Fall has officially arrived. With Thanksgiving just one month away and Christmas two months away, cold-weather cravings have kicked into high gear. And yet Nutcracker looms right around the corner. Luckily, one of my favorite dancers, Shelby Elsbree of the Royal Danish Ballet, emailed today with her recipe for a seasonal, yet nutritious spiced granola. It's definitely healthier than the cinnamon buns I've been craving.
"This spiced granola recipe is especially seasonal and delicious," she says, "not to mention a great power snack before, after and during rehearsals or performances." Be sure to check out Shelby's other baking and ballet adventures at tutusandtea.wordpress.com.
Shelby's Spiced Granola: 

5 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed and/or wheat germ
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup apple sauce
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Optional Add-Ins:
3/4 cup dried cherries and/or cranberries
1/2 cup sliced nuts (almonds, walnuts)
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/3 cup chocolate chips
Directions:
1. Combine the rolled oats, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, flaxseed/wheatgerm and brown sugar in a large bowl. 
2. In a separate bowl, combine the pumpkin puree, maple syrup, applesauce and vanilla.
3. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and stir to combine.
4. Spread your granola out onto a prepared baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper.
5. Bake in a preheated 325 degree oven for 20 minutes. Stir/flip the granola, and bake for another 20 minutes or so until the granola gets crisp.
6. Let cool and mix in your add-ins. Enjoy by itself, over greek yogurt or with cold soy milk!
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