“Choose Your Own Adventure” Granola

 

“Breakfast cereals rank third in the list of grocery store items on which Americans spend their money, behind only carbonated beverages and milk…” The Breakfast Cereal Gourmet
 
We all know how expensive breakfast cereals are at the store.  And we all know how much added sugar many of them contain.  But with just one recipe you can turn your nose up to the cereal industry, have endless breakfast possibilities, and continue down the path to good health that you and your family deserve.
 
This recipe, as the name implies, is flexible.  Add what you like, mix n’ match, and come up with your own fancy pants varieties at a fraction of the price of grocery granola.  It’s a great one to make with kids because it allows them to “choose their own adventure” and an empowered kid is a happy kid.
 
The foundation is rolled oats- which have been proven to reduce cholesterol, ward off breast cancer (due to high fiber content), and even reduce childhood asthma symptoms!  One cup of oats has more protein that most veggie burgers AND it is tolerated by many gluten-free friends!
 
 
CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE GRANOLA – 8 cups 

Make Ahead and Make it Easy

 If stored in an air tight container this granola will last for a week or more- in the fridge it will stay fresh for- well, I don’t know how long, but long enough for you to finish it all!
 
Ingredients 
  • 6 cups rolled oats
  • 2 cups unsalted nuts or seeds in any combination: sliced almonds, cashews, walnuts, pepitas, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds
  • 1 cup dried unsweetened coconut (if you can’t find unsweetened just lower the sweetener amount later by a few Tbs)
  • OPTIONAL: 1 tsp cinnamon
  • OPTIONAL: 1/4 tsp additional spice: nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice, cardamom, ginger, etc.)
  • OPTIONAL: 1/4 cup heathy adder: wheat germ, ground flax-seed
  • 1/2 cup honey, agave, brown rice syrup or maple syrup
  • 1-3 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp salt
  • OPTIONAL 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup neutral tasting oil (I use corn but I think coconut would be yummy)
  • 1 cup your favorite dried fruit or other sweet treat that doesn’t like the oven: blueberries, yogurt-raisins, cranberries, raisins, cherries, M&Ms (trail mix, anyone?) apples, candied ginger, pineapple, apricots, you name it!

How to make it

  1. Heat oven to 300F.
  2. In a large jellyroll pan (or roasting pan- anything with an edge to prevent spillage) combine oats, nuts, coconut, spices, and healthy adder if using.
  3. In a small saucepan heat syrup, vanilla, salt, sugar, and oil over medium heat until dissolved.
  4. Pour mixture over oats and stir.
  5. Bake the granola, stirring every 10-15 minutes for 40-60 minutes until it’s as golden brown as you like.
  6. Remove from oven and stir in the dried fruit.  Allow to cool before storing.
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