FUTURE NATURE GRANOLA
WORDS: Johnny Lozano
Newton’s third law of motion posits that for every action there is an equal or opposite reaction. While skateboarding culture is not as predictable as bowling balls in a perfect vacuum, this seems more or less true when comparing skate cultures. For every hesh, Creature-esque movement that arises, there is an Organika or Element montage. Skateboarding, by its own nature, flirts with death and romanticizes self-destruction; yet it demands self-preservation and thrives on well-being.
While we’re seeing skateboarding open its arms to wellness (Villager, a multitude of CBD gummy companies and creams, and cough, cough FLATBAR), Element has been holding down the feel-good, all-natural attitude for decades. Whether experimenting with cork boards, promoting well-being through Elemental Awareness or printing incantation after incantation of its riders’ spirit animals on their decks, Element has consistently been the kind of company you’re not afraid to show to momma.
While a new video, Peace, is in the works (and is going to be bonkers, no doubt), I wanted to rap for a minute about Element’s last full-length feature, Future Nature. This all-am video, narrated by Planet Earth hopeful, Paul Shier, gave the spotlight to rising starts Julian Davidson, Boo Johnson, Madars Apse, Evan Smith, and Nick Garcia. If you haven’t watched it, the laughs alone are worth your time, but that lineup is really second to none. (Apologies to Deca?)
Also, spoiler alert: Nick Garcia’s curtains part is worth watching not just because it’s business as usual for Nick, but also because he manages to drop jaws for two songs without doing a single flip trick (not counting shuvs/impossibles and keeping in mind that the one flip trick in the part is a guest trick from Levi Brown).
In the same vein of serene buzz phrases like “natural,” “healthy,” and “nature’s goodness,” I’d like to take a moment to point out how much I hate traditional granola products. I’ve put granola in my acai bowls, but generally I can’t stand the images evoked by the word “granola.” Upon hearing that word, I picture a Nature Valley commercial: two flawless hikers so non-descript and sweatless that they might as well be CGI hiking by a lake, biting into a granola bar, and closing their eyes in ecstasy. Seriously, are those dry, crumbly granola bars laced with something?
Because I can’t stand to put money in the pockets of companies selling maple sugar-covered oats, I’ve started making my own granola. Much like my first recipe, “The Search for Animal Chia Bars,” this granola throws in everything but the kitchen sink. What I left out, importantly, are refined sugars. Call me crazy, but I feel that once you start drowning otherwise healthy ingredients in maple syrup, you might as well just grab the Kit Kat. Instead, I’ve used homemade date paste; if you remember this from my Chad Tim Tim recipe, then you already know to disregard the name and savor the goodness; if you are wondering whether date paste is a misdemeanor or felony, just know that it’s just a paste made of soaked and blended dates and it’s a great natural sugar to add to recipes when you don’t want to throw in something you don’t recognize.
This recipe is a bit of a two-fer. Because I couldn’t decide which one I liked more, I decided to make two granolas for your chomping pleasure. If you notice a theme here, these flavors are adapted from two of the three FLATBAR flavors (which are also thematic in that I really like mango and sweet potato). Chock full of nuts, seeds, and dried fruit, these granolas are sure to keep you ripping. Whether or not your every move can be narrated by Paul Shier, however, is beyond my control.
Date Paste Ingredients:
- 12 medjool dates (pitted)
- ½ cup hot (not boiling) water
Sweet Potato / Papaya Granola:
- 2 cups rolled oats
- ½ cup chopped almonds
- ¼ cup pumpkin seeds
- ¼ cup dried papaya chunks
- ¼ cup goji berries
- ¼ cup freeze dried sweet potato (ground to a powder)*
- 5 tbsp. date paste
- 2 tbsp. coconut oil
- 2 tbsp. flax seeds (whole seeds preferred, but ground is fine)
- ½ tsp. cinnamon
*If you don’t have freeze dried or powdered sweet potato, 100 grams of sweet potato puree will work as well, just watch the bake time to make sure it’s not mushy when you take it out.
Mango / Cashew / Quinoa Granola:
- 2 cups rolled oats
- ½ cup chopped cashews
- ¼ cup quinoa
- ¼ cup dried mango (torn up into small chunks)
- ¼ cup freeze dried mango (ground up to a powder)
- 4 tbsp. date paste
- 2 tbsp. coconut oil
2 tbsp. flax seeds (whole seeds preferred, but ground is fine)
- ½ tsp. sea salt
- This endeavor is pretty easy. Preheat your oven to 300°F. To make the date paste, pack those dates into a small glass container or mug and soak them in the hot water for 10-15 minutes. Throw them (and the water) into a blender and blend until they are a fine paste.
- Mix all of your ingredients in a large bowl. You can use a spoon, but if you really want to break up that coconut oil and ensure an even spread, it’s best to use your hands.
- Once it’s all mixed up, spread the mix on a parchment-lined baking sheet so that it’s flat and none of it is overlapping (this may take multiple baking sheets). Bake the mix for 15 minutes at 300°F or until it starts to brown just slightly.
Remove from the oven and let it cool for 15-20 minutes before eating or storing. Go watch Future Nature and marvel at the spectacle of skaters in their natural habitats.
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