October 22, 2012

A Friend's Cranberry Pumpkin Spice Granola

Blogging is weird. I mean it's kinda like that Julie chick described in Julie and Julia. You put your thoughts and ideas out there and no one reads them. Then time goes by and someone might actually leave you a comment. You join a few networking sites and suddenly more people are reading YOUR thoughts and recipes. Then you become famous and are offered a book deal (well at least my husband wishes it worked this way for me.)

In any case, you start seeing some people around the virtual water cooler that you might actually like to have an extended conversation with. People who seem nice, not like stalkers, at least as much as you can tell online. Sometimes one of these individuals turns out to be someone you would actually like to be friends with - like in real live life. This happens so rarely that it's thought to be an urban legend. I'm hear to tell you, it's not legend. It has happened to me.

I met someone in the blog world that I really like. She's self-effacing, kind, to the point, and a great cook. I know I could ask her any cooking question that I needed help with and she would go all out to answer. She gardens in a BIG way with fruit trees, herbs and vegetables. And she practices the old fashioned art of canning, so I don't feel like a crazy person around her.

She is one of those people you really, really hope will invite you over for dinner, because you just know it will be better than the fancy restaurant around the corner. She is my special foodie friend.

There is only one thing that stands in the way of BFF status...she lives on another planet. Ok, it's really only OK, but Oklahoma is seriously far away. I mean it's the west. Yes, ye of the windy plains and surreys with fringe. Someday I may visit, but it's gonna take some effort!

In the meantime, my sweet new friend, Debra and I communicate through email. We've laughed over our manly men and their need to kill woodland creatures. We have a virtual canning party planned for next peach season. I've offered to send her cranberries when her local store ran out. (Apparently there is not a strong desire for cranberries off the east coast - go figure.)

I was actually looking at her blog, Eliot's Eats (named after her beloved cat) just this weekend because I needed some inspiration. The funny part is, I was assigned Eliot Eats as my Secret Recipe Club pick. Shock! Imagine my delight. Especially, since this will be my last SRC post. I just have decided to move on and let someone else have my spot from the waiting list. I knew the granola that I had on my pin list was the recipe I would pick from Debra, even though there are a ton of other great recipes on her blog.

My family goes through granola like we go through everything else - way too fast. I figured making Debra's recipe would maybe make them slow down and enjoy it, instead of scarfing.

I was wrong. Yes, I admit it.

My family LOVED this granola and therefore decided to eat it for breakfast,  lunch and snack (they were a little surprised it had pumpkin in it, because you can't really taste it). I used a small container of oatmeal to make the recipe - about 6 cups, next time I will make the giant 42 oz container. I was actually trying to take the photos for you all when a small two year old child snuck over to me and proceeded to eat my photos!

She was very delicate with her sneaking. When I called her out for her transgression, she gave me this face. How could I say no??

Before I knew it, there was another (not so small) child eating my hard work. I'm telling you, food does NOT last long around here!

Here's Debra's recipe and yet another reason I like Deb. She gives you the links to where she got the recipe from and even the original recipe link. I love reading through all the iterations, so for me, that's a treasure. I was actually thinking pumpkin seeds would be great in this and it turns out one of the other folks did that too. See, each person adds a little knowledge and depth to the original recipe. Brilliant.

Cranberry Pumpkin Spice Granola
from Eliot's Eats

1 18 oz container old fashioned oats
1 c pecan pieces
2 tsp cinnamon (OR you can sub 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice for ALL of the spices: cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, allspice and cardamom)
1/4 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp allspice
pinch ground cardamom (optional)
1 tsp salt
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 c pumpkin puree
1/2 c applesauce
1/2 c maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 c minced fresh cranberries

Preheat the oven to 325° F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicon pad and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine oats, pecans, spices and salt. Carefully toss to mix well.

In a medium bowl combine brown sugar, pumpkin puree, applesauce, maple syrup, and vanilla extract. Whisk until smooth. Pour wet ingredients into large bowl with oat mixture and stir until the oats are evenly coated. They will be moist. Add cranberries and stir again. Evenly spread half the mixture onto each of the prepared baking sheets.

