Almond and Honey Granola

I never realized how beautiful my balcony floor boards are.  Look!  That muted wood just turns out beautifully in photos.
Discovering new things in the house I’ve lived in for a year now is something I look forward to every time the seasons change.  The nutty aromas that seep through walls take me back exactly one year, when I was just moving into this house in Washington.  Some people say that smells hold the strongest memories.  It’s the one-year anniversary of moving in, so it seems natural that those smells are bringing me back… as the humidity recedes, the moisture in the house must be drying up, changing the character of the house itself.  It sounds, smells, and feels even more like the house I moved into last October, for reasons I can and can’t describe. Then the other morning, I walked to work, and actually grabbed a sweater (it feels like ages since I’ve been able to do that, outside of my trip to Bogotá).  Then I walked outside.  It was more than a crisp cardigan morning — I really should have grabbed a trench coat, which got me thinking about the pending fall.
Trench coats.  Boots.  Jeans.  Winter coats.  Snow!  Am I actually missing winter?  Yes, I am excited about summer’s end, because I thought I hated winter until I experienced a Washington summer.  In winter, I can go running and biking, and have the choice to spend my days and nights either inside or out.  Whereas during summer, I spent most of my time sweating in front of an air conditioner and dreading the thought of going outside, or even moving at all.  Not fun.
And with the cooler weather comes the ability to use my oven.  I mean, to actually use my oven.  The cookies and baked dinners are coming back to my blog, and my life — how I’ve missed them!  I did go through a summer of eating mostly raw vegetables, which worked wonders on my metabolism and overall demeanor, but that’s why I run in the winter anyway.  It was just too hot to cook these past few months.  But these days, a little warmth in the kitchen will take me a long way, and I know it will keep my house happy even on the dreariest of days towards February’s end and March’s beginning, which is another one of those other seasonal transitions that seems unnecessarily fickle, as if the Earth couldn’t decide if it wanted to be winter or spring, summer or fall.  The latter finds a way to win in the end.
Homemade Almond and Honey Granola
3 cups rolled oats (the same kind used for oatmeal raisin cookies)
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/3 cup unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup raisins
Preheat your oven to 300 degrees, and line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the oats, almonds, and salt.  Melt the butter, and then pour both the butter and honey into the bowl with the dry ingredients.  Stir until the ingredients are mixed well; they’ll form little clusters.  Spread evenly onto the foiled cookie sheet, and bake in the oven for 30 minutes.  About halfway through, stir the granola around to ensure even baking — you’ll notice the oats on the edges starting to brown.  Towards the end of the 30 minutes, make sure to keep an eye on the granola, which can burn quickly at this time (and we don’t want to ruin a batch of perfectly good granola).
When it’s finished, make sure to spoon some warm granola in a bowl of milk or yogurt — there really isn’t anything like warm, fresh granola.  And it will leave your kitchen smelling wonderful.  I will never buy store-bought granola again.