I'm not much of a cereal eater, but I do appreciate a good granola from time to time. Store-bought granola might be tasty, but have you ever stopped to read the labels on the box? While meandering down the cereal aisle, I decided to look for an acceptable alternative to homemade granola. Something that could take the place of our homemade in an emergency; did not contain gluten, and wasn't made with a bunch of genetically modified, processed ingredients.
After 30 minutes, I gave up.
Because I ran out of boxes to read.
Maybe I'm a granola snob, but I know what I like. I know what my kids like. And I know what won't make them sick in the long run. If we are going to eat healthy, whole foods 80% of the time, I would rather not waste our remaining 20% on crappy cereal that holds no nutritional value.
Not when granola is so easy to make at home.
Our old stand-by granola has been Fruity-Coco-Nutty Granola. I've been making it for at least 10 years. Which means that it lost it's WOW factor back in 2003. Then we discovered Almond Joy Granola which turned into a "life is short, eat dessert first" kind of breakfast cereal. The Almond Joy Granola is perfect on ice cream, but not so perfect when you're trying to teach prepositional phrases to a bunch of wild chocolate junkies who can't seem to stay in their seats.
Thanks to "The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook," we have a new stand-by breakfast cereal. With only a handful of ingredients that you probably already have on hand, this is economical, healthy, and just plain delicious.
And did I mention nutritious? Save the 20% for the uncles, Ben & Jerry. They need a little love too.
~Cinnamon Spiced Granola~
(slightly adapted from "The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook")
3 cups GF rolled oats, divided
1 c. chopped walnuts
1 c. chopped almonds
1 c. unsweetened coconut chips or flakes
1 Tb. cinnamon
1/2 t. nutmeg
1/4 t. ground cloves
1/4 t. ground ginger
1/4 t. sea salt
1/2 c. grade B pure maple syrup
1/2 c. melted coconut oil
1 t. vanilla
1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Place 1-1/2 cups rolled oats in a food processor and pulse until oats are chopped up. This will add a little chunkiness to the granola. Pour the oats into a large bowl and add the whole oats.
3. In the same processor bowl, add the walnuts and almonds. (Can use pecans or hazelnuts, if preferred.) Pulse until nuts are coarsely chopped. (It's faster to chop the nuts in the processor, but it's fine to chop them by hand.) Add the nuts to the oats. Add the spices and mix well.
4. In a small saucepan, melt the coconut oil, then measure out 1/2 cup. Pour any remaining oil back into your oil bucket or jar. (It will firm back up as it cools.) Pour the coconut oil into the oats. Add the maple syrup and vanilla. Using a wooden spoon, mix well, making sure that all the oats are covered with the wet ingredients.
5. Spread the mixture onto a broiler pan or a cookie sheet with sides. Bake for 10 minutes. Turn off the oven, but do not remove the granola from the oven. Leave it alone for 1 hour. (Trust me!) After an hour, remove from oven and finish cooling on the counter. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
*Leaving the granola in the oven will allow the granola to dry without burning. When cool, the granola will be chunky like the store-bought, but without the soybean oil and wheat starch to hold it together. We usually add dried fruit to the granola after it is out of the oven. Some favorite additions are: chopped dried apples, dried cherries, dried mangoes, dried blueberries (my personal favorite), or raisins.