Bake for 20 minutes. Stick your hand into the hot oven and stir, all while being careful not to burn the skin off your hand - don't ask, just remember Burn Stuff is the best burn product on the market. 

Bake for an additional 15-20 minutes or until the granola is golden and crisp. Remove from the oven and let cool. Store in an airtight container.

To my sweet foodie friend Debra, thank you for bringing joy into our life. You know I'm still here for you if you need cranberries!! I completely forgot to tell you, I made venison stew with Coke the other day - it was delicious. If you are ever in Georgia, come for dinner.

A big thank you also to the ladies that run Secret Recipe Club. It has been a blast these past couple of years. I'm proud to have been part of it. Thank you for making the introductions to my new friends.


  1. We will be sorry to see you go! I am glad I had the pleasure of getting you as a blog assignment before you decided to move on.

    1. Jamie, Where in the sam hill do you all live that you ALREADY have snow? Wow, here in GA we are wearing shorts :)

      Thanks for the well wishes. I will miss the group but I'll still be stalking blogs!

  2. Sorry to see you leave. It's amazing that you got paired up with your friend. I love granola, really need to begin making my own, because the flavor combination you've just put forward sounds so good, and it isn't something available in the stores.

    1. You must try. It's so totally easy and definitely cheaper than store bought.

  3. Well, I am so glad that I made your acquaintance through SRC. (Remember the purple chickens)? That was probably the most fun SRC post I have done. Thank you for all the kind words. It is more than mutual. Can you imagine all the trouble we could/would get into if we lived closer?!?!?! And, you are kind of sneaky. I had no idea that you had EE's for this SRC. To think I thought you were just wanting the granola recipe! Thanks again BBF (Blogger Best Friend)! :)

    1. I had forgotten about the purple chicken!! How could I??? That was totally perfect. In fact, after that I thought about changing my blog name to the Purple Chicken.

  4. I keep wanting to make my own granola, and this recipe has pushed me over the edge to do it. The ingredients are so yummy! I think the pumpkin seeds would be great too! You will be missed st SRC. Sad to see you leave.

    1. Thank you Teri. It has been a blast. Parting word...make..the...granola. It's so yummy.

  5. This wouldn't last long in my house either! I so need to make this, it sounds wonderful! I lovey your pictures!

  6. What a great fall recipe. Granola is great to get rid of the hunger pains and it is very portable.

    1. Except for the fact that my kids seem to get it in every nook and cranny in the van, I agree it's a great snack.

  7. Aimee, I'm sorry to see you go...but I've had to drop back with a few blogging responsibilities as well. Just not enough time to do it all! I love Debra's blog, too...and it's extra fun to pick from a friend's blog! This granola looks magnificent :)

    1. I so know what you mean. How does a blogger make time to cook, eat AND blog about it???

  8. It has been on my cooking bucket list for quite sometime to make granola. Now I have the perfect recipe. Delish. Great SRC pick!!

  9. Aimee, this is such a sweet post. Debra has a wonderful blog and you picked an awesome recipe! You're children are adorable and you caught such precious pictures of them!

    1. I know you are exhausted but on a high from your Boot Camp and yet you still have time to leave me a note?? I can't wait to see what you come up with after your time at CIA. I'm so completely jealous, what a wonderful adventure. Curl up with a cuppa and get some sleep.

  10. Hi Aimee, your granola look awesome, great for breakfast and snack. Thank you for sharing your wonderful recipe.

    Thanks for visiting my blog and leave your lovely comments. Am glad to meet you.
    Love your little girl, she look so adorable.

    Have a nice week ahead,regards.

  11. What a lovely post Aimee. The blogging world is weird at times, but so amazing when you connect with someone who is a real friend. I'm sad to hear you'll leaving us. But I'm glad I was assigned your blog this go round. I loved the chai tea and now I am thinking I need to make this granola as I'm pretty smitten with making as many fall flavored goodies as possible.


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