Tropical Granola

This granola makes me want to put on this Soliel Blue suit, book a one way ticket to Panama, and stick my toes in the sand. Instead I'm in my cold apartment eating it with a spoon and contemplating getting up to put some socks on my frozen feet. Life is rough, isn't it?

I'm thankful that I'm not back on the east coast this weekend for record storm Jonas, and that all my friends are safe (and not pregnant, fingers crossed). However, I can't help but day dream about warmer months, summer bounty, beaches, and margaritas.

Summer 2014 riding along Manhattan Beach

I have a lot planned in the next few months- a much needed girls weekend in San Diego with my best friend (hi Kaylin!), La Jolla to see "Book of Mormon," camping in Death Valley, Vegas with our friends Allyson and Andrew from New York, followed by a weekend visit from more NYC friends- Sam and Ezra, Palm Springs with Ricky's family for Memorial Day weekend, followed by a trip to Chicago to visit my sister and walk in the 39 mile Avon Breast Cancer walk! And, that is all before June. It's taking all the effort I have to try to enjoy these last couple of "chilly" LA weeks, and it's made especially difficult when I have so many exciting things to look forward to. I guess this granola will have to do...

I don't eat a lot of sweets in the morning. They usually make my queasy. The most I can muster is a greek yogurt bowl with granola, fresh fruit, and honey. This is my favorite way to enjoy a morning treat without feeling like demons are fighting a war in my stomach. Most of the ingredients are pantry staples, and the best part- you can customize it to your taste! I'm starting to see a trend here...

Yeilds 4 cups

3 cups rolled oats

3/4 chopped or slivered almonds (macadamia would work wonderfully)

3/4 cup chopped dried mango

1/4 cup shredded coconut or dried roasted coconut chips

1/3 cup oil (I used olive but coconut would be divine)

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tbsp coconut nectar or favorite liquid sweetener

pinch of salt

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

2. Combine oats, almonds, oil, vanilla, and sweetener in a large bowl. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and toss to incorporate.

3. Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Toss after 15 minutes. Granola will crunch up after cooking.

4. Let stand for 10 minutes, then toss with mango and coconut.

5. Store in an airtight container.

*My boyfriend never lets granola last more than a few weeks, but it should last up to 2-3 months.