Chai-Spiced Granola

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Oh, I’m a lucky girl.

I just spent 4 more days at the cottage.

Last week, Anthony and I went for a whirlwind couple of days. This week, we extended our stay, and really found some time to relax.

The kitties explored, Anthony BBQ-ed me a salad, and I raccooned.

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to raccoon (verb):
1. to be alertly on the lookout for coons, look attentively, or observe, as to see what comes, is done, or happens re: the coons
2. to look or wait for raccoon(s) attentively and expectantly
3. to keep awake, especially for the purpose of raccooning; remain vigilant, as for protection or safekeeping of self, or of coon-*loves*

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Well, I didn’t exclusively raccoon, I also read a novel in its entirety, ran around the beautiful lake every day, did some 20-minute pilates, visited a potential country property, spoke a lot of French, and ate a chocolate bar.

And the BBQ salad. That was delightfully-delish.

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One of the days, however, was a rainy mess. A day during which all I wanted to do was cuddle up under a blanket, read my book, and drink an exorbitant amount of warm tea.

And so I did. Well, and ran.

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…and baked, homemade, blueberry muffins for my coon-friends. Because they deserve it.

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As I raided the cupboards for tea, I crossed my fingers that the single teabag that I found hanging out, in its too-large container, was chai. Nope. Not chai.

As I drank my mug of orange pekoe, I imagined that it was warmly-spiced, and I vowed to satisfy my chai-craving upon returning home.

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With the damp, rainy, weather gone, however, the thought of consuming any near-boiling liquid quickly lost its appeal. Never one to capitulate, I whipped up a super-delish chai-spiced granola.

Well played, self, well played.

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Chai-Spiced Granola

Adapted from My Kitchen in the Rockies

Ingredients
4 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup natural almonds, roughly chopped
1/3 cup golden brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground pepper
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup honey
2 Tbsp water
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract

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Directions
1. Preheat oven to 300 F. Lightly grease a large baking sheet.
2. Mix first 10 ingredients in large bowl (oats-pepper).
3. Combine oil, honey, water, and sugar in small saucepan; bring to simmer over medium heat. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla.
4. Pour hot liquid over oat mixture; stir well. Using your hands (it’s hot!), carefully toss mixture until thoroughly mixed.
5. Spread the granola on the prepared baking sheet.
6. Bake until golden brown, stirring occasionally (every 10 minutes), about 30-40 minutes.
7. Transfer sheet to rack; cool granola completely. (Can be made 2 weeks ahead. Store in airtight container at room temperature.)

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