new year, new granola

Have I told you the story about how when I sent my book proposal for The Homemade Pantry to my agent, I also sent granola?

Scour the internet (as we tend to do when looking for direction on big, life-changing things that have no guidebook), and the rules on how to send a book proposal are very clear. First, don’t send it. Write an email, and wait for a polite request. Second, don’t ever use gimmicks, or wrap things up in a special way. And third, don’t EVER send food.

Well we sent it. And not only that, but Joey and I bought a cereal box, deconstructed it, silkscreened it, and put the proposal inside. How’s that for a gimmick? Tuck a bag of granola in there (which of course, we did) and you have broken every rule. Moral of the story? Don’t always listen to the internet.

That was 2009, and it was pretty much the same recipe I make now. I made the granola for every editor who might have considered buying the manuscript, for every TV and radio station who might have featured the book, and for anyone else who might need a bag. Over the last few years, I have made hundreds and hundreds of pounds of granola, all the same recipe. And it’s still the granola I make for us here every week. I’m not even sick of it. I trust this granola, and it hasn’t let me down yet.

But last week, I started tasting something new in my imagination. I’m not even sure where it came from, but there it was, and after a few tries, here it is. I don’t think this is THE new granola–it certainly won’t replace the old standby. But it certainly is A new granola, and what can I say? Sometimes change sneaks up on you.

This granola is lighter and softer than what I usually make, and I’m just loving that. It’s still got a good crunch to it, but because there’s so much orange juice involved, the oats get saturated in a nice muesli sort of way. It’s also all seeds and no nuts, so I can send it to school with Joey and the girls to their nut-free school.

A few notes on ingredients and process here. This granola has cocoa nibs, which I know are a little pricey and can be difficult to find. A little goes a long way, and a bag lasts a while for me (and then there are all sorts of delicious things to do with them). But feel free to leave them out if they’re not on your shelf. Also, many of you responded to my first baking post with questions about your convection oven. We’ll talk about it soon, but in the mean time, the best way to prepare for the conversation is to use it! Convection is great for granola, so if you’ve got the setting, try it out. I’ll give baking times for both methods.

Before we get to the recipe–as it is, after all, the first week of 2013, we are certainly overdue for the yearly kitchen calendar giveaway. (Because, lost in the kitchen without a calendar to ground us, how will we ever remember what day it is? Is it Sunday and there’s nothing for the kids’ lunch tomorrow? Friday and we haven’t yet had a beer? This is an important tool! I want to do all I can to make sure you are equipped.) This year, I have two calendars for you. The first is from Anna Hewitt, a reader of this very site, who offered to donate for the giveaway. From Anna: “This 2013 Eat Real Food Calendar was inspired by my love of growing, cooking, and sharing good food. The image for each month began as a pile of fabric and a moment and I wanted to capture. I cut each one by hand and stitched it together in my Saint Paul, Minnesota studio. I hope it will inspire you to harvest vegetables, make messes in your kitchen and gather around the table with people you love.”

The second is from my friend, Laurie. She creates this lovely little gem of a kitchen calendar every year (remember this one?) and this year’s theme is flowering herbs.

And yes, we’re a week in, and I’m sure we all have our goals and resolutions outlined and conquered, right? So let’s do something else here. Screw resolutions. I think change comes in its own time, and all I can do is to be open to today. Today, this week, this month, (okay okay, this year) I’m still working on giving myself over to Book Number Two. And although in the past I’ve always been pretty good at not getting ahead of myself and taking one step at a time, I find I’ve been getting stuck with the finishing of this book before I’ve truly gotten into the meat of it. Does that make sense? So today, I’ve got a quote that’s been helping me out. It’s from Junot Diaz, from an interview he did a few weeks ago with Bill Moyers:

“A friend of mine once said this famously. And I think it’s very true. To write a book, in the process of writing, you have to become the person you need to become to finish that book. And so when you write a book, you yourself have to be transformed in the process of writing it.”

If you’d like to enter the giveaway (or even if you don’t), will you share your quote of today? I’d love to hear it, and I’m sure I’m not alone. Thank you so much to Laurie and Anna for supplying such beautiful calendars. I can’t wait to find them a home. I’ll pick the winners on Friday morning.




  1. Robin says

    the thought manifests as the word
    the word manifests as the deed
    the deed develops into habit
    and the habit hardens into character

    this quote goes on to say something along the lines of choose your thoughts with care.

    thank you for the opportunity to win one of these beautiful calendars.

  2. Anne Gaertner says

    Here is my quote—in fact I just found it today, as I was also looking for some inspiration: “You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage–pleasantly, smilingly, nonapologetically—–to say ‘no’ to other things. And the way to do that is by having a bigger ‘yes’ burning inside.”
    –Stephen Covey

  3. Renee says

    If you can’t be a good example, be a dire, yet fabulous, warning. – unknown author, modified by my own behavior. 😉

  4. says

    I’m in the middle of revisions for a book I am writing and illustrating. This quote sums up the experience!

