This coconut granola really brings the heat. Sprinkle it on yogurt and smoothies for some extra crunch, have it with milk, or eat it straight from the jar!
When life gets crazy, I try to find something to keep me grounded. The easiest thing lately? Breakfast. Especially oat-based. It’s a classic grain that’s super easy to give a twist (and shout!).
Pardon me while I go fill up a bowl of this granola to snack on while I present to you:
Life’s Latest and Greatest
Can You Hear the Bells
My older brother got married on Sunday, and I gained a sister. (Hi guys! You’re actually sitting next to me on the couch right now watching Moana since I’ve never seen it, so shhhh, I’ll pretend you’re not here.) It was the first wedding in our family, and my first time as more than just a guest.
Despite waking up at 5:30 AM, and only running on one cup of coffee and nothing to eat until about 4:00 PM, my energy levels were at an all-time high. Talk about an adrenaline rush.
The hairdresser styled my hair in a low side ponytail, curled at the bottoms, with a little braid and twist action going on. When it was my turn for makeup, I put myself at the mercy of Mimi’s brushes, since I really have no idea what looks good. We bonded over Instagram and the amazing communities created through it, until I eventually looked in the mirror and saw how fantastic a job she did. The final step was the gown. A friend of mine gave it to me, and there was only a little bit of tailoring to do. I’m usually down for the cute and comfy look, but getting fancy was so much fun that I kind of wish there was reason to dress like that all the time.
I don’t know if I’ve ever felt so beautiful.
There were countless faces coming to say congratulations and share in the joy. Everything began to blur together after a little bit, until suddenly I was grasping my bouquet and linking arms with my younger brother to walk down the aisle. Making it all the way down without tripping and falling flat on my face is officially one of my proudest moments.
And then we danced. A lot. It was great. Oh, and I cried. Thank god for waterproof eyeliner.
Died and Went to Heaven
The main activity on my agenda for the last 2 days was the Summer Fancy Food Show in New York.Soupergirl had a booth, which is how I scored an entry badge. My job? Walk around, get the scoop, and network, all while wearing a Soupergirl apron and cap. Imagine a diversified Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory on steroids, and I was the kid in the candy shop.
Verdict? I have the greatest job ever.
Wandering from booth to booth was the most incredible experience. All the people I met were so friendly and happy to talk to me about their brands and products, some of which I use and others I’m excited to try. I tasted more chocolate and nut butters than I can count. Everyone had something to teach me, ranging from an uncommon type of berry to various processes of grinding sesame seeds for tahini. The best part was that when I mentioned my food blog, everyone was so supportive!
I met Britt, from The Banana Diaries, who is so sweet and I can’t wait to come back to NYC to meet up with again. Then I fan-girled so hard when, strolling by Emmy’s Organics booth, I spotted Lisa from The Well Necessities. I’ve learned so much from following her and reading her posts, so this run-in was a dream. My mom couldn’t stop laughing that while other people fawn over celebrities (she said Justin Bieber, but are people still into him?), her daughter does it over foodies.
What can I say? My priorities are straight.
The real MVP
Speaking if which, let’s get back to this granola. Remember that? The very important ultimate crunch with a side of spice that you need to bring into your life asap. I’m a crunchy granola kind of girl and proud.
Every time I see what looks remotely like granola on a store shelf, my feet are drawn to it, like a magnet, just like what happens with nut butter. The excitement builds higher and higher, until I look at the ingredients. WHY ARE YOU FULL OF ADDED SUGAR?? After so much repeated disappointment, I finally took the plunge and whipped up my own.
Summer makes me think coconut, and its natural sweetness helps cut back on the amount of maple syrup you need. Using ginger and cayenne pepper might seem weird, but trust me. As a pairing, it’s kismet. As flavoring, it’s stupendous.
I love that mouth-on-fire feeling when you take a bigger bite than advised, but not everyone does. One time I made rice and beans for my family’s dinner and was the only one who ate it because I was too heavy-handed with the red pepper flakes.
Capsaicin is actually what gives cayenne pepper its hot and spicy taste. It irritates mammals’ taste buds and protects chili pepper plants from being eaten by them. There are different degrees of spiciness, depending on the plant, and they affect everyone differently, both positively and negatively. Many people find that spicy foods stimulate the metabolism, clears their sinuses, and suppresses their appetite. Others find that it makes them feel sick and gives them cramps and has them running to the bathroom.
The most important thing is to remember that your body handles spice differently than mine. Put in less if you just need a pinch, or more if you feel daring. I recommend the 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne; just enough to make things interesting without overpowering your mouth. But like I said, listen to your body and do what’s right for you.
When it comes to making really good granola, patience is key. Baking this at a lower temperature and then leaving it to cool completely is hard, but worth it. Scout’s honor. Whatever you do, DO NOT STIR. If you want those dreamy clusters, I can’t stress that point enough.
Get ready to stock your kitchen with jars of this hot and spicy coconut granola, brimming with fiber and healthy fats that will keep you full for hours. On your mark…. get set…. go granola go!
If you try this recipe, I’d love your feedback. Leave a comment, save it on Pinterest, or tag #lensesandlentils on Instagram to share!
- 1½ cups rolled oats
- ½ cup sliced almonds
- ½ cup almond butter
- ⅓ cup raw pepitas
- ¼ cup + 2 tbsp unsweetened coconut flakes
- 3 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 tbsp chia seeds
- 2 tbsp flax seeds
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- ½ tsp ginger powder
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper*
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- ⅔ cup apricots, chopped
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the oats, coconut flakes, nuts and seeds.
- Over a medium-low flame, melt the almond butter, oil, maple syrup, and spices together, until completely smooth.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir to fully incorporate. Use your hands if needed to make sure nothing remains dry.
- Spread out the granola in a single layer on a lined baking sheet. Bake for 24-26 minutes, or until golden.*
- Allow to cool fully before adding in the apricots. Store in an airtight container.
*Do not stir the granola while baking! This will prevent any clumps from forming.
*The granola will harden as it cools, so if it still feels a bit soft, don't worry, it's normal.