Super Crunchy

Recently my mom asked me how I would describe my brother and his wife, who are typical San Franciscans in that they live a fairly “green” lifestyle, aka they were refusing disposable shopping bags before it was the law, and they have seriously considered worm composting despite the fact that they live in a tiny apartment. In my mom’s time they might have been called hippies:

flower power

in the 90s they would have been yuppies:


They are not quite lame enough (or maybe too lame?) to be hipsters:

yes, a deer can be a hipster

To be fair, relative to anyone in the midwest, the entire population of San Francisco are hipsters.

The term I prefer is crunchy. As described on Urban Dictionary:

“Adjective. Used to describe persons who have adjusted or altered their lifestyle for environmental reasons. Crunchy persons tend to be politically strongly left-leaning and may be additionally but not exclusively categorized as vegetarians, vegans, eco-tarians, conservationists, environmentalists, neo-hippies, tree huggers, nature enthusiasts, etc. Modified derivative of granola.”

Which brings me to the point of this post: I made granola!!  My friend A had a baby this week, and naturally I went straight to work devising a reason to visit her and absorb as much new baby wonderfulness as possible. Granola is one of my favorite DIY gifts. It is easy, fairly inexpensive, and it makes a lot, so after you give a few jars away you still have plenty to enjoy yourself. Plus, who doesn’t love granola?

I am a fan of David Lebovitz’ recipe. It uses unsweetened applesauce to cut down on sugar and oil, and always turns out nice and crunchy, with plenty of nuts and a good roasty flavor.  Here’s how I make it:

  • 5 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 3 cups chopped nuts (I used 1 cup almonds, 1 cup walnuts, 1 cup pistachios)
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
  • 3/4 cup flaxseeds
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon dried ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/3 cup agave syrup
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon walnut oil
  • 1 cup of dried cranberries

Preheat the oven to 300F

1. In a very large bowl, mix together the oats, almonds, sunflower and sesame seeds, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and salt.

2. In a small saucepan, warm the fruit puree with the agave syrup, honey, and oils.

3. Mix the fruit mixture into the dry ingredients until thoroughly dispersed, then divide and spread the mixture evenly on two jelly roll pans (or baking sheets).

4. Bake the granola for about 45 minutes, stirring every ten minutes, until the granola is deep golden brown.

5. Remove from oven, then cool completely.

6. Add dried cranberries and mix.

I usually buy a new pack of pint-sized mason jars to package the granola- this filled 6 pints. The recipe is fairly flexible- use whatever combination of nuts/seeds/oil/dried fruit you have on hand. My favorite way to enjoy it is over plain greek yogurt, or by the handful with a nice cup of tea. This granola is so much better than anything you can buy in the store. Once you go crunchy, you never go back.



  1. No, we actually were doing the worm composting thing for over a year. We didn’t have a big enough setup to keep them dry, so we gave them to some friends in Oakland.

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