Pumpkin Granola and a Little Help.

Once, I moved into an apartment by myself. I don’t mean that I lived by myself, although I did; I mean that I MOVED by myself. I hauled my bed frame upstairs, dragged my mattress in, carried each dresser drawer, every box, all the clothes and stuff, and books and dishes. I went back and forth from the rented moving truck to my apartment hundreds of times until it was done. Alone. I moved all by myself.

I can’t remember why I didn’t have help. Everyone must have been busy or working or out of town. But it had to get done, so I did it. When you’re out in the great big world all alone, you don’t really have a choice.

It’s also possible that I took one too many Women’s Studies classes in college, resulting in an “I don’t need anyone to help me because I’m a strong, independent woman” phase. And it’s possible that a wee bit of that fierce independence stuck around.

So nowadays, while I’ve certainly let go of the self-righteousness, I still forget that I can ask for help. I still try to lug all the groceries inside (in one trip) instead of getting Carla to help me. I carry the giant overflowing laundry basket up the stairs. I frantically try to prepare a meal before guests arrive. I refuse to let the guys at the auto parts store help me find wiper blades.

But sometimes I NEED help. Sometimes I’m exhausted from my day at work. Sometimes I’m overwhelmed.  Sometimes I don’t know the answer or where to find it. Sometimes I just plain don’t wanna.

So I’m trying to remember to ask for help. I’m trying to remember that I’m not alone in the great big world. And I’m trying to be a bit easier on myself.

Carla made this Pumpkin Granola. We made it together last year, but this year it was all her and I’m grateful. It’s wonderfully hearty and not too sweet, with tart cranberries and crunchy nuts. After several busy weeks of holiday cooking, I needed a break in the kitchen. Carla’s help was just the thing. Now let’s hope I remember that next time I need to lug the overflowing laundry basket up the stairs.

Pumpkin Granola

4 1/2 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup chopped raw or slivered almonds
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
3/4 cup pepitas
1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. nutmeg
3/4 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. allspice
1 15oz can pumpkin puree
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup pure maple syrup
1 cup dried cranberries

Preheat the oven to 300˚.  In a large bowl, combine the oats, nuts, spices, cranberries, and salt. Mix well. Add the pumpkin puree, maple syrup and vanilla and stir until well combined. Working in batches, spread a thin layer of granola onto a lightly greased rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 40-50 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes until granola is lightly browned and crispy. Remove from oven and allow to cool. The granola will become more crispy as it cools.

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About Karen Milling

Freelance Photographer and Writer with a passion for vegetarian and vegan cooking. Currently my work can be viewed online at my three blogs: Buried Carrots is devoted to colorful writing and delicious vegetarian and vegan food; Composing Kitchen focuses on my efforts, together with my partner, to follow our passions and design our lives; and Karen Milling Photography features my work as a portrait, headshot, wedding and food photographer.
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4 Responses to Pumpkin Granola and a Little Help.

  1. mummybites says:

    Been there! Done that! Still do it sometimes too. It’s funny how I ended up with a fiercely generous partner that insists on taking care of me. That is how he feels valued. If I don’t let him he somehow suffers. It all balances out!!

  2. My partner is the same way! I get fussed at a lot when I’ve done all the stuff that needs doing without asking for help. It does balance out- and it is nice to be taken care of once in a while.

  3. Annie says:

    Wow! Delicious! I can now make my own. What is pepitas? love, mom

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