house guests: really good granola

This is the second post in our series: house guests where we are sharing some of our favorite recipes and tips for making your guests feel right at home. You can find the first post here for a hearty banana hazelnut muffin which is the perfect companion to our really good granola. 

really good granola

When you're expecting house guests, it's easy to feel overwhelmed with a long to do list. From cleaning to cooking to itinerary planning, it can feel like a lot. Once your guests arrive, you want to spend as much time as possible with them, not running around trying to play catch up. Earlier in the week we talked about putting together a simple breakfast platter with muffins, granola, yogurt, some fruit topped with sweet condiments like honey or jam. This has worked brilliantly for us. In less than 5 minutes, your guests have a nutritious and protein packed breakfast just in time to plunge the french press. 

breakfast platter

Last weekend, we hosted our dear friends all the way from Norway. They arrived in time for a late dinner on Friday and left before the sun was up on Sunday. We stayed up too late catching up on what has happened in our lives since we last saw each other, and were awoken by a sweet little boy laughing in his crib in what always feels like the wee hours of the morning. We threw together our breakfast platter, poured a french press and rushed out the door to get a head start on the San Francisco Ferry Building Farmers Market. A light breakfast was perfect because all we wanted to do was stuff our faces with every single thing. Our day mostly centered around food, but had we planned something less culinary-centric, I would have packed us some containers of this granola for the trip. It's the perfect to go snack and with an apple can be a quick no-fuss meal. 

really good granola
really good granola

The granola in our house is never the same. Each time I make it, it takes on a new flavor profile, depending on what is in the pantry. However, this recipe is one I will make again and again and then once more. Feel free to swap out different dried fruit or use pecans instead of almonds. Throw in some sunflower seeds or add chocolate chips when you stir in the dried fruit in the end. I think for the holidays an orange and chocolate granola will certainly make an appearance!

really good granola

serves 12

(adapted from this excellent recipe)


  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 large egg white, beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced almonds
  • 1 1 /2 cups coconut shavings
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup walnut oil (or other vegetable oil)
  • 1/4 cup black sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup dried apricots, chopped
  • 1/2 cup orange flavored dried cranberries (or regular dried cranberries)


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 300 degrees and line a rimmed baking sheet with a silicone liner. 
  2. Combine the first eleven ingredients (leaving out the dried fruit, you'll mix this in after baking) in a large bowl until well mixed. Spread it out evenly onto the baking sheet. 
  3. Bake until the granola is fragrant and golden brown, about 40 minutes. Rotate the pan halfway through baking to keep the granola from browning unevenly. 
  4. Place the sheet pan on a cooling rack and let the granola cool completely. Transfer to a large bowl and mix in the dried fruit. Store in an airtight container on the counter for up to one week. For longer storage, keep the airtight container in the freezer for up to two months. 

fruit leather

fruit leather

I hope I'm not alone in this. I have very high standards for what I consider consumable produce. When I'm at the grocery store, I'm the weirdo examining every detail of each piece of fruit I place in my basket. No bruising, no discoloration, and certainly no insect holes (I've been traumatized by not adhering to that last one). On the way home I make a detailed plan to wash, dry and cut everything to make it more accessible and easier to eat, but by the time I strap a toddler to my chest and haul a diaper bag and 80 pounds of groceries up four flights of stairs, I'm lucky if everything makes it into the fridge. Tomorrow. I'll wash and chop and make it all look appetizing, tomorrow. 

Well, tomorrow comes and goes and it's a week later and that sad clamshell of strawberries has been pushed into the depths of the fridge behind the container of hummus and now that we have licked that bowl clean, the strawberries gasp for air, pleading to be acceptable for consumption. Sadly, they just aren't pretty enough anymore. They're dark and starting to shrivel. Normally, they would be tossed under the sink with the rest of the garbage, but I feel bad for them. After all, our relationship had a great start. 

fruit leather puree

As a kid, I remember having a systematic way of eating a fruit roll up. I never unrolled it completely. I only exposed what I was about to eat and kept the rest tightly wrapped. Nibble after nibble, I'd make my way down it's entire foot length, pressing each piece against the top of my mouth until it dissolved. It was probably the most fun snack we ever had in our lunches. Unless, for some unknown reason, we had pop rocks that day. 