    “If some things were different, other things would be otherwise.”

    –Frank R. Stockton

  5. Michael Schneider says

    “On ne découvre pas de terre nouvelle sans consentir à perdre de vue, d’abord et longtemps, tout rivage.”

    (“One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight, for a very long time, of the shore.)

    —André Gide (1869-1951), Nobel Prize for Literature 1947 (from ‘Les faux-monnayeurs’ [‘The Counterfeiters’], 1925)

    I don’t need a calendar, though. Thanks. I just can’t resist a request to share a quotation.


  6. Lanette says

    This is my quote of the year, inspiring me in my homesteading journey. It is from 1st Thessalonians: “11 Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, 12 so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.”

  7. says

    I love that you sent the granola with your proposal! So fun and creative. Can’t wait to try this recipe. I make the granola from your book frequently (had it for breakfast this morning!) so it’ll be nice to try a variation!

    • says

      And I forgot a quote. But I’ve always liked this one by Stephen King (and since you’re writing, I thought you would appreciate): “Books are a uniquely portable magic.”

    • alana says

      Oh yes, Laura- try this one and let me know what you think! It’s really different than the other recipe- the texture, flavor, it’s all a nice switch-up, I think.

  8. Christina B. says

    My favorite quote! Virginia Woolf – “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”

  9. Natalie says

    Enjoy every single moment. The good, the bad, the beautiful, the ugly, the inspiring, the not-so glamorous moments. And thank GOD through it all.
    -Megan Matt

  10. Anna says

    These are my words to live by:

    “Without clarity on who we want to have, do, be in life, we will end up someplace we don’t want to be.”

  11. Stacie says

    A friend said this to me once, and now it is always in the back of my mind wtih so many decisions I make! “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should”

    Can’t wait to try your new granola, Alana!

  12. says

    “If you’re afraid of butter, use cream.” –Julia Child

    This granola looks like a nice twist–I love the addition of orange juice and crunchy cocoa nibs.

  13. patrice says

    “ca va aller.” –Burkinabe saying.
    When I was a Peace Corps volunteer, I constantly countered an endemic sense of optimistic fatalism, i.e. a conviction that everything would be okay, so it’s no use sweating the small stuff. Or the big stuff. When a misfortunes(so frequently) befell me — from a days-late bus to the death of a friend — someone would inevitably try to console me by saying “ca va aller,” (literally “it’s going to go,” connotatively “this will pass”). In moments of righteous indignation, this platitude was really frustrating. But it’s always held true.
    I’ve had a rough year, and I’m thinking of tattooing this phrase somewhere prominent. :)

  14. Kristina says

    “Never, never, never give up!” – Winston Churchill

    It’s my motto.. it works for everything: grad school, running, kitchen disasters, life in general!

    And that fabric calender is STUNNING!

  15. Hannah M. says

    “I agree that two times two is four is an excellent thing; but if we’re going to start praising everything, then two times two is five is sometimes also a most charming little thin.”
    -Dostoevsky, Notes from Underground

  16. Claudia says

    I can hardly wait to try BOTH granola recipes. And I love how you packaged your proposal; it reminds me of the woman who interviewed for a job at Mattel and brought along a Barbie doll dressed just like her and put the doll in the adjacent interview chair. Brilliant.

    I am a singer, along with other creative endeavors, and the following quote sums it up for me. May it serve you for your second book:

    Do you have the courage to bring forth this work? The treasures that are hidden inside you are hoping you will say YES. ~Jack Gilbert

    • alana says

      Oh, I love this Mattel story. The image is a little creepy! But it makes me love it even more. Here’s to bravery in risky moments…

  17. Jill says

    One I often return to: The opposite of faith is not doubt, it is certainty. Anne Lamott

    And a bonus: If you understood everything I said, you’d be me. Miles Davis

  18. says

    I most readily agree a kitchen is not grounded without a currant calendar. “Success isn’t just about what you accomplish in your life, it’s about what you inspire others to do.”-unknown. Thank you for your success.

