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Crunchy fantasy 

It's January. It might be cold. It might be gray. There's an inauguration on the way.

Let's play make-believe and escape to our magic cabin in the woods, where there are no worries, no gray skies and no inauguration on the way.

Let's make the most excellent winter-in-the woods breakfast. Let's make granola.

We'll take nuts and fruit and sunflower seeds from this summer's magic garden, sweetened with our neighbor's honey and maple syrup from the tree in the forest. We'll roast the cereal over the wood fire and let it develop a rustic personality.

Within an hour, we'll see our goods from the garden transform into wholesome nuggets, for breakfast or anytime of the day. We'll pour some into bowls and crunch away with either yogurt or milk. In fact, the crunch of our freshly made cereal will be so loud, we won't hear the sound of Texas on our cabin steps. We'll have our own music, vibrating in our own ears, and we can breakdance, too.

We'll eat granola, play Scrabble and watch the snow fall. We'll keep the fire going and keep on crunching, until 2008.

Ignorance-Is-Bliss Granola
Adapted from the January 2003 issue of Food and Wine

2/3 cup whole almonds

2/3 cup pecans

1/3 cup unsalted sunflower seeds, raw or roasted

3 cups rolled oats

1 cup wheat germ

1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon (depending on taste)

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup maple syrup

2 tablespoons molasses

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 1/2 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine nuts, sunflower seeds, rolled oats, wheat germ and cinnamon, stirring with a wooden spoon.

In a small saucepan, combine honey, maple syrup, molasses and oil, warming over low heat. Pour over nut mixture and combine, stirring so that everything is well coated.

Pour cereal onto baking sheet and spread evenly. Bake for about 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so, until cereal is noticeably toasted and begins to look crunchy.

Remove from oven, and stir in raisins until well combined. Let cool. Serve immediately with milk or yogurt, or store in an airtight container, for at least 2 weeks (if it lasts that long). Makes about 6 cups.

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