Thursday, September 15, 2011

Things You Should Make Yourself - Granola

Granola is a healthy and delicious snack and it can also double as a quick bowl of cereal with your homemade almond milk or as a topping for fresh fruit! Try it mixed into non-dairy yogurt!

Granola can be pricey if you buy it in a store but it's super easy to make and you can modify it to suit your individual taste. Plus, this makes your house smell amazing! This is a great thing to take traveling too. I take a container of this when I have to get on a plane.

I know that tastes vary when it comes to nuts and dried fruits so feel free to sub in whatever you like... just keep the measurements the same.  You want a total of 2 cups of nuts/dried fruit.

I do encourage you to try and do a nice variety of flavors and textures. It's good to expand your horizons and different nuts give you different vitamins, minerals and benefits. You may want to make this as it is written the first time and then decide how to change it later on.

Give it a chance.

If you like the salty-sweet angle... you may want to add large flake sea salt to taste. I like to get a nice spot of saltiness once in awhile so I do add larger flaked salt in addition to the 1 tsp of fine sea salt in the recipe.

Don't ignore the flax and wheat germ in this recipe. It's really good for you and you won't even know it's there!  Quick note about the syrup.. I prefer to use mostly brown rice syrup as it doesn't affect blood sugar like maple syrup does. The maple syrup is there for it's distinct flavor, not sweetness.
Don't you dare use corn syrup or I will hunt you down and kill you. Seriously. (wink)

I adapted this from Alicia Silverstone's granola recipe in 'The Kind Diet' book.

6 cups quick oats
Cinnamon (as much as you think you want)
1/2 cup flax seed (ground)
3/4 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded or flaked coconut
1/2 cup roasted sunflower seeds or pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1/3 cup slivered almonds
1/3 cup walnuts (I like to break these into halves.. don't use chopped, you want texture)
1/3 cup dried fruit of choice (raisins, cherries, cranberries - mix or match)
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup safflower or canola oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
2 tbsp sucanat or brown sugar
3/4 cup non-refined syrup (use real maple or brown rice syrup ONLY - I like a ratio of 2:1 brown rice syrup to maple syrup)
1 cup mini chocolate chips or carob chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1. Spread the oats on a cookie sheet and toast for 10 minutes.
2. In a LARGE bowl, combine oats, sugar, wheat germ, flax seed, cinnamon, nuts, fruits, salt and coconut. Mix well.
3. In a smaller bowl, combine oil, syrup, and extracts and mix to combine.
4. Add wet ingredients to the dry and mix well.
5. Using two large cookie sheets with sides, place half of the granola on each pan and bake for 10 minutes and then stir and keep baking in 5 minute increments, stirring after each session, until slightly browned but not overly done. Watch it carefully. Do not run off and read Facebook while it's baking!

Cool and then stir is the mini chocolate chips if you are using those. Store in an air-tight container.

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