It’s Fall. And like a little kid on the first day of school, I have this renewed energy to seek and find myself, create new things, and explore the world. Maybe it’s the way the yellow Autumnal light shines through the trees or sparkles inside dew drops not yet faded away. Maybe it’s the newfound comfort in being able to brew a cup of tea and hold it warm against your hands while the cool brisk winds remind us that the Summer has faded. Or maybe it’s the sudden urge to curl up with a good book in the ever darkening evenings, wrapped up in one’s favorite blanket. It’s the time of fuzzy woolen sweaters, seeing one’s breath in the air, and stomping through rain puddles. And then just when the clouds clear, that most amazing light comes through and reminds us of the beauty of this season.
This time of year for me encourages introspection. Why am I here, and what am I wanting to discover and explore? There are days I look outside at the beautiful early morning light shining down on us, and in a flash just want to run out of bed and hop on the nearest train, gear in hand, skip work and spend the day – no the week, the month, forever – amongst the hills and valleys in the mountains, dappled in magical sunshine as they receive the warmth stretching through the clouds. I see the newly snow dusted peaks and image what wonderlands lay up on the mountaintops, hidden within the white.
Instead I walk outside, feel the warming glow of the sun and the chilling breezes competing against each other, struggling for power as if the Earth itself is reluctant to acknowledge the passing time and changing seasons. Autumn is her last hurrah, where the landscape is a flurry of color for one magnificent display of life and beauty before all goes cold and silent in the long dreary Winter to come.
But we’re not quite at the peak yet. Soon, a couple more weeks. Right now is just the faintest hint of yellow in the trees. But the tension is there, knowing what is soon to arrive.
So I welcome the change, by escaping to the outdoors on the weekends, and bringing into our home those flavors that symbolize this next cycle of the seasons. The Fall flavors that ring in my mind the most are pumpkin and maple, and so we made a baked granola with our precious collection of certified gluten free oats. On top of yogurt with raisins and dried apples and fresh currants, it seems the perfect way to say hello to the spectacular event unfolding before us. I know the same thing happens every year at this time, but Autumn never ceases to amaze me and fill me with joy.
Adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod
Prep Time: 5 minutes to melt the butter
Total Time: 1.5 hours total
- 600 g oats – 5 cups (make sure it’s certified gluten free if you are gluten free, also amaranth and millet flakes make a good substitute)
- 175 g sugar
- 150 g sliced almonds – 1 and 3/4cup
- 50 g grated coconut – 3/4 cup
- a little cinnamon and nutmeg
- 1 tsp. salt (or to taste)
- 50 g maple syrup
- 60 g melted butter*
- 175 g pumpkin purrée
*Note if you can’t have dairy, feel free to substitute in your favorite dairy free butter substitute.
1. Preheat oven to 325F (165C) and line a pan with parchment paper.
2. Combine all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl – the oats, sugar, almonds, coconut, seasonings, and salt.
3. In a smaller bowl, mix together the maple syrup, butter, and pumpkin purée. Then add to the dry ingredients and mix until the entire granola is coated.
4. Spread onto the baking pan (I did this in two batches – you don’t want the granola piled on top of each other), and bake for 30 minutes. Turn the granola with a spatula, and bake 30 minutes more, or until crisp. Once done, remove from the pan and let cool. If you are doing this in batches, repeat with the other half of the granola.
5. Once granola is cool, add in dried fruits of your choice. I chose some dried apples and raisins, but whatever strikes your fancy I’m sure will taste great.
Also submitted to – Gluten Free Wednesdays