hurling themselves at us—money to buy groceries, a hot and sunny day, conversations, opportunities, the message we heard this morning (in itself, an answer to another prayer), kind words, leftovers to heat up alongside crepes, one another to share life with—it’s almost too much. And it’s not being blind or slapping sunshine on life to count these gifts, as I have sometimes thought, but it’s actually opening up your eyes to see. My hands are so full! He keeps filling them! Including in this month’s good, grain-free foods that we get to eat.

6-cup-granola-wlabelscinnamon-vanilla-wtextfoodprocessor

6-Cup Grainfree Granola Sweetened with Sorghum Syrup

By: FoodLovesWriting.com

6-Cup Grainfree Granola Sweetened with Sorghum Syrup

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup pecans
  • 1 cup almonds (whole or slivered)
  • 1 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon powder
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, softened and/or melted
  • 1/2 cup sorghum syrup (or honey or maple syrup)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F(180C).

Place pumpkin seeds, pecans, almonds, coconut and sunflower seeds in food processor, and pulse until combined and chopped throughout.

Pour mixture into large bowl, and add vanilla, cinnamon, coconut oil and sorghum. Stir together as much as you can; then use your hands to mix everything together, ensuring good distribution throughout.

Spread mixture into a 9" X 13" baking dish or half-sheet baking pan, and flatten out into an even layer.

Bake 20 to 30 minutes, until golden and firm, using a spatula to toss the granola halfway through.

http://foodloveswriting.com/2014/05/25/6-cup-grainfree-granola-sweetened-with-sorghum-syrup/

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 32 Comments

  1. Amanda Paa

    Your breakfast with girlfriends sounds quite similar – sometimes I feel so bad for the waitress because it takes us so long to order. This granola looks terrific. Even though I’ve been gluten-free for almost four years because of my allergy, I still find myself stumbling over how to explain it or almost apologize and I shouldn’t. I don’t feel deprived with all that God provides me with, therefore I should not feel ashamed. Happy weekend and lots of love – amanda

    1. Shanna Mallon

      You know it’s a good brunch when you’re barely looking at the menu. : ) And yes! about realizing how much we have, even when there are things we aren’t eating. Abundance that is almost unbelievable.

  2. Bethany

    Love how beautiful those ingredients look laid out. Thank you for posting this! I’ve been thinking there has to be something like this granola, but I hadn’t come upon it until your post! And, excellent thoughts as always.

  3. Kathryn

    This kind of recipe just proves, as if I needed any further proof, how easy it is to eat and eat well without needing the wheat or grains that we’ve all tended to become so over reliant on. Can’t wait to enjoy a large bowl of this for my breakfast very soon.

  4. angela@spinachtiger

    When I skip the sticky bun, no one ever questions it. (They’re thinking that’s right you don’t need that). LOL. The heart of what you say is so true, often forgotten in a world of so many choices. I try to avoid grains myself,especially after reading Dr. Perlmutter’s book, the Grain Brain. But if I had to give up my vegetables and apples, I might cry a lot. I love the way you did the pictures for this and I want to try it. It’s the perfect snack and I will probably use either maple syrup or local honey. (Curious though where those sticky buns came from, even though I don’t eat them).

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Haha! Angela, you crack me up! I’d love to hear what you think of grainfree granola if you try it and ps the sticky buns were at Josephine! Have you been there yet? I know it’s not super new news anymore but it was new to me!

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Joyti, That is a hard question to answer! : ) We are not at all against grains, especially high-quality ancient grains, but we are just taking a little break for some personal reasons… which I will probably blog about in a few months, depending on how things go. How’s that for cryptic, ha! So short answer is going grain-free for a month or so isn’t that hard, and if you’re looking for a way to ease yourself into cleansing, it’s not a bad one to try. : )

  5. Rebecca

    You’re so right about waving off semi-big things as being insignificant. I do the same with so many of my hobbies and dietary restrictions too! Often, it is just difficult to be vulnerable and/or honest in the space of a small conversation, whether it’s with a close friend or a stranger. Thanks for sharing–and the granola! I’ll have to try it soon. :)

    1. Shanna Mallon

      I like the way you said this, and I’m going to probably think about it for a while. I just told my friend Christina tonight that I love the way she is so transparent and vulnerable in conversation, right away, without any intro talk. “I hate small talk!” she responded right away. Haha! And maybe that’s part of my thing, too. When I answer vaguely, I feel dissatisfied with it. I like the vulnerability and meaningfulness of deeper talk… and that’s hard with strangers or quick chats… hard unless you’re Christina. : ) Anyway! Would love to hear what you think of the granola!

  6. Amy @ Thoroughly Nourished Life

    Thank you so much for writing this Shanna. I recently wrote a blog post about how I was finally happy with the life I had now, even if it wasn’t what I thought I might have been doing at this point in my life. I quoted Napoleon Hill who said ‘If you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way’. I was trying to communicate that my life is so full, just like that Epicurus quote is implying too. One of my best friends didn’t understand and communicated that she was disappointed in me for not trying harder, not pushing myself, not changing the world.
    I looked around at my life. At the man I love, at the other friends I have, at my writing, my baking, and my running and I realised that I have the life that I wished for all those years ago. I have love. I have family. I have hobbies. I have dreams.
    I have hands that are full and overflowing. These are not small gifts. They are great things and they are not to be diminished.

    1. Shanna Mallon

      I definitely find that the hardest time to be grateful is when someone else is telling me I shouldn’t be. It’s funny how we discourage each other when we can use encouragement most. But thank God we don’t have to believe everything someone says and that there are real gifts to be celebrated, if we see them and even if someone else can’t. Good thoughts.

  7. Erin

    I love your thoughts here. I do stuff like that all the time–discounting to others the things that are important to me in life, when really I shouldn’t.
    And this recipe looks so good. I am always on the lookout for new granola inspiration.

  8. Pingback: Purple Cabbage and Mango Chipotle Slaw

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