This guest post comes to us via Alicia of Jaybird fame. When she’s not making a mess in the kitchen, she tries her hand at home DIY projects and elaborate picnics. Go be friends! Twitter /Facebook.
There are moments in life when we crave answers. We need to push, hard, to find meaning in something that has happened, and to find a way to leave it behind us and keep moving. Wild is the story of a time like that. Cheryl Strayed’s memoir dives deep into her story of losing her mother and the steps she took to find peace–steps that eventually took her to the Pacific Crest Trail and one incredible hike.
“Each evening, I ached for the shelter of my tent, for the smallest sense that something was shielding me from the entire rest of the world, keeping me safe not from danger, but from vastness itself. I loved the dim, clammy dark of my tent, the cozy familiarity of the way I arranged my few belongings all around me each night.”
Sometimes in the depths of difficulty, simplicity becomes a safety net. Its ease gives us comfort, and it removes the challenge of making one more decision when we’re already struggling. Though I can’t say I know exactly how Cheryl Strayed felt, I can empathize with the feeling of overwhelm. That’s how I’ve been feeling, too, albeit on a less grand scale.
Wild has inspired me to make small changes and to start taking regular steps toward health and happiness. Though I’m not out hiking the PCT, I got started with an easy step: simplifying my morning routine. I have a long commute, but I really enjoy having a homemade breakfast. I often cook something for myself (eggs and a salad or old-fashioned oats, either of which takes about 20 minutes), but when I don’t, I head out the door with an empty stomach. One option makes me scramble to get out the door, and the other makes me hungry until I cave and eat lunch at 10:00am. Clearly it was time to try something a little different.
Last weekend, I took Sunday afternoon to make homemade granola inspired by Cheryl’s trail snacks and classic GORP: good old raisins and peanuts. I swapped almonds for the peanuts and added a few mix-in options straight from the bulk bins of the grocery store.
Every morning this week, I got to enjoy a bowl (or a to-go cup) of yogurt, homemade granola and honey. One less choice to make, one happier morning. I hope you enjoy this recipe…and the extra comfort of simplicity in your day.
Homemade Granola & Mix-Ins, Inspired by Wild
2 cups thick cut rolled oats
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted and slightly cooled
1/3 cup honey
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped, toasted almonds
1 tsp cinnamon
optional: ⅓ cup dried cranberries
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except cranberries and toss by hand. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and evenly distribute mix. Bake for 15 minutes, then add dried fruit if desired. Shake the pan to turn ingredients so they will cook evenly, then bake for another 10 minutes or until golden-brown. Let sit until cool.
Pepitas, roasted and salted
Unsweetened coconut flakes (toast at 400 degrees F for 2-3 minutes)
Whatever your heart desires