  19. Rebecca Strout says

    “The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks means that you are, ever after, secure in your ability to survive. You will never truly know yourself, or the strength of your relationships, until both have been tested by adversity. Such knowledge is a true gift, for all that it is painfully won, and it has been worth more than any qualification I ever earned.” JK Rowling

  20. Kat says

    “The best way to execute French cooking is to get good and loaded and whack the hell out of a chicken. Bon appétit.” Julia Child

  21. Celia says

    “’You’re not Dostoevsky,’ said the citizeness, who was getting muddled by Koroviev.
    ‘Well, who knows, who knows,’ he replied.
    ‘Dostoevsky’s dead,’ said the citizeness, but somehow not very confidently.
    ‘I protest!’ Behemoth exclaimed hotly. ‘Dostoevsky is immortal!’”
    -Mikhail Bulgakov (The Master and Margarita)

  22. Samantha says

    Aach! I love to save quotes I find that I love, but I guess my document is on my external hard drive- here is beautiful one from one of my favorite books ever:
    “The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or touched, they are felt with the heart.”
    ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

  23. says

    “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
    ― Albert Einstein

    I love this quote because I believe that life’s journey is about discovering our own unique genius and following it passionately. It’s an important message to pass on to our children as well. Thank you for sharing yours with all of us!

    • alana says

      Ooh, that’s a good one. Einstein was such a special one- not many have been so good at crafting both words AND numbers.

  24. says

    Hi Alana! Those are beautiful, though I don’t need a kitchen calendar (I have three going right now which is more than I can handle!) – but I wanted to say keep on keeping on with the writing! Here is one that I have been contemplating this week, about (literal) big steps:

    “Today is one of those excellent January partly cloudies in which light chooses an unexpected part of the landscape to trick out in gilt, and then the shadow sweeps it away. You know you’re alive. You take huge steps, trying to feel the planet’s roundness arc between your feet.”
    ~ Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

  25. Tami says

    “A good marriage is like a casserole – only those responsible for it know what’s in it.” ANONYMOUS from The Splendid Table How To Eat Weekends.

  26. Chelsi says

    A furore infra, libera nos.~ Spare us from the fury within.

    ~Valerius- from a book

    This quote helps me stay calm in times of what would likely be a whirlwind fury.

  27. says

    Just about to start my first batch of your original granola, and now, there’s another one to try! :)
    No calendar for me…it’s the one thing the kids give Hubby for Christmas every year!

  28. Lisa Moran says

    Ahh, granola! LOVE IT! I make granola all the time to go with my homemade yogurt that you got me hooked on :0)
    Favorite quote… On my school calendar there is a quote for each month and the one for this month is: “To be able to be caught up into the world of thought—that is being educated.” FDR

  29. Nancy says

    So happy for a real granola with no nuts! One of my longtime favorite quotes, apropos to just about everything:

    “If it seems strange, ask yourself, ‘What is not strange?’ If it seems unlikely, ask yourself, ‘What is likely?'”
    —Jeanette Winterson

  30. Elizabeth Talerman says

    Happy New Year Alana!

    Words that have inspired me for years…

    Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort. – FDR

    Please keep creating for you are achieving so very much!


    PS – where do you acquire your cocoa nibs up our way?

  31. Terri says

    Have compassion for everyone you meet,
    even if they don’t want it.
    Hello! Love your stuff, and a colleague and are working on a book too, although nothing quite so fun as granola. :)
    My favorite quote is a great reminder most days…

    What appears bad manners, an ill temper or cynicism
    is always a sign of things no ears have heard,
    no eyes have seen.
    You do not know what wars are going on down there where the spirit meets the bone.

    ~~ Miller Williams

  32. Terri says

    Have compassion for everyone you meet,
    even if they don’t want it.
    Thanks! Love your stuff and all the encouragement for life, love and creativity here. Isn’t it a blessing to do what you love to do?
    Enjoy the ride :)
    This is one of many favorite quotes, but I always come back to this one:

    What appears bad manners, an ill temper or cynicism
    is always a sign of things no ears have heard,
    no eyes have seen.
    You do not know what wars are going on down there
    where the spirit meets the bone.

    ~~ Miller Williams

  33. Erica says

    “A young apprentice applied to a master carpenter for a job. The older man asked him, “Have you ever made a mistake?” “No, sir!” the young man answered, feeling certain he would get the job. “Then there’s no way I’m going to hire you,” said the master carpenter, “because when you make one, you won’t know how to fix it.”
    – Mr. Rogers

  34. Kris says

    Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, it’s not. – Dr. Seuss

    I definitely need to try this granola recipe. I think my other half will love it. (Oh, and me too)

    Thanks for an awesome blog and an awesome book, which I use weekly!

  35. Susan says

    “Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.” ~ Max Ehrmann


    “The most important thing she’d learned over the years was that there’s no way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one.” ~ Jill Churchill

    Happy New Year Alana!
    I, also, am set for calendars, as beautiful as both of those are.

  36. says

    “Every strikeout brings me one swing closer to a home run.”
    -Babe Ruth

    I came across this quote earlier this week, and have been repeating it to myself whenever I feel a bout of self-doubt coming on. I don’t even like baseball, or sports for that matter, but this one really speaks to me.

