Thursday, October 2, 2014

Homemade Granola

Healthy eating.  Unless you enjoy watching what you eat, you don't mind cutting certain things out of your diet and you are okay with eating like a squirrel, this term can have extremely negative connotations to those of us who LOVE sweets and fried foods.  I enjoy nutritious foods too and I do crave healthy foods sometimes.  I can eat a salad with vegetables and meat on it and be satisfied but there are certain things I just can't live without. I think that it is the thought of regulating what I eat and believing that I can't have that piece of chocolate cake or big bowl of ice cream every night when I get home - after dinner of course - that keeps me from being more serious about what I eat! Obviously, that needs to change.  

So to keep this from being a shock to my own system, I am going to start out slow.  I will try to make a few more healthy meals a week and for the most part I will aim to use ingredients that might be less fatty or full of sodium.  This will make my husband happy because he is a super healthy eater, gets a lot of exercise and is always trying to get me to do the same.  I have followed his lead on a lot of things in our married life but on this, I have had trouble.  I can't deny it.

I'm not going to go all crazy here though by using things like Skim Milk for recipes such as hot chocolate or soups - that just wouldn't be right.  And I will still use butter, heavy cream and salt for recipes that require it but I will make every effort to make adjustments where I can and look for ways to incorporate healthier ingredients into what I have made for years as well as new recipes that I am trying and sharing - without affecting taste.  Let me be clear - if it doesn't taste good, I won't eat it.  I never got over that as a child.

So for my first healthy recipe I decided to start with a super simple homemade Granola recipe that has delicious ingredients, healthy ingredients and things that I already have in my house - except for Sunflower Seeds.  This is the easiest thing to make so please give it a try!

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat mat.

In a large bowl combine the 2 Cups of Oats, 1 teaspoon Cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg and mix well.

In a small bowl or measuring cup combine the Oil

the Honey, Syrup OR Agave (not all 3!)

and the Sugar and mix well.

When you mix the Oil, Honey and Brown Sugar this is what it looks like.  It doesn't seem like much liquid but it will work just fine with the amount of Oats you are using.

 Pour the liquid over the Oat mixture and stir well until combined.  

Looks good, doesn't it?!  Pour the Oat mixture onto your baking sheet lined with parchment paper or Silpat and press lightly with your hands.

Bake for 15 minutes and then gently stir.

Keep stirring and moving the mixture around to prevent clumping and then sprinkle the Nuts over the Granola.  Continue to bake, stirring every 6 minutes until the Granola is a deep golden brown which will be about 20 minutes.

It looks like it's ready but not quite yet. Let the Granola cool completely and then gently mix in the Sesame Seeds or whichever seeds you have chosen.   They look gigantic in this picture but of course, it's because I took a close up. 

Then add your dried fruit.  I used Craisans for my Granola because I love them but you can use any dried fruit that you like.  Glorious!  It actually looks kind of Christmassy, doesn't it?

One other view of this hearty Granola that is going to be delicious with a bowl of milk, over some Yogurt or just as a snack in the afternoon.  I can't wait to eat it!

Keep in an airtight container on the counter for about a week or in the freezer for a month or so.

2 Cups Rolled Oats
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
3 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
1/4 Cup Honey, Maple Syrup OR Agave
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Chopped Nuts (Almonds, Pecans OR Hazelnuts, etc)
2/3 Cup Dried Fruit
1/4 Cup Seeds (Flax, Sunflower Seeds OR Sesame Seeds)

Cooking Instructions
In a medium size bowl add 2 Cups of Oats, 1 teaspoon Cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg and mix well.  In a small bowl or measuring cup add 3 Tablespoons of Vegetable Oil, 1/4 Cup Honey, Maple Syrup or Agave (DON'T ADD ALL 3!) and 1/4 Brown Sugar and mix well.  Pour the liquid mixture into the Oat mixture and mix until well combined. Spread the whole mixture out flat on a cookie sheet covered with a sheet of parchment paper or a Silpat mat on top and cook in a 325 degree oven for 15 minutes.  Pull the cookie sheet out and flip all the oatmeal over so that it has the chance to cook on the other side and then flatten it out again.

Cook for another 15 or 20 minutes, flipping every 6 minutes so that it doesn't burn.  This is an important step because there is sugar in the Honey as well as the Brown Sugar so at this point you will really have to babysit the Granola.  When the timer goes off or when you think it is golden brown, pull the cookie sheet out and add the Sesame Seeds and mix well.  Let the whole mixture sit until it cools.  Add the 2/3 Cup of dried fruit and mix again.  You can either go ahead and eat some of this glorious cereal or you can put it in a sealed container.  It will be good for about a week or for a month if you freeze it.


1 comment :

  1. I'm loving your recipes Becky, I have only just discovered you on IBA blogger. Not only are the recipes healthy for someone like me who needs to lower cholesterol, they are realistic in terms of what we should be prepared to sacrifice! But the best thing is the clear instructions & photos that you put a lot of work into. Many thanks!


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