Sunday, October 2, 2011

Granola, is it a cereal or a snack?

When it comes to making Granola, I'm always trying to build a better wheel.  I want that perfect balance between healthy and tasty.  My husband would say  "the wheel is fine, stop kicking the tires."   But then, he eats as much snacking as he does for breakfast. 
I always start with at least 4 Cups of whole oats, in addition to 1/3 cup of wheat germ and shredded coconut.  Then choose 2 Cups of nuts: lately my choice has been almonds, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds.  You need 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and salt.  This last dry ingredient may sound crazy but it gives a little zing: a teaspoon of garam masala.  I never would have thought of that, but was inspired by a recipe from My Father's Daughter by Gwyneth Paltrow.  Mix all those ingredients together in a large bowl.
Combine 1/2 C of maple syrup, 1/3 C brown rice syrup, 1/4 C canola oil, 1/3 C honey in a small bowl, then pour over oat mixture.  Stir to combine well, then spread on two lightly greased cookie sheets and bake in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.  Stir mixture and rotate pans from top to bottom every ten minutes.  If you like it more toasty, let it bake a little longer.
In between checking the oven, chop between 1-2 cups of your favorite dried fruit.  I used 1 cup cranberries, 1/2 cup each of apricots and medjool dates.  Add the fruit once the granola is completely cooled, then seal it in an airtight container.  Even though it's quite nutty already, I still add walnuts and pecans to my bowl in the morning.
Sometimes I replace some of the oats with soy, wheat, rye or barley flakes.  If you have flax seed, you can add some fresh ground to the dry mix.

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