Archive for June, 2011

Granola Tales

The other day I took a massive leap forward in my hippie transformation: I made my own granola.

Now personally I can’t think of anything more thoroughly hippie, but my friend contends that it’s only about 65% of the nougat filling that is the heart of a hippie.  According to her, the remaining content is homemade fruit leather.

I can’t confirm these allegations, but anyways, granola.

I needed a recipe that wasn’t entirely comprised of nuts, as these send my husband to the emergency room.  After some searching, I found Healthy Green Kitchen, an awesome blog, and in particular, a granola recipe that’s nut-free.

Now, I will admit that I had to go to two different natural foods stores before I could find all these ingredients, but it was totally worth it.  I’m copying over the recipe as is, and you’ll find my modifications underneath.

You will need:

*1/3 cup raw pumpkin seeds
*1/3 cup raw sunflower seeds
*1/3 cup raw sesame seeds
*2 cups organic rolled oats
*1-2 teaspoons organic ground cinnamon
*3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
*3 tablespoons organic coconut oil, liquified in a pan of hot water, if necessary
*1 teaspoon vanilla extract
*1/2 cup organic raisins
*1/2 cup organic dried cranberries, unsulphured dried apricots, or other dried fruit (chopped, if necessary)
*1/4 cup raw cacao nibs- optional, but highly recommended (70% dark chocolate chips could be substituted, if desired)

And then:

1. Preheat oven to 250°F.

2. Pour all ingredients except cacao nibs in a large bowl and stir well.

3. Spread the mixture evenly onto a baking sheet in a thin layer.

4. Place the baking pan in the oven and bake for 15 minutes.

5. Remove pan from oven, toss granola around, rotate the pan, and bake for another 15 minutes. Repeat until granola is completely dry and light golden brown (about 1 hour total).

6. Allow to cool and then stir in cacao nibs. Store in an air-tight container.

All that was left by the time I got around to taking a picture.

So, feedback time.  First off, I used roasted seeds instead of raw, simply because that’s all I could find.  For the record, I would have preferred raw.  Second, I don’t like raisins, so I used a cup of a dried berries mix.  For the next batch, I used dried blueberries and cranberries.  Third, my granola was still kind of greasy after one hour, so on the next batch, I baked it longer and at 300, which had much better results. Fourth, I added flax seeds to the next batch, because why not.

I was fortunate enough to find the recommended cacao nibs…right next to the dried berries turns out.  And can I say that they are phenomenal?  I thought they’d be super bitter, but these are chocolately and delicious, and the packaging calls them a superfood… so I am just going to roll with the idea that they are good for you despite tasting so heavenly.

Initially I was a little concerned about coconut oil, as it’s a saturated fat.  However as far as I can tell from my research, the truly harmful fats are animal in origin, and therefore if you are going to have a saturated fat, coconut is the one to use.  In small quantities it appears to have some health benefits, and is pretty much tasteless, making it a good substitute for many things.  If you are still concerned you could try substituting grapeseed oil.

What can I say? It's delicious! I tripled the recipe on the next batch.

Bottom line, I give this recipe an A.  It’s not complicated, provided you can get the ingredients, and even then it’s easy to modify.  You could easily add nuts if you wish.  The cinnamon and vanilla are a great combination of flavours, and I actually have to be careful not to stuff myself with it.  It’s that good!

EDIT:  So turns out you can get almost all of this in bulk at Coopers, and some of it in bulk at Superstore.  Nice to know that more chains are broadening their selection of health foods!