Greetings from Northern California, where we’re kicking off week 3 of sheltering in place. Although I continue to feel deep gratitude for my job, a roof over my head, food on my table, and healthy children, I am finding that my pesky friend Anxiety has been showing up on the daily. The obvious culprit? A profound concern for the health, well-being, and livelihood of the world’s population. But the other reason I’m feeling anxious is a similar response that I had when taking our first-born son home from the hospital 16 years ago. When we put his little 6 pound-self in his car seat for the drive home, I had an overwhelming sense of responsibility for his well-being. From that moment on, I would always be responsible for someone else. At the time, it felt paralyzing to me. With the state of events in the world right now, that same mama-bear mentality has kicked in. I feel overwhelmed by my need to make sure my children are safe and cared for while we go through this. Luckily, my solution for resolving this type of anxiety has remained constant since that very day. When I have food in our house and a game plan for what I’m cooking, I calm down. (I think this need to provide food and shelter for our loved ones is so hardwired into us, it’s inescapable!)
So if you are having any of the same feelings about needing to take care of those you love, I hope I can help! Here’s what I’m starting with:
I’m bringing back my meal planning, budgeting, and shopping strategy that I started when my kids were little. I’m back to trying to make 20 meals a week for my family on $200. I’ll share my strategies on my Instagram feed @amandahaascooks.
I’ll be cooking live on Instagram every day at 4 pm PT. The recipes are what I’m making for dinner that night, and they’re simple, delicious, and fairly healthy. (Aren’t we ALL craving comfort foods right now?) I started today with a new version of a minestrone I’ve made for years. I’ll share that with you right here this week. And if you want to cook along with me, I’ll let you know each morning what I’m cooking live that afternoon.
I’ll continue sharing new recipes with you here weekly. This week, check out “Sophia’s Granola with Cardamom and Chocolate Chunks” from my book The Vibrant Life. You can make a batch and have it around all week!
I’ll be back here this week to share more recipes and tips for making the most of this time we have at home, OK? In the meantime, I’m sending you all love and wishes for good health.
SOPHIA’S TOASTED ALMOND GRANOLA WITH CARDAMOM AND CHOCOLATE CHUNKS
SOPHIA KVOCHAK IS A FRIEND AND COOKING ENTHUSIAST. AFTER RETURNING FROM THE HOLIDAYS, I FOUND THIS GRANOLA ON MY DESK. IT WAS COMPLETELY ADDICTING, AND WITHIN THE DAY, I NEEDED TO KNOW WHAT WAS IN IT. LUCKY FOR ME, SOPHIA WAS WILLING TO SHARE HER RECIPE. YOU CAN CERTAINLY REPLACE THE PEPITAS, DRIED FRUIT, OR CHOCOLATE CHUNKS WITH YOUR OWN FAVORITE INGREDIENTS, BUT PROMISE ME YOU’LL LEAVE THE SLIVERED ALMONDS AND CARDAMOM IN— TOGETHER, THEY’RE MAGICAL.
Sophia's Toasted Almond Granola with Cardamom and Chocolate Chunks
- 4 cups gluten-free rolled oats such as Bob’s Red Mill
- 1 cup slivered almonds
- 1 cup pepitas
- 1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp ground cardamom
- ¼ tsp ground ginger
- ¾ cup maple syrup
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 cup dried sour cherries or cranberries
- ¾ cup dark chocolate chunks
- Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F [180°C]. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, combine the oats, almonds, pepitas, cinnamon, salt, cardamom, and ginger. Add the maple syrup and oil and stir well. Spread the oat mixture evenly onto the prepared sheet and bake until golden, about 25 minutes, turning the sheet halfway through and stirring with a rubber spatula.
- Remove the granola from the oven and let it cool completely. Stir in the dried cherries and chocolate, breaking up any large clumps.
- Store in an airtight container for up to 1 month.