“Healthy Homemade Granola”

img_1854Making my own granola has been on my To Do List since I discovered there is NO granola anywhere in my hometown stores that doesn’t have sugar in the top 3 ingredients (even at the health food store) ! That leaves two options: stop eating granola on my yogurt or make my own. I gave it up for awhile but I really like it in yogurt so this was the week for granola making.  It turns out making your own is also so much CHEAPER than buying it from a store so that should be a good incentive, right?  img_1856

It’s been raining here in California for over a week; something we are not used to, so the kitchen is a good place for me to fend off the rainy day blues 🙂  It turned out making granola was a great way to use up all the little baggies of nuts and grains stashed in my fridge and pantry, too.  I wanted it to have clusters but after much researching it seems you need to add more sweetener to get it to clump which defeated the entire reason for making my own so I let go of my “clustery granola” fantasy!  It came out nice and crunchy with tons of flavor and just the tight amount of sweet for me so I am very happy with this recipe. If you want it sweeter by all means add more syrup and maybe some honey, too. You just might get clustered granola👍

This recipe is very flexible so use whatever nuts and dried fruit you like and experiment with honey and/or maple syrup combinations.

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Recipe for Healthy Homemade Granola (makes about 10 cups – you can cut recipe in half)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 5 – 6 cups regular oats (NOT quick cooking) – look for gluten free oats if you want a gluten free granola
  • 2 cups mixed nuts/seeds (sliced almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, pepitas, sesameseeds, pecans, cashews, pistachios etc) – mix and match your favorites
  • 1 cup chopped dried fruit (cranberries, tart cherries, cacao nibs, dried peaches, apricots or nectarines, dried dates, raisins, dried blueberries, etc.)
  • 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut (optional)
  • 1/2 cup oat bran or ground flax seeds (optional)
  • 1/2 – 2/3 cup oil (safflower, canola,  or sunflower)
  • 1/4 -1/2 cup maple syrup (add more if you like it sweeter)
  • 1 tsp Himalayan Pink Salt
  • 2 – 4 tsp cinnamon (to your taste)img_1845

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Put oats into a large bowl and add any other dry ingredients you choose: I used oat bran, coconut and a small amount of ground flax seed.
  2. Add the cinnamon, salt, and any other spices you choose then mix well with a big spoon.img_1834
  3. Chop the nuts by hand and cut up any large pieces of dried fruit. I use my kitchen scissors for this and they do a great job.  I LOVE tart cherries so I used those, plus dried cranberries, dried nectarines and dried blueberries.  I had all of these in my pantry so that’s what I used!  Plus, I don’t really like raisins that much.
  4. Put all the chopped nuts and the dried fruit into a separate bowl and mix them together, then add them to the oat mixture in the big bowl.
  5. Whisk the maple syrup and oil together and pour over everything. Stir well to make sure all the dry ingredients are coated.
  6. Cover a large rimmed baking pan with parchment paper and spread the mixture evenly over the pan.
  7. Bake at 325-350 degrees for about 40 -50 minutes, checking every 10 minutes and stirring frequently to keep edges from getting too toasted. When it is lightly browned and crunchy remove from oven and let cool.
  8. Add the chopped dried fruit and mix well.
  9. Store in an air tight container and enjoy on top of yogurt or ice cream, with your favorite milk or nut milk, or mix with more nuts for a yummy “trail” mix snack.
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