Over the course of the last few years I’ve been moving away from buying ready made foods like cereals, soups, sauces, etc. and making more and more of these items myself. My reasons are threefold; environmental: less packaging to dispose of; health: I can eliminate all those unpronounceable ingredients, and have better control over what we are eating; and emotional: I feel really good knowing I can make it as good or better than what’s in a package. Granola is one of those packaged items that I have ceased buying and now make at home.
Granola is very versatile. It can be added to foods, as in a crumbly topping on a fruit cobbler, put on foods to add crunch, like over fruits, or ice-cream, or eaten out-of-hand as a snack. So with that said, I have been making homemade granola and spreading it around rather liberally. My lunches consist, for the most part, of fruit smoothies, or yogurt with granola on top; and for my husband, I send him off to work with a nutritious salad for lunch, and a bag of granola for a mid-afternoon snack. Each time I make it I vary the fruits and nuts I put in it, so it does not become boring.
For anyone who needs a quick “grab and go” breakfast, or who brings lunch to work, yogurt and granola is a delicious, good-for-you duo. I like Greek style yogurt because it’s thicker than regular styles, and because it packs almost twice the protein, so you’re not as likely to get the mid-morning munchies. You can also stretch your budget by purchasing the large size yogurt and putting it into smaller 8 0z. containers. Likewise package your granola in baggies, so when you’re ready to leave the house, just grab one of each and you will be on your way with a breakfast or lunch that is economical, delicious, and good for you.
Trail Mix Granola
Makes about 5 cups
- 3 cups old-fashioned oats
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups add-ins, like dried cranberries, cherries, apricots, figs, raisins; coconut, nuts such as almonds, pistachios, walnuts.
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Whisk together oil, honey, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and salt in a glass measuring cup. Heat briefly in microwave ( 1 minute at 50% power) to blend and melt any sugar lumps. Stir well, then pour over oats in a large bowl and toss to coat.
3. Spread mixture on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown, stirring every 5 minutes.
4. Let cool slightly, then transfer back into large bowl and stir in add-ins. Let cool completely before packaging, or store in air-tight container for up to 2 weeks.
SOURCE: Quick Vegetarian Pleasures