Today was a day. A real doozy. It started at 4:30ish in the morning. Not that it needed to. That’s just when I woke up.
I lay there in the dark, hoping for sleep again. I heard the cuckoo clock hit 5am…5:30…Apparently I would not be falling back asleep. Darn, really wanted to sleep in till at least 6am. Ever since I was a teenager, sleep has been my arch nemesis.
I would work myself up into a lather when I was in high school because I thought, if I don’t get enough sleep, how will I function, do my work, pass this test, finish that project…? I was a nerd, okay!? To this day, if I’m stressed about something, excited about something, confused by something, maddened by something, I will go to bed thinking about it. My brain just doesn’t shut off. And when I wake up, it’s like the conversation in my head had continued all night, and I am picking right back up where I left off. There was a time when I could ride on through the lack of sleep, but these days, there’s a little less of that candle to burn (at both ends) so I succumb to the cat nap. I learned how to do this from Phinny and Zelda. They are cat nap experts. I’m a tad jealous!
So anyway, was up early. Crawl to the kitchen. Jim and the cats are comfy under the flannel sheets, sleeping (Aaggh!). All is quiet. I do like that. Just me and the sun, rising, casting the most lovely shadows and colours into the room. So I pour myself some lemon water, and think, what will I eat? Then I remember, hang on, I started granola last night.
Realizing that buckwheat is a great gluten-free alternative to wheat and oats (which don’t seem to like me all that much, even though I masochistically keep eating them) I thought, since I love the nutty, warm flavour of buckwheat, why not make granola out of it? I’ve played with the recipe through the years, but the buckwheat and almonds and sunflower seeds are always staples in it. So anyway, I pulled out the old yellow-ware bowl from the fridge and drained the contents, and rinsed them well. Then I added the rest of the ingredients and spread them out over two baking sheets. Into the oven they went. Now I had time to make a coffee, and think about the day ahead.
There were the obvious vacuuming and dusting. The bathrooms need cleaning. The freezer needs to be cleaned out (I’m sure somewhere in there is a container of leftover frozen short rib meat that I planned on turning into pot pies…2 years ago!) Don’t get me started on the fridge. There is a huge closet to clean out in the office. This room is a scary vortex, where things get sucked in and never seem to make an appearance again (our own personal black hole). I avoid it at all costs. Jim works there, and he doesn’t seem to mind it. I start shivering when I know I have to enter it. But also somewhere in there, all the winter paraphernalia had gone to hibernate. And it is time to wake up Hats, and keep us warm. Winter is looming. So, I’m coming for you.
I grew up with a father who trained us to regularly spread out all our shoes and boots, to clean and shine them. Remember those little round tins of shoe polish, and the chamois cloths that were kept in a basket? I do. There was something very reassuring about seeing all my shoes lined up like a books on a shelf. Anyway, all these years later, I can’t let the cold weather confront us without first preparing all our shoes, boots, handbags etc. Anyway, that is another project that was expecting to get done today.
So, the granola was baking away. The aroma from the gingerbread spices was intoxicating. I adore gingerbread at all times of the year, so this is a great way to get a fix! I had put the dishes from the night before away. I opened the freezer door to remind myself how much stuff would need to be sorted through. One by one, the cats meandered into my world, demanding their breakfast. I had my coffee, so after they were satisfied, they joined me on the couch, watching Matt and Savannah chatting with Adele. (Isn’t she just the most intriguing person? A voice like nothing else on the planet; a down-to-earth, cheeky, seemingly humble person who hasn’t let the global attention jade her) And then the oven timer told me that my granola was ready. Removed the cats from my lap (insert wounded glare of disapproval from Phineas and disdainful miff from Zelda) and went to pull out the sheet pans. Most of it would cool down, but some was going on top of the skyr and kefir I had ready in a bowl. Crunchy, just sweet enough, kind of cuddly (if food can be cuddly- some of you will get it!)
Done, put the dishes in the sink, and now I think I’m mentally ready to attack the office closet. And what do I find in there, along with the luggage, guest bedding, wrapping paper, out of season clothes, tools, boots, extra hangers etc? It appears that a can of Coke had exploded (I won’t bother explaining how a carton of Coke was being stored on one of the shelves). Shoes, boots, a sewing box (remember those old ones on legs, that opened kinda like accordions?) framed artwork, and a hammer drill and more were covered in the sticky residue of sprayed Coke. And the wall, the inside of the closet doors, and the floor… Guess what my first and most mind-numbing job of the day was? Needless to say, everything is pulled out, a bucket of dirty water is still in the office, sundry items are in various states of drying…and I’m sitting here at the computer, a cup of green tea next to me, and Zelda on my lap. Boy, I have a lot to do…tomorrow.
ps, this is the kind of granola you just want to snack on. Of course it is great over oatmeal, in muesli, or as a topping for muffins or quick breads. But I have been caught many times with my hand in the granola jar, just snacking away!
GLUTEN-FREE GINGERBREAD BUCKWHEAT GRANOLA
A toasty, just crunchy enough gluten free granola with the warmth and cozy sweetness of gingerbread.
- 1/2 cup (100 g) raw buckwheat
- 1/2 cup (80 g) raw almonds, chopped
- 1/4 cup (100 g) pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
- 1 1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
- 2 tbsp (25 g) chia seeds
- 2 tbsp (11 g) sunflower seeds
- 2 tbsp (22 g) hemp seeds
- 1/4 cup (33 g) dried figs or dates chopped
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp ground allspice
- 1/4 cup (63 ml) pure maple syrup
- 1 1/2 tbsp coconut oil , melted
In a bowl, place the buckwheat, chopped almonds and pepitas, along with the lemon juice. Cover with water. Seal with cling wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat the oven to 300F (150C)
Drain the buckwheat mixture, and rinse well in a sieve. Place all in a larger bowl. Add all the remaining ingredients and toss to combine well.
Spread the mixture out on two baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
Bake, stirring it up occasionally, for 40-45 minutes or so, until dried out to nicely crisp, and golden. (if you want lovely clumps of finished granola, don't stir and break up too often)
Store in an airtight container for up to 4 weeks.
This recipe makes about 3 cups when finished. So if you want, you can totally double this if you go through a lot of granola!
This is such a versatile recipe. How bout adding or replacing some of the buckwheat with quinoa? Sub out the almonds with walnuts, cashews, pistachios or pecans. Throw in some sesame seeds. Raisins? Dried blueberries? Go for it! Shredded coconut, yep. Over ice cream, yogurt, oatmeal, in parfaits, trail mix snack... the options for use are up to your imagination.