Calming Banana Granola (Vegan and Gluten-Free)

This week, I officially became a full-time member of the workforce. It’s pretty weird, what with having been in school full-time for the past… my whole life. Although a lot is different, mornings especially are. I mean, I’ve had early classes before, but you can sort of just roll out of bed, throw on some leggings and Keds, and pretty much sleep type your way through classes. That isn’t so much the case now. I’ve really been hoping that I will, at some point, become a morning person. Mornings for me, are a sort of slow, disorderly routine. Alarm –> snooze –> alarm –> snooze –> alarm –> etc. I generally blame my cat for the fact that getting out of bed is so hard. He lays right between me and the edge of my side of the bed, making it pretty much impossible for me to get up. Impossible. It’s totally the cat.

I always think I look funny in the morning. Not in a sleepy way, more in an I-shouldn’t-be-seen-by-other-people-at-this-hour way. I usually will take a few seconds to gaze in the mirror and decide whether or not my hair “slept” well enough that I don’t have to do anything to it. The bangs I’m trying to grow out typically do not, but I will generally decide that the rest of my hair has. And I don’t have time to do anything about it anyway. But I do have time to make coffee. There is always time for coffee. So, while brushing my teeth, I’ll start a kettle of water, weigh out my coffee beans, grind them on the setting Dale has instructed me is the one for Chemex. At some point I’ll stop brushing my teeth after realizing that I am still brushing my teeth and have been for much too long.

Calming Banana Granola (Vegan and Gluten-Free)
Calming Banana Granola (Vegan and Gluten-Free)

I may make a salad for lunch, or not and instead grab a banana and some PB or chips and hummus or whatever else I can stuff into a plastic baggy or throw in my massive handbag. I may turn on the Today show for background noise about some band called One Direction or whether it’s appropriate to spy on my toddler’s Facebook account or the latest opinions of professionals on professional things. I may do my makeup while sitting on my bed, or in the bathroom, …or in the car (only at stoplights, y’all, chill). I almost always accidentally let the water for the coffee get too hot and have to wait for it to cool to the proper temperature (coffee-making is serious business), during which time I likely could have done something about that poorly slept hair. Then I’ll realize that not only is the water too hot, I’m freaking hot and so I’ll fall flat on my back on my bed with the fan on high to try to stop sweating and then think about the fact that I’m still in pajamas and was supposed to leave 20 minutes ago and “what happened to all that time I had?” and ohmygodmorningsaretheworst.

Calming Banana Granola (Vegan and Gluten-Free)
Calming Banana Granola (Vegan and Gluten-Free)

At least one thing about my morning is virtually always organized, planned, and expected though, and that is breakfast. Because this girl must have breakfast, and it must be in the form of oats. My go-tos are overnight oats (which are obviously planned, hence the “overnight”) or granola. This is my current favorite homemade granola. It’s not too sweet, feels super hearty, and pairs deliciously and quickly with a dollop of yogurt and handful of berries. The original recipe can be find over on Green Kitchen Stories. I like to make it a touch sweeter, incorporate different seeds, and add some lavender (to calm my morning chaos).

Banana Granola

The original recipe makes a huge batch, but I found that the granola only stays crunchy a couple of days (I guess because of the banana), and I just don’t eat it fast enough. So I tend to make it in smaller batches. I suppose you could toast it up in the oven when it starts to get soft, but my mind just doesn’t work in such an orderly fashion in the morning. Also, I promise my next recipe will be of the non-banana variety.

Banana Granola (Gluten-Free, Vegan, Refined Sugar Free)

adapted from Green Kitchen Stories

125 g (1 1/2 cups) rolled oats (gluten-free)
40 g (1/4 cup) sliced raw almonds
30 g (about 3 Tbsp) sunflower seed kernels
15 g (1 Tbsp) flax seeds
2 tsp. dried lavender flowers (optional)
generous pinch kosher salt
1 medium ripe banana, mashed
18 g (1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp.) virgin unrefined coconut oil
2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment (silicon mat will not do). In a large bowl, toss together oats, almonds, seeds, lavender (I like to chop it just a bit to break it up some), and salt with hands. In a separate small bowl, stir together mashed banana, coconut oil, and maple syrup with a fork. Pour banana mixture into oat mixture and toss with hands until everything is evenly coated and moist.

Dump mixture onto lined sheet and spread out evenly. Bake for 10 minutes. With a wooden spoon or spatula, flip/stir/breakup the granola, rotate the pan, and bake another 10 minutes. Repeat the flipping/stirring/etc. and bake another 2-3 minutes, until browned and toasty (granola will get crunchier as it cools). Let cool completely then store in an airtight container in the fridge. Serve with yogurt, fruit, more maple syrup, ice cream, whatever your heart desires.

Calming Banana Granola (Vegan and Gluten-Free)
Calming Banana Granola (Vegan and Gluten-Free)

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