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The Most Important Meal

Feb 17, 2022

Breakfast foods are my heart's desire. Pancakes, waffles and French toast. Eggs: poached, scrambled, fried, rolled into an omelet, or baked into a quiche. Bacon. Sausage. Ham. Oatmeal. Potatoes shredded into hash browns or tossed with veggies in hashes. Biscuits. Sweet rolls. Danishes. Doughnuts. Fruit. Bagels. Lox. Burritos and cold pizza. Big glasses of milk or orange juice and steaming mugs of coffee and tea. Breakfast foods make me drool.

However, as someone who is frenemies with insomnia, it often seems like my best sleep happens just before the alarm goes off. The snooze button is my favorite. Staying in bed as late as possible is my Olympic sport. If I am on a schedule, there is seldom time for breakfast after I have finally drug myself through the shower and gotten presentable for the world. If I am not leaving the house, I often get wrapped up in my to-do list of projects and by the time I think I want to eat, the fridge seems full of “ingredients” instead of “food.”

Most days for breakfast, I require something simple that is also, if need be, easily portable. Brown Sugar Granola is the tasty solution. I can have it as cereal with milk, fresh or dried fruit optional. I can fill a baggie with these crunchy morsels and some dried fruit to gobble by the handful on the go. Or I can savor it my favorite way, as a topping with Greek yogurt and fresh fruit. (BTW … Hubs’ favorite way to enjoy it is sprinkled over a bowl of vanilla ice cream.) Brown Sugar Granola is one way I manage to (sometimes) get the most important meal of the day.


Breakfast can be complex or as simple as Brown Sugar Granola.

Brown Sugar Granola

(adapted from The Food Network)


1 1/2 cups brown sugar

1/2 cup water

4 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

8 cups old fashioned rolled oats (not instant or steel cut)

1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped

1 cup almonds, coarsely chopped

1/4 cup flax seeds

1/2 cup toasted pepitas


Heat oven to 275 degrees F.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment.

Combine brown sugar and water in a microwavable bowl or measuring cup.

Microwave on 'High' for 5 minutes, until sugar is dissolved.

Remove from microwave, stir in salt, vanilla and cinnamon.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine oats, nuts and seeds.

Add the brown sugar mixture and stir to coat evenly.

Divide between 2 baking sheets and spread evenly; bake for about 1 hour, until oats and nuts are roasted.

When granola has cooled completely, store in an air-tight container.

Note: I have found that it keeps better if I don't mix dried fruit in for storage and just add to individual portions.

(Serves 10-12)


Fran Hill has been blogging about food at On My Plate since October of 2006. She, her husband and their three dogs ranch near Colome.


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