Snacks

Granola Goodness

Are you a label reader? I am. I read every label before I put an item in my shopping cart. Years ago I spent 20 minutes in the cereal aisle, trying to find a “healthy” cereal to keep at the office for an emergency snack. EVERYTHING had SO MUCH SUGAR. And most of the them listed multiple types of sweeteners in one cereal… high fructose corn syrup, sugar, brown rice syrup, pure evaporated cane juice. Do we really need more than one kind in a single box of cereal?

A N Y W A Y.

homemade granola with almond milk

Homemade granola with homemade almond milk.

It was at this point that I decided to make homemade granola, so I could control what goes into it and how it tastes. Granola is still something we try to eat in moderation, because nutritionally it is not really an “A student”… more like a B-/C+ 🙂 Sometimes I try to add things that will boost its grade, and the beauty of homemade granola is you can do the same! Use this recipe as a guide and get creative with your favorite flavors. (Please note, this is an updated version of an existing recipe I’ve had on the blog since 2013. I’m trying to update as many of my old recipes as I can, to reflect my new tastes, experience in the kitchen and ingredients.)

Granola Goodness
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Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 8 cups

Serving Size: 1/2 cup

Granola Goodness

Ingredients

4 c. old fashioned oats (look for gluten-free oats if you are celiac)

3/4 c. almonds, chopped

1/2 c. raisins

1/2 c. dried cranberries

1/2 c. dried papaya or pineapple, unsulphured, unsweetened is best

1/2 c. coconut flakes, unsweetened

1/4 c. sunflower seeds, raw

1/2 c. maple syrup and or coconut nectar (I used half and half)

1/2 tsp. Real salt

Instructions

    Preheat oven to 325°F

    1. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl in the order they are listed.

    2. Stir to combine and evenly distribute ingredients.

    3. Line 2-13"x18" baking sheets (or similar size) with parchment paper and divide the granola mixture among the two sheets, spread out into an even layer.

    4. Bake 1 sheet at a time for 10 minutes.

    5. Remove pan from oven and use a spatula to flip and rotate mixture to ensure even baking.

    6. Place back into oven and bake for an additional 5 minutes. NOTE: Trust your nose, if the smell of the granola baking changes from delicious to something slightly different, it's ready to come out. You don't want to burn the almonds.

    7. Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack.

    8. Repeat with second sheet.

    9. This made ~8 cups of granola. I filled up two, 4 cup mason jars and put one in the freezer and one in the fridge.

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Homemade Granola Goodness {Slideshow}

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Homemade Almond Milk

One of the first changes I made in my kitchen, was back in early 2013, when I started making my homemade almond milk. We enjoyed it so much, I raved about it all the time to anyone who would listen. The common complaint was that it would be quicker to run to the store and buy some off the shelf. I would always assure people it was NOT the same.

Then I took it a step further and made this video to show people you could do it from start to finish in 10 minutes. I even went so far as to get my blender out of the pantry during the video! Every step counts, right? If you haven’t tried making homemade almond milk, I highly recommend you give it a shot while the homemade granola is baking in the oven. The two pair together perfectly!

homemade granola

Delicious with homemade almond milk

Have you ever made homemade granola or homemade almond milk?

Almond Coconut Butter

I’m trying something a little different today, I recorded a short little video as an intro to the almond coconut butter recipe. Enjoy!

A delicious little snack from the almond coconut butter!fullsizerender

Ingredients

2 c. toasted almonds
1/2 c. unsweetened coconut shreds
1/4 tsp. Real Salt

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Measure out the 2 cups of plain, raw almonds onto an ungreased baking sheet and arrange in a thin layer. Cook for 7 minutes. Almonds don’t need long to get toasty! If they cook for too long, they taste burnt. (You can avoid this step if you buy roasted, salted almonds – however toasting the raw nuts yourself allows you to control the salt and eliminate additives.)
  2. Once the almonds are toasted, let them finish cooking on the baking sheet for 15 minutes or so. Then place into your blender (Vitamix works great!), along with the coconut flakes and salt.
  3. Place your blender lid on, and remove the center plug so you can use the tamper stick. This is a necessary tool to making the nut butter, in my opinion. Start on a low setting to just get them all chopped up and combined. Then slowly increase the speed, using the tamper to keep pushing the mixture down towards the blades, as you blend at high speed. This takes about 2-3 minutes and lots of arm strength.
  4. Once you’ve reached the desired consistency, store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  5. Makes 1 1/4 c. coconut almond butter.

This is great for smoothies, sandwiches or snacks! I put mine on a rice cracker square and topped it with some date slices. So yummy! I think I might try that before some of my longer runs this season too.

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Do you prefer almond or peanut butter? Store bought or homemade?