I’m moving in a month, so I did an assessment of my pantry today. I’m trying to convince myself that I’m not some kind of grifter / nomad just because I’m pretty much constantly moving. So to focus on the positive: I never find 8 year-old cans in the back of my pantry! As is my ritual by now, I’ll spend the next few weeks trying to use up cans and dried goods to lighten my load. But this time, like an actual adult, I have hired movers. Huzzah!

Granola actually wasn’t part of my pantry-clearing plan, but my neighborhood grocery store stopped carrying the crunchy Ezekiel cereal I like, so it hit me that I had some nuts and oats at home. Instead of dropping $10 on gourmet granola, I decided to make some myself.

I haven’t made granola in ages — but it is one of those awesomely satisfying things to make, in part because it’s most often bought. I felt the same way about making biscotti, and bagels. Even if they’re not perfect, they’re yours. I discovered in my days of granola-making that adding nut butter is key to getting clusters. In a stroke of luck, I also had half of a jar of almond butter from Trader Joe’s that is way too thin and oily on its own, but perfect for binding together some oats. Once you make granola a couple of times you realize how flexible it is, too. Get creative! My recipe after the jump.

Maple Almond Ginger Granola (makes approximately 4 cups)

note: this makes a pretty un-sweet granola, so you can double the sweetener and can also sub the maple syrup for honey.

3 c. rolled oats
1 c. mixed chopped nuts (I used 1/2 walnuts and 1/2 sliced almonds)
1/4 c. almond butter (or other favorite nut butter)
1/4 c. maple syrup
1/8 tsp. maple extract (optional)
1/4 t. salt (reduce to a pinch if your nut butter is very salty)
1/4 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. ground ginger
1 t. grated fresh ginger
1 T. olive oil
1/2 c. dried cherries (optional)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Mix together the oats, nuts, salt and spices in a bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the nut butter, maple syrup, fresh ginger, olive oil and extract, if you’re using it. Mix well. Drizzle over the oat mixture and combine until you’ve got nice clumps and all of the oats have been incorporated into the nut butter mixture (you don’t want any bone dry spots).

Spread  the mixture out over a large sheet pan and bake for 30ish minutes. Check on it every several minutes and stir the edges into the middle so it doesn’t burn. When it’s nice and evenly browned and crunchy, remove from the oven. Stir in the dried fruit if you’re using it, and once it comes to room temp you can put it in a tupperware or jar. It will keep in the fridge for awhile, but usually mine doesn’t last that long!