I’ve always loved granola. Right out of the box. The crunch, the sweetness, the texture, the way the chunks entice you to reach in for just one more piece. While there are some pretty healthy ingredients in granola (oats, nuts, raisins, etc), there are usually some less desirable things lurking in there as well. Since I’ve become health-conscious, what I do not love is the sugar and oil I see in most boxed granolas. What’s a girl to do? Make her own of course.
The few times I’ve made granola, I basically used the same ingredients that are in my granola bars, only I spread them out on a cookie sheet and stirred them around several times during baking. I could never get those clusters that make granola so fun to eat. After doing some google-granola research, I learned that to get those coveted clumps you bake the granola pressed all together and DON’T STIR. Then once it cools, you can break it up. Duh. Why didn’t I think of that?
Homemade Cinnamon Almond Raisin Granola
Super easy instructions: Very similar to making granola bars. You’ve got your dry ingredients. You’ve got your wet ingredients. Put them together and stir well. Bake.
Preheat your oven to 300.
Mix the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl:
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- dash of salt (optional)
Stir wet ingredients over low heat in a small saucepan until combined:
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup peanut butter
- 1/8 cup coconut butter
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl of dry ingredients and mix together well.
Make sure all the dry oats, nuts and raisins are coated!
Spread the mixture onto a baking sheet in a thin layer, pressing down evenly. No perfection necessary here.
Bake for 25 minutes.
Cool completely, for about 20 minutes.
Break into desired size clusters.
Store in an air-tight container.
Use your creativity to mix things up. Try walnuts, sunflower seeds or pecans instead of almonds. Skip the raisins if you don’t like them. Or try another dried fruit like chopped dates or apricots.
Ways to enjoy granola:
- straight up!
- with soy milk
- paired up with fresh fruit
- topping for yogurt
- topping for banana ice cream
Be aware that granola and granola bars are pretty calorically dense. And that is OK; I’m just saying don’t eat the whole batch at once, tempting as that may be. They are made from ingredients that provide you with lots of energy (calories). Try not to thing of this as a negative thing; that’s the kind of mentality that fuels food neuroses. We need calories and if you try to restrict them too much you will end up overeating at a later point. Balance out your granola intake with plenty of fresh fruits and veggies that are nutrient-dense and lower in calories. Keep some homemade hummus in your fridge to enjoy with fresh veggies:
Ok, so I just wanted an excuse to show you one (of the many!) cucumbers from my garden. The funny thing about me and cukes is, I really don’t care much for the store-bought ones but the ones we grow ourselves are another story. So much better! And look how cute they are out on the vine:
And a newborn baby….
And now I’ll take this opportunity to segue into a few more recent garden happenings….
The garden has really been going nuts and there are lots of things on their way…
Baby peppers! There are 3 out there now and this is a plant we have never had luck with in the past so this is very exciting.
There are going to be tons of tomatoes! In fact, I’ve already had 2 ripe cherry tomatoes so far. And I’ve had a few husk cherries as well. Have you ever had these? They are not very popular but they should be because they are so delicious and easy to grow. I’ve never seen them in grocery stores and I only first tried them a few years ago at a farmers market. They look like little lanterns. You remove the husk and eat the fruit inside….sweet and tangy. Check them out below:
Okay, almost done…I just want to show you 3 squash:
I hope you are as passionate about food as I am. It truly is one of life’s greatest pleasures and it saddens me when I meet so many people who see it as the enemy. It’s not supposed to be like that. Eat healthy food. Keep it simple. Eat what you love. Enjoy your food. Derive real satisfaction from your food– that’s what it’s for!