Yep, I’m one of those people. One of those who still, even at 22 years of age, puts milk, cookies and carrots out for Santa and his reindeers on Christmas Eve. One of those people who blasts Michael Buble’s 2011 Christmas album in my car from November 21st, and refuses to take it off rotation until mid-January.
Shopping centres go from being in my top-3-most-disliked-and-avoided-at-all-costs environments from January through November, to childlike joy-inducing havens that I find every excuse to immerse myself in during December. I take dramatic detours and scour the streets of suburban Melbourne late at night, ooh-ing and ahh-ing at even the tackiest of fairy light displays. You’ll be relieved to know that I stopped dressing my car as Rudolf a few years ago. The antlers on the side door windows and red nose on the front grill were a bit much.
As I write this, the most wonderful day of 2016 is just one week away. The early summer sun is shining outside, I’ve spent the afternoon wrapping presents and arranging them under the tree, and the oven is exhaling the most Christmassy notes of ginger, cinnamon and maple. It will be my fourth batch of Lemon, Ginger and Cranberry Granola this week.
This granola recipe is a festive and comforting marriage of the best stuff -sugar and spice. There’s a wonderful crunch and chewiness to it, then it melts in your mouth like any granola should. It’s sweetened with just enough maple syrup, and the pops of lemon and dried cranberries add some tarty zing. I’ve heavily marketed this granola as Christmassy, but it’s great all year round.
Like any granola, the ways to eat this are endless: serve a generous handful with your favourite nut milk and banana for a wholesome brekky, sprinkle it over smoothie bowls, or whiz a handful through smoothies to make it extra thicccc and amp up the flavour/nutrients. It’s also great to snack on as a trail mix, and to be honest I’ll go through a whole batch over a few days just eating it by the handful.
For something a bit spesh, try layering the granola with cardamom-stewed oranges and your favourite full fat yoghurt in individual glasses – the perfect Christmas Parfait for brunch entertaining! You can also make cute homemade edible gifts by filling glass jars with the granola. Add mini gingerbread men to the jars, and finish with some festive ribbon and hand-written gift tags. So 1950’s wholesome of you.Print
Lemon, Ginger and Cranberry Granola | Gluten Free, Grain Free, Low FODMAP
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 30 mins
- Total Time: 40 mins
- Yield: 10 serves 1x
- Diet: Gluten Free
- 2 cups (178g) quinoa flakes
- 1 cup (200g) activated buckwheat grouts
- 1 cup (15g) puffed buckwheat (puffed brown rice also works great if you’re not fazed by grains)
- ¾ cup (45g) shredded unsweetened coconut
- ¾ cup (97g) of your favourite natural nuts, roughly chopped. I use mostly macadamias, pecans, almonds and walnuts
- ½ cup (60g) preservative-free dried cranberries
- ¼ cup (40g) pepitas
- ¼ cup (40g) sunflower seeds
½ cup (100g) melted coconut oil
⅓ cup (95g) pure maple syrup
- 1 tbs lemon juice
- ¾ tsp finely ground sea salt
- 1 tbs ground cinnamon
- 1 ¼ tsp ground ginger
- ½ tsp ground cardamom
- 2 tbs coconut sugar
- Preheat oven to 160*C and lightly grease a large baking tray with some macadamia or melted coconut oil.
In a small bowl, whisk the melted coconut oil, maple syrup and lemon juice. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine all the remaining ingredients, except the dried coconut and cranberries.
- Add the coconut oil mixture to the bowl and gently fold with a large wooden spoon until fully combined.
- Spread the mixture onto the prepared tray in an even layer. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove from the oven.
- Sprinkle over the dried coconut, then use a spatula to gently turn the granola over. Lightly press the mixture down – this will encourage those glorious little clusters to form. Return to the oven for a further 10-15 minutes. At this point it should be fragrant and golden. Remove from the oven.
- Allow to cool completely before adding the dried cranberries and transferring to an airtight container. As it cools, the clusters will continue to form and harden, so don’t worry if it’s still a little soft! The granola will keep for at least a week if stored in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight.
