Pumpkin Chai Apricot Granola … & Interval Training
I’ve discovered a secret … okay, it’s not a great epiphany or anything, but I’ve found a way to motivate myself to exercise on the weekends when I’d much rather relax, cook a lot of wonderful tasting things, hang out with my foodie friends (in person and/or online) and drink tea and wine.
See, here’s the thing: I can cook and exercise SIMULTANEOUSLY! It’s all in the timing, so granola is the absolute perfect thing because it has to be stirred every fifteen minutes. That happens to be about the time it takes me to do a mile on the treadmill. (Yes, I know, I’m slow, but hey, I’m exercising!)
So here’s what I do: I get my granola started, pop it in the oven, spend fifteen minutes stretching and warming up a bit, stir the granola, go do a mile on the treadmill, come upstairs, stir the granola, have a small glass of water, back down to do another mile. Repeat this process until I’ve finished the number of miles I agreed with myself that I would do (this week I did 4, next weekend maybe I’ll go for 5), then I do my cool down, stretch again, have a glass of water and relax (i.e., facebook) until the granola is done. By the time the granola is finished, I’ve burned a lot of calories and my body is feeling pretty dang good.
Granola is a great motivator for me because it’s fun to make, I absolutely adore the taste of it, and it makes the house smell soooo good. I made pumpkin chai granola because I’m more than a little obsessed with chai … and it goes so well with pumpkin! I had some pumpkin in my freezer from the fall and it was feeling like it’s time to use it up.
Now, all I need to do is discover some other great dishes that need tending to every fifteen minutes … any ideas? I can’t be making granola EVERY weekend.
- 4 cups old-fashioned oats
- 2 cups mixed nuts & seeds (I used walnuts, pecans, almonds & pepitas)
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup real maple syrup
- 2 Tablespoons butter (or peanut butter ... or 1 Tablespoon of each. I used butter this time)
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 1/8 teaspoon cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup flaxmeal (optional)
- 1 chai tea bag
- 1 Tablespoon chia seeds
- 1 Tablespoon sesame seeds
- 1 cup dried fruit such as apricots, raisins, or apples
- Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. In a large bowl, mix the oats and nuts. Set aside.
- In a separate small bowl, mix the pumpkin, brown sugar, maple syrup, butter (or peanut butter), spices, salt, and flaxmeal. Microwave on high for a minute, stir, and then microwave another minute more until the mixture is good and hot. (Or heat the mixture in a saucepan. Either way will work.) Submerge the chai tea bag into the mixture and let it steep for about 10 minutes.
- Remove the chai tea bag, scraping off as much of the yummy pumpkin mixture that is sticking to it as you can before discarding the bag. If the pumpkin mixture has cooled too much, reheat it in the microwave for about a minute. Mix in the chia and sesame seeds.
- Pour the hot pumpkin mixture over the nutty oat mixture in the bowl. Stir it all up until it’s well mixed.
- Spread all this wonderful stuff out into a thin layer on a large jellyroll pan (or other big flat baking pan with an edge to it).
- Set it in the oven and bake for about an hour and 30 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. It should be browned to a lovely brown color and smelling fantastic.
- Let the granola cool, then add the dried fruit.
- Store in an airtight container. It will keep well for a month or so. I've never run into a problem with my homemade granola getting stale, though ... it always gets eaten well before that point.
RECIPE SOURCE: http://www.sumptuousspoonfuls.com/
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