Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Killer Granola

"They" say that Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I am not one to talk, as it is rare that I have a balanced breakfast (or Rosie usually ends up eating whatever I prepare for myself), or I get in a quick breakfast while she is eating her own. I love granola and have always been meaning to make my own and finally did. I usually buy the brand Bare Naked granola, but at $4-$5 a bag it can get a bit pricy. Not only did it make my apartment smell amazing, but now I have a quick breakfast for yogurt in the morning and don't really have to worry about it! This recipe hails from Giada at FoodNetwork.com, adapted by yours truly. She uses unsweetened cranberry juice but I substituted that for a water/OJ mixture. She also used a different nut mixture/ratio. The recipe is so simple overall, and I highly recommend it. Plus it stores great. Any of the nuts I used can be replaced for whatever you like/have at hand. The craisins can also be replaced with raisins if that's what you prefer. To make it extra sweet, add some chocolate chips once cooled completely:

-1/3 cup pure maple syrup
-2/3 cup light brown sugar, loosely packed
-1/4 cup water
-1/4 cup orange juice
-1 tsp. cinnamon
-1/4 tsp. salt
-2 cups old fashion oats
1/2 cup slivered almonds
-1/4 cup unsalted almonds, roughly chopped
-1/8 cup chopped pecans
-1/8 cup pumpkin seeds
-1/4 cup flax meal (or wheat germ)
-1 cup craisins (can use raisins too)

-Preheat oven to 325 degrees
-In a small saucepan, add the maple syrup, cinnamon, brown sugar, water, orange juice, and salt over medium-high heat and stir or whisk until the sugar is dissolved.
-In a large bowl add the oats, all the nuts/seeds, and flax. Mix until incorporated.
-Pour the maple mixture into the pat mixture and stir with a rubber spatula to combine.
-Pour onto a greased, rimmed baking sheet and spread into a single layer. Bake for 20 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through.
-Remove from the oven, add the craisins, toss, and spread out again.
-Bake for another 10-12 minutes until golden brown and "dried" out (in other words, it should no longer be mushy or soggy from the wet mixture).
-Let cool COMPLETELY before storing in an airtight container, breaking it up if you need to.

It's great for breakfast like I said- yogurt or even just with milk and fresh berries. I personally love it with froyo. Try it! It won't disappoint!

Makes about 5 cups granola


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