Think for a moment….what do you buy and what do you make yourself?
I believe there are certain things that are worth buying, but many things most people buy are better homemade. Consider that mass-produced and processed foods often contain added things that we don't need or want: added sugar, salt, and other additives and preservatives. I think it's high-time to take control of the ingredients in our food!
Here is an example of something that is much better homemade…granola! Granola is truly easy to make, and it's great because you can make it exactly how you like it. Want flaxseeds? Add them! Don't like nuts? Leave them out! Like dried fruit? Pick your favorites and add them!
Today's recipe is a very basic, simple granola that only uses honey as the sweetener. That way it is as minimally processed as possible. Feel free to add in up to a cup of extra stuff if you want to change it up a little: your favorite nuts, raisins, dried cranberries, or your favorite seeds!
One word of caution: add the nuts and seeds to your mixture before baking, but wait to add any raisins, dried cranberries or dried fruits until after baking, while the granola is still warm.
Once you mix and dry ingredients together in one bowl and the wet ingredients together in another bowl, pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients and mix together. Everything should get wet and sticky.
Spread the granola mixture on a baker's half sheet. Really, any type of baking sheet will work if it has a lip on it to prevent the mixture from sliding off. I really like mine, which you can find HERE. It should look like so…
Next, place the baking sheet with granola into the oven at 250 degrees. Stir the granola every 15 minutes, bringing the granola on the edges into the middle and the granola from the middle out toward the edges. Bake for approximately 45 minutes to an hour. You will know the granola is done when you can really smell the vanilla and it starts browning. Once the granola has browned as much as you desire, pull it out of the oven to cool.
Let the mixture cool. While the granola is still warm, add raisins or dried fruit and let cool completely. Once cool, feel free to break up the chunks, if you like that texture. You can also leave the granola with chunks in it, as people often like it that way.
In my batch, I added freeze-dried strawberries. I recently found some like these that were organic.
Add ins before baking:
Nuts: chopped pecans or sliced almonds
Seeds: pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds
Add ins for after baking but before serving:
Dried fruit: raisins, cranberries, pineapple, cherries, blueberries, apples, mango, or banana chips
Sweet tooth: Chocolate chips, yogurt chips, peanut butter chips
Apple Cinnamon Granola: add 2 tsp cinnamon (before baking) and 1/3 cup finely chopped dried apples (after baking)
Chocolate Granola: add 1/2 cup cocoa (before baking) and 1/2 cup chocolate chips (after baking)
Pumpkin Spice Granola: add 1/2 cup pumpkin puree and 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice to wet ingredients and heat in small sauce pan on stove over medium heat until boiling. Remove from stove and mix wet ingredients with the dry ingredients.
Peanut Butter Granola: add 1/2 cup peanut butter to wet ingredients and heat in a small sauce pan on stove over medium heat until boiling. Remove from stove and mix wet ingredients with the dry ingredients. Add 1/2 cup of peanut butter chips if you want an extra peanut butter flavor!
Tropical Granola: add 1/2 cup coconut and 1/2 cup sliced almonds (before baking) and 1/4 cup each dried pineapple, mangos and bananas (after baking)
Voila! Hello, healthy granola! Give this recipe a try so you can see just how easy it is!
Please comment below and tell us: What is your favorite add-in to granola?