Love is making your own granola

God made Cheerios for a reason.

My husband once confessed to me that he found another love. This would normally take longer to process, but he followed up quickly by saying that it was my granola.

This might make normal people sigh with relief, but I retaliated by wrinkling the sheets (he hates that).

I don’t share my granola. I’m a selfish, horrible person but God made Cheerios for a reason. If you’ve had my granola, then it means I super-duper love you and I know that my sharing is temporary. I love my family, but sharing my granola means making it more than once a week since my daughter alone can consume an entire batch in a day.

Here is what I do to keep resentment at bay: I share the recipe and empower them to make their own stinking granola.

I don’t think love is giving away everything precious and then stewing in bitterness; it’s about equipping those we love to be the fullest people they can be. I put everything I do as a pastor, wife, mother and friend through the bitterness test. If it makes me bitter to do it, then it’s best to leave it undone or find a different way.

So here’s as close as I have to a recipe — make it yourselves, dear ones.

Stuff to pull out before you begin so you don’t forget it and start to swear:

Cast iron skillet — mine is bigger than my head and deeper than my fist

Oil

Honey

Vanilla

Candied ginger

Coconut

Wheat germ (this is one of those magic things that I feel obligated to eat, but forget on a regular basis)

Mixed salted nuts

Old fashioned oats

Parchment paper

The really big cookie sheet that fills the whole oven

Fill the bottom of cast iron pan with a centimeter of oil (look at me being all metric). Do five swirls around with the honey (I’m thinking about a cup but I definitely would never measure it).

Add vanilla and whatever else looks yummy on your spice rack.

Chop the nuts and candied ginger. I’d say about 2 cups of nuts and the same with the ginger, but I really love ginger.

Heat the oil and such on super low until the honey melts into the oil. Add the ginger, nuts, wheat germ, and coconut (however much I find in the fridge) until it’s coated. Turn off the heat and add the oats nearly to the top of the pan. You want to be able to mix them but also make as much granola in one batch as possible. It’s too much if they end up all over the stovetop.

Make sure everything is coated in the honey oil so it all looks shiny. Pour it onto the cookie sheet in a thin layer. The parchment paper keeps your husband from yelling at you for ruining his cookie sheets.

Here’s the tricky part where everyone diverges on granola. I put mine into a cold oven and turn the heat to 350 degrees. Once it hits 350, I turn the timer to 10 minutes. I then sit in front of the oven with a glass of wine and a book so I won’t be distracted and burn it.

After 10 minutes, I stir it with my ugali spoon from Tanzania. The spoon is wooden and huge so I don’t burn myself sticking my hand in the oven. It also makes me think about all the kids who would gather in my kitchen in Africa and tell me how to cut onions.

Then wait five minutes and do the same. Then three minutes. Then two minute shifts and keep stirring until it is a rich brown. If you undercook, then it’s not crunchy enough. If you overcook, then the candied ginger will break your teeth. That’s why I camp in front of the oven.

Wait until it cools, then break it apart and store in an airtight container. Love isn’t about giving it all away, but equipping each other to live abundantly.

Author Tari Stage-Harvey (Courtesy photo)

Author Tari Stage-Harvey (Courtesy photo)

• Tari Stage-Harvey is pastor at Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church. “Living & Growing” is a weekly column written by different authors and submitted by local clergy and spiritual leaders.

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