- Considering the nuts, coconut, and dried cranberries, a FODMAP friendly serving size of this granola is ¾ cup (approx. 80g).
Thanks so much! I’m doing central and south america (leaving in just under two months – eek!) so I know the food will be just unreal. I didn’t really think about the fact that I will be so much more active than I would normally be here! Thanks again and you have definitely helped calm my fitness-related woes xx
Hey Jess! I definitely did lose some fitness and put a bit of weight on in Europe because unfortunately I’m not naturally thin and have absolutely no natural muscle definition, but here’s some of the best advice I can give:
Firstly, you’re going on a trip of a lifetime and you are supposed to ENJOY everything it entails, so make as many good health choices as you can, but never be too hard on yourself on the exercise front, and don’t be TOO strict or conscious about the food. You’re going to have to accept the fact that you’re not going to come home as taut and toned as you are now, but you’ll come back a more fulfilled and enriched person which is worth so much more! That said, as much as I didn’t deprive myself of anything whilst overseas, I certainly didn’t go overboard either, because I’m not one of those lucky people born with a fast metabolism or natural muscle definition. I was also very injured at the time of my trip, so I couldn’t do any deliberate exercise over the 3 months (which sucked, because there are so many great ways to exercise and maintain fitness which don’t involve a gym when you’re abroad – hikes, long walking tours, bike rides, swimming etc). So I just tried to dance, swim and walk as much as I could haha! Besides, I was enjoying myself too much to even consider what it would be like to be in a gym over there. It’s easy to switch your inner fitness fanatic off when no one around you is going to the gym and, no, please don’t get your yoga mat out in the dorm because I was victim to a guy who would do his workout circuits next to my bed in Barcelona, and let’s just say that he didn’t have any buddies to explore or party with haha! Do your yoga in parks and on beaches – perfect!
In terms of food, here’s my best advice: it really depends on where you’re going so it’s hard for me to say, but just like home, it’s always more expensive to eat healthily than it is to eat conveniently. I would always fork out more money to buy fresh salads and quality protein over fast food. I was super tight on money the whole trip, so I’d always take advantage of fresh markets as well. Also, I never went ANYWHERE without trail mix, a jar of PB, rice cakes, bananas and tins of tuna in my bag. That way, if it was just a normal travelling day and I felt really stuck for healthy choices or couldn’t find anything to accommodate my many food intolerances, I always had a back up on me. Even my most health-conscious girlfriends would sometimes opt for fast food if they were starving and couldn’t find anything healthy to eat. Having back up snacks means that you’ll never HAVE to choose unhealthy food. Of course, it’s so important to indulge and embrace local delicacies and dishes, no matter how rich or ‘unhealthy’ they are. It’s all part of traveling. Just try to maintain balance. For example, there was no way I was going to go to Paris and not have a creme brulee or ice cream, or go to Spain and turn down tapas, churros and paella. But on the days I knew I’d be eating such treats, I’d make sure my other meals were a little lighter. EMBRACE every aspect of your travel, but just don’t go overboard with food every moment of every day. Yes, I ate sweets and fries at times, but I wouldn’t have it several days a week like other people would, simply because my body doesn’t handle such foods well and can’t eat like that without packing on weight.
I really hope this (essay) helps! SAFE AND HAPPY TRAVELS!
Hi there. I was just wondering if you could give me tips on how to maintain a somewhat healthy lifestyle when travelling overseas? I saw that you went to Europe for 4 months and you looked just as great when you got back. I’ll be heading abroad for about 5-6 months and will be roughing it (backpacking – no gyms, and I don’t know how comfortable i’d be doing my yoga exercises in front of 15 other people in a dorm haha). I’m healthy and fit now, I just don’t know how to maintain it. Any tips/advice would be appreciated! 🙂
Spiced roasted nuts, cookies and apple butter? YUMMMMMM!
I really like the brunch parfait idea!! I also love giving food gifts – spiced roasted nuts or cookies, last year I made apple butter! Everyone loves food gifts 🙂