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Some granola lovers long for the perfect, trusty blend—that one granola with an ideal texture, spice combination and sweetness level—that they can turn to any time their yogurt needs topping. Others, like me, crave variety and maybe even a touch of exoticism when it comes to the baked grain. To both types, I present Granola Mama’s Handmade. Made in a home kitchen in Silver Lake, Granola Mama’s is a fantastic gourmet line inspired by global flavors, from Portland to Vienna.
I first sampled this scrumptious granola at last year’s Artisanal L.A., which is where many home kitchen brands—now possible thanks to California’s it-was-about-time-already Cottage Food Law—make their first impressions on L.A. foodies. Granola Mama’s owner Wendy Osmundson made her mark with an intriguing variety of flavors that aim to capture the essence of the placs they’re named after. One of my favorites to eat by the handful is the insanely addictive Paris Blend, covered in 70% dark chocolate, carmelized organic evaporated cane juice sugar, butter and sea salt with hazelnuts and freeze-dried raspberry mix ins. Freeze-dried fruit is one of the savviest elements of the granola, adding an unexpected texture that veers from the usual chewy dried fruit. It really works in the Hanalei Blend, which includes sweet freeze-dried pineapple chunks along with coconut chips and macadamia nuts.
But it’s not all about the sweet stuff—interestingly, savory flavors also make an appearance in Granola Mama’s concoctions. While still lightly sweet, the Bangkok Blend includes basil, mint, cilantro, lime juice and Thai chiles while the Milan Blend adds sage and white pepper to the mix. Chocolate and chili lovers can get their fix from the Oaxaca Blend, made with dried chiles, Mexican chocolate, pepitas, peanuts and almonds, a combination that lends nice contrast to fruit smoothies.
Granola Mama’s is available on the Granola Mama website and Good Eggs, where you can find lots of great local products. You can also buy the well-designed bags of granola locally at The LA County Store in Silver Lake, Earth Flow Urban Design Works in Highland Park, at the Los Feliz Farmers’ Market, and the Altadena Farmers’ Market (starting in July).
Life can’t be all wet burritos and pie, but you can have a chocolate breakfast smoothie pretty much every day. At least I have ever since my new blender came into my life. It’s nothing special (the blender, I mean, not the smoothie)—just a $40 machine, but it sure does make a mean breakfast smoothie.
Thus far, I’ve experimented with a couple of different concoctions. I’ve done the yogurt-oj-banana thing and the berry-banana-milk shuffle, but the one that I keep coming back to is a powerhouse blend of antioxidants, vitamin C, protein, calcium, Omega 3s, and most importantly…chocolate.
Still, it’s not too sweet, and the granola I layer in gives it an earthy quality that makes you feel like you’re some health nut living in Santa Cruz or Berkeley or whatever ultra-liberal college town you’d like to imagine yourself.
Sound good? Well, here’s what you need for one smoothie: