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TIME TO PLAN, CLEAN, SHOP, COOK AHEAD for Thanksgiving. Scroll down to bottom for a list of ideas to get you going.    

                                                        OR….

 READ UP ON MORE TIME’S THANKSGIVING BASICS HERE  (includes links to my baking post, sides recipes, Thanksgiving for two, turkey thoughts, music, movies etc.)

VEGAN AND GLUTEN-FREE THANKSGIVING HERE

Looking for something to take to friends or family for Thanksgiving? Crunchy dried apples, chewy sweet cranberries, toasted nuts, and warm spices (all the usual suspects plus a tad cayenne pepper) make this the perfect little take-along, especially if you’re traveling for the holiday. And, you know what? Granola doesn’t go bad, won’t melt, smell, crack, or crumble (much), is fine at room temperature, goes in suitcase or tote bag, and is the quintessential snack if you get hungry on the road. And really easily, (see recipe for changes and notes), this adaptable food makes a hearty vegetarian, vegan, and/or gluten free breakfast. It also solves the, “What’s for breakfast?” that everyone except the cook asks on Thanksgiving morning. Add yogurt, fruit, milk, or top a big bowl of oatmeal or other cereal with this crunchy goodness.  In fact, it’s great on ice cream!  Sorry, we were talking breakfast. Have time to get fancy?  Make my Bacon-Granola Pancakes with Fried Egg.

Kids are perfect granola makers. Find some and put them to work if you can.  (above: young Chefs Shipp)

Suss out a sweet little container as part of the gift.  How about a quart or even a pint Ball jar with fall-themed ribbon and tag? (I’m no decorator, but people like my food gifts!)

Something lightweight is better if you’re flying, of course, or think splurge on a large-size plastic OXO container (above) and bring the whole batch along. Whatever you put this granola in and wherever you take it, I know there’ll be a sweet measure of homemade gratefulness shared in that kitchen and, hey, who doesn’t need a little extra fiber Thanksgiving week? Try this:

THANKSGIVING GRANOLA

Vegan version? Skip the honey and serve with nut milk yogurt +/or fruit. Can’t do nuts? Use extra fruit in its place. This is fairly low in calories for granola, but use less dried fruit if that is an issue.  Do make sure you have organic oats.  

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/3 cup each:  real maple syrup and honey (can sub part or all agave syrup)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 cups whole organic oats (gluten-free oats, if needed)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons each ground cinnamon and ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom or ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg or allspice
  • Tiniest pinch of ground cayenne (1/16 teaspoon or so)
  • 1/2 cup each chopped unsalted nuts such as walnuts, almonds, or pecans (choose two)
  • 1/3 cup each dried cranberries or cherries and chopped apple chips or dried apples (added after baking)

In a small saucepan, heat over low flame the applesauce, syrups and olive oil until warm; stir well.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, stir together the oats, salt, spices, and nuts.  Pour the warm applesauce mixture over all and stir well for a minute or two until really well combined.

Divide granola between two greased rimmed baking sheets* and bake for 45-55 min or until crispy as you like, switching pans and stirring granola half-way through baking.

Remove from oven, sprinkle with dried fruit, stir gently and let cool completely before storing.

*You can use greased foil, too; parchment paper prevents the granola from crisping up really well, but you can use it if you like and simply bake the granola a bit longer, watching it carefully.

 Storage:  Place totally cooled granola in large glass or plastic container with a good seal.  Do not store in plastic bags unless for just a day or so; they don’t keep the granola well. Will keep a month or more on the counter and even longer in the refrigerator or freezer.

Cook’s Notes:   My granola recipe is adaptable and quite forgiving. It can be made without several of the ingredients listed, though it won’t “make and bake” without the liquids –apple sauce, oil, syrups (though you might try different proportions) and the oats. Change out or skip spices, nuts, fruit, flaxseed, etc., to create the right mix for your kitchen. If you’d like you can bake the pans at 275 degrees convection for a bit fast baking time.

{printable recipe}

If you liked this, you might like my Flax Seed Granola with Chocolate


It really is November.

Thanksgiving is coming. So to take your mind off the news, here’s something to get you organized. 

1. Invite folks.2. Decide the menu and style (Buffet? Potluck? Seated? China? Paper plates?) Buy decorations now. Thanksgiving week, there’s nothing but Christmas stuff left. 3. Write 2 time schedules. (One for background: cleaning, shopping, and one for when you’re cooking what.) 4. Big chores? Do or schedule now. (Clean out freezer/pantry? Carpets? Windows? Oven scrub?) 5. Make 2-3 grocery lists. One for now, one for the week before and one for a day or two ahead. Include breakfast and snack items. (Think shop online and pick up or delivery!!) 6. Make another shopping list for equipment (extra slow cooker or table top roaster?), linens, dishes, containers for leftovers, extra glasses.) 7. Buy liquor, wine, beer, soft drinks now. (only American wines for Thanksgiving, please?!) 8. Make ahead and freeze cranberry sauce, pie dough, pumpkin bread, vegetable casseroles, lasagna or chili for Saturday night when you’re sick of turkey, etc.) 9. Plan entertainment. Movies, music, games, jigsaw puzzles, coloring pages/books, etc. 10. Buy a new peeler. Just do it. 11. Don’t confuse Thanksgiving and Christmas. Concentrate on one holiday at a time  😉

Image may contain: food

above:  one of Dave’s smoked turkeys and, yes, it appears pink even though it’s quite done. Smoke does that.

I think everyone is glad the election over. I’m part of a group that meets every Wednesday and one woman said today, “Please, no politics. I just can’t take any more.”  I get it. Take a deep breath. Blow it out. Make some granola and think grateful thoughts. It’s all healthy!

Sing a new song,

Alyce