Pumpkin Spice Granola

Hi my name is Gabby and I'm addicted to pumpkin.  It has been less than 12 hours since my last pumpkin product was consumed. I wish I was kidding....but I'm not. I've had something pumpkin flavored every day since Friday. And I have been putting pumpkin pie spice on everything for the past two weeks. If being addicted to pumpkin is wrong, then I never want to be right. Beyond my craving for pumpkin everything, I have found myself craving granola.  Normally, I'm not a big granola fan - I love oats, spice, nuts, and all of that good stuff, just not in granola form. I can hardly remember the last time I actually bought a package of granola let alone had some. But alas, I had some serious granola cravings this weekend. Store-bought granola wasn't really an option - there are few that are made with gluten-free oats and those that are safe are often very expensive. So I decided to make my own and combine my love of pumpkin with some healthy, g-free granola. I very rarely plan a recipe days in advanced but this was one exception. I was out of nearly everything that I needed for this recipe so a little Relay Foods planning was required.

Have you heard of Relay Foods?  They are a online grocery service that brings farm fresh (literally) products to Richmond and Charlottesville residents through convenient grocery pick-up and delivery.  I first heard about Relay from a Groupon and have been hooked ever since. They have an awesome selection of goods, including tons of gluten-free products, and are incredibly nice. Their products are the same price as other stores (sometimes even cheaper!) and they eliminate the hassle of having to go to multiple stores to get all of your groceries. If you're in their delivery or pick-up area, I highly suggest checking them out! P.S. They didn't ask/pay/bribe/harass me to write this about them. I just genuinely love their company and think that the service they provide is awesome!

This granola recipe doesn't require a lot of ingredients and takes just a few minutes to whip up.  It tastes like pumpkin pie and is  insanely addictive. And it's vegan!  I may or may not have eaten a handful straight out of the oven and burned my mouth a bit. I'll never tell. What I will say is that if you love pumpkin and granola, this will hit the spot on any crisp fall morning. Or cool rainy evening. Actually, it hits the spot any time.

And yes, I have burnt green polka-dot oven mitts. They have character. As does moody, rain and cloud filled natural lighting.

Pumpkin Spice Granola

Yields: 8 1/2 cup servings or 16 1/4 cup servings

3.5 cups gluten-free oats (I like Bob's Red Mill)

2 Tbsp. amaranth, optional (I like amaranth for a little nutritional boost)

1 cup walnuts, chopped

3 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (or more if you like!)

dash of allspice (clove would work too)

2 Tbsp. coconut oil

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

4 Tbsp. maple syrup

1/2 cup dark brown sugar (I preferred my granola without sugar because I like to control the sugar content myself  and don't have a big sweet tooth. If you like a sweeter granola, do this! It's amazing)

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 325F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

2. Combine all dry ingredients (first five) in a bowl and mix.

3. Combine remaining wet ingredients in a separate bowl and mix.  Add the wet to the dry and mix it up so everything is nice and evenly coated.

4. Spread out granola on baking sheets in an even layer. Don't overload the baking sheet, it needs to be in one layer so it gets nice and toasty.

5. Bake for 25-30 minutes, turning granola half-way through. Make sure to rotate your baking sheets every 10 minutes. This helps eliminate hot spots and burnt granola.

6. Let cool on a cooling rack and transfer to a large airtight container.