Safari Inspired Eats Part I: Game Drive Granola

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The granola I ate after many game drives inspired me to get cooking! My friend, Lucy Matthews, took this image of me on a game drive viewing lions.

I’ve been craving granola since I returned from South Africa: granola full of clean, healthy ingredients like nuts, seeds, dried fruits, and natural sweeteners. I encountered just such a granola at the mountain lodge I stayed in during Safari, and it’s what inspired me to make a batch today.

I call the recipe that lies ahead my Game Drive Granola, in honor of a beautiful granola that I ate for breakfast every day in the reserve’s lodge after returning from the morning game drives (5 a.m. wake-up calls!).

Crunchy, nutty, both sweet and salty; granola is one of the most easy, versatile and (often) healthy items to add to your baking repertoire. This time, I challenged myself to make it with whatever I had in the pantry leftover from the holidays, and it turned out fantastically.

I created a Pecan and Dried Cherry Granola with Extra Thick Rolled Oats, Honey, Cinnamon and Ginger that I’m snacking on as we speak; it’s truly addictive, and not too naughty.

While I didn’t have the ingredients on hand that they used at the lodge; i’m all about keeping the flavors clean, simple, and delicious– just like they did;  I’ll make another post in the future when I collect the actual ingredients I was seeing in the lodge’s granola.

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For this recipe, I dry toast 1 heaping cup of thick cut oats and ½ of a cup of pecans together in a pan over a low heat, bringing out the flavors of both the oats and the nuts. I don’t like to add a lot of extra oils to my granolas, so I use the oils released from the pecans during the toasting process to both toast and flavor the oats.

I add a pinch of Ceylon Cinnamon and a pinch of China Powdered Ginger to the pan as the mixture toasts. You could easily toast your granola in the oven, as long as you keep a close eye on the mixture and move it around, so that the nuts and oats don’t burn.

When the mixture becomes a medium caramel color, (and fills the kitchen with a delicious aroma), it’s time to mix one teaspoon of honey into the pan (be careful that your heat is low so that no burning occurs!); let the flavors mix and mingle before transferring all of the ingredients into a bowl.

Here you will stir in another teaspoon of honey, a healthy pinch of Maldon Sea Salt, and fold in 1/4 of a cup of dried cherries (more if you like!). Note: The ones I used were slightly (naturally) sweetened, because they are what I had leftover in the pantry. If your cherries are not, don’t worry, but you might want to add a bit of extra honey.

Stir the nuts and oats with a spatula until the mixture is well coated and then spread it onto a tinfoil lined pan. Then, let the granola cool down. That’s it! Enjoy!

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Game Drive Granola

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 25-30 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

This granola is great for snacking; it’s excellent served with almond milk or regular milk or over yogurt.

Ingredients

– 1 cup of extra thick whole grain rolled oats

-2 teaspoons or one good squeeze of a honey of your choice

-1/4 of a cup of dried cherries

-1/2 of a cup of pecans, roughly crushed

-1/4 of a teaspoon Ceylon Cinnamon

-1/4 of a teaspoon China Powdered Ginger

-1/8 of a teaspoon Maldon Sea Salt

Directions

  1. Dry toast the oats and the pecans together over a low heat. Keep a close eye on them and move them around with a spatula every few minutes as they brown.
  2. Add the cinnamon and ginger after the mixture has warmed.
  3. When the mixture has a nice toasted quality to it, and turns light brown in color, you have two options: I like to mix in half of the honey at this point and let all of the flavors mingle together (you need to make sure the heat is very low when you do this). I then transfer the mixture into a bowl with the rest of the honey, a pinch of salt, and the cherries. The other option would be to not bother adding half of the honey into the pan and add it all into the bowl with the cherries and salt.
  4. When the oats and nuts are well coated, dump the mixture out onto a tinfoil lined tray, and spread it out with a spatula. Let the mixture cool completely.
  5. Lightly Mix the granola and serve.

 

 

 

 

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