Dried Cherries, Hazelnut, Dark Chocolate & Cacao Nibs Granola

Life has settled into a predictable routine. That’s how family life is scripted I suppose. There’s the morning rush to get everyone up and you’d be surprised at what it takes to get their eyes to stir even a millimeter. Then comes getting dressed, looking for missing shoes (despite getting everyone to place them by the door the night before), packing lunches, braiding hair, slipping a bite of breakfast, and chauffeuring each one to their respective place. Getting through those steps isn’t as easy checking boxes off a to do list. Kids have their own ideas and rhythm and in the morning those ideas can prick the most virtuous person’s nerves like one hundred needles. I try my hardest to keep a smile on my face and a bright mood in the home so everyone starts their day on the right page. By the time I’m back home I feel like I’ve lived through half my day so I sit still for a minute before starting on my own routine. Some days it’s a workout first and others it’s straight to breakfast. Eggs, usually.

Granola doesn’t often make it to the rotation. The reason being is I can’t be trusted around it. It sits on the counter in a glass container, the type you’d store cookies it, looking all virtuous and enticing. It’s a facade. Granola is addicting and even though it’s made of healthy ingredients, it’s not the healthiest choice to stuff it in your mouth for breakfast, snack and lunch. But if you have a little more self-control than I, you should get started on this one as soon as possible. It balances all of my favorite flavors so effortlessly. The nutty hazelnuts and dark chocolate combo are a classic but play off the sour cherries and bitter cacao nibs beautifully. Of course we needed a pouring of maple to sweeten things and get everyone comfortable. The granola comes together quickly in one bowl and a short bake and makes a thoughtful gift. You should add it to your routine and maybe bring a cupful over to me. Portion control, you know.

Talking about routine. I started feeling a little stifled with mine. It happens every once in awhile when I find myself home more often than out and talking to people through words instead of face to face (the joys of working from home). I’ll shake things up by doing something unexpected and totally unnecessary to help keep me going. This time I decided to go big. I’m going to New York tonight. Alone. Solo. Ok, it’s out of circumstance, not necessarily choice but I don’t feel guilty about it. My husband is taking over the fort and though I hope everyone will show up with a clean shirt to school, I don’t care if they don’t. The kids will likely get chocolate spread on their bread for lunch, which will undoubtedly alarm the teachers but they’ll survive the sugar rollercoaster. All I know is that these short trips refresh me and shift my perspective and I come home eager to swallow each one up in a suffocating hug. Win.

As for what I have planned while I’m there, I’ll be at Kosherfest. Over the years, I’ve watched from afar other blogger friends attended all these East coast foodie events with a touch of envy. And now I finally get to meet and touch my internet friends. I might pinch them to make sure they’re real. I’ll also get to spend time with my mom and some friends who live there. Maybe I’ll make some granola. It is perfectly acceptable to nibble on it endlessly while sitting on the plane. Right?

Dried Cherries, Hazelnut, Dark Chocolate & Cacao Nibs Granola


1/2 cup light olive oil

3/4 cup maple syrup

1 vanilla bean, scraped or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon Himalayan pink salt or sea salt

5 cups old fashioned oats

1/3 cup raw sunflower seeds

2/3 cups hazelnuts, roughly chopped

2/3 cups dried cherries

25g dark chocolate, finely chopped

2-3 tablespoons cacao nibs


Preheat oven to 350F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, mix the oil, maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon and salt. Add the oats, seeds and hazelnuts and coat well with a wooden spoon. Pour onto the baking sheet and press down to create an even layer. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown, stirring once or twice along the way. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before mixing in the dried cherries, cacao nibs and chocolate. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks or in the freezer for up to 3 months.