“…And mom and dad can hardly wait for school to start again. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, ev’rywhere you go…”
I can almost taste it. Christmas vay-cay is almost here. Just a few obstacles before two well-deserved weeks of relaxation. The kids at school are excited too–VERY excited. So excited, in fact, that I just want to take a nap.
I can’t say I completely blame them. I mean, Santa Claus, gifts, and sugar. Lots of sugar. Luckily, the school will be closed until after the new year, and hopefully, students’ high-fructose corn syrup intake will have decreased by then.
Now, I’m daydreaming about my red polka-dot pajama pants. They’re a symbol of good things to come. They say, “I’m gonna wake up when I want, and drink my tea when I want, and eat whatever I want for breakfast, and get dressed when I’m good and ready. So there.”
Normally, I eat breakfast by myself in my work clothes before sunrise, usually consisting of fruit and nuts, or maybe an egg sandwich. No fun. On Christmas morning, I will wear my polka dot pajamas. There is an unwritten rule that when donning fun jammies, one must eat a special breakfast. Mine will look like a jewel-studded christmas ornament and taste like dessert. Festive enough, do we think?
Now by special, I don’t mean time-consuming. I won’t want to be in the kitchen all morning, not with puppies to spoil and family to enjoy. I’ll make the granola a day or two ahead of time–slightly sweet and full of toasted pecans and nutty flax, and re-crisp it in the oven before topping with honey-glazed spiced pears and sparkly pomegranate seeds.
So, when the world says, “Bah Humbug”, you can say “Not now…I’m still wearing my polka-dot pajama pants”.
- 2 cups rolled oats (not quick cooking)
- 1 cup pecans, roughly chopped
- ½ cup ground flax seeds
- ¼ cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter or vegan butter
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar or coconut sugar (packed)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 medium pears (ripe, but not overly soft), peeled, halved, cored, and thinly sliced
- 2 to 3 tablespoons mild honey, such as clover, to taste (depending on the sweetness of the pears)
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
- a pinch of kosher salt
- seeds from one pomegranate, rinsed and dried
- For the granola: Preheat the oven to 300˚F. Combine the oats, ground flax, and pecans in a medium bowl and set aside. Heat a small saucepan over medium heat. When hot, add the butter, honey, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt. Stir and cook until the butter is melted and the sugar has dissolved.
- Pour the butter mixture into the medium bowl with the oats. Stir well, until the oats are coated.
- Spread the oat mixture onto a large baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes. Stir, and then cook for an additional 15-30 minutes, or until golden and crisp (note: the granola will continue to crisp as it cools).
- For the Pears: Heat a large frying pan or saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the pears, and cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the pears release some of their liquid and the edges begin to take on a transparent appearance.
- Push the pears to one side of the pan. On the empty side of the pan, melt the butter together with the honey and vanilla extract. Toss to coat the pears in the honey mixture. Sprinkle the cinnamon, cardamom, and salt over the pears and stir to combine.
- To Serve: Scoop some of the granola into small bowls. Top with the pears. Sprinkle a little more granola, and pomegranate seeds over the pears.