Sweetened with maple syrup and packed with seedy bits, this clustery Lemon Tahini Cashew Granola is a healthy and filling on-the-go snack or ready-when-you-are breakfast. This recipe is vegan and easily gluten free.
Think about the last time you traveled to our nation’s public lands. Maybe you were on vacation, in need of respite wide open spaces, mountains and forests provide. Or you went for recreation to fish, camp, photograph, backpack or birdwatch.
To reconnect with nature.
These are our public lands which stretch beyond our 400 national parks to include national forests, scenic rivers, marine monuments, wildlife refuges, wilderness and recreation ares, just to name a few.
Our Public Lands
Our public lands were created so all Americans, regardless of wealth or social status, could enjoy access for recreation, respite, study, conservation and preservation with specific areas set aside for resource use.
America’s public lands are one of our nation’s proudest and most sacred treasures. They include places like Yosemite, The Grand Canyon, Olympic National Forest, and Crater Lake or other not as well-known lands such as Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore or Continental Divide National Scenic Trail, for example.
Americans own 618 million acres of public lands, 110 million acres of which are protected as pristine, untouched wilderness. National policies dictate how public lands and wilderness designated within them are used, maintained and preserved. (The Wilderness Society)
But, we cannot take these treasured places or benefits they provide for granted. Public lands are under constant pressure in our growing society for space, and resource extraction as well as those who merely see these lands as a means to generate profit.
Public Land Pressures
This pressure is nothing new, but recently it has intensified.
You may have heard, special interests have been lobbying state governments and Congress to seize America’s public lands so they can be privatized or auctioned for drilling, mining and logging. To do this, lobbyists are working to enact laws that require Congress to hand over public lands to states which would mean these lands would no longer fall under the protection of the National Park Service (The Wilderness Society).
The concern is that by transferring these lands, already budget strapped states could eliminate mixed-use requirements, limit public access and turn over large portions, if not all, for resource exploitation and/or development. To the highest bidder, of course.
Yet these public lands are not just a resource to develop. They hold value far greater than a price tag can reflect. They provide ecological, psychological, natural and economic benefit we need to protect.
Political Will for Public Lands
Earlier this year, US representative Jason Chaffetz of Utah introduced a bill (HB 621) to essentially continue the quiet dismantling and slow suffocation of our Nation’s public lands. Some 3.3 million acres, the size of Connecticut, of public lands were to be sold off to the highest bidder for natural resource exploitation and/or development for the benefit of “the reduction of public debt.” (The Guardian).
Fortunately after strong public pushback, Chaffetz had a change of heart from “groups I support and care about.”
But the story doesn’t end there. Our Nation’s current administration’s FY 2018 budget continues the assault by drastically reducing funding supportive of our public lands.
And the story continues. In April, Trump issued an executive order to review Certain National Monuments. The president assigned Mr. Zinke, of the Department of Interior, to examine whether Trump’s predecessors over-stepped their authority and made these public lands too large and/or ignored objections from the American People (National Geographic).
The term American People seems to get thrown around loosely in Washington. I’ve come to the conclusion the American People is code for the most powerful/influential of lobbyists in Washington.
To see these treasured public lands under review, NPR wrote a story here.
So, in honor of Earth Day and to bring awareness about our public lands, I’m sharing a place, and recipe, that’s special to me.
You may have visited: Ebey’s Landing National Historic Reserve located in the heart of Whidbey Island. While only a small fraction of this land is federally owned, its expansive views reach two National Parks including Mt. Rainier NP to the south and Olympic NP to the west.
Just off Ebey’s Reserve shores and beyond the Salish Sea (aka Puget Sound) lie snow-capped peaks of Mount Olympus, Hurricane Ridge and America’s only remaining example of a temperate rainforest including the Hoh, named the quietest place in the lower 48, and Quinault Rainforests.
These treasures provide safe refuge for wildlife, contain old growth forests, native plants, interesting ecological and geological features and provide visitors tranquility, recreation and respite.