You may have already guessed that I might have been a fat kid. It's true. Pop rocks and celery sticks coated in seasoned salt don't exactly scream health food. We had a lot of fun, but I've had to work pretty hard to get keep my 'pop rocks fat' off. In an effort to have a little fun, my son gets to have an occasional treat here and there, but I try to give him what I hope to be a balanced diet. The original fruit roll up has quite a bit of sugar in it, but homemade fruit leather makes a great low sugar snack and gives a trash can pardon to those less than perfect strawberries. 

fruit leather

I'm gonna be straight with you. This stuff takes a long time to make. It's basically an all day affair. Granted, much of that time is a long stint in a pot, a long stint in the oven and a long time cooling and drying so there isn't a ton of manual labor, but it's certainly not quick. If you're able to, I'd say double the batches and make a ton of it so that you'll feel like you'll get more fruit (leather) for your labor. 

fruit leather

makes 2 sheet pans


For strawberry+raspberry

  • 2 cups strawberries, stemmed and halved
  • 2 cups raspberries
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

For aprium+blackberry

  • 3 cups pitted and chopped apriums (a plum/apricot hybrid, but feel free to use either of those, or peaches would be excellent, too)
  • 1 cup blackberries
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger


  1. Puree each mixture separately in a blender until very smooth. If you don't want seeds, strain both mixtures through a fine mesh sieve and place each in it's own pot over medium low heat and cook until thick, about one hour. 
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees and line two baking sheets with non-stick liners. Spread the mixtures thinly over the liners and smooth the top with an offset spatula, if one is available. 
  3. Dry the mixture in the oven until slightly tacky but not sticking to your finger, about 3 hours. Dry on the liner on a drying rack until completely dry, at least three hours and up to overnight. 
  4. Place a sheet of parchment on top of the fruit leather, covering it entirely and flip it over. Carefully remove the non-stick liner and cut into strips, roll up,  and secure with a small piece of tape. Store in an airtight container for up to one month. 

sweet potato, kale and gruyere mini frittatas

sweet potato, kale and gruyere frittatas

For the past year and a half I've been at home with our son, mostly just making sure that he stays alive. Before we were even pregnant, I knew I wanted to be at home with him if it was even remotely possible. My mom was home, running a day care when we were growing up and my husbands mom was a stay at home mom. Neither of us had the experience of a working mom, so naturally we leaned that way. I have found the time to be incredibly challenging and also an experience I am incredibly grateful for. There are days when I feel like I'm just on repeat trying to keep him from swallowing literally everything and it's all I can do to console him with each toddler disappointment ("why did you give me exactly what I asked for?! WHAAAAAH!"). Most days though, I'm amazed by every single thing he does. How is it possible that just a little over a year ago, all he could do was eat, poop and sleep? Now he goes to the fridge and asks for cheese and then takes me by the hand to our room where he asks for the guitar from under the bed so he can dance while I play the only four chords I know that go together. It's all so surreal. 

packed up frittatas

It feels like we have walked through a thousand transitions in the last year. Many were rough and some I dreaded. When Oliver was still on a bottle, it was so easy to just pop some pre-made formula in our bag and head out the door. He had a meal (a no-brainer meal) at any given moment. I was so used to the convenience. At a year, when we were moving to a completely solid food diet, I had a lot of anxiety of how it would all work. What do I feed him? How do I know he is getting what he needs? What if he hates everything? I just couldn't anticipate enough about the situation to feel confident in the next phase. Each day was a little easier and I was able to be more creative as we went along. Now, if I can stay on top of things, we have a great range of food we all like. One of the great things about making most of his food is that I can make things I like too. That way when we're out, we both have a quick, healthful snack. 

Each week, I try to make a high protein, vegetable packed and portable snack. Some weeks it's mini muffins or quinoa patties and others it's some variation of a mini frittata. Usually, I peek in the fridge and take inventory of the vegetables I haven't used and those become the foundation for whatever snack I'm going to make. He's not really into anything green yet, so this is a good way to get some greens into his cute little body. The recipe below is for my absolute favorite frittata combo. It would be perfect as a regular sized frittata too, served to friends on a Saturday with crusty, buttered bread and a strong cup of coffee. 

sweet potato, kale + gruyere mini frittatas

makes 24


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups kale, chopped small
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or grated with a microplane
  • pinch of kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 1 small sweet potato, diced small (about 1 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 6 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1 cup grated gruyere (on the mid sized holes of a box grater), about 3 oz, divided


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 and oil a 24 cup, or two 12 cup mini muffin tins and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the kale and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Cook until just starting to wilt, about two minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl and set aside.
  3. Add the sweet potato, oregano and cumin to the skillet and season with salt and pepper. If you need to, add another drizzle of oil to coat the sweet potato. Cook until just softening and starting to brown, about 5-6 minutes.  
  4. Add the eggs, milk and half of the cheese to the bowl with the kale. Stir to combine. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Divide the mixture among the 24 cups, using about a tablespoon of mixture for each. Sprinkle the sweet potato over the top of each, pressing it down to submerge it. Top each cup with a sprinkle of cheese and salt and freshly ground pepper. 
  5. Bake until cooked through, about 15 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a rack for about 5 minutes and then remove the frittatas from the pan and transfer to a cooling rack. These can be refrigerated for up to three days or frozen for up to one month.