Poor granola. Been through so much over the years. First a super health food, promoted by doctors to get people to stop eating meat and start eating more whole grains and nuts. Vegetarians and tree-huggers gobbled it up, but if you were a ‘normal’ person you stuck to your morning bowl of Cream of Wheat for breakfast….mmmmm. Gross. Granola had to prove that it was more than ‘hippie food’.
Fast forward a few years and the ever healthy granola makes it’s way into grocery stores and cereal bowls. People are gaining weight and looking for ways to get healthy and eat better, so granola it is! But wait….it’s not so healthy after all. It’s super high in calories, fat and sugar. What happened? We got crazy, we processed it…and killed it. Granola’s goodness isn’t so good anymore, especially because no one would actually make it themselves when buying a box is so easy. Big mistake.
I grew up with healthy cereal. Not as bad as tasteless cardboard covered in milk, but Mom just didn’t buy us the sugary ‘kid cereal’. So we were used to eating Corn or Bran Flakes, Rice Krispies, and even All Bran. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend those cereals nowadays, but in comparison to something like a bowl of Fruit Loops they were far nutritionally superior. Then in comes granola, which Mom decides to whip up in large batches every so often. Oats, wheat germ, flax, dried fruit, nuts, cinnamon, honey. Hello amazing! A little granola sprinkled onto my All Bran? Yes, please. Cereal rules! We didn’t treat it like dessert, it was more like a topping to jazz up what could be considered a boring breakfast. So thanks Mom! You kept the goodness of granola alive, healthy and delicious 🙂
Fast forward to a few (o.k. many) years later and granola still exists in my diet, because I say it’s still healthy! It’s homemade, full of nothing but love and nutritional goodness. It’s not necessarily a staple for my family, but when I make a batch we enjoy it on yogurt with fruit or mixed with another high-fibre cereal, and then it’s gone and we take a break. Mixing up breakfast is a good thing. Going in and out of phases is perfectly o.k. Get it out of your system and move on to something else. This past week was granola week, and it was well worth a small effort to make.
Please practice safe and healthy granola munching: 1 serving per day is plenty, which is no more than half a cup.
Here’s my recipe:
4 cups whole flake oats (not instant or quick oats)
1 cup dried coconut strips (get these in a huge bag at Costco)
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/4 cup pepitas (green pumpkin seeds)
3/4 cup chopped walnuts (or a mix of walnuts and almonds….I like this combo, personally)
2/3 cup pure Canadian maple syrup
1/3 cup virgin coconut oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup chopped dried fruit (mix of cranberries, raisins, figs, dates, apricots, etc.) NOTE: obviously don’t chop the cranberries or raisins
- Preheat the oven to 300°F.
- In a large bowl add oats, coconut, chia, pepitas, nuts and mix together.
- In a small pot add maple syrup, coconut oil, salt and cinnamon. Bring mixture to a light simmer and stir to make sure salt is dissolved. Remove from the heat and stir in vanilla. Pour mixture over the dry ingredients and toss to coat evenly.
- Transfer granola mixture to a large (11×17″) baking sheet with edges, spreading it out flat and evenly.
- Bake for 30-40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, or until granola is lightly golden brown.
- Once removed from oven add dried fruit to the pan and mix in gently with a spatula. Allow granola to cool completely on the pan before transferring to a sealed container. Makes about 8 cups. Will keep for 2 weeks at room temperature….but it likely won’t last that long.