Follow me as I dive into the world that is cooking! There will be mishaps, burns and feasts as you watch my progression from college-student fare (pizza rolls and ramen noodles) to (hopefully) goddess of the hearth! I am always open to new recipes and ideas, so feel free to contact me.

July 22, 2011

A DIY That Doesn't Suck: Make Your Own Granola!

My favorite meal of the day is, and always has been, breakfast.  I wake up hungry, don’t go a day without it and will eat waffles at any time if presented with the opportunity.  This does not qualify me as a morning person.  Not at all.
In fact, I’m quite terrifying if you wake me up before I’m ready to climb out of hibernation.  The only thing that can calm my inner beast is BREAKFAST.  Not a turkey sandwich, not leftover spaghetti from last night (although I do consider cold pizza an acceptable breakfast item for some reason), but something with eggs, bacon, cereal or syrup.  Hence, one of my favorite recipes I’ve worked with so far:  A hearty, healthy granola! Ehem, as healthy as you want it to be.
This recipe is fantastic because you can essentially add anything you want and make your very own granola recipe!  I have done everything from dried apples to toasted coconut, depending on what’s cheap at the store…  Plus it’s so easy to do!  Prepare to impress yourself and others in your vicinity! 

Homemade Baked Granola 

Takes:  prep: 5-10 mins, bake: 30 mins, cool: 1 hr or till room temp
Makes: about 7 cups of granola that lasts you a month, or more if frozen
*Note:  Some of the ingredients are a little pricey, such as the flaxseed meal.  But don’t sweat it!  I’ve made this recipe about 7 times now, and am still using the same bag.  Much of these things can last you a long while.  Also, check out the bulk isle at your local grocer.  They usually have much better prices on seeds, nuts and dried fruits!
Stuff you Need:
  • 6 C rolled/old fashioned oats
  • 1 1/4 C nuts, such as chopped almonds, pecans, walnuts, macadamia
  • 1/4 C seeds, such as green pumpkin, sunflower, pepitas
  • 1/3 C flaxseed meal (I use Bob’s Red Mill) or wheat germ (I haven’t used this but it is also suggested in the original recipe)
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon or ginger if doing a “tropical mix”
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 3/4 tsp sea or kosher salt
  • 3/4 C sweetener.  I use 1/2 C honey, 1/4 C molasses for lighter flavors such as cranberry and almonds, or 1/2 and 1/2 for a heavier, “autumn” mix with apples, pecans and nutmeg.  Agave syrup is also an alternative although I like the texture better with the previous two
  • 1/3 C extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 C or more dried fruit.  I used cranberries and blueberries this time, but feel free to use anything you can get your paws on, including apples, papaya, mango, coconut flakes, raisins, etc.
1.  Preheat oven to 350.  In a large bowl, mix oats, nuts, seeds, flaxseed meal, and spices.
2.  In a medium (preferably deep) bowl, whisk together eggs and salt until frothy.  Whisk in sweetener, then olive oil.  The olive oil doesn’t exactly dissolve, so just whisk it in as best you can.
3.  Mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients.  It may not look like enough to coat the whole dry mix, but just continue to fold and stir it until your oats are coated evenly (see photo).
4. Transfer mix to 2 regular or one bigass (24x15) rimmed baking sheet.  Spread it out into a thin layer across the sheets and bake on the middle rack for 20 minutes. 
5.  Remove from oven and gently flip (or stir if you want less chunky, more cereal-y consistency) granola.  Move it towards the center and away from the edges of the pan.  Bake 10 more minutes or until granola is golden.  **Note:  If you use molasses in your recipe, particularly more than 1/2 cup, the granola will be darker in appearance.  Just watch to make sure it doesn’t burn!**
6.  Place on a cooling rack (or oven mitt) and let cool completely, about 45-60 minutes.  Stir in your chopped/dried fruit and other goodies and store in an airtight container.  
This can be a great trail mix if you add chocolate or peanut butter chips, additional nuts, etc.  You can mold this recipe into whatever you like!  

Here are some ideas for flavor combinations:
M’s Fall Granola:
Chopped pecans or walnuts, small salted green pumpkin seeds, cinnamon, nutmeg, a dash of pumpkin pie spice, 1/2 C honey + 1/4 C molasses as sweetener, dried apples, dried cranberries or cherries.
Tropical Bonanza in your Mouth:
Chopped macadamia nuts, green pumpkin seeds, ground ginger in place of cinnamon, molasses as sweetener, chopped dried pineapple and papaya or mango
I <3 Elvis Trail Mix:
Chopped peanuts, cinnamon, 1/2 C honey + 1/4 C molasses as sweetener, chocolate and peanut butter chips, dried banana chips
So have fun with this and make it your own.  Let me know what mixtures you come up with!  I usually enjoy mine in a bowl of almond milk, but you can eat it by its lonesome or on top of yogurt or with fried armadillo.

This also makes a nice gift in a cool glass container or Ball jar.

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