While I've been counting down the days to our warm, spring break vacation, I'm not excited about the plane travel. As if flying with a toddler isn't indignity enough, the last time I flew, they were charging for coffee. Or rather, strongly smelling swill that the nice flight attendant alleged was coffee.
I've learned that it's best to bring our own sustenance when we fly, and one snack that's always nice to slip in our carry-on is a container of homemade granola.
The wonderful thing about granola is that you can customize it exactly to your family's taste and what you have in your cupboard. Got a box of raisins left from snack day at school? Great ― toss 'em in. Is your little one only eating apples this month? Wonderful ― add a pinch of cinnamon and call it “apple pie granola.”
You need to keep the ratios of liquid/nuts/dried fruit about the same, but otherwise you can improvise quite a bit with what sounds delicious or what you have on hand. Not only will it be cheaper and tastier fuel for your adventures, it's probably healthier than standard airport fare, too.
If you're headed out for spring break ― or even if you're just planning an awesome stay-cation ― here's a recipe to get you started.
Oil or cooking spray for greasing the pan
2/3 cup honey
¼ cup olive oil
3 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups rolled oats
½ tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
2/3 cup dried fruit (I used 1/3 cup dried cranberries and 1/3 cup diced, dried figs)
1 1/3 cups chopped nuts (I used 1 cup of pumpkin seeds and 1/3 cup pecans)
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and grease a rimmed baking sheet very well.
In a large bowl, mix the honey, olive oil, egg whites and vanilla. In a smaller bowl, mix the oats, cinnamon and salt. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, and stir until the oats are coated well. Last, mix in the fruit and nuts, and, again, mix until everything is well incorporated.
Pour the granola out onto the greased baking sheet, and use your hands to pat it into an even layer. Bake for about 45 minutes, stirring the granola every 10 minutes or so to ensure that it cooks evenly. You'll know it's ready when the granola is beginning to turn a deep brown and smells incredible.
Once the granola is finished, carefully scrape it off the baking sheet onto a clean tea towel. (The towel prevents condensation which can make the granola soggy.) Allow the granola to cool completely, then store it in an airtight container.