Recipe | Homemade Granola

Homemade granola -simple and easy!

Homemade granola – fresh from the oven!

My very good friend Amber is an inspiration for me on so many levels – with the love she has for her family and her sweet son, with her abundant source of creativity and inventiveness, with her dedication to health and helping other people feel the very best they can feel with her personal training business Happy Human, with her honesty and compassion and being the the most amazing friend. Thank goodness for friendships that cross oceans (and email and Skype!), because I don’t think I could have left America otherwise.

When it comes to fitness or baking or knitting or cooking or crafts or gardening (or just about anything else…), I wish I could cross the ocean and plop down on her sofa for a nice conversation. I’ve been meaning to give a try at making granola for ages now, and finally gathered up most of the ingredients I could find in Amalfi this weekend. After poking around on the internet for recipes, all of which were too complicated and included ingredients nearly impossible to find on the Amalfi Coast, I had a flash. With a quick search in my email I had it – Amber’s granola recipe! I still had to make some modifications since I didn’t have maple syrup or bran, but it was easily modified and was the perfect base for inspiration. Amber brings creativity to everything she does, which is just one of the many lessons I’ve learned from her over the years.

Homemade granola ingredients nuts and raisins

What do you like to put in your granola?

Homemade Granola


3 cups oats (I used quick cook as they were the only kind in Amalfi – old-fashioned rolled oats would be better)

1/2 cup chopped almonds

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

1/4 cup molasses

1/4 cup honey

1 Tablespoon vegetable oil (I used sunflower seed oil)

Few dashes of cinnamon

Tiny pinch of salt (optional)

1/2 cup raisins (or other dried fruit)

Making homemade granola

Ready to mix all the granola ingredients together

1. Mix all ingredients together except the raisins or dried fruit.

Easy homemade granola recipe

Spreading out the granola on a baking pan – ready for the oven!

2. Spread out on baking pan and bake in preheated oven at 300 F/ 150 C for about 30-35 minutes, mixing and turning over about every 10-15 minutes. You want the granola to bake evenly, but not burn. The house will smell heavenly!

Making healthy granola at home in Italy

Mixing raisins into the granola after cooling. Look at the lovely golden color!

3. Let cool and mix in raisins or dried fruit if desired. After cooling completely store in airtight container.

Note: This made one large jar of granola when finished. Since it was my first try I didn’t want to waste the precious oats (yes, they’re expensive in Amalfi!) and just made a small batch.

Ready to eat homemade granola

Looking forward to breakfast tomorrow already!

One of the best things about granola is how flexible you can be with the recipe. I happened to have some molasses sitting around that needed to be used. But if you don’t have that handy, replace it with maple syrup (like Amber makes it) or use more honey. Add more nuts like sunflower seeds, sesame seeds or cashews, add other spices that you like or leave out the cinnamon if you don’t care for it, add wheat germ or flax seeds … whatever you like! Keep a note of what worked and didn’t work so you’ll remember next time. Since I used quick cook oats, I think I’ll need to experiment a bit more to make a clumpier granola. Thanks for the inspiration, Amber!

If you have any granola making tips or favorite ingredients, I’d love to hear!


Chestnuts in August

Summer on the Amalfi Coast August Tramonti

Prickly chestnuts growing in Tramonti

Weekends in August are generally a time to avoid the beach on the Amalfi Coast. Crisi or no crisi, I swear half of Italy is on the beach in Amalfi this time of year. With hotter than usual temperatures right now, unless I can nab a spot close to the edge of the water I feel like reenacting the “I’m melting … m…e…l…t…i…n…g” scene from Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Yeah, it ain’t pretty. I’m happier to head to the beach early in the morning during the week when it’s less crowded or just wait until things quiet down a little bit at the end of the August.

Since it was too hot to head to the beach yesterday, we went the other direction up into the mountains above Tramonti to one of my favorite restaurants. The drive through the pass up to Tramonti was quiet and peaceful, worlds away from the August chaos in Amalfi. After lunch I looked up at the big chestnut tree we parked under for shade and noticed the bright green chestnuts growing in their prickly burrs.

Chestnuts on the Amalfi Coast

Vibrant green of the new chestnuts growing

On such a hot day it was refreshing to have a reminder that autumn is on its way. Soon it will be time for the chestnut harvest and the Festa della Castagna in Scala. I want to hold on to the warmth of summer and the beach days as long as I can, but seeing the chestnuts growing is a nice reminder that there are many beautiful–and cooler–days ahead!

Memoriae | Igor Mitoraj Ravello Festival Exhibition

Igor Mitoraj Art Exhibition Ravello Festival 2012 Oscar Niemeyer Auditorium

Sculptures by Igor Mitoraj at Ravello's Auditorium Oscar Niemeyer

Every year the Ravello Festival is centered around a theme running through the art exhibitions, concerts and cultural events that take place during the summer.  Memory is the theme of the 2012 Ravello Festival and the current exhibition Memoriae, Mitoraj a Ravello. The monumental sculptural works of Polish artist Igor Mitoraj are on display on the terrace of Ravello’s Auditorium Oscar Niemeyer, and the setting is spectacular. This is exactly what that grand space was created for, and I hope Memoriae will be the first of many exhibitions. I stopped by not long ago on a day when the sky was a brilliant, clear blue – the perfect backdrop for taking photos of the works on display.

Ravello Festival Igor Mitoraj Art Exhibition

"Osiride Addormentato" by Igor Mitoraj

Oscar Niemeyer Auditorium in Ravello Art Exhibition

Detail on "Osiride Addormentato" by Igor Mitoraj

Ravello Festival Art Exhibition Auditorium Oscar Niemeyer

Monumental bronze sculptures by Igor Mitoraj

Ravello Festival Exhibition Oscar Niemeyer Amalfi Coast

The terrace of the Auditorium Oscar Niemeyer in Ravello

Ravello Festival Art Exhibition on the Amalfi Coast

The exhibition Memoriae, Mitoraj a Ravello runs through September 8th, 2012. If your travels bring you to Ravello in the coming month, do walk the short distance from the center of town down to the Auditorium Oscar Niemeyer. If you miss the exhibition, don’t worry, Niemeyer’s striking modern architecture and the stunning backdrop aren’t going anywhere!