Perhaps some of you have read  Madame Bovary. My friend, and now roommate (!!!) Sydney lent me the book approximately a year ago during our college senior week. The novel, written by Frenchmen Gustave Flaubert, tells the story of Emma Bovary, and her rabbit-hole style fall into a life of luxury and the ongoing journey of chasing down the maximum amount of happiness. Spoiled with a few champagne laden dinners and peach colored gowns, Emma essentially becomes addicted to glamour (who can blame the girl?!) and grows miserable as she constantly tries to recreate these feelings of joy.

As a Libra and perfectionist, I am familiar with this risk.  It’s easy to lose happiness if you are constantly trying to recreate it. Sometimes we need to have PBR instead of champagne, or Little Caesar’s instead of oysters on the half-shell.  And when you’re a poor post-grad searching under your bed for laundry money, this becomes all the more obvious.

That doesn’t mean we can’t treat ourselves. As I write this, I’m sitting by a (!!!) pool drinking (!!!) vino tinto! Now, said vino is from Walmart and cost three dollars, and said pool is at the America’s Best Value Inn and Suites.  I am not complaining.  This is it’s own definition of luxury, my friends. The starving artist looks for luxury at an affordable price. Out of deprivation comes extreme creativity, and out of wanderlust on a budget comes hotels under seventy bucks.

These little pocket-friendly adventures are some of my favorites.  Hotels are a traveler’s best friend, as you never truly appreciate a bed and a shower until you’ve been without a permanent one (or on top of a mountain in Malibu without running water.)  They often come along with adventure, romantic endeavors, vacations, and unfortunately, goodbyes.  Or as I prefer to call them, “see you laters.”

Just like hotels and a good drink special, the traveler needs good snacking.  And especially when your traveler is a loved one, you want to send him or her off with something that will serve as both nourishment and a remainder of your love.  It doesn’t need to be anything fancy; no caviar and rosemary crackers or sixteen-dollar gourmet popcorn. No, every now and then a simple homemade granola will do just fine.

I took this recipe from the amazing Molly Wizenberg, who is just beginning her book tour across the United States. It seems appropriate that this recipe transcend from one traveler to another, feeding our bodies as well as our adventure-thirsty souls.  I’ve edited it a bit, swapping coconut oil for olive, but you can find the originally recipe here.

Homemade Coconut-y Granola 

3 cups dry rolled oats

1 cup unsweetened coconut chips

2 cups chopped nuts (I did a blend of almonds, cashews, and macadamia)

1 tsp kosher salt

½ cup grade B maple syrup

1/3 cup coconut oil

Sprinkling of cinnamon

Preheat your oven to 300.

Mix the dry ingredients together, then add the wet to evenly coat. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment, and spread the mixture across the surface. I checked on the pan every fifteen minutes or so to switch everything around and flip the granola.

Like Molly, I take the granola out when the color looks right. A toasty brown is what you want.  I eat it plain, though I think it would also be lovely mixed with some cereal and enjoyed with fruit and milk.