A bright, lobster-like redness covered my legs unevenly, an odd roadmap of a morning spent crouching low and weeding. Tan lines, humidity, open windows, grass taller than my dog…all the signs of summer were falling into place. Then came the rain.
The blank sky filled with gray. A few drops on the tattered screen quickly escalated into a downpour. The curtains fluttered dramatically as water hit the windowsills, and the view disappeared in a wall of water. I sat by the window and paused to absorb the cooling breeze and the smell of the fresh precipitation. I come from a long line of farmers whose thoughts were consumed by rain and food, food and rain. Too much rain, not enough food. Not enough rain, not enough food. Is it time to eat yet? Then I fell for the Urban Farmer, and now I too must think of rain and food, food and rain.
This was a needed rain. On the farm, the rain meant an afternoon free of wrestling foot after foot of hose. At home, the rain meant a cool breeze and an excuse for a warm oven. It meant scents of vanilla and spices hit him at the stairwell, as he came home from growing greens, fences and the most beautiful rainbows of vegetables. The rain was vital.
In addition to valuing the rain’s place in the farming system, I appreciated the break in the heat, sleeping under a feathery, down comforter, wearing a flannel, and the quiet rain brings to a neighborhood. Take advantage of these rainy days. Turn on your oven. Make this granola. Fill your cooled home with the scents of baking oats and sweet, peppery spices. Hold your mug of hot coffee near to you, and then take the last sip of milk from your granola- the best sip, the sip that tastes like chai and let’s your mind wander to truly hot locales with beautifully adorned elephants, ornate temples and Chai Wallahs.
Happy Rainy Days!
Chai Coconut Granola
About This Recipe: This recipe uses an organic chai tea concentrate to impart a hint of chai flavor to your morning bowl. My favorite is Tazo Chai. Most chai concentrates are sweetened, so I didn’t add any extra sweeteners to the recipe. If you make your own concentrate with tea bags, add maple or honey to the wet ingredients. If you want to emphasize the chai flavor even more, add the contents of a chai teabag or two to the dry ingredients.
Chai Coconut Granola
4 cups organic old-fashioned oats (gluten-free if necessary)
2 cups organic, chopped walnuts
2 cups organic, unsweetened coconut flakes
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups organic chai tea concentrate
1/2 cup (1 stick) organic, unsalted butter, melted
Preheat the oven to 350°F, and lightly coat a large baking sheet with melted butter or coconut oil.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients
In a separate bowl, stir together the wet ingredients. Pour over the dry mixture, and gently toss with a spatula until completely coated.
Spread into the prepared pan, and bake at 350°F for 50-60 minutes, until desired crispness, stirring frequently to prevent burning.
Cool completely to room temperature in the pan before storing in an airtight container.