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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Granola Is Good

While we were grocery shopping this week, I decided to get myself some granola. My husband promptly replied "You can make granola yourself.". Duh! Granola at the store is between $4 and $6! I had a bunch of ingredients already on hand, so it was much cheaper for me to make it! AND I can add anything I like! I like mine with nuts and seeds and dried fruits.


 Crunchy Granola
preheat oven to 300 degrees.
about 1/3 cup coconut flakes
4 cups rolled oats (quick, steel cut, Irish, whatever you fancy)
2 generous pinches of ground flax seeds, wheat bran, wheat germ and ground almond meal
1/2 to 3/4 cups chopped almonds
1 cup apple cider
1/2 cup honey
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tablespoons veg oil (or flax or grape seed or canola)
whatever dried fruits you wish to go in your granola (get creative!)


 here is my recipe that I threw together. And my adorable daughter Gigi helped me (she loves to bake!). Isn't she too darn cute?
OK, back to granola. Turn your oven on to 300 degrees. What I did was start with a Martha Stewart recipe I got a couple years ago off the web for Granola (Martha Stewart's granola ). And then I tweaked it. Here's what I used -
I had Gigi put as much of the following ingredients into a bowl as she wanted (ended up being about two nice sized "pinches" of each thing. Ground flax seed, ground almond meal (good for fiber), wheat bran and wheat germ. Then we added the shredded coconut (about 1/2 to 2/3 cups). I took a sharp knife and cut up salted almonds (to be honest I wasn't SURE how this would turn out, but it was fine - I added more honey to counteract the saltiness, and didn't add ANY extra salt to the recipe either). I added the sesame seeds (whatever I had left in the bag) and some walnuts I had laying around. We added dried cranberries, raisins and dried bananas to the mix. Then Gigi stirred it all up.

Next I took 1 cup of apple cider and boiled it for a few minutes, til some of the liquid boiled down. The recipe called for 1/2 cup honey, but I added more like 2/3, maybe a smidgen more. I also added a tablespoon or so of vegetable oil. I put in the cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla ,and I let that come to a rolling boil, stirring  for about 5 minutes at a boil like that. Looks yummy!
While that was cooking I added 4 cups of oats to dry mixture. I used quick oats, because they were on hand. You could try Irish oatmeal, or maybe even steel cut oats if you have them on hand. DO NOT use the packets of prepared oatmeal though, not sure how that would come out! Once you have your oats measure in, you want to take your liquid mixture and add it to the dry mixture. Stir right away! It's going to be dry, but try and incorporate every last little oat into the moist mixture. take your cookie sheet and rub a little bit of vegetable oil around the sheet, so nothing sticks to it. About 1-2 tablespoons. There's my big helper rubbing on my oil with a paper towel.
Then you take your granola mixture and spread it all around the cookie sheet. I had Gigi press it down for me to get it as thin as we could, so the granola would get crunchier. I like my granola crunchy, not chewy. It's a personal choice. If left thicker, it will probably end up chewy. But hey, if you like it that way, go for it!
Next you put your granola in the oven to bake for  about 40 minutes (I did mine about 45). Stir it every 15 minutes, to evenly brown the granola. When it was done cooking I took it out and let it completely cool before storing it away. If you store it warm, there is a chance it will not stay crunchy for you. And here is our delicious granola!
These ingredients may cost a little more up front, but will last you a long time! Get a BIG container of oats. The bags of wheat germ, wheat bran, flax seed and almonds may cost more up front, BUT you can add them to oatmeal, cereals, and smoothies. Mine have lasted me MONTHS and I am no where NEAR done using them yet. The only things you be needing to keep buying is the oats, as you run out, and the dried fruits. Much better than paying $4 to $6 a week on grocery store granola. AND no dyes, preservatives, additives or high fructose corn syrups!






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