Most granola is a fancy twist on toasted oats—consider that when contemplating the exorbitant prices retailers charge for it. The thing is, granola is incredibly easy to make at home, and for a fraction of the cost. This recipe is a granola base to which you can add whatever dried fruit, nuts, or other tasty bits make you happy. Feel free to tweak this with other spices, a little less honey, more salt—it’s quite forgiving, and customizing your own blend is the fun of making your own. If you want to experiment even further, try using other rolled grains such as spelt or barley and wheat instead of oats.
Basic Vegetable Soup
This soup is an equally wonderful way to use up all the leftover veggie odds and ends in your fridge, or to celebrate the freshest produce in season by buying it specifically for the dish (and if you get a CSA box, it can serve both purposes). Whatever vegetables you use, this is an easy, nutritious, and delicious meal, and endlessly customizable. Fresh pesto makes a great, vibrant garnish, but you could also simply sprinkle on a bit of grated Parmesan and cracked black pepper.
Basic Chocolate Mousse
Simultaneously rich and light, chocolate mousse just requires a little bit of finesse, and the freshest, best-quality ingredients (eggs, chocolate, and cream) you can procure. Be sure to chill your cream very well and get every speck of water out of the bowl and whisk you'll use for the egg whites, then use a light hand when folding in the whipped cream, and you'll have a perfectly fluffy and decadent dessert.