Spiced Pumpkin Granola

Sometimes life just gets too full. Mom wants to do it all. She needs to sit down and figure out what the most important things are.

Have you ever made a list of things you think you should do? As mother/wife/friend/daughter/teacher {...}? Daunting. Then add the things you want to do personally...just for you. Then add the list of values you want to teach your children. And the 31 other things that will make everyone happier.

Did I mention answering the hundred very important questions of a four-year-old? Like where is my balloon, mommy? Because certainly you are watching his every movement and know where everything is in the house at all times.

And did you forget to put the bucket of beads out of reach after spending twenty minutes picking them all up and encouraging your child to learn the fine art of helping? Because now you get to do it all over again.

And the demands -- the big one often cries "mommy can I have a piece of bread? how about a bowl of granola?" and the little one can say "yogurt" and "crackers" very well now. And they are both very good at the "can-I-eat-that-plate-of-whatever-that-is-that-you-just-fixed-for-yourself?" trick. Unless it's curry or enchiladas or one of the ten other things that I just slaved over in the kitchen that they no longer find appetizing.

To say that it's overwhelming would be an understatement.

Sorry. That might have been a tangent. We're here to talk about granola! And pumpkin.

But in thinking about granola this morning, it made me think about life.
All its ingredients, some little, some big. All the chunks we want to enjoy in each day.
It's a lot like raisins and walnuts and craisins in granola.
So I made a little list, just for fun.

3/4 cup couple time
1/2 cup writing
2 Tbsp. reading
1 Tbsp. party planning
2 tsp. emailing family and friends
1 tsp. chocolate
1 tsp. travel planning
3 cups healthy meals
1 cup outdoor play
1 cup circle time
1 cup prayer walking
1 cup jazzercise

See -- life is just like granola. Oh, you wanted the real recipe? With raisins, cranberries, and pumpkin puree? You bet. You'll like it. :)

Spiced Pumpkin Granola
inspired by Oprah!
3/4 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 Tbsp. canola oil or olive oil
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. ground cardamom
1 tsp. kosher salt
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup roughly chopped pecans or walnuts
1 cup pistachios {optional}
1 cup golden raisins
1 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 325°. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together pumpkin, sugar, oil, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice, cardamom, and salt. Add oats, pecans, and pistachios (if using), and toss to coat. Spread evenly on prepared baking sheet and bake 30 minutes, stirring halfway through. Stir in raisins and cranberries (if using), and continue baking until oats are just crisp, about 15 minutes more. Stir one last time, then set aside to cool completely. Serves 10-12.