Sunday, July 15, 2012

ChezCindy: Good Morning Granola

Homemade Granola with Seeds and Nuts

My beautiful super-healthy eater friend advised that if I wanted to enhance my daily diet I should consider eating oats.  My gorgeous sister also encourages me to eat cooked oatmeal for breakfast.  I like the taste of oatmeal, but I don't like the mushy texture.  Once after a dinner party, when we had all enjoyed a few glasses of wine, the conversation turned to healthy eating.  Somehow we got on the topic of consuming raw oats.  I went to the pantry, pulled out the Quaker Oats container and tried it..... not something I would recommend.  But granola, is quite tasty.  That I do enjoy.  And it's primary ingredient is oats!  Maybe I can accomplish this daily oats eating thing. 

There are numerous ready-made granola products available at the grocery stores.  Some more healthy and delicious than others, but all are a bit expensive.  I have come to rely on making my own granola at home.  I have 2 favorite recipes.  Each are from Molly Wisenberg, author of food blog Orangette.  Molly is one of my favorite food writers.  Her first book, A Homemade Life, Stories and Recipes from my Kitchen Table, is full of delightful stories of her family's love for food.  Each chapter includes delicious recipes from her youth and travels.  A wonderful book.

My newest favorite granola recipe, was influenced from a post on Orangette earlier this year. Surprisingly, this recipe uses olive oil.  It adds a unique flavor and also makes the oats crispy, almost flaky.  Really good.  There is a little bit of salt that balances the sweetness.  I use a variety of seeds, pumpkin, sunflower, etc.  Use what is your favorite or available in your pantry.  The recipe makes a lot of granola.  It can be divided, some to store in your freezer for later, and some to enjoy daily.  It can also be stored in glass jars in the pantry for several weeks.

Everyday Granola
3 cups old fashioned oats (not quick cooking)
1/2 cup raw hulled pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup raw hulled sunflower seeds
1/4 cup soy nuts
2 tablespoons ground flax seed
1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1/2 cup pecans, roughly chopped
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup maple syrup, Grade B
1/3 cup olive oil
1 cup dried cherries (optional)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine the oats, seeds, soy nuts & flax seed (powerful punch of fiber and omega-3), coconut, pecans, brown sugar and salt.  Stir to combine.  Add the olive oil and maple syrup; stir until well combined.  Spread the granola mixture in an even layer on the prepared sheet pan.  Bake, stirring every 15 minutes, until the granola is golden brown and toasted, 45-55 minutes.  Remove from the oven, allow to cool,  Add the dried fruit, if using.  Store in an airtight container or zip plastic bag.  I usually divide the granola into 2 zip bags, storing one in the freezer and the other in the pantry.  Stays fresh for 3-4 weeks at room temperature.

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