Tuesday, October 12, 2010

healthy homemade granola

So, in my project of trying new breakfast foods, I found a lot that had granola in them. I love granola, but it's really expensive-- and in reading about different kinds of granola, I found that it really isn't that healthy. It's full of sugar and all sorts of preservatives.

I had to find something better. Something cheaper, something healthier.

I did.

I found something that is full of protein and has some fiber also-- and is made with things easy to find in any grocery store, was prepared in about 30 minutes (only because I had an accident with it-- more on that later), and cooked in less than an hour.

Rather than give you the recipe I found, I'll share with you the way i actually made it. Keep in mind you can change this up pretty much however you want. Change the nuts. Exchange pumpkin seeds in for the sunflower seeds. Use agave nectar or maple syrup instead of honey. Use your imagination!

Healthy Homemade Granola

dry ingredients:
6 cups rolled oats (just not instant oatmeal)
2 cups raw almonds, crunched up
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup ground flax seed
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
** 1/2 cup dried berries (added after cooking)

wet ingredients:
2 cups unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup honey
2 T olive oil
1 T ground cinnamon
1 T ground ginger
smidgen of salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
(yes, that's dried berries in it also. I read the instructions wrong initially and thought the dried fruit was to be added with the dry ingredients. It's supposed to be added after baking. Oops.)

Mix all the dry ingredients together. Remember to add the dried fruit after cooking. I forgot. I added them to everything, stirred it together, then had to pick them all out. On the plus side, I found out that mixing it by hand was MUCH easier than with a spoon.

Mix the wet ingredients and spices together, then add them to the dry ingredients.

Spread into two baking dishes that have been treated with a little nonstick spray. I had a 13x9 and an 8x8 available. Bake for about an hour, stirring every 10-15 minutes. Be careful when stirring it not to break it up too much-- you know how granola is supposed to be kind of chunky, and you don't want it to get too flaky. The original recipe said to bake it until it starts to get golden brown, but it's basically golden brown the whole time. So I stirred until it was sort of dry, and, well, granola-texture.

storage conditions-- there's a lot of fresh food in it that can go bad if left on the counter, even if in an airtight container. If you're not going to eat it all in a day or two, store it in a cool, dry place. I put most of it in a gallon-size freezer bag and stored it in the freezer. The rest I put in a tupperware container in the fridge.

Nutritional Value for 1/2 cup granola:
232 calories
7 grams protein
12.7 grams fat (mostly comes from the nuts and seeds)
25 grams carbohydrates
4.4 grams fiber

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