Archives for granola

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?

Peach Yummy v2013

Growing up my parents would take our family on cross country road trips every summer. Sometimes we would stay in a hotel once we reached our destination and other times we would camp. I have very fond memories of sitting around the campfire and watching my mom bake her delicious Peach Yummy, a camping tradition. It was amazing and simple; the perfect treat to make kiddos happy. Canned peaches and some Bisquick plopped on top was all she’d need – partially hydrogenated goodness – ahhhh. You would get your serving of gooey peaches along with a Bisquick biscuit. This was heaven on earth, especially when camping. She never made it at home either, so it was an extra special treat!

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This is my oldest sister, diligently tending to the peach yummy! I love her pants, but what I love even more is her eagerness to help mom bake at age 5!

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Ten years later, here’s me… sitting down in the middle of a trail, not wanting to continue the hike into our campsite. 🙂 Maybe they bribed me with peach yummy to get me going… 😉

Last weekend, I started my own family tradition of sorts. Mr. Zucchini Runner, my cousin and her son went to a local peach orchard and picked our very own peaches straight from the tree! You better believe as soon as we paid for those peaches one went straight into my mouth! It was so juicy and tasted like warm peach pie – it was THE BEST peach I’ve ever had in my life. Hands down. Apparently, Arizona has the perfect climate to grow peaches. Who knew?!

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My “nephew” checking out our box of peaches for “bugs”, based on my request. He was so sweet. This was the only way I could distract him to take his picture. 🙂

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This experience was pretty magical, especially when looking back. It’s like childbirth I suppose, you only remember the good stuff. I’ve already forgotten that the festival was a disorganized mess, 85°F with full blazing sun and a line of traffic outside the farm for a mile that took an hour to get through.

The peaches WERE worth it though.

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The peaches sat like this on the stovetop… for a while… with no heat… awaiting their destiny.

Peach cobbler seemed like a good option, so I cut and peeled 10 peaches, to make about 4 cups of sliced, fresh peaches. As I sat staring at them in the skillet, I was trying to figure out exactly what I wanted to do with them next. I called my mom to get some inspiration and see if there was a way I could recreate Peach Yummy, only healthier. 😉 After some brainstorming, she suggested I just use my granola mix as the topping. I was sold and it would be easy!! (During the brainstorming, I also decided I needed to make some peach ice cream too – stay tuned!)

Peach Yummy v2013

4 cups (~10 small peaches) peeled, pitted and sliced
2 cups oats
1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup unsweetened, coconut shreds
1 tea. cinnamon
2 tbsp. Earth Balance Coconut Spread
1/4 c. maple syrup
Dash or two of salt

In a skillet over low-medium heat start to cook the peaches until they reduce in size and cook in their own juices. This will take roughly 20 minutes. Make sure to stir frequently to prevent scorching. Meanwhile in a large bowl combine the oats, nuts, coconut shreds and cinnamon and stir to incorporate. Measure the coconut spread into a small glass dish and microwave 10 seconds at a time to soften. Once it is soft, not melted, add the maple syrup and stir to help melt the coconut spread. Pour syrup mixture over the oat mixture and stir well, ensuring to coat the oats with the liquid.

Measure out 1 cup of the oat/granola mixture into an 8″x8″ baking dish. Layer cooked peaches on top. Layer remaining oat/granola mixture on top of peaches. (Note: I had quite a thick layer of oats… if I make this again I would either cut back on some of the oats or set some of the topping aside and just bake it on a cookie sheet for granola. 🙂

Cover with foil and bake in a 300°F oven for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 5-10 minutes, keeping a close eye on the topping to ensure it doesn’t get too dark. You want it crispy and slightly brown. (Click on any image below for a more detailed description and enlarged photo.)

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I also poured almond milk over my serving when I got home from work today and it was super yummy!

I also poured almond milk over my serving when I got home from work today and it was super yummy!

Peach Ice Cream

I didn’t forget about the ice cream, don’t worry! Homemade ice cream is so easy to make, even if you don’t have an ice cream maker. You can make popsicles if you have molds! In a blender combine 1 can of full fat coconut milk and 3 peeled, pitted and sliced peaches, 3 tbsp of maple syrup and a dash of salt. Blend until completely liquified and place in refrigerator to chill for about an hour. If you are using popsicle molds, you can just pour directly into the molds and place in the freezer for 30 minutes, removing to add the sticks if necessary, and then placing them back in the freezer to firm up solid!

If you are using an ice cream maker, you can follow your machines instructions to make the ice cream. I added 2 chopped and peeled peaches to the ice cream in the last 5 minutes of churning. It turned out great and I loved having the little frozen peach chunks in the ice cream. Enjoy!