coconut oil

Give Me Almonds and Give Me Granola (Almond, Coconut, and Cranberry Granola)

I need almonds. I need almond flavor, that sweet, hard-to-pin-down floral quality that you either love or hate. I love it. Love love love. I bought some almond extract the other day for bath bombs and spent at least five minutes huffing the bottle.

I have a great granola recipe (over here), and recently I’ve tweaked it to satiate my almond-loving palate. It replaces the vegetable oil from my standby recipe with coconut oil, another product I adore. You can substitute coconut oil for vegetable oil in that recipe if you aren’t fond of almonds or want to mix it up. This particular granola is not too sweet and packed with good fat. Sprinkle on ice cream (chocolate is a good choice; it’d be like an Almond Joy), stir into yogurt, or just stuff large handfuls into your gaping maw.

Note: my previous granola recipe calls for 8 cups of oats, but it makes a ridiculous amount of granola. You can double or halve as desired.

Almond, Coconut, and Cranberry Granola

  • 4C rolled oats (“old-fashioned,” not quick)
  • 1/2C dry roasted almonds (preferably salted), chopped fine
  • 1/4C unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/4C brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4C honey
  • 1/8C blackstrap molasses
  • 1/2C coconut oil
  • 1/2T cinnamon
  • 1/2T almond extract
  • 1/2t salt
  • 1C dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 325F. Combine oats, almonds, and coconut in a big bowl. In a saucepan, combine brown sugar, honey, molasses, coconut oil, cinnamon, almond extract, and salt. Bring to a boil, then pour over oat mixture. Stir until coated and spread evenly on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Stir, then bake for 10 more minutes. When you take the granola out after 20 minutes, it won’t look like granola. It’ll be squishy. You didn’t mess it up. Leave it alone for about 10-15 minutes, then chunk it up with a spatula. Cool, and mix with dried cranberries. Store in an airtight container or zip-top bag.

Relaxation (and Vanilla Coconut Bath Bombs)

I have been so busy lately that “relax” is actually on my to do list. I’ve found that if I can relax while doing something mildly productive (like getting clean), I don’t feel guilty about it. (And yes, I understand how that statement reveals many of my neuroses.) I found this recipe about a month ago, and I’ve made it twice. In its original form, it’s great, but I tweaked it a little to suit my taste. It smells like coconut cream pie, and it makes your skin glow. I use one of these about 2 to 3 times a week. Grab your classiest plastic wine glass, turn on an audiobook about the history of American regional food, and relax (that’s how everyone does it, right?).

Vanilla Coconut Bath Bombs
adapted from Bakingdom

  • 1C baking soda
  • 1/2C citric acid (I found it at Sprouts, but any sort of crunchy granola store should have it in the bulk area–this is the stuff that makes Sour Patch Kids sour)
  • 1/2C cornstarch
  • 2T Epsom salts (don’t get this at the crunchy granola store–it’s $5 for 4lbs. at Walgreens)
  • 2T coconut oil
  • 5-6t liquid (to make these vanilla bath bombs, I used 3t water and 2t vanilla extract)
  • food coloring (optional, if you want them to look fancy)

Combine the baking soda, citric acid, cornstarch, and Epsom salts. Cut in the coconut oil with a fork (like it was butter in a cookie recipe). Add the liquid one teaspoon at a time. I added 5t this time, but I think I’ll only use 4t next time so they don’t poof so much while they dry. They will probably poof a little.
The desired texture is ever-so-slightly damp sand. Make sure your hands and molds are bone dry or you’ll make everything fizz prematurely. (Beware premature fizz.) Squish this firmly into the mold of your choice (ice cube trays work well, or chocolate molds). Let dry at least 4 hours before using.
To use, draw a nice hot bath and drop one of these in there. It’ll fizz up and dissolve, after which it will not be fizzy. I think it’d be creepy to bathe in fizzy water, but champagne might be okay.
You could add any extract you like. Almond or lemon would be great. These make cute gifts, or just make a batch for yourself. This recipe made about 12 good-sized bombs, each good for one wonderful bath.