Monday, November 21, 2011

Thanksgiving Place Setting & Pumpkin Spice Granola

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We hosted my side of the family (and my sister's husband's side as well) for Thanksgiving dinner last Saturday.

I wanted to make the tables festive (we had 18 guests - I did two long tables). I bought some fall flowers and added some of my roses to make low floral arrangements, and simply added tall crystal candlesticks and some medium size white pumpkins. I like little favors at each place, and first thought of a mini pumpkin but that seemed kind of redundant. I also didn't feel like buying 18 mini pumpkins only to throw them out the next day to make room for Christmas! I will roast the sugar pumpkins and make pumpkin puree but the rest go into the big green bin when the Christmas box comes out. That's just the way it is.

I came up with the idea of tweaking my favorite granola recipe and adding a few spices to go with the season. I put one cup portions into cello bags and made round labels to seal the bags. I think they turned out kinda cute, and the granola is amazing with the addition of warm fall spices! (Why didn't I think of this before?) I added a fall leaf to each plate and voila - an easy place setting.

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Can you handle just one more recipe from me with the words "pumpkin spice"?? I promise this is it. :-)

Pumpkin Spice Granola

3 cups old fashioned oats
2 cups chopped unsalted nuts of your choice (I use walnuts and almonds)
1 cup shredded or shaved unsweetened coconut
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ginger

Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Combine oats, nuts, and coconut in a large mixing bowl. In a small saucepan over low heat, melt coconut oil with brown sugar, maple syrup, salt, and spices. Pour over dry mixture and stir well to coat.

Transfer mixture to two ungreased baking sheets and bake 1 hour or until golden, stirring every 20 minutes. Cool completely and store granola in airtight container.

Makes about 8 cups.

*note - you can easily double the recipe and bake on 3 sheets. Increase baking time by 5-10 minutes.

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