Choose Your Own Granola Adventure

 

Let me tell you about granola. My mom used to make all different kinds, playing around with toastiness and dried fruit and nut combinations. It was the bomb. One time in college she made a gimundo batch and gave me a big tub of it to eat because she's sweet like that. I lived in a dorm all through college so I never cooked. Those were sad years, because before I went off to dorm land I was known for my brownie-making skill. Since I've been in grad school and living in homes with actual kitchens, and dating a guy who truly appreciates making and consuming good food, I've been making up for lost time. After looking at several different recipes, I came up with this one. It has everything I usually want in it, plus is flexible enough to adjust to your preferences without a lot of thought.

 
Start out with a big ole bowl, the biggest one you've got. Throw in your rolled oats, wheat germ, bran, seeds of your choice if you want em (I didn't include this time, but often like sunflower seeds for a little saltiness), and nuts of your choice. I've used sliced almonds here but I've tried walnuts and pecans in the past. Choose one or mix it up.
 


 Mix it all together real good.

Put your coconut oil, honey, salt, cinnamon, and brown sugar in a medium sized pot and melt over medium heat. Stir to make deliciously smooth and let come to a boil.


I know it's lame, but you need to stand there and watch the pot. Your ingredients will melt and you will stand there and think nothing's happening for maybe two minutes, and then all of the sudden your pot is boiling over while you're washing dishes or playing Candy Crush or whatever. And then you've got smoking burners and the smoke detector's going off and your roommates are like what the hell is going on in here (not that this has ever happened to me or anything). 


 As soon as your liquid gets nice and bubbly like this, turn off the heat and pour over your nicely mixed dry ingredients.


Think of this part as an arm workout. You mix and mix and mix. Keep it classy with a wooden spoon. You will probably think you're done at least twice and then find pockets of dry ingredients. Keep going!

Spread your coated granola on your parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Try to get a nice, even layer. Put in a 250 degree oven for about twenty minutes. Take out and turn over the granola to allow it to toast evenly.


At thirty minutes, pull back out and, if you want to (and you do), sprinkle some shredded coconut on top, then mix it in good so the coconut doesn't cook too quickly. Put back in the oven for another ten minutes or so.


I usually take mine out right around 40-45 minutes, but you can leave it in longer if you like it more toasty (Andy and I like ours a little more chewy). If you leave it in longer, check every four or five minutes. When it's done to your liking, add your raisins or dried fruit of choice and mix in. Allow to cool.


Please note: the granola will clump up as it cools, NOT as it cooks. You want to judge done-ness by color and texture. 


Once the granola is fully cooled, move carefully into an airtight container (or two, or three). I keep mine in these cute canisters on my counter, and store the little bit extra in a plastic tub (we'll eat this first). You may or may not have to sweep your floor after doing this. Hey, it's totally worth it!

This recipe makes A LOT of granola. If you're making it for just you, you may want to half it. However, it also stays good a really long time (we've never had any go bad on us, even if it's on the counter for a month), so even if you're only eating a couple bowls of it a week, you'll get through it all eventually. It takes a bit of work, but it's an easy, healthful breakfast for busy/lazy mornings.

What's your go-to for a quick, healthy breakfast?

Yours Truly, Jen

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Jen's Homemade Granola Recipe

 

Ingredients

8 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 cups wheat germs
1 1/2 cups bran (I used Kellogs Bran Buds here)
1 cup seeds of your choice
1 1/2 cups nuts of your choice
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup honey
1 cup coconut oil
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon (you could throw in other spices for flavor variety if you want)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1-3 cups dried fruit
Shredded coconut or coconut chips to taste

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
2. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
3. Combine oats, wheat germ, bran, seeds, and nuts in large bowl. Mix thoroughly.
4. Stir together the salt, brown sugar, honey, oil, cinnamon, and vanilla in a small saucepan. Bring to boil over medium heat, then pour over dry ingredients.
5. Mix wet and dry ingredients thoroughly.
6. Spread mixture evenly over lined baking sheets.
7. Baked in preheated oven for 20 minutes. Take out and turn granola over in order to cook evenly.
8. Cook another ten minutes, then take out and add coconut (optional).
9. Cook to desired level of toastiness. The oats should be golden brown. Taste some to test crunch.
10. Mix in dried fruit and allow to cool completely. Store in airtight container(s).

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