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swooning in seattle

Recipe: crunchy granola

[There really is a recipe buried at the bottom of the post, but first I’m going to yammer about my Seattle visit… because it’s my blog and because I get to do whatever I want with it.]

You knew we were *this* close to moving to Washington (state), didn’t you? In 2004, Jeremy and I had a map of the country in front of us and we had narrowed it down to two places: Colorado and Washington. Obviously Colorado won, but it was a choice between awesome and amazing. We are incredibly happy with where we are now, but we have a bit of a love affair with Washington – especially Seattle. In fact, it’s becoming worse because of all the friends we have there. We almost have to sneak into the state for fear of hurting feelings. Perhaps this wouldn’t be such a problem if we didn’t insist on time in the backcountry, but that’s a priority for both of us – time alone (together) in the wilderness.

the ferry to vashon

Our flight landed and we made a slow bumble beeline for the ferry to Vashon Island (is it me or is SEATAC really slow about… everything?). For me, Vashon is synonymous with Shauna and her dear family. They had invited us to their lovely island home for lunch and to make a pie for Mikey. It dawned on me that there is never enough time to spend with any of the people we care about, especially the ones far away. Life is a balance between those things we should do, those things we want to do, long term, short term, good, and bad. Everything had been go! go! go! up to this point. I stood in their living room watching Lucy play, listening to Shauna share the latest, thinking about our friend. It can be overwhelming how life is filled with both joy and sorrow – to such extremes and all at once. I closed my eyes and quietly choked back the emotions welling in my chest.

love this

danny prepped fava beans for the pasta

lu took me outside to play before lunch

lovely lunch of salad, pasta (filled with vegetables), and homemade strawberry soda

If you follow my tweets, you’ll know that Jeremy was utterly delighted with the ferries (partly for special relativity teaching moments). This New Mexico boy is smitten with the ocean. When he sees it he gets all giddy and says, “The ocean!” and I’m all “Yeah, there it is.” I grew up on the water and I do love non-tropical coasts, but I don’t have the same feelings for the water the way I do for the mountains. Still, it’s wonderful how Jeremy becomes a little kid on or near the water. A little kid with an astrophysicist’s brain, that is. A good fraction of our outdoor conversations revolve around the laws of physics that dictate curious and interesting natural phenomena. I knew a woman in graduate school who once said that she felt learning how things form makes them less amazing to her. I feel the complete opposite. (I should add that my opinion of her plummeted after that comment.)


Back on the mainland, we gathered our food for our backpack. In summer, for trips shorter than four days we like to go no-cook which means no stove. That’s particularly handy when you are flying because airlines really get their panties in a wad over Whisperlite stoves and empty fuel canisters. It’s easier to leave them at home or borrow from a friend. One of my favorite things to bring are savory croissants (spinach & feta, ham & cheese, vegetable) from good bakeries. Shauna sent us to Bakery Nouveau near the ferry terminal in West Seattle. Highly recommended, people!

we also picked up some chocolate and almond croissants for brekkie

I took Jeremy to Delancey for dinner with Tea. It is considered a must visit and this was the only night we had available to dine there. Good food and great company – it’s these simple things that make my days.

heirloom tomato salad? hell yes!

pepperoni deliciousness (their red sauce pies are so bleeping good)

We got quick hugs and hellos with Molly and Brandon, and Brandi was so sweet to bring us around back to The Pantry to have a peek. Less than six months ago I saw the start of demolition and now it has transformed into a most beautiful space and place.

gardens gone gangbusters

molly teaching a class

The next three days were spent noodling about in the backcountry of Olympic National Park. A splendid jaunt and much needed calorie-burner for all of the noshing we had done (and would continue to do) in Seattle! One thing we learned when it comes to ferries… it helps to not be in a rush like the rude stressball from Illinois who cut us off in line but still didn’t make the boat. We took advantage of the downtime to dry out the tent and our (really smelly) socks.

peering over the ferry rail

We arrived in Seattle with enough time to clean up at our dear friends’ house and take them out for dinner at Staple and Fancy. The group opted for the four course family style supper which I know for a fact feeds twice as many people as you have at your table. Let’s see if I can remember… First course: bread, buttery green olives, crostini with smoked halibut, anchovies on boiled eggs, burrata with eggplant, pork terrine, fried oysters, salmon belly crudo with sea beans. We were feeling pretty full, but wait! There were three more courses! Second course: tagliatelle with arugula pesto and shaved tuna heart, cod brandade ravioli. Third course: whole branzino with fingerling potatoes and olives, roasted half chicken with slow roasted tomatoes and sweet peppers. Fourth course: cheesecake with fresh figs, chocolate and caramel pudding with truffle cookie. It was all very well done.

the menu that i never even read

fried oysters and aioli

tagliatelle in arugula pesto

branzino (european sea bass) and roasted half chicken

cheesecake with fresh figs

Someone had to roll me down the street, into the car, out of the car, and into bed. But by morning, Jeremy and I were ready for a nice stroll around Queen Anne to sample some Top Pot doughnuts, visit Macrina Bakery, and wander through Trader Joe’s (because we like to torture ourselves like that). I should mention that the weather during our entire trip was perfect: mostly sunny, cool, and not too humid for Seattle. We met up with Lara for lunch at Sitka & Spruce, a place I had wanted to take Jeremy ever since I dined there on my last visit in March. The food is something else… something exceptional. I highly recommend it. [View the whole photo set on the photo blog.]

