When I was younger, Dad worked full time (he still does – poor Dad!) and Mom worked full time and then part time until retiring a few years ago. This meant I needed a baby-sitter. I had one during the school year to drive me back and forth to school and deal with the hustle and bustle and drama that surrounded school. There wasn’t much time left for fun, though. However, I look back very fondly on my time with baby-sitters during the summers of my youth.
While the days were often long and began very early, and I’m sure it felt very much like a job to them, I thought it was a blast and hope they did at least some of the time. It had to be better getting paid to play games and go out to eat instead of stocking shelves or making fast food burgers. We watched morning TV and chatted to kick off our day, before eating breakfast and planning adventures for the day ahead.
The activities varied depending on my age. Playing Barbies and board games, painting and dancing to CDs, pretending like we were pop stars. Those were good times when I was little. There were spa days and movie days, as Blockbuster rental after Blockbuster rental was popped into the DVD player or perhaps even VCR! Clearly this was a long time ago! As I grew older, shopping was my favorite activity, along with eating lunch out. We occasionally baked, though Mom remembers more epic fails than I do, probably because we left her with the mess (though I really hope we didn’t). And one summer, we lived in an apartment and my baby-sitter and I walked down to the pool almost every day. We’d pack a snack or lunch and often found ourselves the only people there. I’m smiling now just thinking about those days.
It wasn’t perfect. Sometimes sitters quit and a few had to be fired. It was a constant struggle for Mom to find someone we all liked and who was responsible enough to do the job well. I don’t think I had the same sitter two summers in a row. I stayed in touch with some of them for awhile, but it was hard to maintain contact as they moved through college and onto real life. They were my friends, my best friends at the time. I enjoyed their company and learned from them. I respected them and sometimes miss that bond. I wonder how they are, what they’re doing, and if they ever think about our time together. I hope they do and I hope they remember it fondly.
I don’t remember what we usually ate for breakfast. Maybe cereal? If I still had sitters, I imagine we’d eat this Quinoa Granola. I have been really into quinoa for a few months now and have been looking for something new and exciting to do with it. When I saw this recipe posted on Aida Mollenkamp’s blog, I knew I had to give it a try. This granola is crunchy, a little chewy, easy to make, not too sweet, and full of flavor. It’s also vegan and gluten free if you use gluten free oats and swap out the honey for maple syrup. The addition of quinoa is inspired and I found myself picking out all the cherries and pistachios because they added such great flavor and texture. This is great eaten out of hand, in a smoothie, or simply with milk. I ate it all three ways and found different flavors were accentuated depending on how I ate it. This is a great and versatile recipe that you’ll make again and again. In fact, I’m out of it and need to get to the kitchen to make some more!
- Total Time: 35 minutes
- 3 cups old fashioned oats (I used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free)
- 1 cup pecans
- 1 cup unsweetened flaked coconut (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
- ¾ cup uncooked quinoa (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
- ½ cup pistachios
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- ¼ cup honey (or maple syrup to keep vegan)
- 3 tablespoons packed brown sugar (light or dark)
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ cup raisins
- ½ cup dried tart cherries
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
- In a large bowl, stir together oats, pecans, coconut, quinoa, pistachios, cinnamon, and salt to combine. Add oil, honey, brown sugar, and vanilla. Stir until the dry ingredients are all coated. Pour onto the prepared baking sheet and spread into an even layer.
- Bake the granola 20-25 minutes until fragrant and golden brown. Stir in the dried fruit and spread into an even layer. Allow the granola to cool completely. It should break apart in clumps when cool (love clumpy granola!). Granola may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.
Recipe adapted from Aida Mollenkamp
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
Kayle (The Cooking Actress) says
As a babysitter I can say-it’s totally a waaay better job than like any other option. I’m sure they had a blast.
This quinoa granola looks so so sooo goood!