  37. Jeanna says

    ‘The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the only one that heralds new discoveries, is not “Eureka!”, but rather, “Hmm… that’s funny…”.’

    — Isaac Asimo

  38. Marianne says

    Why try to explain miracles to your kids when you can just have them plant a garden? — Robert Brault

    Would love a calendar to keep me on track this year!!

  39. says

    Life’s not a bitch, she’s a beautiful woman. – Aesop Rock

    I was listening to his music yesterday, and this line particularly stuck out to me since I was having a rough week. It’s a bit crude, on purpose, but it caught my attention and helped me to change my outlook. Sometimes we all get bogged down, and it’s important to remember that life is beautiful and precious, and we should celebrate that everyday.

  40. Kelly Bancroft says

    Thanks Alana, I am excited to try this recipe as I also have made the same granola recipe for many years!
    I wanted to share this quote:
    “Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”
    Marcel Proust
    In looking for that one I also found this quote which resonates with me and where I am at right now…
    “The only real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes. ”
    Marcel Proust

  41. says

    If we can begin to consider hatred as the enemy, as your and my enemy, then we can begin to transform our anger into compassion. That will be how we can take advantage of an unfortunate and tragic situation.

    – Nawang Gehlek Rimpoche, “The Real Enemy”

  42. Katie says

    “It is now the restful task of all the spiritual traditions, Buddhism and Hinduism, Christianity and Islam, Judaism and Wicce, to learn from each other how to rest. To catch our Breath. To dance another turn in the great spiral of I-Thou. Together.” -Arthur Waskow

    I love the idea of so many dancing together. What a plan for the year– to dance with intention, to slow down, to do good.

    • alana says

      Thank you, Katie- what a fantastic image. It seems like such a good one to set the tone for what I hope will be a better year than last one for this world.

  43. Sarvi says

    What a great idea, everybody has a favorite quote or two. A lot of mine are kind of bummers, though! I do love this one from Lydia Davis which I find so funny:
    “I am happy the leaves are growing large so quickly. Soon they will hide the neighbor and her screaming child.” Haha! I’m afraid that in this scenario I’m the one with the screaming child. Sorry, neighbor.

  44. Rebecca Strout says

    I know I already shared a quote but I read this one tonight and had to share.
    “It hurts just as much as it is worth.” Julian Barnes

  45. michelle says

    ‘Embrace change’ – I would love one of those gorgeous calendars. We have a lot to plan this year: moving a few hundred miles, debating a wedding, both of us starting new jobs, lots of exploring in our new life and, hopefully, buying our first home.

  46. says

    we expect
    more from others
    because we
    would be willing
    to do that much
    for them.

    Keeps things in perspective, and I think I will try the new granola too!!

  47. Gala says

    What lovely calendars! And I’ve been on a granola kick lately, too.

    “The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can change his life by altering his mind.” –William James

  48. Julia McIntosh says

    Our lives are like books. Or at least I like thinking that way.

    My quote of the day is:
    “do you want to be right or do you want to be free?”
    -danielle laporte

    granola looks delicious, thank you for sharing it!

  49. Ashley says

    Don’t be afraid to go out on a limb- that’s where the fruit is. ~Mark Twain
    I just read and thoroughly enjoyed your book. Can’t wait to get in my kitchen and go out in some limbs!!!

  50. says

    If you accept a dinner invitation, you have a moral obligation to be amusing.

    Wallis, Duchess of Windsor

    I’ve been eyeing up the Eat Real Food calendar for a couple of weeks-I just love it!

  51. Sarah says

    No quote, just a comment about the new granola! Tried it Friday and LOVE it. It’s a great alternative to the tried and true granola in your book (which is my husband’s favorite) and I had mine with your homemade yogurt and a smidge of jam on top. What a fantastic treat! The orange really sang out nicely. I did up the cocoa nibs a bit since I’m a chocoholic, but it is great to have a nut-free granola for a change of pace. (I tend to throw all types of nuts in your other recipe since they go so well in it…) I also likes that this one bakes up quicker in case I’m pressed for time that week. Thanks for yet another awesome recipe (as if we’d expect anything else)!

    • alana says

      Oh I’m so glad you like it, Sarah! I feel that way too, like it’s a good switch up from the other granola recipe, for it’s flavor, timing, and shift in ingredients. Thanks for the report back!

  52. Katie L says

    it has, and always will be, “never hesitate to trade your cow for a handful of magic beans” – tom robbins.

  53. Erin says

    I know the giveaway is closed, but I really like this quote *and* I’ve been making a lot of granola lately, too, so I thought I’d send this anyway: “What other people think of you is none of your business.” – Paulo Coehlo. Doesn’t hurt that he’s one of my favorite authors.

  54. Cindy Rollins says

    “Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.” Eleanor Roosevelt

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