albacore tuna with broad beans and muhammara

lamb belly with tomato, chantarelles, harissa, and a 6-minute egg

sitka & spruce is also a gorgeous space

That evening we attended a potluck that Dana so graciously offered to host as there were many people to see in Seattle (far too many to fit even in Dana’s wonderfully large and gorgeous home). I felt sheepish. I didn’t want a party for ME. I’m usually the one who throws the party (or helps throw a party) for someone else. I kept telling myself that it was for everyone else too. My non food blogging and food blogging worlds collided in an explosion of laughter, raunchy talk (that was most certainly the food blogger contingent), amazing food (my non blogging friends are great cooks too!), stories, and the three most well-behaved little boys this side of the Mississippi. It was a fun way to wrap up our trip.

dana preps heirloom tomatoes

marc’s string bean salad was all the rage

(left to right) jackie, becky, danika, and matt

spencer and graham demonstrating their disco prowess

So it’s about time I gave you a recipe as I’ve been delinquent for most of August. And it’s only fitting that in my discussion of Seattle and Boulder, I bring you crunchy granola. Get it?! Ha ha ha! Okay, if you don’t get it, I’m not explaining it. I love eating homemade granola, but never thought to make it myself. That’s the great thing about food bloggers – they (the ones I like) make EVERYTHING from scratch which means I really had no excuse for not making my own granola. The only decision to be made was what to put in it.

oats, almonds, coconut, pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

and some honey, sugar, and cinnamon

This is an easy recipe. Remember, we’re all about easy recipes this summer because anything beyond easy is going to make me cuss in this heat and with all of the busy I have going on. Quick is another bonus. This is sorta quick, but definitely easy.

pour in the honey

mix well

spread on baking sheet

Now, this does require turning on the oven, which I was only willing to do in the early morning. The recipe says the longer you bake the granola, the crunchier it gets. I say there comes a point when crunchy becomes burnt. Keep your eye on your granola if you flirt with that transition point because burnt granola sucks. The granola at the edges of the baking sheet burned, but the rest was good.

let cool on cooling rack

get your dried fruit together: cranberries, mulberries, and dried apples

pour into the granola and mix

The best part of making my own granola is that I get to put my favorite dried fruits, nuts, and seeds in – all organic too. I choose the crunchiness and there are absolutely no funky preservatives or junk in it either. Just think of the possibilities. Exciting stuff!!

it’s enough to make me love breakfast

Crunchy Granola
[print recipe]
from The New York Times

6 cups rolled oats (not quick-cooking or instant)
2 cups mixed nuts and seeds (I used pumpkin seeds and chopped almonds)
1 cup dried unsweetened shredded coconut, optional
1 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
1/2 – 1 cup honey or maple syrup to taste
1 cup dried fruit (I used dried cranberries, chopped dried apples, and dried mulberries)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Pour the oats, nuts, seeds, coconut, cinnamon, salt, and sweetener in a mixing bowl and stir until combined. Place on a sheet pan in an even layer and bake for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally every 10 minutes. It should brown evenly, but really watch it toward the end because mine got a tad burnt. The browner it gets (without burning) the crunchier it should be. Remove the granola from the oven and mix in the dried fruit. Cool on a baking rack until room temperature. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator indefinitely.

27 nibbles at “swooning in seattle”

  1. Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga says:

    The granola looks great. I love making my own granola, too.

    And have a great time on your trip!

  2. Kristin says:

    I guess I should’ve paid attention to the “Recipe: crunchy granola”, because, for a split second, I thought there might be a recipe for spinach & feta croissants coming. Seattle has been on our someday list for so long. I hope we can get there soon.

  3. Jenny says:

    Seattle is my dream place to live. My New York boy won’t leave the East Coast – I’m thrilled he has agreed to leave New York and start looking for a B & B to take over. Life is too short and should be spent doing something you love. Feeding people and making them feel at home….is a good passion.

  4. Caitlin says:

    I kick myself for not going to Top Pot the one time I was in Seattle. I did manage Delancey though, so it wasn’t a complete fail. Once I get the chance to go back though, you just added to a long list of places to go – not a bad thing at all! Sounds like it was a wonderful trip!

  5. Margie says:

    Pretty pics and tasty looking treasures. I can’t wait to make granola. It’s one of my favorite fall-into-winter snacks. Sounds like a wonderful visit was had. You are so deserving. :)

  6. Courtney says:

    we are heading up to Seattle in October and I am in love with Molly so Delancy is on my must do list!

  7. kathy says:

    Love reading about your adventures!

  8. Melissa | Dash of East says:

    Reading about and seeing photos of your travels and adventures in the mountains is starting make me re-think my choice of oceans over mountains (just a little, though… hehe).