Thanks, Kayle! By the way, whenever you post about baby-sitting, I so wish that you were one of my sitters – I know we would’ve had a blast . . . and probably stirred up a little trouble 😉
Brooke Schweers says
Great idea to add quinoa. I am always stressing I don’t get enough protein at breaky! Great recipe 🙂
Becky @ Olives n Wine says
This “granola” looks like an amazing healthy and filling option! I love that you used coconut, pistachios and quinoa plus dried fruit – all of my favorite things!! YUM!
They’re all of my favorite things too, Becky!
Miss Messy says
Looks super! I love pecans!
I love this granola. It’s so much better than what you can get at the store.
aida mollenkamp says
Laura! Thanks for sharing this recipe! I totally agree with you that it changes depending on how you use it!
Thanks, Aida, and thanks for visiting! This granola is my new favorite breakfast!
Julie @ Peanut Butter and Julie says
I love the idea of using quinoa in granola. I used to own a (small) granola company called Julie Anne’s, so you can imagine how much I love eating it!! I am always looking for new variations. Lovely photos–I could dive right into that bowl 🙂
That’s so cool you used to have a granola company! Thanks for the kind words and for stopping by, Julie 🙂
Debbie Eccard says
Yummy!! Looks delicious all three ways.
Paula @ Vintage Kitchen Notes says
This is an amazing way to eat quinoa Laura! Some friendships are temporary in life, but very meaningful sometimes too.
That’s a really good point. Some friendships that don’t last very long are sometimes the best. Thanks, Paula!
Raquel @ Organized Island says
This looks really good! I recently cooked with quinoa for the first time and love it!
I love quinoa too! Thanks, Raquel, and thanks for visiting 🙂
Jennifer @ Not Your Momma's Cookie says
Hmm, I’ve never heard of quinoa granola – color me intrigued!
It’s better than traditional granola. You should give it a try, Jennifer!
Abbe@This is How I Cook says
This granola looks good and healthy and the best part is I have all the ingredients on hand!
A sure sign you need to make it 🙂
Ruby @ The Ruby Red Apron says
The quinoa in this granola is definitely new to me. But it sounds perfect since quinoa has so much protein and all. What a perfect way to start the day! Delicious!
what a super healthy granola!
quinoa is so good for you; it has I think, all 5 amino acids.
Quinoa is one of those superfoods, and this is a really fun way to eat in instead of just cooking it on the stove. It’s also full of protein and fiber.
Great recipe! I love making my own granola and I love that you added quinoa to it.
Lori @ Foxes Love Lemons says
Loved your stories of your sitters. Glad you don’t still have them, even if you would feed them granola 🙂 I’ve been buying/eating KIND brand granola lately, which has quinoa in it. If only I didn’t burn granola EVERY SINGLE TIME I try to make it, I would give yours a try. Maybe I’ll work up the courage and just do it…
You have to give granola another try. Both recipes on my blog will not lead you to burn it! I swear!
Li @ Words and Cake says
I blogged about granola recently as well! I’ve been obsessed with making it lately, there are just so many variations you can do. It’s tough when parents work full time, mine did and I had a nanny growing up and we got very close, so I get that babysitter bond.
I love that you can always mix up granola too. It never gets boring. Thanks, Li!
Mm! This looks like killer granola! Love the quinoa, honey and tart cherries.
This granola is seriously amazing! I keep making it and can’t stop myself from eating it. Thanks, Alanna, and thanks for visiting!
Molly White says
LOVE this granola! Made it last weekend. Unfortunately I split it into 2 pans to cook, and somehow managed to burn the bottom pan. Will definitely make again (and watch the cooking a bit more carefully…)
Molly, I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed the granola! It is also one of my favorites – I just made another batch last week. Try to make it all on one pan, it is okay if it is in kind of a thick layer. This will prevent it from burning, and give you different textures, some crunchy and more done, other chewy and less done. Thanks for leaving a comment – it made my day 🙂
Molly White says
Haha, here’s the entire adventure– http://nyanimaladventures.tumblr.com/post/56056325114/cooking-misadventures