Thursday, October 28, 2010

Make your own granola - does this make me "crunchy"?

Nothing could be easier or healthier!  Have you ever glanced at the side panel of a box of breakfast cereal?  Blech!  Sugar, sugar and more sugar, plus all sorts of other allergens like milk, nuts, soy and wheat.  You can make a variety of different cereals for every day of the week!  Put your base together, then add your favorite flavors to make all kinds of granola and not just to eat as cereal, top your favorite home made ice cream or eat right out of the jar as a healthy on the go snack!

Granola has a long shelf life, so this batch is a large one.  It will fill 3 - 2 quart Ball jars, as seen above. I will separate the ingredients below so you can make the base cereal, then you can separate the base into as many flavors as you want to experiment with.  Have fun, try anything! This could be a great activity for little hands....create your own cereal bar!

Ingredients for the cereal base
  • 6 cups regular rolled oats (feel free to add depth by swapping some oats for rice crispy cereal)
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded coconut
  • 1 cup coconut nectar or honey (coconut nectar is low on the glycemic index, meaning it's safe for diabetics and doesn't feed yeast, not to mention TASTY!)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
Add about a 1/4-1/2 cup of any of these add-ins, if you add more than this, you may need to increase your wet ingredients above so it's not too dry, just play with it.  The freeze dried fruits will hydrate with milk, just like the boxed commercial cereals.
  • chopped nuts (high oxalate)
  • dried cherries (one of my favorites)
  • dried cranberries
  • freeze dried apples and cinnamon
  • raisins
  • freeze dried strawberries
  • freeze dried mango
  • freeze dried blueberries
  • cinnamon (high oxalate)
  • and if you want to really go all out, dehydrate shreds of pumpkin or anything else for that matter!
Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
Combine oats, add-ins and coconut in a large bowl. Set aside.
Combine coconut nectar/honey, water and salt in a small saucepan.
Heat, stirring frequently, until ingredients are all melted together.
Remove from heat and stir in coconut oil and vanilla.
Pour over oat mixture and stir well.
Place granola into 2 greased 13x9x2-inch pans or 1-2 greased cookie sheets. If you made more than two flavors, you can separate them more.
Bake in a preheated oven for about one hour, until golden.
Stir/turn over using a wide metal spatula about every 20 minutes.
The granola will get crunchier as it cools. Store in an airtight container.

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