Sunday, January 31, 2010

Yummy Homemade Granola

Yesterday, after returning from a chilly afternoon hike with my husband, I had a sudden urge to make some yummy homemade granola.  The version I make is sweetened with natural sugars - nothing artificial - and is chock full of healthy ingredients.  Not to mention that it is delicious!  I decided to adapt a Barefoot Contessa granola recipe that I have made in the past.  Since my granola-making project was rather spontaneous, I used what I had on hand in my cupboard.  But, I have to say, that is the wonderful thing about making granola - almost any kind of nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and natural sugar can be used, whatever suits your tastes.  Here is the recipe:


4 cups rolled oats, old-fashioned or or steel-cut (steel-cut is best)
1/2 cup natural sweetener - honey and/or real maple syrup
1/4 cup canola oil (I like Smart Balance because it has omega-3s)
1/4 cup water
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup dried fruit - raisins, chopped dates, dried apricots, dried apples, goji berries, cranberries, organic coconut, dried cherries or any other dried fruit (I used goji berries, dates, coconut, and raisins)
1/2 cup nuts - almonds, walnuts, cashews, etc.
1/2 cup seeds - sunflower, sesame, and/or pumpkin
1/2 cup wheat germ (optional)

Preheat your oven to 300*
In a large bowl combine:  oats, honey and/or syrup, water, and vanilla, and cinnamon.  Mix well.
Then add the dried fruit, nuts, seeds and wheat germ to the oat mixture.  Stir well.
Get out a large jelly roll pan.  (Layer it with parchment paper, if available, to ease clean-up.)
Spread mixture evenly across pan.
Bake for 10 minutes, then stir to allow for even toasting and bake for 10 minutes more.
Let mixture cool, then store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Yum!  I ate about a cup of the granola with a small amount of unsweetened Blue Diamond Almond Breeze almond milk for breakfast this morning, and then I had a snack this afternoon of 1/2 cup granola sprinkled over some greek yogurt.  So, so good!  I love it because it satisfies my sweet tooth (and keeps it under control), but provides a lot of fiber and vitamins for my body.  I am finding that the key to keeping myself healthy and happy is to eat food that brings me joy, but that simultaneously feeds my body the nutrients that it needs.