Thursday, May 31, 2012

Eating Granola and Thought of You!

My friend Jen sent me a text this week that said, "Eating granola...and thought of you!"  What a high compliment in my book!  You see lately I've been on this wild granola kick.  One Saturday I was super hungry for granola and was out, so I decided to make my own.  It was a moderately successful first run, with a minor honey-heating incident with the microwave (Do not, I repeat, do NOT heat honey in the bear in the microwave! Just remember that angry bears will explode, and that's all you need to know.)  I also kept the oats in the oven too long, but masked the flavor by adding extra dark chocolate chips. 

Then there was that fateful trip to Costco where they sell "The World's Best Granola" complete with flax, amaranth, quinoa and other good nutritious stuff.  I've been loading up ever since.  The only problem is that there are 250 calories per 3/4 cup.  (Is it really fair to gain five pounds because of granola?  I think not!) 

While not a complete solution to the calorie challenge, I like the idea of making my own granola so that I can control the sugar content (and add extra good stuff like dried fruit, coconut or chocolate chips.) So I guess I'm making more dessert granola myself, but in place of a bag of chips in the afternoon it's still a good alternative.  Here is a recipe to the batch I whipped up yesterday.

3 1/2 cups rolled oats (I always make a super big batch.)
1/4 cup flax
1 Tab. milled flax
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1 heaping tsp. cinnamon
3/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
4 Tab. honey
1 Tab. brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Combine first six ingredients in a large bowl.

Next, heat oil, honey, brown sugar, and vanilla over low heat.  When the honey and sugar are incorporated, you are good to go.

Pour syrup over the oat mixture and combine using a spoon or your hands (if you want to get messy.)

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and press granola in a thin layer.  Bake in a 325 degree oven for approximately 25 minutes.  You will need to take the granola out every 8-10 minutes to stir, flip, and toss so that all sides bake evenly and don't burn.  When the granola is finished and cooled I like to put mine into zip-top bags in the freezer for future eating. 

One of my favorite things about making my own granola is that it's the perfect "Use-it-Up" recipe.  You can add whatever you have available as long as you stick with the basic oats+nuts/dried fruit/other goodies+syrup equation.  Enjoy!

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