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Easy Granola

06/07/2011

Breakfast is a tough meal. You want it to be filling, substantive, and healthy. But you also kind of want something sweet and carb-loaded because that’s how you grew up and what you’re used to…but you still feel guilty about that health thing and when you think about cereal and pancakes and waffles as daily breakfast items it makes you kind of uncomfortable. Or maybe that’s just me. Either way people always ask me what I eat for breakfast. My secret: when I make it myself, I’m in control of what’s going in it so I can decide if I like what I’m eating or I don’t.

Most of the time, my breakfasts center around oats–oatmeal or granola. The best part about these breakfast foods is that you can constantly change how you make them to keep your mornings varied. I started making my own granola this past November and I don’t think I’m going back–especially when I glance at the nutrition labels on some of my old favorites.

There’s nothing scary about homemade granola. I promise. The last batch I made, my dad kind of looked at it hesitantly and asked me skeptically how I got it to look store bought. And I love that I can change it based on my mood, what’s in the house, and who I’m serving it to. You can use this formula to make granola that is gluten free, vegan, dairy free. It can be eaten with yogurt, almond milk, as a snack… It also makes a great gift!

Easy Granola Formula
Grain+Nuts/Seeds+Sweetener+Fat+Dried Fruit= Granola!

It’s that easy. And changing the proportions only makes a different type of breakfast food–you can make it with more fruit, the next time with more nuts, etc. Remember, when using dried fruits keep an eye on the sugar content and drying methods.

Granola
Makes 6 cups

4 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup walnut pieces
1/2 cup unsalted raw almonds, roughly chopped
1/2 cup Grade A maple syrup
1 squirt raw honey
2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup dried apricots, cut in strips
1/4 cup dried medjool dates, roughly chopped

1. Preheat oven to 375° Farenheit.

2. Mix oats and nuts in a large mixing bowl.

3. In a separate, smaller bowl, whisk maple syrup, honey, and coconut oil. Pour over oat mixture and stir until evenly coated.

4. Spread mixture onto a full sheet pan (or two half sheet pans) in an even layer.

5. Put the tray in the oven and check regularly, stirring the oat mixture to avoid burning. Remove when golden brown, about 20-25 minutes. The granola will not be hard at this point–that happens as it cools.

6. When the mixture has cooled a little, fold in dried fruit. When completely cooled, store in an airtight container.

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