Saturday, September 18, 2010

Healthy Homemade Granola

Big A has fallen in love with the classic combo of yogurt and granola. Once in a while I manage to find some granola on sale at the health food store, but lately I have not been so lucky and all the granola I've seen, even the commercial ones at the grocery store, are like $5 for a tiny box (which would disappear in our house in 2 days!). So I thought, "Why not make some ourselves?". Big A loves cooking and baking and since it's so simple to make, it seemed like a good project for us. Last night Adam was at Shul for Yom Kippur so I had the girls to myself. Fortunately, Little A managed to entertain herself while we were busy making this. You can add in whatever you want, but we made ours nut/seed free (with just dried cranberries and raisins) so that Big A can take it to school as a snack and not worry about the nut-free policy.

1.5 lbs rolled grain flakes (I used a mix of oats, spelt, rye, barley, etc.)
1/2 cup agave syrup (or maple syrup or honey)
1/4 cup canola oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp ground cinnamon

Mix ins

Dried cranberries, cherries, blueberries, gojiberries, or raspberries
Dried apples, pineapple, dates, figs, apricots, pears or peaches (chopped)
Sunflower or pumpkin seeds
Flax seeds
Chopped almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts, etc.
Crystallized ginger
Banana chips

Toss together flakes with sweetener of choice, oil, vanilla and cinnamon. Spread on 2 cookies sheets. Bake in oven preheated to 325 for about 30 minutes, until golden. Stir every 10 minutes and make sure you don't let it burn! If only one cookie sheet fits on each oven rack, alternate each one from top to bottom every time you stir the granola (i.e. switch the top one to the bottom and vice versa). Let cool (will continue to get more crispy over time) and then mix in desired dried fruit, nuts, etc. Keep in air tight container for 2 weeks.

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