    Seattle sounds like such a great place to visit, especially when you’re going to see good friends!

    Oh, and your granola recipe just made me yearn for Boulder. Our B&B that we stayed in had the most amazing granola for breakfast every morning.

  9. Patty says:

    Perfect. I was just looking for a simple granola recipe. Thank you!

  10. Bridget says:

    My family all traveled from New Mexico to the beach in Mexico last week (you would hate this trip – it is HOT in Mexico in August), and I feel exactly the same way as Jeremy about the ocean. Every single time I travel to the ocean, I look for it on the horizon, and when I finally see a streak of blue, all I can think is “the ocean the ocean the ocean!!!” I love it. Love watching waves, love looking for sea creatures in the rocky tidal zone, love digging my feet in the sand.

  11. barbara says:

    I haven’t made granola for years. Time I started again I think. Your time in Seattle sounds great Jen.

  12. Susan says:

    I adore this post, Jen.
    Thank you.

  13. Andrea Meyers says:

    Love the addition of the pepitos. So far I’m the only person in our home that eats granola, and I make it all the time. Michael prefers his oatmeal plain with a little cinnamon, and as for the three monkeys, they just need to relax a little and learn to try new things. Until then, I get the granola all to myself. :-)

  14. Melissa @ Baking For The Boys says:

    My husband and I have sat together and narrowed down the states we would live in. It used to be around 17, but has narrowed down to around four (WA is included). :)

    I’ve planned on making granola this week as well. I’ve got the goods, just ran out of time. Hoping to make some by the end of the weekend.

  15. Andrew says:

    wow, I’ve never even seen mulberries before- how do they taste?

  16. Bev Weidner says:

    Stunning post! I could lick the screen, y’all.

  17. Tamar@StarvingofftheLand says:

    OK, now I’ve got another leverage point. Jeremy loves the ocean and, boy, do we got ocean. We also have science, although not so much astrophysics. Zoology, we got. Hydrography, we got. Agronomy, we got. You KNOW you need to visit Cape Cod.

  18. Tres Delicious says:

    Wonderful photography. Those granola sounds crispy to me. I would love to prepare some of them.

  19. cecile says:

    I love Bakery Nouveau.. glad you had a good time!

  20. jenyu says:

    Kristin – it’s a great place to visit, you’ll love it.

    Caitlin – such a fantastic foodie town that it’s going to take many many visits to get through it.

    Margie – thank you, you’re sweet.

    Courtney – the pizzas are SO GOOD!! Have fun!

    Melissa – sounds like someone needs to book a few trips :)

    Patty – you’re so welcome!

    Bridget – you land lubbers are so cute ;)

    Barbara – wish so very much you could have been there. You would have loved it, I know it.

    Susan – awww, thanks.

    Andrea – you deserve to have it all to yourself!!

    Melissa – I hope you guys get to the place you want to be soon – life is too short to put it off. xo

    Andrew – they’re… sweet and earthy. Kinda similar to sultanas (golden raisins) but denser texture and chewy. I like them! But they’re expensive (at least the organic ones at whole foods are).

    Tamar – actually, you’ve got MIT right there. If he ever takes a trip out there, I’ll be right along with him (and then I’ll leave him wherever he’s geeking out and come see you!!)

    Cecile – it’s great, isn’t it!!?

  21. Dana says:

    Jen, it was so wonderful to see you and finally meet Jeremy. I loved meeting all your buds too. You definitely hit some of the best that Seattle has to offer! My boys FREAKED OUT when they saw their Dance Party USA photo up here! xo

  22. Lucy Storey says:

    Can you send me a sample of your granola. Just kidding :)

    I made it out the our local Farmer’s Market last week and there was a booth with homemade organic granola. I have to say, it was the best and well balanced granola I have had in my LIFE. But, I would have had to sell a body part to pay for it. I will give yours and try for sure. It looks delightful. Thanks.

  23. joey says:

    I love making my own granola for that reason too — that I can put all my favorite things in it (and leave out the stuff I don’t like). I am always on the lookout for new recipes…thanks for sharing yours!

    What an awesome trip!

  24. kathy_h says:

    Dreaming about visiting Seattle led me to this post and your blog for the first time, it sounds so amazing and I can’t wait to visit it sometime and try all the eateries you recommend. I love a ferry ride too even if our east coast ones aren’t as awesome as the ones from Seattle! don’t you hate those stressballs from out of state, they can’t just go with the flow and deserve to be beaten up and pushed in the water.

  25. Amelia from z tasty life says:

    What a fantastic travelogue! We have been looking at the map too and considering a few places to move to: washington state, virginia, colorado, northern california. I wonder what made you pick colorado… I do love seattle, but the weather…not so much. Btw, your granola made me wish for breakfast!

  26. Crunchy Granola « Magic in my kitchen says:

    […] This recipe is adapted from here. […]

  27. sadie says:

    As a Seattle native, I remember going to summer camp out on Vashon island as a young kid. The city is beautiful, the food is great and living in Tulsa leaves a lot to be desired for this northwest girl. Thank you for the granola recipe – hopefully it brings back memories of eating over lake union!

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