Author: Veronica Hilliard
There are SO many reasons why we have cut out cereal from our diets. It’s ultra-processed, full of refined sugar, potentially full of GMO’s, and to quote Seinfeld’s Elaine, “Fake, fake, fake… fake!” But my husband is not so keen on never having cereal again. So I have been meaning to make granola for a while now and yesterday, I finally tackled it.
I put the baby down for her nap thinking that would buy me about an hour to get this all put together and into the oven. I am really bad at following recipes. I just use them as a base for whatever I’m planning. In this case I decided I liked the looks of this granola recipe, so I loosely followed that one.
I compiled all the dry ingredients. Oats, whatever nuts and seed I had on hand which happened to be chia seeds, sunflower seeds, sliced almonds, flax meal, and flax seeds, and some dried cranberries. Another reason why I rarely follow recipes correctly is because I rarely have all the ingredients they call for so I just make it up as I go.
I used about half of everything called for since I didn’t want tons of granola in case nobody liked it. Then I added some brown sugar.
And DON’T forget the salt! It really brings it to the next level. I use Real Sea Salt.
Next I got all my “wet” ingredients together. Maple syrup, cinnamon (not wet, just forgotten until now), vanilla, coconut oil, and honey. I don’t like most vegetable oils so I substituted Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil and I’m glad I did. It gives this granola a slight coconut flavor and it doesn’t taste greasy. Keep in mind while using coconut oil for cooking that it is higher in saturated fat than butter.
Because I didn’t pay much attention to the directions, this is where I did things VERY differently. The recipe says to put them all together with the sugar in a pan and then drizzle it over the dry stuff. I didn’t do that and it came out fine. But I might try that next time.
I finally got everything ready to go, turned on the oven, and then the baby woke up. She was cranky and still pretty tired so I went to get her and ended up nursing her for the next 20 minutes. I remembered the granola, and the hot oven, when I smelled smoke and went back into kitchen to smoke pouring out of oven from forgotten spilled cheese from hubby’s pizza the day before. Oops! And I hadn’t even put the granola in yet!
Then my 3.5 year old realized that I was making something and she wanted to help. So she stirred it for a bit while I dealt with the screaming toddler clinging to my leg. I was actually able to snap this picture in between the two of them screaming at each other and wanting to be on the same chair. See said toddler’s curly head in the background.
Finally, with the baby on my back in my Ergo, I was able to spread the granola out onto two cookie sheets lined with parchment paper. I probably didn’t need the paper but it made me feel better and cleaning up was a breeze. I was glad that I had cut the recipe in half now because I wouldn’t have enough cookie sheets to go around and would have had to have done this in two batches. It goes into a 325 degree oven for about 30 minutes (again, the recipe I followed is different. It said 20 but mine needed longer.) turning once or twice.
Ta Daaaa! This granola is delicious and lightly crunchy. It’s the perfect blend between sweet and salty and nutty.
Homemade Granola Recipe:
4 Cups Rolled Oats 1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Flax Meal 1/4 Cup Maple Syrup
1/2 Cup Chia Seeds 1/4 Cup Honey
1/2 Cup Sunflower Seeds 1/2 Cup Coconut Oil – warmed
1/2 Cup Flax Seed 1/2 TBL Ground Cinnamon
1 Cup Sliced Almonds 1/2 TBL Vanilla
1 Cup Dried Cranberries 1/2 TBL Sea Salt
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Combine dry ingredients, mix. Add wet ingredients, drizzling warmed to liquid coconut oil last, mix well. Spread on two large baking sheets and bake 20-30 minutes, turning once or twice until browned and toasted. Let cool completely on the baking sheets before storing.
I recommend putting the dried fruit in after you bake your granola. Our craisins got very hard and chewy. Still yummy, but harder to eat. **
Add some homemade almond milk and you’ve got the best breakfast on the block! And to top it off, you know every ingredient that went into it.
Almond milk is easy and in my opinion, tastes so much better than the store-bought kind. It tasted closer to skim milk and has no preservatives!
Homemade Almond Milk:
Soak 1 Cup almonds overnight or for at least 6 hours. Drain soaking water off. Blend almonds with 4 Cups of water for a couple of minutes. I strained off the liquid in a sieve and then strained it through cheesecloth. Then to make sure I got all the liquid out I put the almond “meal” into the cheesecloth and squeezed the last bit out by hand.
I have found that adding 1-2 tsp of honey makes this “milk” that much better. And squeezing the last of the liquid from the almond meal is important. It thickens and flavors the “milk” a little more and helps if you choose to dry out your meal to use later. **
Oh, and after you make your homemade almond milk, take the leftover almond meal, bake it on a pan for about 20 minutes to dry it out, and add it to your next batch of granola. Or use it to bread your fish for some nutty, crunchy breading. No waste!
Do you have a granola recipe you love? Have you made milk out of any other nuts, coconut, or rice?