There are two important things this post is going to accomplish. 1) share my recipe for a healthier homemade granola, and 2) serve as the birthday card I forgot to send my mom. So happy birthday mom, from you responsible, thoughtful daughter. But this really is a perfect post to dedicate to my beautiful mother on her 39th birthday (see, I’m winning points back already). Like me, my mom starts the day with yogurt, fruit, and granola…breakfast of champions.
addendum: for those of you who didn’t pick up on my web-sarcasm, my mother is not, in fact, 39 years old (which would have made her eligible for MTV’s 16 and pregnant). We have been celebrating her 39th birthday for quite some time now…
So why go to the trouble to make your own granola? Let’s say you’re at the grocery store thinking it’s time to get healthy. What better place to start than with breakfast. You pass right by the sugary cereal even though Captain Crunch and that jolly leprechaun are calling your name. Good work. You see some granola and you think…now that must be healthy…and throw it in the cart. Although granola can be packed with nutrients, the store bought varieties can also be loaded with sugar and fat (yeah, even granola is made with partially hydrogenated oil). That’s why I decided to take matters into my own hands.
So I went to the store and picked up some dried fruit (I went with dried apples and blueberries), some nuts (pecans, sliced almonds, and sunflower seeds were my go to), and wheat germ. I already had the other ingredients in the pantry: flax seed meal, oats of course, honey, brown sugar, vanilla, canola oil, and apple juice. There are a lot of ingredients that go into this recipe, but once you buy them once you’ll see how easy and quick it is to throw this recipe together.
Step 1: mix the dry ingredients: Oats, nuts, flax seed, wheat germ, and cinnamon.
Step 2: mix the “wet” ingredients separately…that’s your honey, vanilla extract, apple juice, canola oil, and brown sugar (even though that’s not really wet). Pour this into the dry mixture and stir. Stir again.
Oh wait…step -1: preheat your oven to 300.
Step 3: Pour mixture onto a baking sheet. Don’t make the same mistake as I did and use a pan with no edges. Some of the oats will dive off the side of the pan and burn at the bottom of your oven. Doesn’t smell so hot.
Step 4-6: Cook for 10 minutes, stir…Cook for 10 minutes, stir…and finally, cook for 10 minutes and take it out of the oven.
Step 7. While the granola is cooling, get the dried fruits you’re using ready. I used dried blueberries and chopped dried apples which was scrumptious. Next time I will try cranberries and apricots. What ever makes you happy. Or if you’re a traditionalist like my mom, you could go fruitless.
Step 9: Put the granola on your kitchen windowsill and watch the beautiful sunset over the east river. Or is that just me?
Nutritional highlights: This homemade granola is very low in fat and sugar which is the fatal flaw of most store bought varieties. The rolled oats are a great source of fiber, almonds can help lower cholesterol and give you protein, and the dried blueberries have tons of antioxidants. Another key thing with granola is portion control (not one of my strengths). Although this recipe is incredibly nutrient rich, it still has a decent amount of calories so try to eat 1/3 cup servings. I also sometimes mix 1/4 cup granola with 1/4 cup fiber cereal to “thin it out” if you will.
Happy birthday mom!!!!
3 cups old fashioned oats
1/4 cup flax seed meal
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1-2 teaspoons of cinnamon (depending on your preference)
1/2 cup apple juice
1-2 tablespoons honey (depending on how sweet you want it)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup dried fruit
Preheat oven to 300
1. Mix first 7 ingredients (dry ingredients)
2. Separately mix wet ingredients (everything else except the dried fruit)
3. Stir wet mixture into dry. Spread onto a baking sheet.
4. Bake for about 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes and checking often.
5. Let granola cool and then mix in the dried fruit. Enjoy!!