Pumpkin Spiced Granola

Do you all know what it means to feel hurt by someone you thought you could trust?

It feels a little bit like you’re sinking, a little bit like you’re falling, and a little bit like somebody’s tied you up by the extremities and thrown you into the water, all at the same time.

This isn’t an angry post, or a vengeful post, or a gossip-y post. This post is just a little…disappointed.

It’s been a long time since I’ve felt this way about anything. The last time was in eighth grade when a guy I’d wanted to get in touch with because we used to be good friends hung up on me when I told him who was calling.

Something happened a while back that I didn’t think I’d have to deal with again. Past life, meet present life. I won’t go into the details, but believe you me–the feeling stinks. It’s times like these that I stop laughing at the cartoons of grown men crying for their mommies, and I curl up and cry for my mommy, too. There’s nothing like a phone call to that ever-loving maternal source to keep you feeling, well, worth something.

Cinnamon helps, too. Cinnamon always helps. I think it’s something about the warmth and feeling of nostalgic autumn days that it lends the kitchen when you’re around it.

Accomplishing things helps, too. I swam the 1.5k today in open water for the first time, then proceeded to get KO’d by food coma via some epic dim sum afterwards. Swimmers’ stomachs. Gotta love ‘em.

Flour Power: No matter how alone or down you feel, remember that the moment passes–but true friends are forever! Go look for a new activity or meet some new people in areas unrelated to your main interests; this will keep your identities from all blurring together, and prevent you from storing too many of your self-esteem eggs in one basket. I’m heading off to a campus activities fair tomorrow with a friend–my goal is to sign up for at least one new thing. (I’m also going to be an International Students Buddy this year!) Wish me luck!

Back in middle school, when the entire world consisted of longing for the time when I would finally grow old enough to get rid of my dorky roller backpack, it was easy to think that every little criticism or disappointment was the end of the world. Boom. Zombie apocalypse? Got nothing on my problems.

And then I “grew up,” and life didn’t consist of being shepherded along with the same 50 nerdy kids in AP classes every single day, and I had to figure out my priorities in life. I stressed, pushed myself, lost 20 pounds, gained 15 back, felt unhappy, felt extremely happy, had the best group of friends I could ever (and still could ever) ask for, and still thought myself the luckiest girl in the world. I graduated, moved, and while I found myself slightly outside of my depth, kept myself very energetic and happy–and for the most part, I’m very happy! Very happy.

It’s just a little bit of a sort of big downer when these things come back to get you. C’est la vie, I guess. You live, you cry, you learn.

It helps that I have a mom and dad who support the living daylights out of me, and tell me they would fly over right now if I need somebody. It’s been hard because lots of the friends I knew from last year have already moved on or graduated, and my other close ones are either from home and undergrad or too far away in LA for me to ask to come keep me company. I love these people so freakin’ much, though.

I’m not even angry. I’ve tried, and I can’t be. I’m just disappointed. But if I’ve lost some of my trust in some aspects of life, I’ve definitely gained an appreciation for a whole lot more.

So here’s to the  finer things in life, to things like people you can really count on, and to sticking to that strong moral fiber that keeps you from telling untruths to anyone else even though it’s been done to you–because even if I lose sleep over this tonight, I won’t lose sleep over it for the rest of my life when it really counts.

I could still use a pick-me-up. Hrm.

Now, about that cinnamon.

Funflour Fact #4: Did you know that, according to the World Food Programme,  there are more people in the world who go to bed hungry at night than there are people in the U.S., Canada, and European Union combined? (In light of serious statistics like these, it’s hard to dwell on personal problems quite as much.)

Pumpkin Spiced Granola
Inspired by recipe from Averie Cooks
 
Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup cookie butter (1 batch homemade, or store-bought)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups almonds (or any nut variety you prefer), chopped
  • 1/2 to 1 cup raisins, cranberries, or dried fruit mix; adjust to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium-sized bowl, combine pumpkin, cookie butter, honey, oil, vanilla, and cinnamon. Stir until smooth.
  2. Add oats and chopped nuts to pumpkin mixture. Stir in until completely coated, then transfer to a foil-lined and greased cookie sheet. Spread out granola in a thin layer and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring once or twice, until granola reaches desired crunchiness. (Your granola may take even longer to bake, depending on your oven circulation–watch it carefully! The moistness of the pumpkin keeps it from baking too quickly, but you don’t want your granola to burn, either. Averie notes that the granola is inherently dark, because of the pumpkin, so you’ll want to do a crispness test occasionally by poking a cluster of granola to see if it’s firmed up.)
  3. Remove granola from oven and stir in raisins or cranberries. Allow to cool–your granola should obtain a boosted crunch!–and serve with yogurt, milk, or a plain old comfort food in its own right. Enjoy!

4 Comments

Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Snacks

4 Responses to Pumpkin Spiced Granola

  1. Sorry crap has been happening. I HATE that. I totally have trust issues with friends because of things that have happened in the past. :( BUT, this granola is feakin’ awesome. :)

  2. So sorry stuff has been bringing you down. It happens, alas, all too frequently. One thing I’ve learned over time, though, is I always have some version of that dorky roller backpack hanging around. The specifics change, but the experience doesn’t. It takes awhile to accept and transcend that (and that includes disappointments with people) but it does happen. Anyway, this has nothing to do with your great looking Pumpkin Spiced Granola. Sounds like a happy dish to me! Good stuff.

    • Thanks, kitchenriffs–I guess I should learn the same, but it’s so easy for me to give everyone the benefit of the doubt each time that things usually end up a la history-repeats. I’ll keep your wise words in mind during these next few weeks!

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