Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Loaded Granola

Our family has made a lot of changes as far as food goes over the years, and cutting out processed foods has been an ongoing goal and process.  I make a lot of things from scratch, which means I'm always on the lookout for fantastic made-from-scratch recipes.  This granola is one of them!  I love the convenience of eating cereal in the morning - especially for my husband who leaves for work early, but I hate the gobs of sugar in processed cereals, and the lack of stay-power.  It seems whenever we used to eat cereal, the kids would be starving an hour or two later.  No more!  Now that we've replaced store-bought cereal with home-made granola, we are able to have that convenience and the energy to get through the morning.  Of course, you have to prepare this in advance, but it honestly takes me less than 10 minutes to throw a batch together, and then the oven does the rest of the work.

Whether you usually buy cereal or not, you will love this granola!  It is loaded with nuts, seeds, coconut, and of course oats and is sweetened only with honey.  It's amazing!  I've used this granola recipe a lot in the past (which is still a great basic one!), and then I started making up my own concoctions until I found this one recently.  Unlike a lot of other granola recipes, this one doesn't require any stirring every 15 minutes in the oven, making it even easier.  Just mix it all up and throw it in there.  Your house will smell amazing and it will be a long 75 minutes until you can taste it!  You can also switch it up with substituting other nuts or seeds and adding dried fruit after it's been baked.  Enjoy!

Loaded Granola

**Dairy-free version: I have also made this using oil instead of butter.  Just heat the honey in the microwave and combine with the oil, vanilla, and salt (if using).  Works like a charm!

3 1/2 c. old-fashioned rolled oats
1 c. raw sliced almonds
1 c. raw cashew pieces (or pecans or walnuts or a combo)
1 c. unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 c. raw sunflower seeds
1/2 c. raw pumpkin seeds
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
6 T. unsalted butter** (if using salted, just omit the salt)
1/2 c. honey
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.  Cover a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.

In a large bowl, mix the dry oats, almonds, cashews, coconut, seeds, and spices together.  Heat the honey and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.  When butter is melted, remove from heat and stir in vanilla and salt.

Pour the hot liquid over the dry oat mixture and stir together with a large spoon or rubber spatula until evenly coated.  Spread the mixture into the prepared pan in an even layer.  Bake for 75 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let cool.  Break into chunks and store in an air-tight container for up to two weeks at room temperature, or longer in the freezer.

Source: 100 Days of Real Food

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