Monday, July 18, 2011

Basic Granola

In trying to move away from processed breakfast cereals and snacks, I decided that homemade granola would fit both bills. While great plain as a snack or in a bowl with milk and fresh fruit, we also enjoy it as a garnish of sorts, sprinkled on baked apples or yogurt or a berry parfait. It's crunchy but a little chewy, and it is not overly sweet. The number of servings we get varies depending on how we eat it, but it's usually 10-12.

There are so many opportunities for variation here, both with the ingredients you use and overall cost. I paid quite a bit more for certified gluten free rolled oats--if gluten free or organic is not a concern for you, you can get them for pretty cheap. If you don't like almonds, use cashews, pecans or walnuts, or any nut mixture, just make sure they are raw or blanched and not roasted. Check your bulk bins for cheaper prices--my grocery store also has a "pre-bagged bulk" area where I get my sunflower seeds and sliced almonds for a great deal, though I am placing an order this week for several pounds of organic almonds from a grower in California. If there are nut allergies or you just don't care for them, skip them and add a little more of something else. If you like dried fruit in your granola, experiment with different kinds--raisins, cranberries, blueberries, bananas, apricots, etc. I grow stevia and enjoy it as a sweetener, but when I need something syrupy, I usually opt for honey. There are many different options, but I opt for honey because it's from a local farmer at my farmers market. I can also get pure maple syrup from the farmers market, and though it is more expensive than honey, I may give it a try soon. I used organic coconut oil because I always have it on hand and use it for many things around here, not just in the kitchen. Use any mild-flavored oil you have on hand. I did add the cost of my oil into this recipe since it was almost 1/5 of the jar, and being organic, it resulted in a more significant cost to my recipe.

Look for a recipe coming up in the next couple of days that I am currently working on--chocolate coconut granola! :)

Basic Granola

4 cups rolled oats (not quick cooking)
1/3 cup coconut oil, canola oil or light olive oil
1/2 cup honey, maple syrup, brown rice syrup or agave nectar
1 cup sliced almonds, raw
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/2 tsp salt
Optional additions: 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 cup dried fruit/s

Step 1: Place oatmeal, almonds and sunflower seeds in a large mixing bowl. Mix oil, honey, salt and cinnamon if using in a separate bowl, add to dry ingredients and mix well, until dry ingredients are evenly coated with the oil/honey mixture.

Step 2: Spread mixture out on two baking sheets and bake at 300 degrees for 20-25 minutes, stirring once or twice to make sure it evenly toasts. Remove from oven and stir in dried fruit if using. As it cools, break up any large clumps.


Rolled Oats (gluten free): $6.39/32 oz bag, $5.89 after $1/2 coupon, used 4/9 of bag = $2.62
Almonds: $3.99/10 oz bag, used 1/3 of bag = $1.33
Sunflower seeds: $1.99/12 oz bag, used about 1/6 of bag = $.33
Honey: $5/16 oz jar, used about 1/4 of jar = $1.25
Coconut oil (organic): $7.49/14 oz jar, used just under 1/5 of jar = $1.50

Total Cost: $7.03
10 Servings: $.70 per serving

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