This past weekend we got into the Halloween spirit in the one way guaranteed to bring out the autumn merriness in everyone. We went to the pumpkin patch with my adorable nephew, aka the cutest little boy on the Planet Earth. It was a gorgeous, crisp fall day. The birds were singing, the sun was shining, and there were pumpkins as far as the eye can see. There’s nothing like a good old pumpkin to brighten your day, especially if you are one-and-a-half.
“Mama, look at this PUMPKIN!!!”
There were farm animals to be petted…
There were funny wooden cut-outs that you could put your adorable little face into…
There were, of course, pumpkins…
And to top it all off, there were apple cider donuts to be eaten. I mean seriously…does life get ANY better than this?
I don’t think so!
By the end of the pumpkin patch adventure I was in a complete pumpkin trance. Luckily I had in my possession a recipe from the ever wonderful Two Peas and Their Pod blog for pumpkin cranberry granola, and one short hour later my kitchen smelled like pumpkin heaven. This is a super-simple, super-delicious granola that is flexible enough to make pretty much any way your heart desires.
First you mix up a wonderful concoction of pumpkin puree, maple syrup, brown sugar, vanilla and applesauce, and try very hard not to just eat this mixture with spoon right there in the middle of your kitchen. You pour it over a nice pile of oatmeal that has been mixed with pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon and nutmeg, and pop it all in the oven until it is just a little bit crispy. Once it comes out of the oven, you can toss in cranberries, pumpkin seeds, nuts…whatever your little pumpkin-lovin’ heart desires. Pumpkin Granola Heaven.
The end. (Except for the recipe below!)
- 5 cups rolled oats
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup pumpkin puree
- ¼ cup applesauce
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- Optional: additional nuts, pepitas, raisins - whatever else feels good to you!
- Heat over to 350. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Stir oatmeal, spices and salt together in a large bowl.
- Whisk together brown sugar, pumpkin, applesauce, maple syrup and vanilla extract until smooth. Pour into oat mixture and mix until oats are coated. Spread the mixture onto baking sheet.
- Bake for 20 minutes, remove from oven and stir. Bake for an additional 20-30 minutes or until golden and crisp. Remove from oven and stir in cranberries and any other mix-ins. Let cool completely. Store in airtight container.