Thursday, March 17, 2011

Every Day Granola

I'm going to tell you a secret. Promise not to judge me?

I don't like breakfast food.

I know, I know. Healthiest meal of the day and all that. But come on - pancakes? Toast? Scrambled eggs? These are not things I want to start my whole day with. As a firm believer in the adage "you are what you eat," I simply don't want to start my day as a frozen waffle. Jesse, on the other hand, is a devoted breakfaster - he has been known to get up early (that alone spells insanity in my book) just to make himself a hearty breakfast. Before going running.

I know. Breakfast AND running. We know who the good one is in this marriage.

Personally, I don't like to eat when I first wake up. My eyes and my stomach always start out blearily, and it takes some time before I'm ready to take on daytime things, like food and other people and thinking. A benefit of this is that by the time I'm hungry, I've bypassed breakfast and headed right on into brunch or, as I prefer to call it on weekday mornings, pre-lunch. And since there are no standard pre-lunch foods, I can have anything I want. Which usually means baked goods. Or cheese.

Lately, though, I've felt a little weird about this. I spend a lot of time every evening packing a day's worth of food for Miles, making sure to include fruits and veggies and something extra-wholesome to start his morning. All this attention paid to his nutrition has started making me feel a little guilty about starting my own day with leftover pie. Maybe it's time for Mom to grow up and join the hordes of breakfast-eating adults.

So I decided on granola. It's simple, not too sweet, goes down way easier than a pancake (seriously, who likes those things?), and pairs well with my daily jar of yogurt and fruit. Also, it's stupidly easy to make. And cheap. Gotta love cheap.

Every Day Granola
Makes almost 2 quarts (6 cups)

I like to bake this granola almost to the point of burning - I wait until the edges of the oats get really brown and the oven starts smelling nutty before I pull it out. If you prefer your granola medium instead of well done, just take it out when it looks uniformly dry and golden.

Play with the ingredients - the proportions are the key to any granola recipe. I change this up pretty much every time I make it.

4 cups old fashioned oats (not quick oats)
1 cup raw sliced almonds (or any nut)
1/2 cup shredded coconut (I use unsweetened but sweetened is ok, too)
1/3 cup unsalted pepitas or other raw seed
1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup apple butter (or pear butter, or just use another 1/4 cup honey)
1 teaspoon sea salt (less if you're not me)
1 cup dried fruit (I like raisins, chopped apricots, dried cherries, or a combination)

Preheat the oven to 350
Toss the oats, nuts, coconut, pepitas and salt in a bowl. Stir the wet ingredients in, making sure to coat everything pretty evenly. You'll have some clumps, but try not to have any really big ones, or things will cook weirdly.

Spread on a cookie sheet and bake for about 45 minutes, until nicely browned. Stir occasionally to make sure everything cooks evenly. Make sure to pull the granola at the edges of the pan into the center, since it'll cook quicker.

Remove pan and cool completely. Sprinkle dried fruit over the top of the granola, and pour into a big jar to store it on the counter.

Note - this also makes a really nice gift. All of Miles' teachers got a jar of granola and some apple butter for Christmas this year, and they said it was a nice change from all the sweets.
~Ashby

3 comments:

  1. Yummy! My mom makes her own granola as well, it's such a great snack!
    Lately, our family has been hooked on this trail mix of nuts and dried fruit, I think it's because it's unsalted and has these delicious little yogurt chips (like a chocolate chip) but the kicker is that it's about a third more expensive then any other mix I've seen. So I think I'll be making a trip to a bulk natural store soon to stock up and make my own granola and trail mixes!
    Great recipe Ash, Thanks so much!

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  2. Fantastic recipe! I usually buy mine, but maybe I'll just make me up some :o) Granola and yogurt is a fav.

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  3. Thanks :o) My favorite thing about this recipe is how cheap it is - granola recipes can really get pricey with all the schmancy fruits and nuts. This one is based on pantry staples, so it actually saves money.

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