Granola Girl

Editor’s Note: Before I came to Korea, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.  In my mind, “kimchi” conjured images of my last pan-asian meal, and DMZ was easily confused with a website that slandered celebrities (TMZ).  Korean, Japanese, and Vietnamese were categorized just the same, and I had no idea having a “small face” was an attribute.  When I was left wondering in my safe haven back home, a friend’s blog enabled me to take a quick trip to the far East.  Johanna Wooden, author of Head in the Clouds, has found a way to bridge the gap for the couch voyagers among us. 

Since moving to Korea, her blog has continued to enrich my daily life, whether with the addition of tips for wholesome living or by putting the everyday curiosities into perspective.  Also a culinary whiz, Johanna has been kind enough to share one of her recipes in a guest post.  I hope you enjoy the change of pace she provides in the kitchen!

Jay, Claire, and Johanna “Granola Girl” Wooden

Granola girl.  My new nickname after my Korean friend, Jay, tasted my first homemade batch of granola.  Little did he know how clearly the connotation rang with the description of my rather free-spirited, music-loving, festival-going former self.  Witnessing my amusement at the name, he inquired, “What is a granola exactly?” 

In its definition, Urban Dictionary (the highest authority on slang interpretation) refers to a “granola” using the popular buzz word, hippy.  I didn’t have to explain that one to my friend, as he immediately confirmed his familiarity.  “Oh yeah, I know, a homeless person who plays the guitar in the park and holds out their hands for coins.”  He was pretty close, although you couldn’t necessarily say I was anywhere near living on the streets, I couldn’t play a chord on the guitar and I usually had enough coins in my pocket to get through the rough college life.

Then, there was Woodstock.  I figured this was the most stereotypical “hippy” festival of all time and would make for a great example of where the said type of people gathered.  Quickly, I ran a Google search, and we examined the return.  Rather than gaining the clarity I intended, my friend instead viewed a sea full of naked people listening to speeches about how to beg for money.  In his mind, the gathering was a forum for the dispute of the correct way to hold your hand when accepting coins, followed by workshops about how to make the best granola. I admired his humor and enjoyed the banter, so I continued to enlighten him about the fascinating subculture.

Further explanation of the term, using Urban Dictionary as a resource, concludes that present day hippies, called “granolas,” are people who go hiking, ice climbing, and engage in outdoor activities while wearing labels such as Colombia and munching on granola bars or trail mix.  This kind of person usually eats from the earth and refrains from eating animal products. 

At this point, my friend felt he was closing the gap.  He confirmed his comprehension that such a person steals crops from the neighbors’ gardens to eat when the coin-begging income just isn’t flowing.

When we dove into the fresh granola, my friend Jay was left perplexed.   How could a homeless person eat such a delectable snack?  He was immediately hooked on the nutty, crunchy mixture.  As he chewed, he began to understand why the hippies would take along such a delight for their long days of making melodies of peace at the local park.

The finished product

As a conclusion to the evening, I was left with some hints about what my upcoming birthday present might be.  Clues were cast towards customized pants with special pockets in which I can stash my own supply of granola for easy access.  Jay also alluded that another for safely holding my extra coins would be a necessity.  I wonder how “granola” will translate to the tailor. ..

In the meantime, I will continue to provide this wholesome, healthy snack to my friend and his family until I leave Korea.  It brightens their diet with vitamins and minerals and always leaves me smiling with their praise to the “granola girl.”  I thought it was all behind me, but I guess I will never live down those days of wearing patchwork pants and tie-dye while swaying to the tune of St. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.  Here’s how to get crunchy.

Granola Girl’s Special Blend

3/4 cup of plain oats

1/3 cup of sunflower seeds

1/3 cup of pumpkin seeds

1/3 cup of slivered almonds

1/3 cup of crushed walnut pieces

4-5 teaspoons of brown sugar

1/3 cup of honey

2 Tablespoons of vegetable oil

1 teaspoon of vanilla

3 tablespoons of cinnamon or 1 cinnamon stick


Optional: Raisins, dried cranberries or other dried fruit


1. Combine dry oats and nuts.

2. Spread on a tin foil sheet or baking sheet.

3.Spread the nut mixture in a thin layer, just enough to cover the surface.

Spread evenly

4. In a medium saucepan, combine brown sugar, honey, oil, vanilla and cinnamon on medium to high heat.

5. Bring down the heat and simmer for 1 minute.

Heat it up

6. Drizzle the hot mixture over the dry nuts and oats.

7. Bake at 325 degrees for 10 minutes, then stir mixture and continue to bake for 10 minutes.

8.  Once the top is golden brown, take out and cool for 20 minutes.

9.  Remove from foil and break into chunks. (Some will be loose – this is good:))

10. Add a handful of dried cranberries, raisins or other chopped dried fruit.

11. Sprinkle with salt .

12. Enjoy over yogurt, with milk or as a snack to munch on at work.


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2 thoughts on “Granola Girl

  1. Max (Cod Boy) says:


    Miss you both dearly. I wish I could find that stuff here 😦 I’ll

  2. mama wooden says:

    Yummy! I’ll have to try this one. sounds soooo good………….Mama Wooden

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