Crafting, Anxiety, and Granola

This article on CNN Health yesterday really hit home for me. I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder, which basically means my brain overthinks everything and I’m always worried. I could be on the beach, sipping a margarita, and I’d still be worried about something. It doesn’t even matter what I’m worried about; it’s usually something that most people would think of as insignificant. My overactive brain makes relaxing pretty much impossible. But new studies show that crafting, whether it’s knitting, scrapbooking, glass etching (more on that tomorrow), or decoupage, can help anxious and depressed people calm their minds. Focusing on a craft project can bring your mind to a state of flow, where you become so engrossed in something that it’s hard to think about anything else. Crafting has definitely done this for me; I find that when I craft, I become relaxed and, as a bonus, have a sense of pride in my accomplishment. I feel the same way when I cook. So get out to the craft store, get some glitter, and calm your brain. This morning, I made granola, something I’d attempted before, but never successfully. This is delicious, easy, and multi-purpose; it’s great in yogurt, with milk, or just in dry handfuls stuffed in your mouth.

Fruit & Nut Granola

  • 8C rolled oats
  • 1.5C oat bran
  • 1C chopped almonds
  • 1C chopped walnuts
  • 1.5t salt
  • 1/2C brown sugar
  • 1/2C honey
  • 1/4C molasses
  • 1C vegetable oil
  • 1T cinnamon
  • 1T vanilla extract
  • 2C dried cranberries (or pineapple, or raisins, or mango, or whatever)

Preheat oven to 325F. Combine oats, bran, and nuts in a really big bowl. Combine salt, brown sugar, honey, molasses, oil, cinnamon, and vanilla in a saucepan; bring to a boil, then pour over the dry ingredients and stir until it’s all coated. Spread evenly over two baking sheets. (I didn’t line mine and it worked perfectly). Bake for 20 minutes; stir at the 10-minute mark. When you take the granola out, it will look like you messed it up; it won’t be crunchy or anything. Don’t worry! Once it’s cooled, it will transform, and you can take a spatula and chunk it up. After it’s cooled, mix the dried fruit in with the granola. Store in an airtight container.

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