If you’ve been following my last couple of posts, then you know I’ve been ruminating about breakfast and how important it is to a healthy lifestyle, Even if you haven’t read the previous two posts, then you’re in for a treat. For today I’ve included an incredibly easy, incredibly tasty granola, that will not only jumpstart your taste buds first thing in the morning but help you stay sated all day long.
It’s amazingly easy to make your own granola. At first, I was a little skeptical that my granola would be a multi generational treat. To my delight, however, kids loved this cereal. Perhaps it’s the natural sweetness of the dried fruit, or perhaps it’s the toasty flavor of the oats once they’ve been baked in the oven. Whatever the reason, the granola was a hit. And I’m confident it will be in your home as well. You can customize it at will, using almonds or walnuts instead of the pecans, or raisins instead of the dried cranberries or even unsulphured dried mango in place of the dried apricots. Whatever the case, you may find yourself making double batches to ensure you always have enough on hand.
Besides, granola need not be exclusively reserved for the morning hours, although it’s excellent served cold with milk or a milk substitute. It’s wonderful sprinkled on top of a hot cereal made from quinoa or buckwheat flakes. You can even make a yogurt breakfast sundae by alternating layers of your favorite yogurt with layers of the granola. It’s also excellent on its own, served up as a snack.
By including dried cranberries and dried apricots in your homemade granola, you’re doing your body and heart a world of good. Cranberries are both anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory. In particular, they’re a great source of support for oral health, most specifically the gums and the mouth.
Apricots too pack a nutritional wallop. They can inhibit the formation of plaques in the brain, usually a precursor to Alzheimer’s disease. They are also an excellent source of potassium, an important factor in balancing the body’s electrolytes.
I used California dried apricots in my granola. The ones I usually use are organic and are open. This is in contrast to the Turkish variety which come closed. Bright orange dried apricots are usually treated with sulphur which allows them to retain their color.
A hint of sweetness, a dash of spice and a whole mouthful of goodness describes my easy to prepare, easy to store and just plain delicious morning granola.
3 cups large flake rolled oats
½ cup pecans
¼ cup dried cranberries
¼ cup chopped dried apricots
2 tbsp \sunflower seeds
3 tbsp oil
3 tbsp raw honey or agave
¼ tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
2. In a bowl, combine the oats, pecans, cranberries, apricots and sunflower seeds. Pour in the oil, honey, cinnamon and salt, stirring until well coated.
3.Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan, making sure it is in a single layer.
4. Bake in the center of the preheated oven, stirring halfway through, for 15 to 20 minutes or until crispy.
Store granola in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to 7 days.
Yield: 3-1/2 to 4 cups.