We need these lands. All public lands. #ineednature
About Lemon Tahini Granola
Since granola is one of my favorite snacks to have on hand while on an outdoor adventure or for anytime I need a grab n’ go snack, I’m sharing my easy to make, clustery Lemon Tahini Cashew Granola recipe.
It’s packed with thick rolled oats, sunflower, sesame and poppy seeds, cashews, quinoa and coconut. Sweetened with maple syrup, it’s not too sweet like so many store-bought varieties. There’s two whole lemons, juice and zest, in this granola for a fresh lemony pop of flavor, and spiked with a bit of warming cinnamon and ginger.
It’s quick and easy to pull together, but a looong slow bake and slow cool down ensures crunchy clusters and will have your house smelling like a bakery!
It’s a snack worthy of making its way into your backpack, yogurt bowl and/or lunch bag. Perhaps I’ll prepare some and deliver it to my elected officials.
“We have become great because of the lavish use of our resources. But the time has come to inquire seriously what will happen when our forests are gone, when the coal, the iron, the oil, and the gas are exhausted, when the soils have still further impoverished and washed into the streams, polluting the rivers, denuding the fields and obstructing navigation.” ~Theodore Roosevelt
Lemon Tahini Cashew Granola
- 1/2 C (95g) Raw Quinoa rinsed and soaked overnight, excess water drained** (see note)
- 3 C (305g) Thick Rolled Oats not quick, gluten free if needed
- 1 C (90g) Shredded Unsweetened Coconut
- 1 C (155g) Raw Cashew Pieces
- 1/2 C (80g) Hulled Sunflower Seeds
- 2 Tbs Sesame Seeds
- 1 Tbs Poppy Seeds
- 2 tsp Cinnamon ground
- 1 tsp Ginger ground
- 3/4 tsp Fine Sea Salt
- 1/3 C (85g) Tahini
- 1/4 C (45g) Coconut Oil virgin, unrefined, melted
- 1/2 C + 2 Tbs (200g) Pure Maple Syrup
- 2 Lemons zested and juiced
- Preheat the oven to 275F (135C). Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the quinoa, thick rolled oats, shredded coconut, cashews, sunflower, sesame and poppy seeds, cinnamon, ginger and salt. Stir throughly. Set aside.
- In a medium mixing bowl whisk together the tahini, coconut oil, maple syrup and lemon juice and zest. Whisk until it is smooth and there are no lumps.
- Pour the wet over the dry ingredients and mix with a sturdy spoon until all the ingredients are moistened and evenly distributed. Pour the mixture into the pan and press into an even layer. Bake at 275F (135C) for one hour, then rotate the pan and increase the oven temperature to 315F (157C) for 15-25 minutes OR until the edges are golden.* (see note) The granola will still be soft to the touch but it will firm up as it cools. Let it cool completely in the pan before removing it. This ensures clustering!
- Store in a lidded container for up to two weeks at room temperature.
Please join me in learning more about our public lands from friends around the web. Follow the links below for more virtual travels, stories and recipes. And, many thanks to Eva and Sasha for organizing #ourwild virtual event.
Tending the Table: Okanogan-Wentachee National Forest
The Bojon Gourmet: Hibiscus Berry Smoothie Bowls
Healthy Nibbles and Bits: Leek and Kohlrabi Fritters and Pinnacles National Park
Husbands That Cook: Point Mugu State Park
Brooklyn Supper: Shenandoah National Park
Wholehearted Eats: Happy Trail Bars and Into the Universe
The Broken Bread: Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest
The Year in Food: A Church in the Wild
Fresh Off the Grid: Weekend Escape: Planning an Impromptu Camping Trip
Adventures in Cooking: Olympic National Park
The Modern Proper: Trail Mix Pancakes
Will Frolic For Food: Glacier National Park
Wu Haus: Joshua Tree
With Food and Love: Roasted Sugar Snap Peas with Mint and Sea Salt and Scenes from Joshua Tree