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Monday, February 22, 2016

Spiced Apple Berry Granola


Its Monday, a February Monday.  But I feel amazing and the weather is spectacular.  Yeah, you heard me!  The whole weekend, in fact, was amazing: very mild temps and sunny.  WTF?  Perhaps that's why, despite having more than several beers Saturday night when we were at our friends' for dinner, and then a kick-ass workout at the gym yesterday morning, I feel so awesome.  Amazing what a little sunshine can do!

Well, perhaps it isn't quite so delightful where you are, in which case I suggest a hearty breakfast to power you through your day.  Here is a delicious recipe that will tickle your taste buds and save you a few bucks.  It is kid-approved, and, in fact, Big A declared this the best granola she's ever had.  The only problem is, the girls are going through it so fast, I may have to hide some for myself!

If you are looking to cut your grocery bill and you love cereal/granola, making your own is worth it.  Its so expensive to buy! Granola, in particular, can be ridiculous, especially the premium/healthier varieties.

It's really easy to make and so much better when you can control what goes into it.  Most store-bought varieties have so much sugar added.

Not only is this version gluten-free, nut-free, vegan and sugar-free, it is simply fabulous.  I threw in a little protein powder to bump up the protein content too, but that's optional.  The kids are loving this granola.  In fact, I am getting upset that even though this recipe makes a huge amount, the girls have been going through it so quick, I may have to hide some from them!  They love it over yogurt either for breakfast, a snack, or even dessert after dinner.  I don't blame them though, it is so yummy...and baking up a batch makes your kitchen smell wonderful too.

Spiced Apple Berry Granola

1.5 cups unsweetened apple sauce
1/4 cup avocado oil (don't worry, its flavourless)
2 tsp pure, uncut powdered stevia (or other sweetener of choice)
1 scoop vegan vanilla protein powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp apple pie spice (or 1/2 tsp nutmeg + 1/2 tsp ground ginger)
1/2 tsp salt

2 lbs large flake oats (gluten-free, if necessary)
6 cups unsweetened puffed millet cereal
1 cup millet, uncooked
2 tbsp. chia seeds

1 cup juice sweetened dried berries
1/2 unsweetened freeze-dried blueberries (optional)
1/2 cup unsweetened dried apples, chopped
1/4 cup pepitas (optional)

Combine apple sauce, oil, sweetener, protein powder and spices in a small pot.  Warm over low heat for about 5-10 minutes.

Toss oats, millet and chia seeds in a large bowl.  Pour apple sauce mixture over top and toss well, making sure everything is well coated.  Spread evenly onto 2 very large parchment-lined baking sheets*. Bake at 350F for 20 minutes, then remove trays, stir, and rotate their position (placing top one on bottom rack and vice versa).  Repeat twice more, baking for a total of 1 hour until golden brown.  Stir well each time to prevent burning.  Remove from oven and let cool.  Mix in dried fruit and pepitas.  Store in air tight container in a cool place for up to 3 months.

*If you don't have 2 large baking sheets, simply bake in batches.

I shared this recipe with Vegetarian Mamma's Gluten-Free Friday.