My stomach growls in unison with the beeping of my alarm clock. It’s morning, and I’m hungry. I roll out of bed, put on my slippers and my worn-in Bradley University sweatshirt, and make my way to the kitchen.
Weekday or weekend, this is pretty much my routine. I always make time for breakfast — my stomach wouldn’t have it any other way. Because more often than not, I wake up hungry. I usually start the day with eggs (1 whole, 1 white), half an avocado and a hearty dash of Cholula. A big mug of coffee and a tall glass of water are usually present, too. This is my standard.
I rarely ever grab cereal, but when I do, it’s usually granola. We have some really great pre-packaged local granolas here in Chicago (I particularly like Rick Bayless’ mix from Milk & Honey), but honestly, it’s pretty damn easy to make yourself. And even better, you can customize it however you like. This is my current favorite. And of course, in true Fresh & Foodie fashion, it has a kick of bourbon.
I’m sure you wouldn’t have expected anything less.
Maple Bourbon Granola
What you need:
- 2 egg whites
- 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
- 1/4 cup bourbon barrel-aged maple syrup*
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon cardamom
- 3 cups old fashioned oats
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds
- 1/2 cup macadamia nuts
- 8 dates, pitted and chopped
*I used Burton’s Maplewood Farm Bourbon Barrel Aged Maple Syrup that I purchased at Green City Market, but other hight-end brands like Blis are easier to find. I know it’s a little pricey, but trust me — it’s very worth it. You could also use straight up maple syrup, but be sure it’s the real deal. No Aunt Jemima’s here.
How you do it:
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- In a large bowl, whisk the egg whites, melted coconut oil, maple syrup, salt, nutmeg and cardamom. Add the oats, coconut, almonds and macadamias, stirring well to combine.
- Spread granola evenly on a rimmed baking sheet (I used two baking sheets to give the granola some room) and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the granola is golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and add the dates, tossing well to combine. Let cool before storing in an air-tight container. Serve as-is, with yogurt or milk, or however your heart desires.