Breakfast, oh breakfast.
Years ago - for a whole year - I did an "experiment" with a friend and colleague: Each day we snapped one picture of what breakfast looked like in our house. It was meant to show that even as nutrition experts, our kids were not "perfect eaters" or us "perfect chefs"who always served nutritionally balanced homemade meals that our children willingly ate while providing rave reviews of our cooking prowess.
In fact, just as often as not, breakfast looked like bowls of ready-to-eat cereal, piles of dishes, spilled milk, and tears.
But as the year wore on I did find myself paying closer attention to what I put on the table each morning and I tried to do a little more planning for variety in our morning meal than I would have if I weren't photographing it each day.
(This, by the way, is a classic conundrum in nutrition research: asking people to record what they eat provides a slightly little more accurate record compared to relying on someone's memory, but the very act of recording inevitably causes people to make small changes that they wouldn't necessarily make if they weren't paying such close attention. Bummer for nutrition science. Great for anyone wanting to change a food habit.)
One habit stuck
Years have passed since then and although ready-to-eat cereal is back in heavy rotation each morning, one habit did stick from that year: making - not buying - granola.
In my opinion, granola should be slightly sweetened, freshly baked, crunchy but not clumpy; nicely spiced and peppered with nuts and dried fruit. I'm sure there are pre-packed granolas out there that tick all these boxes, but I like mine homemade.
So when my breakfast-project-partner-in-crime, Laura Chalela Hoover, published a cookbook of lower sugar recipes - including a couple for homemade granola - I knew I had to try them. She, after all, felt my breakfast pain and would surly have some simple and delicious solutions.
And her Cranberry Walnut Granola did not disappoint! I've made a couple small changes to better suit our family (and our love of nuts!) and am sharing those with you here. Because I want you to be as happy in crunchy granola as we are :)